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The hard parts

26 03 2009

I have been feeling a little down in the dumps about adoption lately. Not waitingfor placement, but adoption in general. I know I am ready to be a mom, but sometimes I feel like I am not ready to be an adoptive mom. When I think about the woman whose pain will begin when mine “ends,” I get sick to my stomach. When I think about the possibility that my child will have a deep, eternal wound from being placed for adoption, a wound that I cannot heal, it makes me sick to my stomach. Sometimes I don’t think I am ready for all that. Being a mom is hard enough. I am walking this road that makes it much harder.

Many times, I feel like the books I read, the blogs I read and the media make a bigger deal out of the wounds of adopted children. Every adopted child that I know is secure and even proud of where they come from and don’t feel that wound (but that isn’t more than a handful). I know this is not the case with every child. I believe that the way a child is raised can have an effect on it (i.e. if I am a good enough mom, they won’t feel that wound), but I also believe some of those feelings are simply due to a childs/persons personality and there is nothing anyone can do to heal that wound. It will just be there. And it hurts my heart to think about that. I also believe that the media downplays those wounds of the birth mother. I don’t think people really get how hard this is to live with, and not something you get over. In general, people are really bad at handling others’ grief. They allow people a grieving period, but then you should be “better.”

This has all been inspired by some birth mother blogs that I read, as well as an article (or something like an article that I read). I was going to post the link, but decided not to. Since I have read the article, I haven’t been able to think about anything but. If you would like a link to the article, let me know and I will send it to you.

Anyway, the article was beautifully written. It was written by a birth mother who was talking about the pain of losing a child to adoption. For the record, I get that pain. Well, not really. I have no idea. I could tell you with conviction that I could never place a child for adoption. I could also tell you with conviction that I could never have an abortion. But seriously, what the heck do I know? My frame of reference is totally skewed in the complete opposite direction. I can’t even imagine being in that place. In fact, I can’t even fathom being pregnant at all. I think, for the most part, people don’t know what they would do in that situation until they are there — and most definitely they don’t know how they would feel. For the record I am not pro-life. I am also not pro-choice. I hover cowardly somewhere in the middle and waver back and forth as it suits me. It is pretty spineless of me, but whatever. Anyway, total tangent…

What I was saying is that I understand that every adoption begins with loss- in many respects. I respect and acknowledge that pain and I imagine it is gut wrenching beyond description. The way this article was written depicted that pain beautifully. Something that most people, both in and out of the adoption world, like to pretend isn’t there. Sometimes I do it. Sometimes I just cant’ bear to think about the pain that is going to be caused as my dreams are being fulfilled. I just push it away and don’t deal with it. Because sometimes it is just too much to think about.

When I first read the article, I though the author was saying that she regretted her decision and wish she had chose abortion and not adoption. I was very upset and couldn’t think about anything else for days. Since re-reading it, I think I was wrong. I think it is more about the pain that she didn’t expect and the support she didn’t receive.

I know many birth mothers that regret placing their child for adoption, because they had wished they had chosen to parent. I get that. I respect that and my heart really truly goes out to them. Even further, if a birth mother feels that they were coerced or pressured…..well I can’t even go there. I can’t even fathom. But to think that someone would regret it and have rather chosen abortion, honestly doesn’t make sense to me.

I know my frame of reference is skewed. I don’t know how painful it is to place a child for adoption and I never will. I know that adoption isn’t for everyone and (even though I hate to admit it) think the other option may be best in some cases. Neither choice is one size fits all. But Even still, the juxtaposition of adoption vs. abortion in the article made me uncomfortable and sad.

There were lots of comments. On both sides. And funny thing is, (many times) I could see both sides.

Reading a lot of the comments are difficult. People are mean and hateful. And very judgemental. I don’t get that (even though sometimes, I too have my judgement hat on- I still have filters). People also tend to project their own experience onto everyone else. For me to think that adoption is always the best option or that every adoption works out great is ignorant. But the reverse is also true. If you have had a bad experience with adoption from any angle and you become an “adoption hater” that is also very ignorant.

A reader comment from an adoptee said: I don’t want to have been part of the suffering of my birth mother. But at the same time, I am incredibly thankful that she shouldered that possible suffering (if and only if it was truly her choice), because I have such a good life.

For me, that says it all. It fills me with hope.

When my sister first got pregnant, when asked about adoption she said, “I’m too selfish for that.” I thought that was very wise. Not that choosing to parent is in any way selfish, but choosing adoption is about as selfless and courageous as it gets. I get that that choice may be harder than “the other” choice because it is much more real, much more tangible and that little life goes on without you. So, adoption is the harder choice. That thought makes me panicky and deeply sad. But it also strengthens my respect for those that make that choice. Honestly, I don’t know how any mother can be brave enough and selfless enough to choose adoption. I can’t imagine that strength and self awareness. I am in awe of all that.

