What constitutes a family?
I suppose it can mean different things to different people. I'll tell you what it means to me. A family is a group of people that loves you for who you are, wishes the best for you, and always has your back. It can be a blood family, or one that is comprised of a group of people who love you. I am lucky to have not only a strong family, but a loyal group of friends, who love me.
So why is today's post about family? Well, Sadie began a blog recently. One that, this time, she is allowing the world to see. I wasn't expecting her latest post. It took me by surprise. In it, she talks of family. You can read it here.
It is nice to know that our family has made an impact on her life. And that she recognizes that.
However, as is life with Sadie, the other shoe dropped yesterday. She'll be moving out soon. This time, to be with her birth mom and her little brother (again). She tried this last fall when she moved to Texas, and that attempt, in my opinion, ended rather badly.
While I admire the reasons she has chosen to try again with her mom, I cannot help but be afraid for her.
You see we have always recognized the potential that lies within Sadie. Pretty much from the first time we met her.
When we first met her, she had no idea what it meant to think past the moment, the right now. She totally lived in the moment. There was no talk of goals, no expectations that she would or should accomplish anything in her life. Weird, I know. It was darn near impossible for someone like me, a goal setter, list maker, Type A who is always working toward some goal or another, to understand.
So I had a hard time with this at first. I considered her unreliable and wishy washy when she would change plans at the last minute, cancel them altogether or heaven forbid, forget she even made them in the first place.
I have come to understand why she is this way. It is clearly the result of the life she has led thus far. Taken from her birth mother at age 2, to be cared for by her uncle and his wife, whom she now calls dad and mom respectively, her road was not an easy one. (Read the beginning post in Sadie's blog if you want to know more).
When her uncle and aunt got married, an event Sadie remembers, they each had a child of their own from different relationships, and then went on to have two children together. Two are older than Sadie and two are younger. Sadie grew up amongst all of them, and yet still had contact with with her real mother during those years. And some of the time it wasn't a good situation, to put it mildly. She also has an older half brother, and a younger one, from her real mother, all with different fathers. So the family history takes some repeating to fully absorb.
Although Sadie lived with her mom and dad (aka her uncle and aunt), she was not adopted by them until she was 16. So in effect, she lived in limbo for years. Caught between her real mom, who had her own set of problems, and her dysfunctional adopted family, who had their set of problems, she has never been sure of her place.
One thing she has always wanted desperately, is love and to be put first.
She's never been able to count on the love, attention and support a family should give to a child. How sad.
That alone is enough to break my heart. I get tears in my eyes every time the thought that I wish I could have adopted her as my own when she was 2 crosses my mind. What would she be like today? I'd like to think it would still be her, only her times 1000x. (With all the love, support, direction and consistency a kid should have from her family!)
This kind of a dysfunctional family arrangement is foreign to me. I am a middle class girl through and through, and a bit of a sheltered one at that. My parents have been married to each other F-O-R-E-V-E-R and there are no skeletons in the closet. No half anythings, just my two sisters and me. So, at times, I have had to work hard at finding the understanding to help Sadie's with her struggles.
There are so many things about her situation that are not right! So many things should have been different for her. It is clear after living with her on and off for a couple years now, and observing the inner workings of her family, that she is clearly a result of how she was brought up. And please don't take that the wrong way, I love Sadie. I am proud of what she has accomplished thus far. But she could be so much more. So much more confident in herself. So much more prepared to face the world. So much farther along in her journey to figure out who she is and who she really wants to be.
She deserves that. Every kid does.
Here in our family, of which we consider her a part of, we have worked hard to show the importance of doing what you say. I think she has come to understand how important that is. I am so proud of her for the strides she has made, most of them not without some struggles. She has learned not only set goals, but to accomplish and actually cross some off them of her to do list!
She is just now getting on track again herself. And she is a huge role model to her younger half brother. She is his shining light in a world even more confusing than what Sadie's was, growing up. That's a lot of pressure for a 21 year old.
So, her leaving us is bittersweet for me. I want to keep her here, safe under my wing, protected, loved, appreciated and away from those whom she loves, but who have such power to hurt her and bring her back to that person she once was.
But, of course, I cannot.
Knowing Sadie, she will have to experience this one for herself. Even if I think it is not what she should do.
I wish her strength in this. And I hope she knows that if things don't work out, our home is always open to her. My love will go with her, my prayers will follow her, and my hope is, that this time, I will be wrong.
And it will all work out.