Hard

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.

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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.

6 thoughts on “Hard

  1. I am truly at a loss here. I don’t want to comfort you by saying it will all “be ok” because your feelings here are entirely valid and anyone would be upset, hurt, heartbroken and angry at this.

    It isn’t right. It isn’t fair. Not to you, not to BDH, not to your families and not to your child. Every extra day that you all must wait to be together is a day you all have to be without each other and that – well, it just sucks.

    I’m sure that once you do bring Mystery Baby home, you’ll feel that all the struggle to get MB home was worth it. Of COURSE you will. But that doesn’t cancel out the longing and loss of time and dreams that may have been missed in the interim.

    I wish there was something – anything – I could do to make this easier for you.

    Know that I read your updates, I laugh with you, cry with you, shake my fists in futile fury at faceless bureaucratic agencies and dream of the day you are all together in Guelph.

    I’m always, ALWAYS here if you need someone to listen, distract you, or whatever may be needed.

    We loves you all!

  2. Word, Kelly.

    I think that “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” really describes parenthood all over. I don’t understand why people don’t value those feelings of obligation, exhaustion and frustration as being equally valid from an adoptive parent. However we get to the finish line, we’re all running the same race. We should all be free to vent, rejoice and ask for support whenever we want.

    This isn’t fair and it does suck and you have every right to feel upset. Anyone who tries to appeal to your sense of altruism by saying “it’ll all be worth it” without also acknowledging your frustration is welcome to bite you.

    I wish I had learned how to drive at some point so I could come by and take you out. Like Kelly, I’m always around to help in whatever way I can.

  3. You guys are MAGICAL.

    And like I was telling Kelly, now we’ll probably get a referral, say, THIS WEEK or something, and end up travelling way early in the spring or something, so all the agonizing and fretting and all that will have been in vain. Except for giving me a few more gray hairs.

    BAH. Bureaucracy is ASS.

  4. I read something once about a woman who “inherited” (for I cannot remember the name of what it is actually called) a child. The child was two, and while she grew up not remembering any other parents, and while the woman loved her no less than had she given birth to her, she also mourned the loss of those early days. When her child would ask, “When did I first sit up?” “What was my first word?” “Was I a fussy baby?” she felt as if there was a whole lifetime of her daughter’s life that she didn’t know at all. And it WAS hard.

    Yesterday, I was talking to a woman from school who has adopted a 10 year old. She said to me, “I wasn’t a parent before now, I have NO idea what I’m doing half the time.”

    I think that, in some ways, they had it easier because they didn’t know before hand what they might be missing out on. It seems like adoption is a tortuous road for parents. It’s a shiny bauble that is constantly dangled just outside of your reach and your left with a vague impression that if you only knew how high to jump you’d have the prize.

    I really hate that it’s like that. I’ve no illusions that I know how to fix the systems or even where to begin. I just know that there are babies that need homes, homes that need babies, and that bringing the two together isn’t nearly as involved or as complicated as peace in the middle east.

    But you’d think it was.

  5. Wow! You said it girl!!!!
    It is an very emotional process where it seems the longer you wait, the longer you have to wait…..frustrating!
    Ricki

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