When I think of the woman that wrote the article, I wonder if it would have been different for her if her adoption would have been open. I wonder if she would have gotten more counseling before and after if she would feel differently. Not “better” just fell less like she made the wrong A-word choice. I know that adoption isn’t always rainbows and butterflies. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it is beautiful (yet not perfect). In my heart, I feel (and I HOPE!)that as a society we are getting better. Through education, acceptance, counseling… I like to think that adoptions are getting better, more open, more ethical, more counseling. I can honestly say that I don’t want my childs birth family to just dissapear. I want that connection. But at the same time, lots of things about it still scare me and it is going to be very hard at times. Making the right decision isn’t always the easy decision.

What really bothers me about all this stuff is that there really isn’t anything I can do about any of the pain. I can choose my agency carefully (and finally be happy with that choice for all the right reasons). I can and will have an open adoption. I can and will build the best relationship I can with my child’s birth family. I can and will make sure they get counseling. I can and will make sure it is ethical. I can and will be constantly open and forthcoming with my child about their story. I can and will be as open-minded as I can about everything adoption. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be pain and regret and sadness. And that sucks!

I know this is a heated and emotional topic, but I have had millions of thoughts floating around in my head for days- and I had to get them out. I hope I didn’t offend anyone!

Maybe sometimes I just think too much!!

21 03 2009

The other night we were headed out and the neighbor was just getting home. Hubbs pulled up next to him and confronted him. It was a strange encounter. He stumbled over his words trying to find a reason (excuse?) as to why they didn’t come down on Sunday. First he said she was leaning towards parenting, but later in the conversation he mentioned that she really wanted to place with them. They “have too much on their plate” as it is, and he said he was trying to talk her into placing with us. I told him that we needed it to be right and we didn’t want anyone to convince her of something she was uncomfortable with. We told him to let her know that we were interested in the situation, but supportive of whatever she chose. Hubbs made it clear (in my eyes, anyway) that we were upset with HIM for the way he handled the situation. He didn’t seem to get that, but whatever.

All in all, the conversation went pretty well and I feel like we cleared the air and I won’t have a problem walking my dog passed their house. We did make tentative plans for an unknown date and time to get together for a BBQ. We’ll see…

My take on the whole thing. She didn’t want us to parent her child. Period.

So, it got me thinking about things just “feeling right.” These neighbors are very different from us (not better/worse, just different). They are very different from most of the people on our block; hence they stick out as “the renters.”(not judging renters at all- lots of renters on our block that aren’t “stereotypical.”)

[insert list of ways they are different than we are. It sounds very judgemental even though I was trying very hard not to be, so I couldn’t include it.]

We are pretty much the exact opposite of them, in short. Obviously I prefer the way we do things because otherwise I would do it their way, but I am not saying there is anything wrong with their way. Because I prefer my way, my brain led me to believe that everyone would (i.e. any potential birth mother). But, this girl is staying with them, obviously likes them and would choose them to parent her child if she could. To be honest, I don’t really understand that, but I can conclude that if they are the type of family she is looking for, then we most certainly are not.

We are young, financially stable, fun, and very family oriented. I think we have it all (except babies of course). It is interesting to think that someone wouldn’t want their child they were making an adoption plan for to be placed with us (not that they would chose someone over us, but that they specifically wouldn’t want us if we were the only option.) I’m ok with that. I am not even a little bit saddened by that. It has just made me think about how an adoption match has to be right for all of us. That if we aren’t chosen, it isn’t because there is something wrong with us or anything. It is just that people want different things, people are comfortable in different environments and people connect with different types of people. (It is kind of like finding a spouse. I could NEVER be with some of my friends’ spouses, but there is someone out there for everyone!!! Yay!)

I would have thought that these people would have had a harder time finding a match than we would have. The truth is, it isn’t really about that kind of stuff. It is about connections and commonality. And I am totally fine waiting for that. I think that when we do have that connection, that commonality, it will not only feel right, but it will be a much smoother transition into a lifelong relationship.

