Here’s one I wrote, rewrote, posted, took down, posted again, took down… I couldn’t decide if it was too self-pitying, too emotional, too… MUCH. But in the end, here it is.
Still here. Still peevish.
I spent the weekend trying to unwind and get out of my post-adoption-news funk. I watched a lot of volleyball. BDH pulled out the Xmas decorations. I spent the day making Xmas cookies yesterday. But the funk is still here.
Our adoption caseworker STILL hadn’t returned our call by this morning, so BDH gave up and called her. AGAIN. Oh, she was sorry, and said she “understood our frustration” — to which I say, oh really? And how often have YOU adopted and had them switch your timelines, hmmmm? But BDH said it best when he said to one of the staff, “I know that you guys do many, many adoptions, but this is our first.” And as he said to me, “It’s crushing. That is what they don’t understand.”
I find that too often, the needs of the parents get lost in this process. We need information. We need assistance. We need understanding. And for those of us who are adopting our first children, there are a whole raft of needs that come with our histories and our motivations behind adopting in the first place.
But all that gets lost, and others’ needs come first. The needs of the child are all you generally discuss, and they are of the utmost importance. They are the face of adoption, and they are quite obviously and quite rightly everyone’s top priority. That goes without saying. The needs of the agency and the governments involved come next, because without the paperwork and the documentation you would not have adoption. It is also crucially important. And also, it’s okay to sometimes talk about the financial needs. It’s a reality, obviously, but it is only talked about as one of the challenges, as too many people out there in the world want to paint adoption as “buying” a child. Which is a disgusting and mean-spirited way that people consumed with ignorance or their own twisted agendas talk about adoption.
But talking about your needs as an adoptive parent is often done in hushed tones, as an aside. As an adoptive parent, your needs are often suppressed beneath what you must do and what you should do and what you have yet to do. It sometimes feels so selfish or petty or wrong to talk about it. If you do talk about it, people will give you their best advice, which is usually how it will all be worth it in the end and all the waiting/stress/disappointments/etc. won’t matter when you have your child.
No one ever talks about what they need.
But those needs are there. And I have been feeling them acutely these past few days.
I am a thinking, breathing, feeling parent-to-be going through the arduous, painful, heart-wrenching (and I know ultimately rewarding) task of adopting a child. I have a need that doesn’t go away to bring a child into my home, a need that hurts, like a hole in my heart waiting to be filled. When I get a vague and general email from my agency full of dates that ultimately mean I must wait still longer than I have already waited to bring that child home, I feel an ache inside, a cry of how hard it is and how unfair it is and how tired I am of waiting that just repeats for awhile. I get angry and frustrated. I rail against the system. I weep.
I have other needs too. I have a yearning to see some dreams fulfilled. There are special firsts I wish to experience as a parent that I have waited to experience all my life. There are moments I have dreamed of that are so special in any parent’s memories as to be sacred that I wish to have too. And so when I get changes in policy or delays in timelines or paperwork, I feel disappointment and pain at the thought that I may never have some of these moments. They are being torn from me before I even get a chance to experience them. Time passes so quickly in the life of a very small child. Moments and firsts are fleeting. Children move through developmental ages so fast. And the more time that passes, the longer these wait periods become, the more time I will miss. And the fact that I am powerless to do anything makes me want to cry and scream and vent and be angry.
But I can’t, at least not in public. I am supposed to bear in mind that one day, it’ll all seem unimportant because I will have my child home and part of our family. I am supposed to be grateful that one day, I am bringing any child into our family at all.
And I know that. Of course I do. But still.
It is so hard sometimes, walking this line of musts and shoulds and will bes.