My book “But They Look So Happy” is about to be published!
‘No quiero una Mama.’ I don’t want a Mama. Miguel looked up at me with big brown six-year-old eyes. I held on to his little sleeves being very careful not to touch his skin, wishing I could hug him.
This is my story …
In September 2004, while still living in Mexico, I was almost arrested for kidnapping my own children while on a family outing to buy shoes. Such are the challenges when you adopt two six-year-old boys from a Mexican orphanage. Over a stretch of eighteen months, we went from a carefree couple to fully fledged parents.
These boys turned our lives upside-down and inside-out in ways I could not have anticipated. We knew intellectually that both our boys had experienced unimaginable traumas before we adopted them. I believed that with love, we could fix them. I couldn’t have been more mistaken. The journey has been arduous and terrifying at times.
The story of our family takes place over the many countries we have lived in including Mexico, England and Australia. It examines the trauma of parenting children who have been unwanted and uncared for and what it takes to be a family, no matter how broken and battered.
Every parent battles with raising their kids, but adoption brings its own challenges, and late-adoption even more. Imagine not knowing what cruelties had been inflicted on your child before you met them.
My heart has been shattered many times in confronting the unshakeable truth that my children are scared of kindness and do not trust love. At the heart of this book is the impossible question: how do you love such children?
Through our parenting of these precious boys, I have learned that it is possible to truly understand who we are and what we are capable of in the face of unrequited love. My boys have given me many gifts, the most enduring of which is that in trying to love them, I have learned how to love myself.
But They Look So Happy is about love that refuses to give up even in the face of rejection and an ultimately hopeful tale of what happens when love does not conquer all. Though I have not been able to ease their pain or teach my sons to trust, I have found a way to give them the tools to survive in their conflicted world. I wanted to unbreak them. I failed. So I helped make them strong instead.