Catharsis revisited – a throwback Thursday post

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Writing is healing…many things about this adoption have been stressful and overwhelming…writing helps. Two back to back adoptions have knocked me on my ass. I’m trying to get up.

It’s TBT and I'm “face lifting” an older post. I wrote this back in September which really isn't that much of a throwback but it marks a turning point in the motivation behind my writing.

Prior to September 2013 I wrote to memorialize our adoptions. I started the blog (initially called “Adding Branches to our Family Tree”) to serve as a Q&A when we were early on in the process to adopt Doodlebug. I posted mostly adoption updates. I wrote for friends and family, people who knew us and were curious about what we were doing.

As we went further down the adoption rabbit hole, I wrote about my experience based on what I wished I’d known. Other adoptive families became part of my audience and I wrote for them. I get emails and comments here and there from other adoptive families, thanking me for information I’ve provided or telling me their own adoption stories. That is the best stuff, hands down.

Since I wrote the initial catharsis post I've carved out a lot of time to write things down. Some I share, some I don’t. Some I delete. I’m proud of some of my writing. Some of what I write is probably garbage, but the “writing as therapy” has been a good thing for me.

I've done a lot to put my blog out there.  More and more, people who don't know me personally are reading what I write. I am grateful (and a little surprised) that I’ve gotten so many hits on my blog traffic and so many Facebook “likes”. This is for you, new readers. Here’s a peek in my window and insight in to my “why”.

Here we go – Catharsis revisited:

I usually spend my first “awake and vertical” moments with a cup of coffee in front of this screen. It is quiet in my house before the rest of my family wakes up and wants something or makes noise. I love this time. This is my time to look at Facebook, check email and peek at a blog or two. Essentially, I spend the first moments of my day checking out what other people are doing. It’s mindless, like reading Us Magazine.

I love to write. I have no idea if I am great, mediocre or truly crappy. The answer to that question is up for grabs and I can honestly say it does not matter. I have always loved to write. I always have a story or an idea I want to express floating around in my head (probably because there is a lot of room up there).

When I go to sleep at night, I don’t wonder what so-and-so is up to on Facebook. I think about my day. I think about what I’ve done, what I want to do or what I wished I’d done differently. And, I think about how I want to write it down.

So, I am taking my mornings to write. I will forego hitting the “like” button on cute pictures of everyone’s kids or sharing all of those pintresty recipes to my timeline (that is starting to look like a cookbook). I can make time for these things – or not – during some other part of the day.

Mornings are my time to write down what is on my mind and in my heart. I have a lot to say. I have two romance novels and a humorous autobiography inside me. I need to get crackin’.

I am the mom of “virtual twin” three year olds. My time is suddenly compressed. I haven’t perfected getting ready & out the door with two wiggly toddlers who have a totally different agenda. The nighty night routine is a two-man Olympic sport (at least I think it should be). If I make the choice to sit at my computer instead of being with my littles, they might make “soup” in my bathroom sink with hot water, baby wipes and shaving cream. Or, they might slather my Kindle with body lotion and pretend its a baby. Not that these things have happened in our house, mind you.

What do I mean when I talk about this “virtual twins” business, anyway? I mean I have 2 three year olds who are 4 months apart.  They are both adopted but were adopted and brought in to our family at different times.   They didn't know each other as brothers (they didn't know each other at all) until roughly 6 weeks ago.  We were all thrown together at different points in our lives and we’re expected to be a normal family, whatever that even means.

Carving out time to write involves time management and selective surfing. The catharsis part? I am getting to that now.

Writing is healing. I’ve been struggling since Peanut’s adoption last month. Many things about this adoption have been stressful and overwhelming and I feel like I’m just finding my way back to the surface. Writing helps. Two back to back adoptions have knocked me on my ass. I’m trying to get up. The response of “but you asked for this” is not cool and not fair. These children were wanted. Doesn’t make parenting them easy. I guess parenting never is, under the best of circumstances and our circumstances haven’t been the best.  But, they are what they are.

