I try to be perfect for my adopted daughter…..while not expecting perfection

It is hard to do. You know? Be perfect.

It is something that no one can really attain-perfection. We can’t be perfect…ever.

But we can try.

Those affected by trauma can try to make sure their kids don’t have the same trauma….by not showing our trauma.

How do we try to be perfect while also not expecting or desiring perfection? I’ve been doing it for years and it is hurting me on the inside.

At night I cry.

Last night my tears were for my real mother, the woman who spent years looking for me after I was trafficked by two white people.

It does that sometimes; my heart-it hits me at the core and I cry. I just sob.


It was dinner time, and my daughter had gone into her room for something and it was then that I took the opportunity to cry. My wife saw me, she reached out, and I couldn’t hold it in.

It hits at the oddest times.

Adoption is so complicated that we don’t know when tears will come and when they will stay on the inside.

I think I spend my life crying, but in different ways.

I cry for my daughter who lost her real parents: to me. I am raising her and yet she still has a mother who is alive and well. “It’s relative” I somehow convinced myself years back, having drank the kool-aid that to this day burns my soul.

The pain I have suffered at the hands of my traffickers-my adopters…”but this is different” I would tell myself at night as I listened to her even breaths at the age of four, and five, and six, and now at thirteen.

But is it really that different?

No, I don’t abuse her, I don’t treat her poorly, I don’t despise her, I don’t denigrate her, I don’t belittle her. I DON”T hurt her….the way I was hurt. But at night, she dreams by herself, in her room, with thoughts of separation, and pain to come that I KNOW will surface at because it does with EVERY adoptee at some point.

The pain I suffer, I have the hope that my therapist can help me through it but my hope is dwindling and I learn more and more about my situation. It is hopeless. I will never be “un-adopted”.

As I spoke with my therapist last week, she told me how we can begin to heal from the pain, and depression, and anxiety and trauma.

We can begin to learn strategies to be able to function on a daily basis.

And yes, I agree with this. But what she is learning about me is that adoption is not something you “learn” to heal from. Adoption is permanent. Like the color of your skin, or the loss of a limb, or the texture of your hair.

Adoption is loss.

But I don’t want my daughter to feel the immense loss that I do, and yet I know that everyone handles it differently. Will she have an amazing spouse or best friend to help her cope with some of the frustrations I have?

I can only hope.

No! I can only pray; as prayer for me is about lifting ones’ burden, not asking for miracles. My miracle is someone who can help lift my burden just a bit.

“Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” Matt 11:28.

What is this rest that Jesus speaks of?

Is it sleep?

Is it eternal slumber?

When I die, and I’m laid to rest, will I suffer no more?

When I die, and I’m laid to rest, will my daughter be left to suffer in my place?

Will my wife suffer when I pass on?

A few nights ago my daughter and I were talking about what happens to us when we die. I told her that Buddhist believe that we live in a constant state of reincarnation, we are constantly being reborn until we reach that perfect state of wisdom. Then we no longer are reborn.

She told me she wanted to be buried like the mummies. She wants to be mummified and she says she wants to take all her possessions with her.

This is so symbolic.

Adoptees have been given nothing but loss. Yes, we borrow things, but in reality, we have nothing that links us to who we were and are. It is no wonder she wants to take everything with her when she dies.

I too want to take what I can, and I feel that I have had nothing I could really claim as my own. Not my name, not my language, not my culture, not my religion, not even my soul as I feel that has been robbed from me.

So I suffer in silence, and hold my tears when she is around. But one day, I want her to see my heart for what it is. I want her to know that it is ok to feel, and it is ok to cry, and though I tell her she may at any time or place, she does not see me do it.

What example am I setting for a child who also is a result of loss?

Not a good example. I need to change that.

For so long I held it all in. I was not allowed to express myself, I was not allowed to feel, I was not allowed to be angry that I was trafficked and carry the name of a deceased person.

For so long tears only came down when someone else was in pain. Tears flowed when someone else was hurt. Tears flowed when someone else was wronged.

But now I need those tears to come down for me. I need my daughter to know that I am not perfect, and that I, like her, am allowed to have emotions.

I am a hypocrite when I tell her to be free, and yet I am chained.

I am a hypocrite when I tell her she can cry on my shoulder and yet at night with the door closed, I bury my face in my pillow to muffle my tears that flow silently.

I am a hypocrite when I tell her “I am fine” and the minute she leaves for school, I fall to my knees and ask for someone or something to lift my burdens just a bit.

This God thing, this Jesus thing…..when does it become real?

I have not sacrificed my life for anyone.

I have only put chains around my heart to protect it.

I want my daughter to be free…to be whole…to know empowerment.

But I need to start with me.


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