Touchy Subjects

13 12 2008

Does anyone else watch Pr.iva.te I have always been a huge fan of Grey’s Ana.tomy, so being a fan of PP was a very easy transition for me. Yeah, I am a bit of a TV junkie. I really like the show because the characters run their own medical practice which includes somewhat of an infertility clinic. Hubbs and I often watch it together and laugh at how they portray certain aspects of IVF (like the embryo’s diving before our very eyes). But, all in all, it is a pretty good show filled with a little medical info and a lot of drama.
This week they introduced adoption. Scene: Young wanna-be midwife is performing an ultrasound on a college-aged girl. They talk a little and she starts crying because she “can’t do it,” and tells him she has been thinking a lot about adoption. Young wanna-be midwife gets a funny look on his face (he’s clearly thinking something). And CUT to commercial.
Hubbs breathes deep and says, “I hope they go to the right place on this one…” I couldn’t have said it better myself. I was suddenly very worried that my show was going to drastically offend me by being anti-adoption. It wouldn’t be too big of a stretch either considering last week teetered on the brink of offensive for me. Last week, the practice performed its first abortion. One of the doctors was livid (the IF doc), which of course developed into a battle of morals and ethics which I try to avoid but feel very strongly about. Throughout the show, it was revealed that the other two female docs in the practice had both had abortions, one of them even having two. So, obviously because of where I am in the adoption world (and who I am), I tend to lean more towards pro-life….and I struggled with this episode a little. My biggest fault with it wasn’t that there was talk and support of pro-choice, but it bordered on pro-abortion without any “real” reason.
So, I was nervous about where this was headed, but also hopeful that the show could redeem itself from last week. It didn’t go where I had previously thought, but it did tread into some unfriendly waters.
In short, the young midwife wants to help the practice by matching potential birth moms with adoptive parents. Low and behold, they also know a waiting family that has had a few bumps in the road of adoption. They are scared, the doctors tell them she is sure and they offer to pay her housing expenses throughout her pregnancy. She then tells the doc how much weight has been lifted, especially since she will have all of her expenses paid and still has the opportunity to change her mind…
So, far, I’m not thrilled with the way they are portraying the whole thing (but I’m not terribly offended, either). They are making this girl out to be almost a predator and the doctors themselves are behaving in a very unprofessional, almost childish way about the situation. I’m very interested to see how this plays out. So far, I think it really illustrates that people don’t get it!!

29 07 2008

I’ve been really enjoying reading peoples’ adoption stories throughout the blogosphere recently and I very much appreciate people sharing. Learning about people’s stories is one of my very favorite part of blogging. During my reading, I’ve noticed a bit of a trend. It seems that the adoption plans that really “stick” are made very late in or even shortly after pregnancy.

MamaJen shared the story of her little girl’s placement where after a failed match, she was matched the day before her birth. After the dissapointment of losing contact with a birthmother, Becky was matched with her little cutie 5 days after her birth. After 2 adoption plans that failed, Yoka was chosen by another birthmother and 7 days later has her brand new bundle of joy in her arms just last week!

I wonder if there are any stats out there that talk about this. Are birthmother’s that make adoption plans during the last weeks or shortly after pregnancy more secure in their decision or it just a coincidence that I have been noticing? This scares me a little and makes me hope to be chosen by a birthmother late in pregnancy. I hope it doesn’t make me all anxious if it doesn’t happen that way!

Go give Yoka congratualtions on their new, beautiful little daughter!

Give Rebekah some hugs as she waits for her home study to be complete.

Send Lisa some congrats as she and her husband are officially on the list!

Anonymous comments

17 07 2008

Today is going to be an interesting day. Last night, I was reading Yoka’s blog post on God’s Will that she wrote in response to this article, and the comments that were made in response to it. It really angered and saddened me that people where making such hurtful comments, but I also realized that emotionally, I am stronger than that. I don’t let things like that bother me because I am confident in where I am, and where I am going. What did upset me, was the negative reaction about blogging about this particular path in life (both infertility and adoption). It made me sad how people can hide behind the anonymity of a screen name and their computer and say awful things to people that they have little to no frame of reference on. Several sites that I have visited and occasionally read, were cited in the article. It made me fear “intruders” so to speak, in our little community. I love that my blog is open to people to read and comment and I hope that people find a little information, a little comfort, and occasionally a little laugh. What I don’t want is judgment. I though to myself last night after reading this article that I hope we as a community don’t get bombarded with judgment and ridicule.

So what happens? Low and behold I get my first anonymous comment. It wasn’t directed at me, it was actually directed at one of my readers, but it may as well have been directed at me.

Anonymous said…
With all do respect [name],I don’t think God had anything to do with seperating my baby from me. I had sex and he did his part by placing her into my womb.Not only that he went on to prepare my breasts to deliver the perfect food for my child.The adoption industry came in and thought they knew better and set up shop.Let’s just give credit where credit is due.what the bible really says about adoption:”The WICKED snatch fatherless children from their mother’s breasts, and take a poor man’s baby as a pledge before they will loan him any money or grain.” Job 24:9
July 17, 2008 2:55 AM

Now, I am very immersed in the adoption community, only admittedly, it is comprised primarily of adoptive parents, waiting parents, and adoptees. I don’t know very many (if any) mothers who have placed their child for adoption. I have a hard time commenting on this comment because I am not very educated on her perspective, and quite frankly I am not very educated on the bible. Although I am Christian and have immense faith, I wasn’t raised in a religious household and hadn’t attended church on a regular basis until fairly recently.