I am struggling.  I'm struggling with the difficulty we’ve had getting Peanut properly registered for insurance benefits and getting him evaluated by the appropriate professionals. I am struggling with the lack of organization and adoption savvy in the medical community and I’m tired of being treated like the

first. person. ever.

to adopt. I’m struggling with the amount of red tape I have to wade through before I can get a doctor’s appointment to tell me what I already know is wrong with my child.

I am struggling with being told by various clerks and receptionists that Peanut is not the same as a “real child” a “normal child” or a “regular child” as far as their paperwork is concernd.

I am struggling with undisclosed medical needs in a 3 year old with “documented” medical history. I didn’t expect so many surprises.

I am struggling to figure out how to parent 2 three year old “twins” who were strangers a month ago. I am struggling with how to integrate them in to the rest of my family and maintain some sense of self.

I am struggling to get my head around the fact that 3 years ago hubs and I were empty nesters. Now we are a family of 5.

I am struggling because the presence of friends in my life isn’t what it was a year ago. Some of this is through natural attrition, such as moving, or because we’ve got nothing in common anymore. And, I get that. Most of my peers don’t have small children. Most moms “my age” have breathed the giant sigh of relief because their kids are finally out of the house. The moms of other 3 year olds are named Dakota and Summer, don’t know who Duran Duran is and use “sick” as a synonym for “cool”.

I’ll pull up. Things are better than they were and they’ll be better than they are now. I’ve got a few people counting on me to keep my cookies together. But right today? Difficult. Challenging. Overwhelming. I use a lot of Kleenex.

Motherhood and marriage are wonderful (most of the time). There is beauty in adoption and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. But with that beauty comes pain and loss.

Everyone asleep in my house (and everyone IS asleep in my house) is here because they are supposed to be here. Have I come to my family via the traditional road? Uh…no. We are still a family.

What I write heals me. It pleases me. I censor what I write only slightly. No holds barred. I have a lot to say. Think you can hang? Stay tuned.


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  1. AS the grandmother of twins, I feel the pain of what you have to go through especially under the circumstances of having special medical needs. It is not easy with our without that, but it does get better – truly! Also, I am glad I stopped to read your blog. One of my grandkids is adopted and, as I like to say about our family, we are all adopted in some way. I am a step mom and that qualifies too. In any case, sounds like you have a lot to do and, in the end, you will have great satisfaction and love for your efforts. All the very best.

    1. Thank you for reading my blog, Elaine! I am glad you stopped in, too. I was in such a fog when I wrote this back in September and it was a good experience to read it again 9 months later and see that it truly did get better. My family is a work in progress, but aren’t we all! Have a great weekend!

  2. I love this post. As a mother of 7 year old virtual twins 4 months apart and a nine year old and another 5 year old who we are waiting to come home I get this. I really appreciate your honesty. Frankly there isn’t enough of it out there when it comes to post adoption adjustment which leaves you feeling alone, guilty and like a pretty crappy mom. Looking forward to following along!

    1. Thank you, Jen! I am happy you found my blog. I love hearing from other parents of virtual twins because its such an odd dynamic and people are like “huh? Are they twins or not”? I hope you keep reading!

  3. Jill,
    I stumbled onto your blog because I loved the “I’m about to rock the boat” picture but feel like I could write you a book!
    1. I am a twin. I also raised my daughter & stepdaughter together and they were close in age. The bond when they get older will be so strong. They are just as close as my twin & I were. (She passed away in 2002).
    2. I am a birthmother. I placed my son for adoption in 1992 because I was engaged to be married and my fiancé’ cheated. I didn’t know I was pregnant. (No one told me that anti-biopics make birth control ineffective!) l was barely making ends meet and knew the father would be MIA. I just wanted so much more for my child! The beautiful thing is that we were just reunited in October and he thanked me for my choices. We have a great relationship! I’m not sure why I felt compelled to share all of that with you but I hope that all of your adoption issues have been settled and the boat isn’t rocking! Haha! Have a great day! Tracey

    1. Thanks for reading! I hope you can come back and read some of the newer posts…we’re settled in to the “new normal.” Whatever that means! You have a great day, too!