I'm standing in the bathroom stall crying. I told my husband that I needed to use the restrooms so he's standing outside in the hallway waiting for me, but I didn't need to; I just needed to stand alone and cry for a second. Or maybe more than just a second.
We were at our therapy appointment. The one where just the parents go so we can get a report on how our daughters are progressing and to address any concerns we have or our therapist has. Every time we attend one of these parent therapy sessions I think about how much every parent--adoptive or not--needs a therapist. It's so helpful to have someone not related to you to tell you how good of a job you're doing parenting. I'm pretty sure this random woman we found through an internet search has saved my sanity more times than I'll ever know.
Our kids came to us with a laundry list of acronyms. Yours probably did, too. And it seems like every time we cross one off another one simply takes its place. No more ODD? That's because it's RAD. No more OCD? Now it's ADD. And so on and so on. I'm not really sure if this is a sign of growth or walking backwards.
That's why we're here today. We're talking about the new acronym we're adding to the list. At the moment we're sitting on the couch listening to how it's probably time we start a specific therapeutic protocol for my oldest daughter. It's time to maybe address the trauma in a more aggressive and pointed way. We're all three in agreement. It's time.
It's a weird feeling. On the one hand I'm so glad that we've crossed off some letters from our list. What a relief. On the other hand we're adding something else. What a bummer. But still a relief that we've got an answer on why some behaviors are cropping up. It feels really good to have a plan in place; a protocol she called it. How official. Finally we're getting to the root of the problems. We're going to really start dealing with the big stuff. This is going to be life changing.
And then it sets in that you're talking about my daughter--my just-turned-six-year-old-daughter. And my relief and excitement turn to anger. I'm angry that the world is full of broken and flawed people. I'm angry that my kids weren't protected those crucial first years. I'm mad that there are over a thousand other kids in the country who are dealing with the same things.
And then I just get sad. That deep, gut wrenching sadness. No, I didn't cause this. I'm doing everything I can to help her. I'm taking her to the right therapist. I'm bonding and she's attaching. We're giving her every leg up we can manage between the two of us. But talking about now my daughter has to go through a protocol, a supremely official-sounding trauma therapy is just really sad. There's not really another word for it.
So that's why I'm crying. Because my beautiful child is hurting and confused in ways I can't always see or identify. And it just makes me sad.
But I can't stay in the bathroom the entire time, so I finally take a few deep breaths and try to wipe my face off enough so my husband doesn't see. I walk out the door only to find him hurriedly wiping his eyes off. He was crying, too. He gets it.
I wish I could say that we drove home wallowing in our sadness together. That we put into words how we were each feeling and tried to help the other through it. But that would be a lie. Instead, we stopped at The Cheesecake Factory and feasted on soda and cheesecake, talked about the errands we still needed to accomplish, and our camping trip in the fall.
We never talked about the therapy session or our daughter or that we were both crying. We didn't need to. We've been here before, we'll be here again, and there's no use hashing the same things all over again. We just need to move forward, or sideways, or backwards. Whichever way life is taking us.
Caitlin is the founder and creator of Respite Redefined. She is a wife and mother of two daughters through adoption from foster care. Caitlin loves to read, to write, and to dream of the places she'll go and the sights she'll see and the new kids she'll one day meet.