I feel for this woman, who seems to feel that her adoption placement was filled with coercion, and seems to have had a bad experience. I disagree with her comment wholeheartedly, although simply because I have FAITH that what I believe is correct. I don’t have any bible verses or hard facts to back it up (although I am sure there are some out there), it is just what I believe. I respect her opinion (or at least I am trying to) and I am truly sorry that she has had a bad experience. What I don’t like and I don’t respect is the leaving of an anonymous, rather judgmental comment. I don’t like the fact that someone was basically attacked, without having the chance to defend themselves or allow the lines of communication to open. I don’t like that this person assumes that because things didn’t work for her, that it is wrong for everyone. Honestly, I might like to learn some things from this person. To me, having an ethical adoption is really important to me. It is very important that someone considering placing their child with me has been given proper counseling and is as sure of her decision as she can be. I do not, in any way, want a child through coercion or manipulation. I know has happened, I know this does happen, but I also know that it isn’t the norm and many, many, many adoptions really are the best thing for everyone involved. I don’t believe in making comments or statements about what I believe without giving those the option to follow up, discuss and even disagree with me. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like when people disagree with me, but I welcome it if they do because I can learn from it. In this case, I feel like the only thing that was accomplished is that I am a little upset. In no way have I learned anything or do I feel like I have been convinced of anything – so what was the point? Anyway, the moral of the story is that I am not going to allow anonymous comments. If I can’t comment back to you, you can’t comment to me. I don’t want to open myself up for people to be hurtful to me, judge me, or belittle my journey, without the opportunity to learn from their perspective, and this person did not give me that opportunity.

As for this woman, I do hope she finds peace and I am sorry she had to experience the pain she has clearly endured.

Where did you come from? Where are you going?

17 06 2008

Last month I was so unbelievably frustrated at how long this was taking for us. It has officially been 11 months since we decided to pursue adoption. We didn’t drag our feet. Every time we were sent a paper to fill out, it was filled out within a day (other than the 30 page history questionnaire of course!). We have taken about 30 hours of classes, met with 5 other couples who have adopted, spent countless hours on paper work, countless hours with out social worker. We originally had to wait 3 months to get into an adoption information class, and then another 2 months before the education classes started. THEN, it took our case worker 2 months just to WRITE our home study after she had all the info. I felt like I was riding a skateboard with no wheels.

But part of me, now most of me, is so thankful for that time. I have had the opportunity to “marinate” as my hubby calls it. When I first started looking into adoption, it freaked me out. Open adoption, birth moms deciding to parent, legal risk placement and on and on. There are so many things about this process that are just plain scary. Honestly, I wanted to turn and run the other direction. But I KNEW that I was not going through another infertility treatment and I KNEW that I was born to be a mother. So I bought some books. 8 of them to be exact. And I read and I read. I met with a friend that had adopted two little boys and I played with her kids for hours and hours. I met with my college friend who was adopted at birth and she talked and talked about her experience. I thought so much about what I wanted out of life, what kind of parent I wanted to be, and what kind of life I wanted for my kids. I did a whole lot of self evaluation.

Now, almost a year later, I am very comfortable where I am and where I am going. I feel like I am very prepared for what may come. I am still scared to death about open adoption, but I am more than willing to explore it when the right situation comes along. I am aware that I am making some choices about our adoption that many people would think negatively about. But I know that I am making those choices for the right reason, and quite frankly, I don’t care what people think. I’m sincerely doing what I believe is best for my family.

If this had happened quickly for me, I don’t think it would have been good for me. I wasn’t ready. I was ready to be a mom, that’s for sure, but I wasn’t prepared to deal with all the other things that adoption brings along with it. So, now I have a great grasp on how I want to ease into an open adoption situation. I know what can happen if a birth mom chooses us and then decides to parent (not that it won’t tear my heart and stomp it to bits, but I am prepared). I just have faith that God will not put me through anything that I cannot handle, and that whatever happens, is what is supposed to happen. Don’t get me wrong, I sill still probably end up in the fetal position on the bathroom floor for a couple of days, but at least my mind has already gone there and I am prepared to deal with it if it comes (and odds are it will).

I guess what all my rambling is that I am glad it has taken this long. I needed the time to fully understand what I was getting into and prepare myself for what may come.