May 12, 2010. I’ve clearly been feeling down the last few days, overwhelmed really, and thinking back, it all started when this CPS foolishness began almost two months ago. But I realized something in the midst of my pity party as I lay awake until nearly dawn last night, and its time I voiced it. Despite how I’m feeling, I’m not alone, and either is Pat. I don’t know anyone in our community coping with similar problems, but we’re not the only folks with problems, and I need to remember that. A local family’s apartment burned down over the weekend, and they’ve been left with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Perspective is a word, an idea, that I conveniently avoid sometimes; especially recently, when our adoptive parenting path becomes more difficult to navigate, or even at times becomes impassable, because of the veiled and treacherous obstacles that mar our way. But a sense of perspective is the one thing I can’t afford to lose. Our children are healthy, relatively, and growing stronger by the day, we have a beautiful home, my husband has a career about which he’s passionate, he and I are in a loving relationship that I genuinely can’t imagine ever crumbling, we have plenty of laughter rumbling through the halls, the mid-Hudson Valley is a breathtakingly beautiful place to live, I have gobs of pets whose loving simplicity helps keep me sane, and I am blessed with friends, old, new and even cyber, who care about me and our family. I’ve more or less come to terms with the fact that I can’t make Peter whole, and that success must be measured in context, always, and I’ve achieved a measure of calming peace because of it. Now I need to think about what I can and can’t do for Sophie. Will she be whole? I don’t even know what that word means any more. She certainly possesses all the ingredients to live a full, enriched and productive life. But she does have problems, significant ones, from her years in Russia and the compounding fact that she must daily cope with a cognitively and behaviorally compromised brother. All of us are shaped by our past experiences, whether good or bad, but assuming we have choice (unlike Peter, who may not), those experiences need only be part of who we choose to be. Maybe the best I can do for Sophie is to help her realize that fact, and to embrace it as truth. If I can give and teach her the tools she needs to heal herself, then hopefully her past can inform her future without dictating it. Maybe that’s another important my purpose in her life, to be the mother that teaches Sophie to heal, to focus on what she’s gained rather than what’s she lost, what lays ahead instead of what keeps tugging from behind. And I can only do that by example. How can I expect her to pull herself up by the bootstraps if I don’t regularly illustrate this ability myself? I’ve been feeling so alone lately, but it’s not true, and I have to stop thinking that way, immediately. Though raising a child like Peter indeed can be a lonely journey, its not all the time. All I have to do is open my eyes to see the sometimes quiet, sometimes small, at times discomforted, but also blatantly beautiful acts of love and friendship that surround us. Last week a friend I’ve only recently met brought me two-dozen yellow roses for Mother’s Day, and to no doubt cheer me up. A few days later, I saw another friend across a parking lot, kids in tow, but she paused to shout across the din, “You okay?” in a knowing, caring voice. I nodded briefly, smiled, and having been reminded I was cared for, held my head a little higher as I walked to my car. Maybe that will be my legacy to Sophie: to teach her that we can and must move forward, that when we push our hurtful feelings aside to make room for love and friendship and understanding, both given and received, then our hearts, our very lives, are free to blossom.