“This Is Not How I Envisioned It.”- A Mother’s Confession!

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I love honesty. It's one of the primary reasons I created this blog. I believe honesty brings healing. You can find healing through books, going to counseling, attending a workshop, or watching Dr. Phil (maybe). But, there's something extremely healing in finding out that you're not alone, that other people think about the same things you do, and struggle in the same ways you do.

The following post is from a friend of ours, Sherri Moore, who is an adoptive mother and foster care provider. She writes honestly about the expectations a person can have as they prepare for parenthood, and the disappointment that comes when things do not go as you envisioned them going. You can connect with her on Facebook by clicking here.

Let’s take a trip back in time and remember that place, so long ago, before we were parents. It’s a hard place to remember because it was a lifetime ago (even if your child is 3 months old).
Do you remember thinking about your future child? Now, honestly, I think when most people imagine what their children will be like, they think in terms of babies. “Aww! They’re so cute. I love the way they snuggle against you. And that baby smell. It is so wonderful!” We think about playing dress up or throwing the football around. “I will teach them to ride a bike. It will be so much fun playing at the park. I’ll take them to work so they learn the lesson of hard work. I can’t wait to help them with their homework.” You imagine how you will burst with pride as they call out your child’s name on graduation day! Or sometimes we think about what they will be when they grow up- Pro Athelete, Musician, Doctor. The possibilities are endless. We have so many dreams for them!
Then something happens. That snuggly baby doesn’t like to snuggle. They’re a wiggler, an explorer. That little girl doesn’t like to wear dresses, and don’t think about doing her hair like that! He doesn’t want to play on a team this year, his friends think it’s silly. When you drop them off at a friends house, stop at the corner, they will walk the rest of the way. And as for going to work with you? Well, that’s kind of lame.
Wait a minute? What? This is not what I thought….I didn’t sign up for this. They are supposed to love me, do things with me, be like me. Doesn’t that mean they want to do the things I wanted them to do? This is not what I thought.. I mean I love them — I can’t imagine my life without them, and I wouldn’t want to try, but I really expected…
Or maybe he has anxiety when he rides the school bus in the morning. By the time he gets to school he is kind of overwhelmed, so the first kid who brushes past him sets off a cascade of emotions and he ends up screaming and swinging at anyone who comes near him. Or her many doctor’s appointments make it hard to join girl scouts because you can’t make it to many of the meetings. Sometimes a child who looks so perfectly normal on the outside has an avalanche of turmoil or imperfection in their own head. They can’t express their affection for you in loving and secure ways. And sometimes their bodies are not strong or they have flaws that leave them fragile and in a great need of care.
No matter how small or how big the difference, this is not the child I dreamed about. I love what I have, but it is still not what I dreamed about.
For that, I grieve.
I think all parents greive to some extent for the child they did not have — the child who doesn’t share their love of music, or sports, or reading. This may be a small greiving process that may not even be recognized. But sometimes the difference between the dream and the reality is significant, and I think that leads to a larger need to grieve.
We must allow ourselves the right to grieve without guilt. It does not mean we are not good parents and it does not mean we do not love the children we were given. But we must give ourselves permission to acknowledge that there is a loss that has occurred and we must recognize that we are still good Moms and Dads, even though things aren’t the way we planned them.
So take some time. Think about what you miss. Bring it to the forefront of your thoughts. Then make a conscious effort to lay that child to rest. If you realize you feel very strong about this loss, maybe even have a small ceremony. Give yourself permission to let go of what you are holding onto from that lost child. By letting go, it may free you up to more easily embrace the child you have.
Question: Have you ever found yourself looking at your children or your life and realizing it was not what you envisioned? What did you do about it?

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Mike and Kristin Berry are the Co-Founders of The Honestly Adoption Company and have been parents for nearly two decades. They are the authors of six books, and the host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.

Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray is the executive assistant to Mike and Kristin Berry. And she is the best in the land. In addition to providing a warm and friendly response to the many emails our company receives on a weekly basis, she also manages Mike and Kristin’s speaking and meeting schedules, and makes sure that team events go off without a hitch.

Nicole Goerges

Nicole Goerges is a Content Contributor & Special Consultant for The Honestly Adoption Company. She works with Mike and Kristin as a recurring co-host for the Honestly Adoption Podcast, and co-host of Kitchen Table Talks, exclusive video content for Oasis Community, along with Kristin. She is a fellow adoptive mom, and former foster parent.

Matt McCarrick

Matt McCarrick is the Content Production Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. If you’ve loved listening to our podcast, or enjoyed any of the videos trainings we’ve published, you have Matt to thank. He oversees all of our content production, from video edits, to making sure the tags are correct on YouTube, to uploading new videos to Oasis, to hitting publish on a podcast episode, he’s a content wonder!

Karen Anderson

Karen Anderson is the Community Engagement Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends the bulk of her time interacting with, and helping, people through our various social media channels, as well as providing support for Oasis Community members through chat support or Zoom calls. In the same spirit as Beaver, Karen is also passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and supported. Karen is also an FASD trainer and travels often, equipping and encouraging parents.

Beaver Trumble

Beaver Trumble is the Customer Care Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. Chances are, if you have been in need of technical support, or forgotten your password to one of our courses, you have interacted with Beaver. He is an absolute pro at customer care. In fact, he single-handedly revolutionized our customer care department last year. Beaver is passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and encouraged.

Kristin Berry

Kristin Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Content Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends most of her time researching and connecting with guests for our podcast, as well as direction, designing and publishing a lot of the content for our social media channels, blog and podcast. She loves to connect with fellow parents around the world, and share the message of hope with them.

Mike Berry

Mike Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Marketing Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. He spends the bulk of his time and energy designing and building many of the resources you see within our company, as well as social media and email campaigns. His goal is to use media as a means to encourage and equip parents around the world. He is also the co-host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.