Dear Me

{a letter to my pre-mommy self….advice for the journey that lies ahead}

Dear Me,

Believe it or not, over the course of the next three years you will become a mother to two four-year old boys, each from a unique and difficult past. You will spend countless nights singing nursery rhymes, reading Good Night Moon and witnessing the excruciating repercussions of institutionalization. You will spend countless nights holding children who do not want to be held and you will do everything in your power to stifle the self soothing behaviors that dominate your children’s nights. Your attempts will feel like they are in vain. You will witness children hoarding food and displaying signs of attachment disorders. It will scare the heck out of you. You will learn that some trauma cannot be undone and that healing is measured in years, not months. You will cry more tears than you ever thought possible. You will wonder if your children will ever learn to love you. You will fear that they won’t.

You will watch your children change and grow with awe, celebrating each milestone no matter how small. Eye contact, smiles and outstretched arms will become more valuable than gold as you navigate your way through the attachment dance. No act of affection will go unnoticed or uncelebrated. You will marvel at the resiliency of your children and in the silence of the night, you will grieve in a way too profound for words when you think about the years your children lived without you. Then you will grieve for the ones who gave your children life but are unable to watch them grow. It will change your life. You will never see the world the same again.

You will want to help every.single.child in need and you will not rest until you do. Your career will take a back seat as you learn what is truly worth pouring your life into. You will take on a new mission in life. Your children will show you how.

There will be so many hard times ahead. You will not always have the answers. You will find solace in those who have traveled similar paths, and they will become like family to you. Some of these people you will only know through blogs. Others you will have the privilege of doing life with.

Sometimes you will feel like a failure. Sometimes you will become so frustrated by never-ending meltdowns, constant sensory dysfunction, aggression and attachment regression that you will find yourself in a heaping pile on the floor. You will worry about the future and what that will look like for your precious children, especially the one with special needs. You will awake at 2 am wondering what in the world you are doing.

But it will be OK. It will be. You will manage to get through the tough times and you will find that the joys triumph over every sleepless night, over every hard day, over every fear. You will find yourself on your knees thanking God for bringing these two tiny miracles into your life. You will find out what real compassion is. You will become an expert in patience (or at least you will get many chances to practice.) You will become a warrior for your children. You will learn what IEP, SP and OT stand for. You will know your children better than any expert on the face of the planet. You will always know what is right for them.

The journey to your children will be excruciatingly painful. You will feel emotions that you never knew were possible. In the process, you will learn to take nothing for granted. And in all of this, you will learn that nothing brings you as much joy as being mommy to these two little boys. You will be blessed beyond your wildest dreams. You will stare at your sleeping children and wonder how you got so darn lucky. You will marvel at how precious life is. Oh, and your house will never, ever be clean again. I just thought you should know.

With love,
Your mommy self

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[My pre-mommy self descending into Vietnam mere minutes before my first son was placed in my arms]

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[The present happy mama]

53 thoughts on “Dear Me

  1. tina

    Lauren – i know i don’t comment often (although I am a regular reader) but I wanted to let you know that this was so touching and honest. i haven’t been experienced the journey as the adoptive mom (yet), but this gives shares even more proof of the love adoptive moms (including my own) are capable of. thank you so much for sharing. :)

    Reply
  2. Rhoda

    Thank you for once again putting to words what so many of us cannot, and doing it so beautifully. I look back on my own journey (and on yours as you’ve let so many of us join along), and though the path was often rough and steep, the wait excruciating, now on the the other side, children in hand, we can say “God is good.” Doesn’t always make the present journey any easier, but as you stated in another post once, God is putting our families together–and, my addition– He never makes a mistake. We have the children we are to have–no matter what. We are the parents they need–no matter what. Have a blessed Christmas and holiday season.

    Reply
  3. Pingback: Adoption Link of the Week – A Day In The Life of A Special Needs Mom | Dear To Me

  4. help4yourfamily

    This is beautiful. If it’s okay with you, I will share it with my clients- mainly children adopted at an older age and their parents. Thank you so much for posting.

    Reply
  5. Nicole

    That is absolutely one of my favourite posts ever. I love it and you have touched so beautifully on the overall emotion of having children…..special needs, adopted or just regular scenerio.
    I have worked with special needs children and did so for many years – those various boys and girls touched my life in profound ways. But it is different I am sure than having one of my own, so I will not pretend to get that. I have also known people who have adopted – again not the same as experiencing it.
    I actually relate mostly to the attachement fears which again I am not saying I get it the way you do but even so with children and for me with so many young ones at once I felt so much fear over not giving them enough. Your situation certainly puts that in perspective.
    All in all its just RAW having children – it touches in the deepest part of our being. And you are right we are never the same.
    Congratulations for being such an amazing mom! No matter what you do right and no matter what you do wrong – the love you feel will move mountains! Right?
    I love your post today on water cycles and I am sorry you are sick. I was also sick for 3- 4 days last week – longest I have ever been sick and it was hard. Get better – its so much fun when you get over being sick. When you are better again try to let go of catching up too quickly!

