Janell’s Story

Written by Janelle’s first adoptive mom –

I cried so hard the day we “met” Cyndi on the phone and learned about a secondary adoption possibility. Finding her, through what we believe was the Lord’s divine intervention, truly saved our family. It had been a long hard road. We had been feeling like we were caught in a “black hole” for an eternity yet bringing this child into our home and calling her our own to be our “forever” daughter was all we had ever dreamed would become of our adoption.

It had been hard, very hard, harder than we read about or could even imagine. Our daughter, whom we loved from the instant we saw the picture the agency gave us, had begun her time with us raging 5-7 times a day. Each rage lasted 45 minutes and had started before we had left her country of birth. Although after a year she was only raging perhaps once a day, she was not bonding with any of us and she was acting out with behaviors and attachment issues.  We had had to take what we felt were extreme measures to keep her and our other children safe such as placing an alarm on her door to be sure she was not wondering the house at night or going into her brother’s rooms. Her heart murmur was gone, her tonsils removed so her sleep apnea had improved and we were in counseling with her 1-2 times per week.

Although she had never learned to read, write or speak well in her home country due to being labeled hearing and speech delayed [which was corrected soon after coming home], she was reading and speaking English well after all the homeschooling we had given her. My phone calls to her counselor, since I was the primary care giver most of the day, often went something like this: “she is angry and refuses to brush her teeth; she refuses to wipe her bottom so she smells like fecal matter; and she continually wets the bed each night and says it’s “because she wants to.”  “Our nerves are shot and all of my coping strategies have been used up and it’s only 9am!” Thankfully our daughter never figured out, because she loved to learn, that our only fail safe method of redirecting her was by assigning her more schoolwork. Ha!

Cyndi understood the frailty of our situation and desperation we felt as a family. She understood lost dreams. She understood our heartbreak.  We had entered the adoption world as older parents, we read all the books, we just “knew” love could conquer all of the hurts our child had experienced, but we had been greatly mistaken. Amid all of the struggle, we felt alone as a couple, we questioned our parenting skills, we questioned our faith and we even questioned if we had truly done the right thing by traveling halfway across the world and bringing this child home into our family. Our other children, who were with us prior to our adoptive daughter’s arrival, were not living in a healthy safe environment with her in our home and we did not know where to turn.

After we found this new adoption possibility, it took us 3-4 months to make a final decision to disrupt our adoption. We counseled with our adoptive daughter’s counselor who agreed that this was the best choice for us and for her. For the first time in a long time, we felt hope for our daughter.

The process progressed at a rapid pace and within 3 months a new family had stepped forward. I do not want to give too many specifics here, but when we found them, we painfully admitted to ourselves that they were the perfect family for her. She had wanted “a” sister and the Lord and provided not only one but many. She had wanted a dog, which we could not have in our home, and the new family had 4 dogs AND 5 cats!  Some of her new sisters were even from her country of birth!

The separation process was painful. The day we told her she spun around like a princess, giddy with excitement to be going to her “new” home. She never looked back. She never cried. She never missed us. It hurts. But today she is healthy and happy.

We don’t communicate with her new family much, if at all anymore. We don’t send presents on Christmas or birthdays, though we did the first year, but we pray for her and sometimes we miss her. We believe she is where she was meant to be and have asked for an annual update with a picture from her family. We too, are thriving and back to normal. We continue to heal as a family and took a nice relaxing vacation soon after our daughter’s new family finalized her adoption. We talk of her on occasion, but none of us longs for life as it was with her here. We have all been changed and won’t ever be quite the same, but we are healthy, happy and safe.

I think one of the hardest things is grieving the loss of someone who is still alive – someone you loved, but they did not seem to understand or be able to become part of your family. But isn’t that what a mother does? What parents do? They do what’s best for their children. Parents love them. Parents protect them. Even if that means bringing them home and then placing them into another mother’s arms to give them a “fresh start.” <tears>