When you decide to adopt, there are a lot of things that might be difficult. For me, what has been the hardest part?
Is it the decision itself?
-This part was pretty easy for Z and I. It feels like the right thing for us to do, and we are following our guts on this one. We've decided that there is no PERFECT time to have a child. There is always SOMETHING that could be better. Adopt vs. having a biological child? Another easy decision for us.
Is it the paperwork?
-Sure, there's a lot of paperwork to be done. But, most of the paperwork is pretty straight-forward. Its tedious and time-consuming, but not horrible. We can surely handle the paperwork.
Is it watching the adoptive parenting training videos?
-Another kind of tedious task. Sometimes its hard to find times when we are both together, have some extra time, and feel like using our time together to watch these videos. But, so far, they've been helpful. They are a bit dry, but contain a lot of useful information, and as first-timers we're appreciating it.
Is it the homestudy?
-I have to be honest and say this is the part that worried me the most. What does the social worker ask? How particular is she going to be? How clean does my house need to be to impress her? How "kid-ready" does our house have to be so that we will pass? The truth is...our social worker is great. She has been an incredible help to us; making sure that we are thinking about all of the possible "what ifs"; making sure we talk about what to expect; and making sure that we felt comfortable in our meetings with her. Our social worker is really great and we look forward to keeping her up to date on adoption happenings and we look forward to post-placement meetings with her as well. So, no, the homestudy was/is not the hardest part.
Is it the waiting?
-Waiting is hard. Its hard to wait to start putting the dossier together. Its hard to wait for your referral. Its hard to wait to travel. But, these are all parts of the process that we KNOW ahead of time and can try to prepare ourselves for. It doesn't make the wait go faster, but it might help to make it a little easier. My plan for waiting to travel is to start making lots of quilts...if I end up making a lot of them, then some will be donated to the orphanage. Then I might move on to preparing the kids' room; getting beds, dressers, decorating, etc. We'll have to get some toys, kids' clothes, etc. There will be lots of things to keep us busy during that time.
So...what is the hardest part?
-For me, the hardest part came this weekend. When a person I love and who I thought was a part of my support system went out of his way to tell me what a huge mistake we are making. When I asked if we would be having this conversation if I were pregnant the answer was "absolutely not". Thanks...now I know how you really feel.
Other adoptive families have written about their experiences with less-than-enthusiastic family members. I expected some of it, but I honestly didn't expect what I got this weekend. I'm not sure how I should feel about it. Should I let it go; knowing that he was lashing out because he is just concerned about us and loves us (even though he could have found a MUCH better way to express his concerns)? Should I be angry; knowing that he brought so many things into the conversation that were totally un-called-for (not to mention completely unrelated to the topic at hand)? Should I dread every future conversation with this particular person? Should I allow this conversation to shatter my confidence in our decision to adopt?
The worst part for me was that this conversation happened at a time when I had no back-up. Z was gone this weekend and I was on my own. I tried to hold my tongue....I tried to make sure that I didn't say anything that I would regret....and as a result I sat there and took it all. I was a complete puddle by the end of it...I couldn't think fast enough to respond to something that I was totally unprepared for. Today I had hundreds of come-backs (and some of them weren't so nice). Perhaps it would have been better if I had simply walked away.
Its hard for me to understand why someone would have such a hard time with us adopting. In his own words if I were pregnant he never would have said the things he said. So, I know it isn't about us having kids - its about us adopting. Would he have said everything he said if we were adopting domestically instead of internationally? I don't know. Would he have said what he said if we had been trying unsuccessfully to have biological children? I don't know. Would he have said what he said if we were adopting white children instead of black children? Again, I don't know.
One thing I do know is that our kids will know that Z and I wanted them VERY much; even if others weren't so sure.