Thursday, August 20, 2015
My daughter, who is living 3000 miles away texted me the other morning. There was a very bad storm with thunder and lightning. The house shook and she thought it might be an earthquake.
I was immediately taken back to when she was a little girl – around 3 years old. At the first sign of a storm, she would move closer. If there was a rumble of thunder or flash of lightening, she was hiding behind me or crawling under the covers in my bed. Followed by her sister and the dogs, we waited out the storm.
I was not a fan of thunder or lightning. But for my girls, I was the strong one. I would explain how if we watched for the flashes of light, we could predict the thunder, and determine how far away the storm was. The longer it took, the farther away the storm.
I was their protector, in their eyes and in mine. As a mother, I will always feel like I have to watch out for them. No matter how close or far, I will think about them, worry about their health, activities and choices, and provide guidance or advice when asked (and sometimes when not).
My daughters are not living at home anymore. One is several hours away and the other across the country. We talk and text often, sharing our daily lives and worries about the future. Sometimes I wish I could crawl into bed with them and make the storm pass. But like with nature, we have to deal with what comes our way.
Teaching my girls how to cope with life’s ups and downs has been one of my major goals as a parent. In this way, adoptive parenting is no different than raising children biologically connected. Life throws us perfect pitches and curve balls. Riding the highs, gliding throwing the everyday and traversing the lows is normal. How to know the hard times will pass is a skill, easier for those with a forgiving nature.
I have taught my daughters that while a perfect life would be nice, it is not realistic. Everyone struggles at times. Family and friends can get you through the roughest of moments. Walk away from toxic people and situations. Find those who support and love you, who have your best interests at heart and who will help you achieve your goals and your dreams.
Adoption was one of those situations for me. I found myself in difficult times and felt I would never be a mother. I was sad and saw my future without the children I so desired. I crawled under the covers and didn’t want to face the world. My family rallied around me, my real friends hung close. Slowly, I saw a path to reach my goal. With the support of those closest to me, I researched adoption. Every call led me to another person who wanted to help. Choosing carefully, I started the process with trepidation that it would work. I inched forward.
Whether Dorothy in Oz or Kathy in New York, we recognized our demons and had the courage to pursue our dreams. And it worked. I became a mom. TWICE!! I fought the battle and was victorious.
Maybe I allowed my daughters to crawl under the covers for safety and security. Maybe they figured it out themselves. I know I was the one who taught them to peel back the blanket and look around. That the world had lots to offer. That they would only know if they took chances, tried new things and believed. I weathered the storm, and now so are they.
Kathy Ann Brodsky, LCSW is New York and New Jersey licensed social worker, adoptive mom and advocate for ethical adoption practice. She has prepared thousands of adoption homestudies, counseled adoptive parents and parents-to-be, and has trained professionals to work with adoptive families. She was Director of the Ametz Adoption Program from March 1992 to March 2015. She was on the Advisory Board for POV's Adoption Series and featured as the adoption expert on The Newlyweds series on Bravo. She is Head Writer for Adoption.net, on the Adoption Advisory Board of Path2Parenthood and has a private practice in
. She was named an “Angel in Adoption” by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption in 2001, Follow or reach her at ADOPTION MAVEN BLOG or EMAIL. New York City