Friday, May 17, 2013


Can you remember when you had a crush on that boy in school?  That one really cute boy who was "perfect" in every way.  You just knew that if he only knew you better, he'd love you forever.

Imagine you were assigned together for a big project.  There was no escaping - you were going to be together for the long haul.  Now imagine that the boy was nice to you sometimes.  Sometimes not.  He usually outright rejected you in front of family, friends, strangers.   He often scowled when he saw you.  You were sad, embarrassed, and sometimes even angry.

But of course you stuck with it.  Because you are that kind of girl.  Sometimes you were fueled by some romantic notion of love.   The love he might eventually have for you - might even have for you now even if he wouldn't admit it.

Sometimes, you stuck with it because this was a commitment, doggone it!  You said you would do it.  You didn't want anyone to see you fail.  You were used to succeeding.  You were going to put in the necessary time and effort.  Even if he didn't seem to care, you tried accomplish the goal for both of you.  There were days when you gritted your teeth and did the dirty work that needed to get done.  There were days when you just went through the motions.  There were days when you just about gave up hope.

Rejection sucks.

Did I mention that he was utterly and completely in love with your best friend?  Since he absolutely adored your best friend, you knew that he was capable of love.  He just wasn't willing or able to love you.  Maybe there was something wrong with you.

Your best friend, with the greatest of intentions, tried to helpfully give advice as to how to get this boy to love you back.  Sometimes you took the advice.  Sometimes you angrily stared at your friend and said mean things like, "I know how to make people like me."  You felt pretty awful after that.

There were days when you doubted that you were enough.  You weren't really sure that this boy could love you.  You worried that your love for him wasn't going to be enough to hold things together.  You were worried that you could stop loving this boy and that the ache the absence of this love would leave in your heart would make you crumple. You were terrified you'd fail.

But, once in a while, especially when nobody was looking, you two would share some pretty great moments that kept you hopeful about the future.  It kept you going.  You would think, "See, he is really starting to like me.  This is true love."  Your heart would swell with joy nearly to the point of bursting.

And then he would go back to avoiding you in the halls, sometimes literally running away from you.  He would make a face at you and yell at you, obviously trying to tell everyone that he absolutely did NOT want to be stuck with you. 

You held on.

The sweet moments came more often.  Loving him was less anguishing and actually (dare you say it) kind of great.  Even if you weren't his favorite, he liked you better than strangers.  That was enough to start, you told yourself.

He began to seek you out.  He wanted to be near you.  He smiled.  He laughed.  You smiled.  You laughed.

You both developed your own sort of language.  You had some inside jokes.  Everything wasn't perfect, but you could see things changing.  Thawing.  Settling into an easier place.

The look in his eyes had changed.

From Fear.
To Anger.
To Distrust.
To Caution.
To Resignation.
To Acceptance.

To love?

Adoption isn't easy.  But it is worth it.


Carrie H. said...

I was reading this post on the floor lying next to Mylas crib while she was trying to sleep. I beleive this is when she threw a sock at me.

Thank you for this post Kristin.

Carrie H.

Anonymous said...

I thought you were talking about an arranged marriage there for a minute! Weird that you compare adoption like having a crush on someone. But it is amazing how you can learn to love someone.

Kristin said...

I was just trying to convey the feeling of rejection that a person can feel in adoption in a way many people can relate to. Of course if you delve too deeply the analogy falls apart.

I've actually thought of adoption being like an arranged marriage. You are put together. You commit a lifetime together without having ever met. However, the situation isn't equal. The adoptive parents are the ones who have decided to pursue the relationship. The child is not given a say in the situation.

Anonymous said...

Children of that age are not able to figure out what is best for them. So as you mentioned, while they are not given "a say in the situation", their biological parents do know what is best. And it is their biological parents who FIRST loved them enough to provide better for them. Babies and young kids everywhere in all situations have no say... there are babies born into unhealthy environments (be it a family of abuse, drug use, neglect, etc) and they have no say in the situation either. Parents are responsible for making those life changing decisions, whether you are giving up a child or adopting a child. I have adopted 3 kids and have 2 biological children. I have felt adoption rejection you speak of. I have been there. I also have felt the rejection from my biological child when she was hospitalized for a heart condition for 13 months after she was born. I believe there is a bonding time especially in the first 12 months of life and when that is disrupted we do our best to repair those wounds. There are alot of things kids don't get a say in because they are kids and their brains are not fully developed. Sometimes you just have to suck it up! and do what's best for the child even when it's not easiest, so get over your bruised ego... the rejection won't last forever and soon you will have something unbelievable and this will all be a tiny blip. You can't force someone to love you, that you have to earn!

Kristin said...

I agree with everything you said. Even though I went into adoption knowing I could be rejected (and faced a little of it with my first adoption) it is still tough.

Yes, through time I know Levi will grow to love me through my consistent loving words and actions. I hoped the end of the post would convey that idea.

But when I am in the midst of the tough times and everything does (rightly) revolve around helping this new family member, my feelings do matter, too. Just like every other parent who struggles with this. I am hoping they will feel less alone by having some else validate their feelings.

Thanks for your insight.