Emotional Turbulence

I think as humans, and perhaps particularly women, we have to deal with a lot of conflicting emotions. At least I do, and I imagine I'm not alone. Obviously we're all different and carry different emotional loads. Today has been one of those days where I just feel frustrated, and in my fuming, I realized that what I'm irked about would probably not irk me on other days. Adoption and all things related to it--it's a rollar-coaster. It's so up and down and twisting and turning, and exhilarating and wonderful but also scary and sad. And it changes by the day--the hour, even. We are so fortunate to have Bean's birth family in our life. We love them so much. They are incredible, and such a blessing. And we have many other loved ones who support us in our journey. We love you guys. Most days are so lovely. But, despite how perfect our path seems, there are rough days as well as wonderful ones.

A few weeks ago we were at the shoe store getting Bean some new sandals and water shoes. A super-nice saleslady came over, and first thing out of her mouth: "Wow, where did your daughter get her curly hair? You guys don't have curly hair." We didn't think of any witty retorts. But seriously? We told her Bean was adopted, and she then said, as if she was so proud of herself for deducing this: "Oh! She looks like her REAL family then!" And I would have started crying right there if Shaun hadn't been with me. I immediately wished she'd just shut up, and that I knew how to be bold enough to say "You know this is none of your business, and you're using really disrespectful language," but instead I just tried to be polite and respond using the positive adoption terms to her interrogation thereafter. The conversation didn't get much better though, and I felt like someone had intentionally bullied and belittled me as we left, which may be silly because she was truly a well-meaning person. But that's how I felt.

Some days I feel sad.
Sad that, for whatever reason, I can't grow my children in my belly myself. Sad that I can't make that sacrifice for them, sad that we must rely on other sweet, angelic women to bring our children into the world.

Some days I feel afraid.
Afraid that if I don't open my mouth and share the awesomeness of adoption with anyone I can, we won't be able to welcome more kids into our forever family. Afraid that if I do open my mouth, people will say hurtful things. Afraid that people will judge me and hate me and be unkind to my child and family if they know.

Some days my heart hurts.
Hurts like crazy, because I long to hold our next little one close, to see Iris be a big sister and see Shaun love and play with a sweet child who can become ours. But I feel powerless, just waiting and praying for another miracle.

Some days I feel selfish.
Selfish when people say things that sting, whether or not they should sting, things that are usually well-meaning like "what about her real parents," "what a lucky girl to have 4 parents," "did her real mom choose her name" "how could someone give away such a cute girl" "do you want another baby because you can't love an adopted child like one that's really yours," "you are so lucky that you don't have to be pregnant," blah blah blah.....wondering if the fact that those things sting means I am not being forgiving and loving enough, and if I seem like an inferior mom and that my imperfections remind people that maybe I'm not "real" enough. And then I usually feel angry. And wish that I could move our family somewhere where no one knows us and people can just stop trying to say nice things about adoption because I am sick of my heart feeling stung by well-meaning people.

And most days I feel exhausted.
Exhausted from all of the people who know way more about my personal life than I do theirs and who feel comfortable enough with their knowledge to preach to me about things they don't understand. Exhausted with trying to educate people and still be kind and patient. Exhausted with wishing I could shield my daughter from society and expectations for "normal families." Like the idea that families need to look alike. We often hear people say how Bean must be meant for our family because she looks like us. (Seriously? I grew up in a family with six biological siblings, none who really look like me, at least, not according to most people. I don't think that means I was not meant to be their sibling, and I know that if/when we have children who don't look at all like us, that won't mean they weren't meant to be ours. This could turn into a huge rant, but I'll leave it at that for now.)

And so there you have it. Today is one of those days where my head is throbbing and my heart is aching and I feel sad and lonely. I am exhausted today. I imagine tomorrow will be better, but for today, I'm just so tired, and am going to go watch Pride and Prejudice (the 6 hour one) with the Bean and eat a million peaches. 


  1. You have pretty much read my mind! I have had all of these feelings and thoughts run through my head in the last month.

  2. Some people are just ignorant.
    Sending loves your way!

  3. As I read this, I related from the stand point that with Eli's health and some of his funny quirks, people just cannot help themselves and have to comment. It's almost like they do it to make their own selves feel better, or smart or whatever.

    I am so sorry for the hurt and stings that come. The words you write resonate with me and very often I feel lonely and never really can feel safe in public. You are right people mean well, but most of the time we should just stop meaning well and do well. Be compassionate and understanding enough that we just need to keep our comments to ourselves. Life is so hard for everyone and if we could stop making assessments and just love people life would be much better for everyone. ( I still have lots of work to do in this area.) I will message you my #. I would love to see you again.

  4. i am so sorry your heart aches like this, Lanette. I'm sure I've been one of those "well-meaning ignorant people." I really and honestly want to understand and "do well" as the above commenter said, instead of "meaning well" but in all honesty, i just don't know how though I try, and often i learn through making awful comments that i truly didn't realize were so awful. i have a very dear friend that lives close to us and her daughter is my older daughter's best friend. my friend's daughter was adopted and they are hoping to adopt again, and i'm constantly trying to not be inconsiderate and say things thoughtlessly. i was pretty terrified to announce my pregnancy to her, and yet, i couldn't not tell her because everyone else knew, and i just floundered in my words. sometimes it means i don't say anything, which sometimes feels rude. as a friend who cares deeply, i'm sorry for any ignorant comments i make. i'm sorry it hurts. i am praying for you and your family and that you can welcome your next little one into your forever family soon.

    1. Marie, you are such a kind, good person, I'm sure your friend knows your heart and appreciates your love and support so much, as do I! It means a lot. This made me think of this blog post I read....here's the link: http://lorilivingoutloud.wordpress.com/2013/05/01/infertility-and-adoption-etiquette-what-to-say-to-help-your-waiting-friend/Obviously it's not all applicable to everyone, but still seems like great advice to me. I know I don't say the right things to others in different situations that I don't understand-- that's just life, and something we all deal with. only the Savior can truly understand us all. The fact that you're trying is what matters most! Bless you, you are a wonderful lady!

  5. Wow, I am shocked that people have actually said some of those things to you. I'm sorry for the emotional roller coaster that you are on. I wish I could do something to help. Lanette, you're an amazing person.

  6. Thank you everyone for the kind comments, you're all so great! Hugs to you all!

  7. If it makes you feel any better (but it probably won't) people constantly ask us where our boys got their blonde hair. The answer is that both Eric and I were blond when we were young. In your case, you could answer indirectly with, "It's in the genes, I guess. My sister has very curly hair." Both of those statements are true. :) (I know, because I've seen pictures of your sister!)

    I also think you are totally in the right to correct people, particularly the well-meaning people. When someone refers to her "real" parents, you can say, "We prefer the term 'birth parents' or 'biological parents.'" The vast majority of people (myself included, I'm sure) learn much better about proper language when told specifically rather than by picking up on subtle clues.

    I'm sorry people say dumb stuff!

  8. Oh man, my heart hurt reading some of those things that people have said to you! It leaves me kind of aghast... sure, some people are well-meaning and just uninformed, but others just need to learn to keep their mouths shut and realize it's none of their business. You are more patient than I would be with those people. I am sorry that you have been asked to go through this trial and that it wears on you so much, but I do want you to know that I think you are an incredible woman, and most of all an incredible mother to Iris. I don't know why or how people could use language that would suggest that you're not her 'real' mother, because you 100% are, and she's 100% yours. And I continue to pray that you will be able to hold and love and nurture more children soon. xoxo


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