This entry assumes that you have recently read Chapter 2 of The Sorcerer’s Stone
There are so many topics that could be discussed in this chapter! You see biological children being treated differently than other children in the home. I mean come on! One sleeps in a bedroom, and one in a closet, and really, how hard is it to put up a couple pictures of the other child to make them feel part of the family! Then there’s the whole part of hiding the child’s history from him. Now this could be highly understandable. We will surely discuss these issues in later chapters so as not to make this entry too long.
In this chapter, it’s important to take a look at Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon’s situations with Harry during Harry’s childhood. It would appear that things mysteriously changed and overruled the order in which the two adults would normally expect.
- Appearance – The Dursley’s evidently were a family that believed in good grooming and a good appearance. When they couldn’t get Harry’s hair managed, Aunt Petunia decides to cut his hair. His hair magically grows back, and the family is confused with the unusual occurrence that happened contrarily to what their family wished.
- Clothing – Aunt Petunia wished for Harry to begin wearing a certain sweater. It’s not a sweater that was “cool” or in fashion. However, it’s better than being exposed, right? The sweater shrinks as she attempts to force it over Harry’s head. Again something happens to the family that they would not consider “normal.”
- Birthday outing to the zoo – The Dursley’s wanted to take their son to the zoo for his birthday and suddenly found their son faced with a huge snake that has mysteriously escaped from its glass cage.
In each case, the “normality” of a situation was seemingly thrown out of whack, and this scared the two adults charged with caring for two boys. This had to be frustrating and leave them both with looks of bewilderment on their faces.
Let’s take a look at your situation:
What did you dream about when you wanted to adopt or foster children? My wife and I found that it would be a miracle of God for us to have children naturally. No worries. We were delighted to give children a home who were without.
We had dreams of playing board games before bedtime while eating chocolate chip cookies that we all made together. We would end the day with a laughter over a bedtime story before doing prayers at bedtime. We knew the kids would love the fact that we are both artsy people and love to learn. It wasn’t going to be the Brady Bunch, but we knew that we would all have fun.
Imagine our surprise and bewilderment when the evening actually looked more like one or more of the following:
- being fearful the neighbors would call the police during a child’s three-hour, ear-splitting, screaming meltdown over something trivial
- finding young children engaging in behaviors that let’s just say are supposed to be only for consenting adults
- a child having to slather themselves with lotion and vaseline and wear a cotton undershirt under a cotton t-shirt made of the exact same material because the t-shirt made them itch
- finding hordes of empty food wrappers and containers hidden in a child’s bed
- [insert some other equally perplexing or “abnormal” behavior]
Instead of thriving, you find yourselves just trying to survive. Your world has been turned upside down. One of Margie’s favorite blogs is entitled “I Used to Be a Good Mom” by Lisa Qualls. She took the words right out of my mouth when she describes failing to handle a situation well or in the way she wanted and becoming someone she didn’t want to be. You find yourself redefining your dreams and expectations and developing a new “normal.”
One thing that is common within the adoptive/foster care community is that as a parent you might find (if you’re real honest) that you don’t even like your child(ren). You love them, but you don’t like them. Isn’t that the first lesson in parenthood? – Parents like their kids no matter what. This leads to tremendous guilt because “good” parents like and love their kids. However, can Margie and I relay some bold advice to you that we have heard? Accept that you don’t like your child(ren) at the moment. Accept that your family life doesn’t look like you had hoped. Accept that you might be doing it all wrong. Now, forgive yourself.
- How is your life different than what you dreamed since bringing a child(ren) into your home through foster care, adoption, or guardianship?
- What are the things you are doing “wrong” that you need to accept? Can you forgive yourself?
- We found it helpful to be in a community of people where our home lives were ‘normal,’ or as we like to say ‘abnormally normal.’ Have you found some people to talk to and hang out with who are traveling a similar journey? If not, how can you make this a priority?
- Equally as helpful for parents who have never had a biological child is knowing seasoned parents who can help you differentiate normal developmental behaviors from those that may be the result of past or current trauma. Who are the seasoned parents you can trust to talk to?
- Do you need to seek professional help for your family?
Let’s Hear from You:
If this has helped you, leave a comment below or share your questions.