Believing in yourself


For a number of reasons, Hand-stitched Dad and I were not gifted with a substantial dollop of self-confidence. This comes out in different ways.

Hand-stitched Dad is more reserved, considerate, and deferential. That’s him, through and through. He’s like that when you meet him. He’s like that when you get to know him. He’s like that, when you’ve known him for years. I love Hand-stitched Dad‘s calming consistency and carefulness. Most people agree: he’s very likable, albeit quiet.

I have an altogether different sort of consistency.

When we first meet, I will be charming. Many adopters will recognise this sort of charming. It’s the charm of someone who is too scared to fight, who just wants us all to get along, who wants you to smile and move on, who wants you to believe this girl is stronger than she is. It’s the charm of someone who has spent more time getting to know other people than getting to know herself.

It’s the charming face of trauma.

As we approach our first home visit, our confidence quakes. I remind myself: before we submit ourselves to their judgment, we opened ourselves up to our own. Our story doesn’t begin and end with trauma.  We are more than our charming faces and vulnerable hearts.

I think, ‘What if they reject us?’ but the train of thought only ever comes back to disappointment in them, because I believe in us. I think of our deepest, darkest days, and I remember: we made it through them with dignity. We lived and we are better people for it. Yes, we are made of grief, more grief than most people our age hold. But we are made of more than grief.

If I can learn how to grieve and still love, so can our child. I  may not be the most careful or considerate person. I have a hundred holes, and I will never fit in. I’m displaced. I’m forever learning my limits. But this: parenting a traumatised child. This I can do.

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10 thoughts on “Believing in yourself

  1. I also have a hundred holes. And since becoming a mum, I’ve discovered a few more too, but I know about them and that’s the key. Self-awareness. And fitting in? Well, that’s overrated!

    Thanks for linking up with the Weekly Adoption Shout Out x

  2. You could have been writing about Bumble and I. He is my anchor. I gave up trying to fit in a long time ago. I have many holes and have been described as ‘abbrasive’ and a ‘tough nut to crack’ I love your description “the charming face of trauma”. It is face I where daily.

  3. Thank you for your comment, honeymummy. It’s always reassuring to hear from people with similar experiences, especially those who have gone on to adopt. I enjoyed discovering your blog!

  4. I recognise myself in you, wishing for the world to all get along. I think you will find that social workers will or at least should greatly value your self awareness. By knowing how to identify emotional reactions of your own means you will be able to help a little one recognise their own. I think this is a massive strength to have as an adoptive parent.

    Thank you for Sharing on The Weekly Adoption Shout Out.

  5. Thank you for the support, thepuffindiaries. I hope that our social worker recognises and values this. We have our vulnerabilities, but I do feel they are balanced by our strengths.

  6. It’s the parents who think they have it all together that I worry about. You will do just fine and some little person will be blessed to have you as parents.

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