November is National Adoption Awareness Month. The goal of this declaration is to encourage the adoption of children in the Foster care system. Most of these children are older children. Though we did not adopt through the Foster system, we did adopt older children and I try to be very honest about the blessings and the struggles of having done so. Adoption should not be looked upon as an easy thing nor as an impossible thing. There are hidden challenges and miraculous surprises with adoption as well as some stories that may never be told.
A few months after Mita and Enu came home I had Enu in the bath tub. She loved the tub and water and took long baths at that time. I pointed to a scar on her knee and asked her how she got it. She told me in very broken English that she had been running at our agency’s home in Ethiopia and fell on the pavement. It seems like a simple explanation, but it was the first time I had asked her something complex and she was able to answer so that I understood. I remember running out to Hubby and letting him know what had happened. I was so happy to know yet another fact of her life before us.
She has two other scars. I have asked her about them. She doesn’t know how she got them. One is a burn on her back. I wonder when I help lotion her: Did she walk backwards into a stove? Was she burnt by a stick? Was it on accident or was she hurt on purpose? How did she feel when it happened? Was she scared and lonely or did she have open arms to run into? I will most likely never know unless she remembers and lets me know someday.
Her other scar is on her neck. It brings more questions as the location is odd and to be honest a bit scary.
If you are considering bringing an older child into your family, please realize that you may never know every story. Some unknowns may haunt you, and they will haunt the traumatized child, but it is not a reason not to adopt. Just be aware.