When You Mother The Broken

The day we pulled up into our driveway with them -- into the home that had been full of empty bedrooms for years while we waited for them -- we sat with the keys in the ignition while they, buckled into boosters in the back, slept off days of sleepless travel and we sighed. Done.

We'd finished the hardest part, hadn't we? They were ... home.

They transitioned almost seamlessly into our home -- but for some minor hiccups with attachment that an ergo and night-time bottle feeding (eye-to-eye) seemed to cure.

My little girl smelled like me. (She was mine.) My son even looked like Nate, aside from his chocolate skin. They slept through the night and played for hours like best friends and made our family of four feel easy.

A year later and we were adopting again. Insta-family.

And somewhere between that cloudless day when we brought our first two home and the one when we had five packed into our rusty suburban, the seamless days of adoption had vaporized.

The days when it seemed easy were distant.

What had been long-hour stretches of innocent chatter and pretend-play became lives and histories of once-strangers who were now siblings, rubbing up against each other's life-losses.

What had been remedied, after our first adoption, by eye contact and skin-to-skin holding -- little daily steps to build that bond of attachment -- had now grown into heart-issues that needed more than simple strategies.

I started totaling the years of fatherlessness among my children, blushing that my home study never surfaced how grossly under-qualified I was to parent them.

I'd signed up, naively zealous as if I were running for student council, not taking on decades of life with children who, mostly, only knew loss.

[Read the rest of the article at The Better Mom.]