Miss Me?

Adoption Journey – Day 45

I was away all weekend. Did you miss me?

It was crazy busy for us last week. We had a billion things to do for the adoption, and on top of all that, the men’s national volleyball championships were on this weekend. My work for Bomberino got us free media passes for the weekend, so we went to cover the matches. And honestly? You didn’t have to twist my arm to go to that — there’s little I enjoy more than sitting at Nationals watching really good men’s volleyball. Sure, my arse and lower back are killing me from a weekend on the hardest bleachers in the universe, but otherwise? Great time had by all.

But our key event this weekend was our Adoption Preparation Seminar. It’s not a requirement of adoption here in Ontario — it is “highly recommended”, meaning it might as well be mandatory. And also, starting next year, it WILL be mandatory, and about 3 times as long and 5 times more expensive than the course we took. So we bit the bullet and decided to get it done right away. This meant getting up at 6 am after a late night at the gym, and then sitting for 8 hours in a seminar after a night sitting on the bleachers. So we were a sorry sight to see on Saturday.

On Saturday, we headed off to Toronto with no expectations. This was totally new stuff for us. We’d read the course outline, but still we didn’t know what to expect. But we arrived to find a very welcoming seminar leader, Sofie, and a ballroom full of adoptive couples. Everyone looked as apprehensive as we felt, but Sofie quickly put everyone at ease.

The morning’s session was pretty informative. There were a lot of notes taken and a lot of discussion to be had. But a disturbing trend in the material was the prevalence of a lot of worst-case scenarios. The videos were of couples who sounded like they never should have had children in the first place were talking about the negatives of adoption. The lists were lists of feelings and consequences of loss. It is stuff that has to be covered, obviously — people need to know that adoption, and specifically in our case international adoption, has the possibility of a lot of issues of adjustment, health, development — but by the end of the morning we were beginning to feel a little less than optimistic about the prospects of adoption.

The one thing that glimmered with hope for us was the videos of the children in their orphanages. We saw all these little ones, playing and talking and so very cute — and that made us smile. The little people tugged at our hearts and reminded us why we were there.

The afternoon was slow. By this point, both BDH and I were feeling the effects of the night before at Nationals and our backs hurt and we were struggling to stay alert. And initially, the material was more of the same. “Here are all the issues you will face”. BAH. I know it’s going to be tough, alright? And the capper, the thing that completely bummed us out, was the first speaker of the afternoon, an adult who as a child had been adopted from an Asian country who had never really been helped to identify with her birth culture and — are you ready for this? — became clinically depressed as a teen and suicidal as a young adult. GREAT. Now I am REALLY terrified of the prospects of adopting a child. Thanks for THAT.

I was really beginning to wonder why we were doing this course, why we were considering adopting at all. And then the next speakers came in: two families with adopted kids. Both moms spoke about how wonderful an experience it was, how they never regretted for a moment adopting their children, what a blessing their kids were. This was a reminder of what it was about for me. Yeah, there might be struggles. But at the end there is a family. And also? Having one of the little ones, a beautiful and bubbly toddler from China running around and chatting at the back of the hall during the speakers’ presentations, totally charmed me, and erased all the negatives. Happy, healthy, well-adjusted kids are the norm, not the exception. Yes, there will be work, but in the end, it’s worth it.

So the bad news was ultimately tempered by the good. It was a worthwhile day, although, I still have more questions than answers. A lot of what I need is concrete information — stuff that I am sure will come with time and will be answered as we go along. In the end, I’m glad we got another task completed, another item checked off our checklist.

In the end, we were supposed to go back to the gym and catch the evening’s matches. But we were sore and exhausted. It was all we could do to get home and get supper and crash into bed early. Because yesterday was another early morning, another full day at the gym, and another day of sore tailbones from the bleachers.

So, yeah. In everything in life, I guess, there are good things and bad things.