Entries from March 2009 ↓

a seesaw of grief and hope

One of my friends who has adopted told me that once she made the decision to adopt, she felt this overwhelming sense of relief (i think mainly because the decision-making process was done and there was a plan she could follow). She told me that she’d heard of other adopters who express that same sentiment.

I don’t think I’m quite there yet. I’m finding myself (at least this evening) grieving the finality of our decision. It’s not that I’m not excited about and looking forward to the promise of adoption, I’m just at the same time sad about the things that will never happen (and do NOT throw the “just adopt and you’ll get pregnant” thing at me!*). All of those times when I’ve thought “someday…” to myself, I now have to re-write as “Well, I guess I’ll never …”

Now is the time to begin to practice patience–this time, patience for myself. Patience to grieve, patience to ride this seesaw for as long as i need to.

*Here are some reasons not to say that to adopters:
1. Studies have shown that it only happens about 5% of the time.
2. Saying it sort of insinuates that adoption is second best.
3. [Some] adopters have to work hard (see above) at saying goodbye to the possibility of pregnancy in order to be fully present in their current pursuit of adoption and having people say that to them all the time doesn’t allow them to let that go. Also, it feels like you’re not celebrating their decision to adopt.
4. Because EVERYONE ELSE that they meet will say that to them. Don’t add your voice to that crowd.


this morning, on the last full day of our self-directed “adoption decision retreat,” i was a bit worried to realize that despite all of our discussions about adopting and my understanding that this IS the direction we’re heading in and my knowledge that this is really the best path for us right now… despite all of that, there is still a part of me that appears out of the corner of my eye sometimes that feels that this is all very surreal. as though it’s happening to someone else. not me. i’ve been worrying about that for a few days (weeks?) actually, but i’ve just today decided to acknowledge this strange sensation. as i sat boldly next to this thought, i bounced little balls of fear off of it–am i in denial? will these thoughts make me a bad adoptive parent? will i reject my adopted child because i haven’t dealt with this little demon of a thought yet? then i sat next to it quietly for a moment. just breathing. not throwing anything at it. and in that quiet space i realized that perhaps i’m being too hard on myself. MAYBE the reason this feels surreal is that for the past 34 years of my life, i’ve had this vague idea of the list of events that my life would include and up until the last month or two, adoption wasn’t on that list. If the story of my life really was written out as a rough draft, it’s as though this whole motherhood chunk of my future which was sketched out in pencil has just been ripped out of the notebook, crumpled up and thrown somewhere near a garbage can and i’m starting with a clean page. and perhaps the reason that i feel like this is happening to “someone else” is that it’s not happening to the person i’ve always pictured in my future. i am becoming “someone else.” granted, I know that I will still be me. I will still love music. I will still enjoy rhubarb pie. I will still need to have creative outlets in a variety of mediums. I will still be a mom. (wow, it’s weird to write that. i’m really struggling not to type qualifiers like “someday” and “the Lord willing” after that statement…sigh. infertility SUCKS.) But my children will not look the way that i’ve imagined all these years. And I’ll have to fight battles I’ve never imagined would be my own (or my children’s). And there will be new (possibly major) characters in this story (birthparents and maybe even their extended families) that I’ll have to include one way or another. I’m writing a whole new rough draft and the blank pages ahead of me are intimidating and thrilling and just a little bit scary all at the same time. Isn’t that the way all new adventures begin? This IS the new future of me. I just need a little bit of time to get to know this new future me a bit better so that I can fit into her skin. She seems like a brave person. I think I’ll like her.


so on one hand, i’ve read some articles that have pointed out some insensitive things that people have said about adoption–apparently some people’s response to “we’re planning to adopt!” is “I’m so sorry.” — who the hell does THAT?! but usually the comments are a little more subtle and definitely not intentionally hurtful, but could imply that the speaker thinks of adoption as a “second best” option. at least one author I’ve read refers to that kind of thinking as “adoptism.”

but on the other hand, even the social worker that we went to see last week pointed out that “in a perfect world, adoption wouldn’t have to exist. all parents who gave birth to babies would want them and be able to keep them. all parents who wanted babies would be able to have them at the point in their lives that they were ready for them. but those things aren’t true and so adoption is how we make a positive thing out of a not-perfect situation.” or something like that. adoption deals with a lot of very difficult emotional fallout– for everyone involved and for the rest of your life. is this one of those situations where people on the inside of the situation can admit the things that are difficult and painful and stressful, but those on the outside aren’t allowed to notice? or is adoptism more about prejudice against the adoptee as a person and not so much about prejudice against the process of adoption?

excerpts from an e-mail

Today, I need prayers for patience. The thing that scares me most about adoption, right now, is the unpredictable, uncontrollable timeline. With IVF, it felt like stepping on stones across a creek. I could focus on just finding the next stone which was just a short step away (now we start this medication, now i go in for this exam, now we do this procedure and wait 10 days for results…) and i felt I would eventually, with these small steps, find my way across. Now, it’s like I’ve run out of stepping stones, and I’ve looked up to see where the next stone is or how far away the shore on the other side of the creek is, and I realize that I’ve been stepping on stones that lead out into the ocean. I have no idea how long this journey will be and I have no sight of the other shore. I only have my faith that there IS another shore, somewhere beyond the horizon. And I need patience to find the next stepping stone that will lead us to the land of parenthood.