When Rain Hurts by Mary Evelyn Greene

May 12, 2010

Mother's Day, 2010

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.



  1. Mary,

    You are cared for, please know that. I only found your blog recently, and have read almost all of it within the past week! I don’t have any advice, since I continue to struggle to be a good parent every day, but I do have some comments/observations:

    Your description of the initial session w/Dr. Aaronson and everyone finding their philtrim sent me reeling back to a similar day in Boston with Dr. Laurie Miller and her team at Tufts/NEMC. We were preparing for our initial trip to Kazakhstan, and doing what we could to educate ourselves. The things one learns in the process of IA!

    Your eloquent description of your relationship with your mother brought me to tears. I have/had a similar one with my mom, but am faced with watching her become less and less herself due to illness. Some days I have “my” mom, and others I have someone who I don’t recognize. My hope is that she continues to be enough of herself for my son (about to turn 4, home 3 years) to build memories.

    Your CPS/School issues infuriate me – if I could, I’d be shouting/writing on your behalf. I spoke w/a sister who, as a nurse in a middle school, has been part of many plans. She was horrified on your behalf that Peter hasn’t gotten the support he truly needs, and that you all have been subjected to such unprofessional behavior.

    Finally, your willingness to share has provided me with so many options and ideas. Our son has only some OCD issues which change month-to-month, nothing on the level of Peter, and he’s not quite old enough to understand the implications of Mommy & Daddy having come to Kazahkstan to meet him, but I hope to learn from how you’ve handled things as they come up here.

    Thank you, and best wishes,
    Nan Wolfe

    Comment by Nan — May 12, 2010 @ 1:24 pm | Reply

  2. If it helps to know
    someone cares…
    I do.
    If it helps to know
    someone is willing to share…
    I will.
    If it helps to know
    someone will always be there…
    I am.
    You are loved MEG!
    Stay strong and remember that I am always here….thick and thin!
    I will try to sneak over there this summer…we need a good old Gator laughing session!

    Comment by Susie Q Sullivan-Kirkland — May 12, 2010 @ 3:48 pm | Reply

  3. sending hugs over the virtual space – hard to believe how long it’s been since you were here and how much has changed in our lives, but what a wonder it is to be able to keep in touch, and to know how you are doing in your journey! hang in there cutie — xoxo

    Comment by Melissa — May 12, 2010 @ 5:07 pm | Reply

  4. I love your blog and have learned so much. My husband and I were in the process of a Kazakhstan Adoption but recently migrated to Ethiopia and will bring our daughter home this summer. You are an inspiration and cared for by your cyber friends! I hope I can be the same kind of loving caring parent.

    Comment by Amy FitzGerald — May 12, 2010 @ 9:01 pm | Reply

  5. Thank you for such an eloquent post and for reminding me to count my blessings. I’ve only recently discovered your blog and have read all your posts. You and your husband are doing a wonderful job with your kids. Bless you!

    As for Sophie, it sounds to me like you are giving her the tools she needs to heal herself and that’s all you can do. She may be well into adulthood before she decides to really deal with her early days in Russia. She may never decide to deal with them. She may wake up tomorrow and decide to deal with them. She may deal with them in tiny bits every day for the rest of her life. Forgive the platitude, but you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make her drink. Especially a stubborn horse who feels she must maintain control of everything. I would further suggest that her attachment to you will continue to grow over the course of her lifetime and yours. You are her mother for the rest of your life and hopefully that’s for many, many, many years to come. So there’s still a lot of years for that mother/daughter bond to grow and strengthen.

    Comment by Steven — May 13, 2010 @ 2:52 pm | Reply

  6. Mary, As someone grateful for your fun spirit and compassion as a friend and as someone glad to be able to still call you friend, I ache to help remove your long suffering in some way. I will think about how I may be a friend from far away. Since Sophie will be equipped to move forward, push hurt aside to make room for love and friendship and understanding, then she will have a skill to achieve joy and success in life which many adults in the world never grasp. So when you are exhausted and want rest, I hope you feel encouraged to know that you are making an unimaginable difference for your family and inspiring so many. Maybe I can take a week off next year and come support you!

    Comment by Cheryl Young — May 15, 2010 @ 8:50 am | Reply

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