It's funny how people can read a blog and feel like they KNOW that person or that family. I've done it myself with the blogs that I read. I can invest myself so deeply into a blog that I feel like we're friends. I know A LOT about them. I know where they went on vacation, what their kids' favorite colors are, and even what their grades were on their last report cards. I can identify with some of their struggles and I rejoice with their successes. I have even cried tears of happiness and sadness for my blogging friends.
In reality, I am only seeing glimpses into their lives. I am seeing the snapshots that they wish to portray to the world. I don't see their sink piled with dirty dishes or the fight they had with their husband last night. I don't see the mom exhausted as their baby screams on the 3 hour flight to their vacation destination. I see what people want me to see. And of course we always want people to think that we're ok. We want people to see that we're happy and doing well and that we can handle everything. We want people to think that we have it all together. And many times, that's simply not true.
Until two years ago, it was easy for me to blog. I had 4 happy kids, and yes, we had our issues, especially with Kennedy's health. We were in NO WAY perfect and of course I didn't share every argument Frank and I had or every time I let the laundry get out of control, but it was easy for me to sometimes blog three times a day. I had a lot to say. We were a hopping, on-the-go family and I wanted to share our love (and sometimes my rants) and laughter with our family and close friends, and also with our friends in the Down syndrome community and everyone else who stumbled across my blog in various ways. I gained a lot of advice and insight from other readers and I LOVED blogging.
When we started our adoption process, I started reading adoption blogs. I watched other families bring their children home and I read closely as they integrated these children into their families. For the most part, I read happy stories, I saw beautiful smiles and joy and a smooth transition. I thought, "We can do this! We KNOW Down syndrome, piece of cake! One more child? Piece of cake!" But I was only seeing snapshots of their lives. And while some families have indeed bonded beautifully with their newly adopted children, others have struggled. Like we have. Those families haven't said anything because when they do, they get shunned by some of the adoption community... the very people who should be there to uplift and support them. And when I saw the few people who WERE brave enough to speak out get bashed, I started being less free about what I shared. I knew what it felt like to be ripped apart by "anonymous"... someone who hides behind their computer screen, too chicken to own up to their words, and I did not want to be on the receiving end of that.
And so, the snapshots that I portrayed of our lives became less frequent and more forced, at least for me. I was careful about what pictures I posted... I didn't post pictures of Kellsey not smiling (which was most of them) because I didn't want people asking me what was "wrong" with her. I didn't talk about our issues with RAD, because I didn't think people would understand and I thought (correctly) that I would be blamed. Behind the scenes I exhausted every option as our family slowly began to fall apart. I went to seek help from a child psychologist who twisted my words ten ways to Sunday and turned me into Child Protective Services. Thankfully, once the caseworker came out and talked to me, she saw that there was nothing to investigate and closed the case immediately. But it was a nightmare for my children who were old enough to understand. I often wonder if that woman had stopped to listen, actually listen to what I was saying and tried to HELP us, if things would be different now. That happened almost 18 months ago. I guess we'll never know.
In the need to protect myself from "anonymous", I think I cheated others (especially other parents looking to adopt) out of our real adoption story. I can see where it was confusing to some. I tried SO hard to stay positive (even then sometimes it wasn't good enough) that people either accused me of trying too hard or STILL not talking enough about Kellsey. Usually that was because I just didn't have anything to SAY. And so, I posted less. It was just easier. I didn't feel like people were really reading anymore anyway (Bloggers, if you think no one's reading, go private! I've never had so many emails in my life!) so I figured that instead of posting once a day, I'd post every other day... then it became a few times a week... And I missed writing... but we were all hurting so badly at that point, it didn't seem to matter.
I want to say right now that our story with Kellsey has NOTHING to do with CIPA or any of the other medical things she has introduced us to over the last 2 years. The medical stuff doesn't really phase me anymore. I kind of just roll with it now and say "OK well, let's fix it/deal with it/cure it" or whatever the case may be. Yes it sucks and yes it's made her RAD exponentially more difficult, but it is what it is. Our story with Kellsey, our adoption story has to do with a little girl so emotionally damaged from her three years in an orphanage in Ukraine, two parents who don't know how to help her get past that, and seven people who ended up on a downward spiral because of it. It wasn't until this last six months that what was happening to our family became clear to me and I knew that something had to change.
And so, for better or worse, I am going to share our adoption story. It won't be like ANY adoption story you've ever read because there's no other family like ours and no other child like Kellsey. You can choose to read or choose not to. You can choose to agree with me or not. You can even disagree with me in the comment section or my email box, all I ask is that you do so respectfully. You don't have to LIKE what you read, but you have my word that I'm going to be 100% honest and truthful (and may never go public again! LOL). We, as a family, are still in a fog, but even after only a week, I see that fog lifting for ALL seven of us (even Frank and he's not here!) so there may be some questions I still cannot answer. One day at a time.
Thank you to those of you who invest in our lives, whatever that role may be.