Thursday, July 22, 2010

Help for the Adoption Journey - Being honest about relationships.

If anyone tells you that adopting older children will not be hard on your marriage ( relationship, common-law, or whatever you call your life arrangement) back away slowly, laugh hysterically and say thank you for your advice. Then forget what they said because clearly they have not been there or done that and they most certainly do not have the tshirt.

Adopting an older child is going to be hard on your marriage. It is going to create stress between you and your partner that you never even imagined was possible. You are going to fight over things that you never thought would bother you and all the while you are going to wonder what the has happened to make you both so stressed all the time.

P and I had a fight of epic proportions on Friday night. A full blown scream your heart out fight. You might wonder what we were standing in our front yard yelling at one another about... wait for it... it is a really good one... he was late because he had been stuck traffic.

Yep, we had a huge fight because he was late and I was going to be late and that was the last straw (so to speak), for me that day.

So then why did we have a fight that made us both feel angry, upset and act as  though things would never be right again? We had a fight like that because I was exhausted and Fudge was doing his best to drive me round the bend and I took it out on P. I mean I was frustrated that he was late but that really was not the reason that I was so very tired that day.  We fight. It happens. We are human.  

It's in the realising what happened and how it happened that makes the difference. When P and I sat down to talk about it the next day it all became a little more clear. Then we tackled the kid issue together as a team because if there is one thing that kids with attachment issues love to do it is to triangulate and it takes a lot of communication to not let that happen with the person who you love. P and I have to make a very conscious effort to to present a united front to the boys at all times and if we disagree over something we do it out of ear shot because Calvin will use anything he hears against you. When Calvin is in trouble he will do his best to make us fight with one another by repeating things he has heard us say because if we are fighting with one another he might be able to avoid the heat.

Fudge is sly about triangulating when he is trying to get one of us to do what he wants ( usually P) he has this huggy, clingy, puppy dog eyes, routine that he pulls when he wants to get between us. It rarely works because we are totally on to him but it works with other adults and although that does not affect my marriage it does affect other relationships.

That being said I have no wise words to share, I have no amazing advice. I just wanted to put out there that it happens, that it is challenging and that it is a normal part of life after older child adoption. Do not for a minute think that you are the only one or that your marriage is over because you and your partner have just had a fight over nothing.

We fight over nothing, we fight over nothing because parenting our children sucks us dry some days. It happens. Talk about it, apologise to one another and remember to make time for the two of you to be together because you loved one another before kids and you will love one another after the kids are raised.


waldenbunch said...

You are right on with this post. It is hard, but it is doable. You have to withdraw from your kids and their "constantness" and retreat to your mate. I can honestly say after 10 years of this (and 23 years of marriage) we are so much better. I've learned to walk away and not fight, learned that every little thing just is not important and my husband has learned that I know what I'm doing in this therapeutic parenting thing. Hang in there. You are quite wise!

Little Wonder said...

Excellent post! I had just one of these arguements with hubby last midnight...stupid, crazy, dumb. It wasn't him. It was me being stressed over things I can't control regarding a child's behaviors, a brewing situation and just STUFF...I hate it when I take things out on my innocent, loving, endearing husband.

Megan said...

Hallelujah! I swear- we never had trouble in our marriage until we adopted. Ours in only 2 1/2 and has the divide and conquer thing down pat. It amazes me how quick those little boogers learn how to do that. Now all I can think about is if I got divorced I would blessedly have every other weekend alone! (Yes- I know that is a horrible reason to get divorced, being as how we still love each other an all!) Just thanks for saying it. None of my adoption friends in real life will admit to it and it left me out there feeling completely rediculous and like i was just a crummy wife. You are awesome, girl!

Kerrie said...

My husband and I are a perfect match, best friends, a united front. But we have fought so much more in the past four years than we had in the previous 10. Fights with the f-bomb. Physical fights, with wrestling and biting on the floor. The closest we came to divorce was over a cup of McDonalds coffee. Special needs adoption is terribly hard on marriages.

Michelle, Dave & Babes said...

Our last fight was over butter vs. margarine. We realized how ridiculous this was about 1/2 way through and burst out laughing. But of course, it wasn't really about butter, but rather about how tired I was of accommodating someone and just didn't want to accommodate anyone else by giving up something I enjoyed.

Maggie said...

Having children with special needs is a strain on everything in your life. I agree.

MomInTheTrench said...

We have an agreement around here: Whomever files for divorce gets the kids.

Chantelle said...