    Reply
  6. Nicole

    Reblogged this on Fish Tank Mom and commented:
    I read this today and I just love it so much! I have not adopted and I do not have special needs children and so I hope I am not disrespecting that scenerio. I just love the emotion in this writing and I love how she touches on the RAW feelings we all experience as mothers. Never the same again………..indeed.

    Reply
  7. Pingback: Beautiful Blogger Award | help4yourfamily

  8. Joell

    I followed over from your link up to Tiffany Noth’s blog. Your words are beautiful. I, too, mother a boy, now 17, with special needs. And the whole “heaping pile on the floor” thing? I get that. I also get the wonderful rewards of being my boy’s mama. What a blessing! Looking forward to reading more of your your recent posts!

    http://joellhmorris.wordpress.com

    Reply
  9. nancy

    L-So I have an article due for NHBO. And I was dry. For days. I couldn’t think of a single thing to write. Then last night, around midnight, I started writing, and it poured forth. But I woke up this morning and had a thought… Did I read something like what I just wrote somewhere else? I looked all around and found this amazing post of yours. Yes, I had read something like that before. I hope you don’t mind being my unknowing the source of “inspiration.” You continue to inspire me in many ways.
    nancy

    Reply
    1. Hiking Mama

      Thanks for letting me know, Nancy! I look forward to reading it and I’m glad I could help inspire you. You inspire me as well, friend! Oh, and your package is on its way….it kind of got a late start, sorry :)

      Reply
  10. Pingback: Hike. Blog. Love. - The SITS Girls

  11. motheringfromscratch

    {Kathy} May God bless your never-ending journey….You have answered a call that few will find the courage to do. You are so brave and getting stronger by the day. Happy SITS day!

    Reply
  12. Karen

    OH MY, crying so hard, that was such a beautiful letter, I could feel each of your emotions. You are an amazing mom, they are so lucky to have found you and have you as their protector.

    Reply
  13. pruningprincesses

    Your momma’s heart’s is beautiful. And you are so strong. Love that you will never look back. That you love your kids endlessly. I always look at special needs kids and think, wow, God knew she could handle this, that she is the perfect mom for that kid. Thank you for sharing. Happy SITS day.

    Reply
  14. ashleyinnc

    This is simply gorgeous. In every way possible. I found myself getting very emotional as I was reading, because you told your story so well. So glad I got a chance to read this. Happy SITS day!

    Reply
  15. Tricia

    These words are so incredibly beautiful. Your boys are so lucky to have you and your pre-mommy self would be eager to become you after reading this. You are inspiring.
    Happy SITS day!!

    Reply
  16. Tori Nelson

    Stopping by to celebrate your special SITS Day, and I’m so glad I got to read this post! Beautifully brave and honest. I loved this line “You will take on a new mission in life. Your children will show you how.” I didn’t expect to be so completely changed by this motherhood business. It really is amazing how such small little beings can cause such a profound impact on our lives. Gorgeous family. Gorgeous post. Thanks so much for sharing!

    Reply
  17. Sheila Skillingstead

    Wow. Thanks for such a wonderful post on a Friday before work. I teach and I know that some of my kids are leading lives of desperation but I don\’t know which ones. What to do? Imagine they all don\’t have a mom like you, be patient, and never give up. Have a great SITS day.

    Reply
  18. beckmos1ecky

    I love this. I don’t have kids yet myself and I sometimes wonder what that life will look like for me, who those people will be, what adventures we’ll go on, etc. I loved this!!! Going to favorite your blog, so glad I discovered you!

    Reply
  19. Nellie

    What a super beautiful letter! Thank you so much for sharing, you had such great insight, I’m still looking for that two kids later! haha. Happy SITS day!

    Reply
  20. Classic NYer

    Wow. It sounds like you’re on an incredible journey. You must be Superwoman. Are you Superwoman?

    No, seriously.

    Happy SITS day.

    Reply
  21. Christine

    This is an incredibly beautiful and brave letter. What an incredible journey you are on. It’s incredible how our children can help show us the way. Happy SITS Day!

    Reply
  22. Mommy's Always Write

    You’ve really captured your experience as a mommy! I have a lot that I would say to my pre-mommy self… it’s just too bad that we can’t actually read our letters before the little ones arrive! Congrats on being featured on SITS!

    Reply
  23. Ranch Mama

    This is so beautiful. One of my favorite quotes is, “Now is not forever.” This made me think of that. With each new day we find new miracles. Stopping in from SITS.

    Reply
  24. Carlo/Carlo At Your Service Productions

    What you’ve expressed here is SO BEAUTIFUL. It made me well up with tears in my eyes. I never had children and wonder if I should think about doing what you did, adopt. This weighs heavy on my soul/spirit. I don’t want to mess up. I wonder if I’ve already messed up everything, by missing so much in life by not having children of my own. Quagmire.

    Reply