We started out the year, having a failed adoption. Then we moved three days later. Then we started fostering, then stopped fostering. We built a house and then moved again. Kids started school and then three days after that we adopted Scarlett on a moment's notice and then began the hard, hard work of becoming a family of six. And holy freaking moly. Documenting things just didn't feel quite so important when I was trying to keep everyone fed and make sure people had clean undies and all the driving back and forth to therapy and choir and after school stuff and not to mention we just wanted to carve out time to just "be".
Over the last many years, my views have changed and evolved across tons of areas. Sometimes when I go back to look over posts from certain moments in time I wonder how I ever believed some of the things that I did about parenting and adoption. It's growth. I know that five more years from now, I'll look at the thoughts that I have now and think about how "unevolved" they are again. Growing "in front of people" on the Internet is weird. As my kids get older, I've wondered how them "growing up" on the Internet will feel to them. I wondered how to write now that our lives are so intersected and interconnected with another family that has entrusted with the little girl they adopted. I had all these questions about where I wanted this blog to go and how I wanted it to still feel like an authentic space without always sharing the deepest most personal parts of my heart and compromising my children's privacy for strangers. Y'all- I couldn't find any answers to any of those questions and so I let fear keep my voice from being heard. I just quit altogether.
Right after we announced that Scarlett had moved in with us, the Congo suspended adoptions citing "rehoming"(I hate that word) children as one of the reasons- literally, just days after we told the world that she was here. I'm not self-important enough to think that I have any power over that, but I can tell you the outcry from families who needed someone to blame who asked me to shut down this blog was intimidating. It was brought up on message boards and other blogs. I let fear get the best of me even though in my heart I knew that there are many, many Congolese adoptions that have disrupted and that we are not the only ones who represent a side of disruption. I didn't shut down but I pulled back. I didn't pull back because I wanted to, I pulled back because I felt intimidated. I'm almost disappointed in myself for that now. I think that if we aren't hearing all those voices in adoption, then we aren't learning. Part of that is hearing sides that we don't always understand or that make us uncomfortable.
In this time that I've been away reflecting, I've realized that I don't like being driven by fear. I keep thinking back to that Shel Silverstein poem about the "what-ifs". I think like most people, I worry that I'm not doing it right. But I can't let the fear that I'll write things I'll fundamentally not feel the same about five years from now stop me from having emotions now. At my core, I love writing. I love blogging and I love what this blog has meant to my life. I'm not ready to let it go yet. I love re-reading the stories from the things my kids did years ago. I love being vulnerable with other people in this space. Yes, there are times I'm going to get it wrong and that's okay! So, I'm back- not letting fear keep me paralyzed anymore.
I've decided to just come back. Messy as it all is. I'm learning that you can't please everybody. I'm learning that there will be people who think putting your child's picture on the Internet exploits them and that there will be people who just love looking at adorable family photos. I'm learning that for every negative and vocal person out there, there are five happy ones behind him that maybe aren't shouting from the rooftops just how happy they are. I'm learning that if you write things that are joyful about parenting people will call you Pollyanna and if you write about how it's hard people will talk about how you don't love your children. I'm learning that if you write, "oh dear God will the snow ever end so that these kids can go back to school" on Facebook that you'll have some people who will say "Amen" and some people who will tell you to "enjoy these precious moments". You can't please everyone. And so, with that in mind, I've decided that the only person that I can be here on this space is myself- not a version of myself that pleases people.
Shew, I know it's something that should just come automatically, but sometimes I really have to remind myself that it's okay to be me- flaws and mood swings and victories and pimples and outbursts and celebrations and all. Now to get back in the swing of this blogging thing. Hopefully it will be like riding a bike!
***Just in case it takes me longer to get into the flow of this again, you can always keep up with us on the Millions of Miles Facebook page.
Christmas Eve 2013