Tuesday, July 22, 2014

From Autism to Adoption and Back Again

I should admit that I am a bit of a mess right now—adoption hormones don’t seem to be that much different than pregnancy hormones.  Some poor person had the nerve to mention to me the other day that adoption was the easy way of doing things, and while I won’t repeat my response to her, I will just say that speaking slowly and carefully to me for the next few days is probably best for everyone around me.  Seriously, I should come with a visible “adoption in process momma” warning sign.

 

After a year of talking about adoption, the time is finally here.  On Wednesday, Ryley and I leave for China.  We will arrive on Thursday; Sunday we will travel to Sayre’s province and he will be given to us on Monday.  The adoption will be finalized on Tuesday, and we will spend the rest of that week finishing up passport paperwork before we travel to the location of the U.S. Embassy for medicals and visa paperwork.  We will take a van to Hong Kong on the 8th to catch our flight back to the states. Although I hate being away from my boys, I am so excited that we will be back on the 8th for Dan’s birthday (and our 9th anniversary) and we will all be together on the 9th for Ryley’s BIG 14th birthday.  If you have followed my blog for anytime now you know that Ryley and Caden’s birthdays are huge deals in our family.  Whenever doctors tell you your children won’t live past a certain age you celebrate each and every “extra” year like crazy!

 

Having said all of that, I am a nervous, anxious mess about this trip.  I have been doing a lot of thinking trying to pinpoint exactly where my nerves are coming from, and I have come to an interesting conclusion.  When Caden was diagnosed with autism, we became an autism family.  As such, we spend most of our awake time previewing what is going to happen that day, that week, etc.  Everyone in our household now speaks in “first, second, then” statements.  Other than medical stuff, there aren’t a lot of unknowns in our household or at least we try to prevent/reduce them as much as possible.  Predictability is our friend, and along with the super service dog Elf it greatly reduces meltdowns over fear, anxiety, and frustration in our household.

 

I didn’t realize, though, how much our daily interactions have changed me—I didn’t realize that I started to crave, even need, that level of predictability and control in my own life.  While this is creating a lot of unnecessary and unwanted discomfort about the upcoming trip for me and the entire process Ryley and I are about to go through, I think in some ways it is a good experience for me.  It is forcing me to live in a little piece of Caden’s world and see the world through his eyes for a short while, and hopefully I can learn from this experience coping techniques that I can then share with him.  Maybe, just maybe, this adoption process will make me a better autism mommy.  I can’t help but wonder if some of my autism mommy lessons won’t help prepare me for family day with Sayre and all of the feelings (fear, loss of control, lack of language) that he is going to be experiencing.  Maybe, just maybe, this entire life is working out exactly the way that it is supposed to be with one event informing other events that we encounter. Maybe it is all really meant to be a part of Caden’s tale.