Saturday, April 11, 2015

How My Garden is Like My Adoption

It's Spring! At Last! Thank God!

This past week or so I've been spending a lot of time working in my garden, and it's gotten me thinking about how my garden is like our adoptive family...

Now, before you roll your eyes and gird your loins for some ridiculous analogy about flowers... let me show you what my "garden" looks like right now:


But before you weep with me over this pitiful pile of rubble, let's revisit my "gardens" of the past...

When we bought the house:
the giant garage

When we renovated the house:
the giant pile of trash

When we finally tore down the garage:

the zombie apocalypse jungle

After we had all the trees and vines removed, and put up a fence:

the snow was so helpful in covering up the rubble and concrete

So, really, there's been significant improvement, even though it is certainly not the garden of my dreams yet, nor really a garden in any proper sense of the word yet.

Which brings me to my adoption analogy.

Growing your family through adoption, especially by adopting an older child, can often feel (and look), like my "garden".  You are not starting with a seed growing in a fertile warm and gentle environment. You are starting with the rubble patch of your child's traumatic past. The ground is rocky, the soil bare, and watch out! there is some broken glass in there. And you are going to have to dig through some pretty tough stuff before you see healthy growth.

But it's not all bad. Nope, there is some treasure there... if you have eyes to see that the shard of old pottery as treasure. Because after raking up all those rocks, and digging through all that clay, and nourishing and turning and watering and feeding your garden, every bud and every leaf will be a a hard won treasure.

Before we started our family, I certainly had some rosy pictures in my silly head about how our life with kids would be. I knew there would be challenges sure, but really I had no idea. (Does anyone really know what it is like to be a parent, before becoming one? I doubt it.)

Growing an adoptive family, like growing a garden from bare rocky soil, takes hard work, imagination, patience and a long view. You have to squint a bit into the future to see how all this trouble might turn out okay. And you've got to not despair when after so much work you are still finding rocks and patches of clay in your life. Trauma, like layers of clay sediment, can lead to some nasty surprises and problems years later... You think you've got it all figured out, everyone is growing well and then BLAM! an anniversary or a change in routine or a transition triggers the heck out of your child.

Broken glass can live for a long time embedded in what looks like perfectly healthy soil.

So even though my arms and back are sore from raking up rubble and digging out old plumbing, dead roots and shards of glass from our backyard, I'm grateful. I'm grateful for this reminder that hard work can yield beautiful rewards. I'm grateful for the reminder of how far our family has come due to our patient tending. Every time my son says, "I love you, Mom", it is a hard won treasure.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Add your comment here. Don't worry about logging in... you can just use your name, and leave the "URL" box blank. Thank you! -Becky