It’s Complicated

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Thanks to everyone who’s been checking in, and my apologies for not posting for so long. I’ve actually had quite a bit of trouble writing this latest post. About a week and a half ago, I fell into a bit of a pre-adoption funk, as I’ll call it, and it’s taken me a while to feel comfortable writing about it. Instead, I spent far too much time trying to make myself write about what I think that I should be feeling as an adoptive parent who is a couple weeks (hopefully!) away from meeting their child.

I slowly came to the realization though that if I’m going to blog about my experience with adoption that I should talk about the frustrations and disappointments that go along with it in addition to all of the joy and excitement…

After a very full and happy couple of weeks with lots of updates and progress, things have really slowed down as we’re waiting to hear when the final paperwork will be finished and when we will be able to travel to Oregon. At the same time, I finished up my semester–always a bittersweet time for me but especially now that I’m only an adjunct. I’ve also been babysitting my sweet one-year-old niece and working on getting DJ’s room ready. The result of all of this is that I have had too much time to dwell on the particular challenges of adopting an older child, especially one who lives across the country. All of this brooding has also brought to the surface some of my lingering grief about infertility.

In a traditional adoption, we would have had plenty of opportunities to get to know DJ by this point in the process. We would’ve started with visits with him and the foster family then day outings and built up to an overnight trip. At the very least, we would’ve met him several times and had a much better sense of his personality, his likes & dislikes, his habits, and vice versa. But instead, I’m pretty much a complete stranger to my son. And for now, this child who has become the most important person in my life is still a stranger to me.

In recent weeks, I’ve also been really surprised by how many feelings have come up again in relation to not being able to have biological children. Honestly, I thought my sadness about infertility would magically disappear once we got this far along in the adoption process. And the fact that it hasn’t has been an enormous source of guilt for me.

It’s not that I’m particularly sad about not having a biological child of my own–although I would be lying to say that I didn’t start tearing up when I recently watched the episode of Scrubs when J.D. and Turk find out that Carla is pregnant. In fact, I’m not sure that I’ll ever be completely over not experiencing a full-term pregnancy and giving birth, but that is familiar and well-tread territory.

Scrubs (TV series)

What I’ve been so darn upset about lately is that I’ve already missed out on so much of my son’s life that I wouldn’t have if he were my biological son. DJ will be almost 9 1/2 years old when we meet him. I will never know him as a baby or as a toddler or a little boy. What I do know is almost entirely based on two phone calls with his case worker and official paperwork in big, white binders.

So that’s the ugly truth that I’ve been struggling with lately and will have to continue to deal with in the oncoming weeks and months and maybe even years. But like so many parts of our adoption story, even the rough parts can be beautiful. Because what I know is that I’ll be all the more grateful for the moments and the memories that I will have with DJ. And in the end, those will amount to a greater whole than I can possibly imagine now.

Thanks again for keeping up with my story. I plan to post in the next week about the wonderful showers hosted by my friends and family as well as my thoughts on my first Mother’s Day as an almost mother.

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6 responses »

  1. The good news is that this feeling your having is not unique to your situation. You aren’t alone! I came into my little girls lives when they were three and four. They sometimes ask me questions about when they were babies that I can’t answer because I wasn’t there. Even today, there are some decisions I don’t get to be a part of. Things I would have done for my children if they were “mine” that I won’t get to do with my little girls. Parts of my family that they will never know because we’ll never have enough time. There are days that these things consume me. The parts of their lives I didn’t get to be a part of, the things I miss out on as a Mom (that I’d always planned on) because of our situation, I sometimes mourn what isn’t. That said…I am so thankful and grateful every day that I am a Mom to THESE little girls. I know I’m in their lives for very specific reasons and that I will help shape who they become. And I have to remember that just because things are different than what I’d always expected doesn’t mean they aren’t a) perfect, and b) EXACTLY the way they are supposed to be. Hang in there. Everyday won’t feel perfect but you’ll start to understand where you fit into all of this and why it’s just the way it should be.

  2. There is no right way to feel – no wrong emotions. Infertility and pregnancy loss are heart-breaking parts of life that we continue to deal with at different points in our life. I never “got over” my miscarriage, and I grieve for that baby even though I have two healthy children. When people say things like “She should be over that” or suggests that someone is grieving “wrong”, it just cuts me to the quick.

    I am proud of you for sharing this as well as forging ahead and adopting. It truly saddens me when I talk to a couple experiencing infertility that never get to be parents because they won’t consider adoption. When I hold my kids, I don’t care where (or who) they came from.

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