It isn’t like I have failed at everything. Even the things I have failed at, I didn’t always do poorly with. It just feels like that. It feels like the world is constantly reminding me of my failures… and that is hard, since I am already constantly fighting the demons that not only remind me of my failures, but make them all seem that much bigger than they were to begin with.
Take my children, for instance. In my mind, that is the biggest failure of my life. I am reminded by several people that I didn’t actually lose my children – the adoption fell through. While I know that is true, and it would make a difference if I thought that way for other people, it still feels as much of a failure to me as if I had lost my children. After two and three years, they sure felt like mine.
But when I think about being around children now, I have no confidence. It is as if I have never been good with children, and could never be good with them in the future. Even though I know that is not true.
Before we tried to adopt, I not only had my son (who was happily homeschooling, and doing well) but I also ran a licensed day care out of my home full time. After graduating with honours from a two year early childhood education program in college, I opened my daycare, and looked after 5-7 children each day in my home.
It was not babysitting. I had a full program for the children, which I planned out in quite detail. We had stories, songs, crafts, baking activities, science activities, outside time… I played with the children, and took good care of them. That isn’t just my opinion. Most of the children in my care were excited to come to daycare each day. Most of the parents were happy to bring their children to me. As far as daycare went, I think I did okay. (Those that weren’t happy was most exclusively about scheduling – because I was alone with 5-7 children, several of whom needed me in the room with them as they fell to sleep, I could not accommodate young children on different schedules.)
And then we tried to adopt, and for two years the social workers, doctors, specialists, and foster parents were pleased with the care we provided… until they weren’t, and over a year the adoption fell through. Those moments have become so large in my mind, that it seems to define all of me – even when I am told that is not true.
After the adoption fell through, the ministry continued to have some supports in place for us to help us with the loss (not enough, but some.) It was through those supports that I was encouraged, with the social worker’s knowledge, to return to providing child care to other children.
It never made sense to me that they could take my children away, leaving me to feel like a horrible person, and yet encourage me to work with other people’s children. I still can’t understand this. However, after a time, I did start to provide child care again. And once again, both the parents, and children were happy with the care I provided.
I never could shake that lack of confidence and feeling of failure that came from having our “adoption fall through.” I was a childcare provider for nearly another year after that event, and chose on my own to move to a different job when those parents (for various reasons, not one having to do with the care I was providing for their children) stopped bringing their children. My reasons were mainly threefold.
- I was working long hours for little pay. Since I was not licensed at the time (and didn’t have the confidence to get my license again) I could only care for two children at a time, which wasn’t enough to cover the bills.
- Succeeding with other people’s children, only reminded me how wrong it felt that my own children had been taken away.
- Having children that had been in my care leave, though all due to the parents work situation and not my fault, hurt every time. I don’t handle change well, and while it takes a lot of effort for me to connect, I do in fact connect to the children, and that loss hurts. That is why I wanted to adopt – so they wouldn’t be taken away.
Yet despite how my successes “sandwich” my failure, the failure remains to be what is forefront in my mind. It not only stops me from trying again, but leaves me feeling guilty for wanting to. And that is how it is with everything. My confidence is something that is easy to break, and I may never overcome being told that I have failed.