Sometimes I forget…

…just how wounded she is.

That deep down, there is a lot of hurt.

A lot of anger.

A lot of confusion.

And I’m just not sure how to be the mom she needs me to be.

Because there are moments where it seems so completely overwhelming. And I feel so completely inadequate.

Like this morning, when a simple request is followed by a refusal from her. And thus, a consequence ensues.

Which is followed by a tantrum. But not just any tantrum.

A tantrum that reaches a whole ‘nother level. Different than any tantrum I’ve ever experienced with other kids.

There is no calming her down. There is no reasoning.

There is only escalation, and screams from the depth of her soul. Followed by more escalation. And thrashing, and contortion, and eyes rolling back in her head.

It’s as if for a little while, she’s not even there. She’s somewhere else.

And then exhaustion comes. And she curls herself up into a fetal position.

So vulnerable.

So wounded.

And then, the chanting returns. The chants that consistently rang out when we first brought her home. The self-soothing primal chants that make my heart hurt for the life she led. And the scars that bear witness to that time.

And it’s then, that I realize how much I love her. And how much I want to fix it, and make it all better. How I desperately wish she did not have to endure what she has in her short life. Where she was provided for…but not loved. Fed…but not nourished. Touched…but without affection. Abandoned. Without a soul in the world to call her own.

So I scoop her up, and love on her. And pray.

Which is really all I can do.

Because she needs a lot more than I, alone, can offer.

She’s come so far in the past year and a half. And 99% of the time she looks like a happy, spirited, well-adjusted kid who has learned how to love and play and be silly. And I am thankful.

But that 1% of the time….well, I think that road will be a long one to walk.

Sometimes I forget.

Just because she has a family, doesn’t mean she’s fine. Just because she’s been home for a while, doesn’t mean the issues are all gone.

It’s not magic. It’s not quick in this case.

BUT….adoption is healing. And redemption. And a second chance.

And while some would have me believe that she will never be restored from those hurts from her past, I will choose to believe otherwise.

Because she is CHOSEN. And LOVED.


And really, that’s all that matters.

And that, I can remember.


Jennifer Middleton

Jennifer and Rush Middleton have been married for 11 years and have 4 kids, Jonah (8), Reagan (5), Rylie (3) and Jude (2). Rylie came home from China in 2010 and Jude just arrived earlier this year. The Middletons have been through the easy and the hard of bringing a child into their family, yet the awesome gift of adoption has rocked their worlds in more ways than they can count. You can check out their blog about family, life, adoption, cleft lip/palate and other randomness at Apple Pie and Egg Rolls.

9 Responses to Sometimes I forget…

  • Tracie says:

    From a mom who has been there with her daughter (who was four when she came home): God’s LOVE is enough. In time, with you being His hands and feet, and with lots of prayer, hugs, and rocking…she will be healed. It is a glorious thing to behold! Be encouraged, Momma.

    • Jennifer M says:

      Thanks so much for the encouragement, Tracie! We’ve already been so encouraged just to see how far she has come to this point, and I know that one day I will be absolutely blown away by the person she has become! Jennifer :)

  • Jerusha says:

    I can identify. Thanks for your beautiful words. (And I have four kids the exact same ages, in the same gender order, as yours!)

  • GB's Mom says:

    Hope and I are trying to get to the point where we can sometimes forget. Right now she is always around and and her eyes never let you forget.

  • Leah says:

    Thanks for these words, it is so comforting to hear from other adoptive families. We just brought home a 4 year old little girl from China. We have been home 2 months. She is amazing and adjusting so well, but there are times for her like you described. I have been feeling so guilty and overwhelmed lately. Sometimes I just don’t feel compassionate enough. I forget how wounded she is. We have three boys, ages 6, 5, and 2 and life has been crazy. I pray continually, because I know only He can get us through this and heal her.

  • Jennifer M says:

    Leah- Hang in there. It DOES get better. It may take a while. For us, the first 6 months home with Rylie were horrible. I hated life…I just wanted to go back to the way things were before she came home. And I felt so guilty too. Even knowing what she was going through and what she had experienced….well, let’s just say that the big heart I thought I had for orphans wasn’t as big as I thought. I didn’t know if it would ever get better. But it did….and it continues to. There are certainly setbacks from time to time. And I still get frustrated. And I still have feelings of guilt. But they’re not all-consuming anymore. God works miracles. Keep praying. That’s all you can really do. I’ll pray for you guys too! XOXO, Jennifer

  • Jenn says:

    Hi Jennifer,
    We really do still follow you all. Our little Z “twin cousins” are so similar in a lot of ways! I relate so much to not having the big heart I thought I did… In it’s smallness I have hibernated… It really is hard… adjusting, loosing what was a “good home balance”. They say you learn the new normal, but I am not sure yet what that means. Our little guy is really doing well, but there are still many issues that in my “smallness” seem very big. Yet he is great and I love him more every day. Bonding and attaching really goes both ways. Them to us and… US to them. I am sad and sick to say that it has been hard many days for my end of attaching to be all it should be. We read so much about the deep inner guilt the kids carry. Maybe the guilt I carry so much these days will somehow help me relate better to his needs later… every step sometimes seems like a minefield in that we don’t know the triggers or reasons for some of the hard times he goes through, and guessing what went wrong or why? why? why? is torture. We keep trusting that God knew what he was doing for our new son and our first daughter who also rocks on the waves of adjustment in her stressed out little self. We pray for wisdom EVERY DAY. In some ways though, we do see VERY clearly how our son was meant for us and our family. At times the fit is uncanny. I am glad to hear that Rylie has come so far… it really hasn’t been that long has it? When the actual pain of abandonment and institutional life is really home with you, in the so long awaited and loved from afar child, the theory/research is a world away from the going through it every day with them. It is good to hear from others that say healing does really come.
    (sorry so long here in this venue, it just opened a moment to actually communicate somewhere out here. Thanks for that.)

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