One day, in the early weeks of lockdown, I was so worn down and T was out of control. In a fit of anger, I yelled to the hubby, “I‘d never have adopted if I knew it was going to be like this!”
I regretted it as soon as those hurtful words left my mouth. Thankfully, T was in his little world and I stormed off into our bedroom in a huff to cool off for the afternoon.
I thought about this moment when I recently read about the online backlash that YouTuber Myka Stauffer received after rehoming her young son, whom she adopted from China, because of difficulties related to his disabilities.
The furor was heated. Many people accused her of adopting the child for attention and rehoming him once she had her limelight. Numerous sponsors dropped her.
My immediate reaction was in line with the outrage choir. I thought to myself, “I would never give up on my child. How is this poor kid going to feel when he’s older?”
But then I thought back to how I felt in the moment of anger and sheer exhaustion in the early days of the pandemic.
I don’t know who this woman is, so I don’t want to make any assumptions or to project my own experience onto hers. But I do know a few things.
One, we have been very fortunate with T. No matter how hard some days have been, he is a great kid. The positives and the joy far outweigh the difficulties.
Two, taking care of a special needs child is incredibly hard.
Three, the sad cold truth is there are families who are in situations where the child’s needs are so severe they have to be rehomed or placed in special care facilities, like a group home, for everyone’s best interest.
It is very heartbreaking to think about the parents and children in special care who cannot see each other during the lockdown. This story of a mother who cannot visit her autistic son in his group home was very devastating to read.
Reading about Myka Stauffer’s story made me think of two things.
First, I don’t ever want to judge another parent – but most of us do anyway, including myself! – for the decisions that they make. Especially when I know from my reading and journey so far with T that there are many situations when a child needs to be rehomed or put in special care.
And secondly, with Fathers Day coming up, it strengthens my resolve to continue to try hard and to do better with T.
The hubby and I feel very hopeful from the trajectory he’s been on – and as we’ve heard from his doctors, his school and his supports – that things will ultimately be ok for him.
There will be a lot of hard work, sweat and tears in the days, weeks, months and years ahead – but that’s what makes life so interesting and worth living.
I hope and pray that we will never have to put T into special care one day. When I get into my awful moments of descending down a path of negative thoughts, I take a deep breath and remind myself to focus on the here and now.
I don’t know what the future will bring. But I can focus on the present and the now and how I respond to the challenges.
While watching T sleep one night and laying next to him lost in my own thoughts, I whispered to him, “I will never give up on you.”