Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Hardest Part

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". 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.


Jennifer said...

so so so sorry. :( i know those moments can really throw you into such a miserable place. i have been really careful in who we have told about this second adoption so far (i was shouting from the rooftops the first time around). just not ready to have to answer questions that people should never be asking in the first place! hang in there - this person will be proven SO wrong not too long from now, and I just bet that he comes back to tell you just that!

Deb said...

We are adopting two children from Ethiopia. We should get our call any day now. I just wanted to tell you to let it go. I can't tell you how many strange, rude, bazarre and hurtful things I have heard. Not so much my hubby, why? I don't know. But I can tell you the negative people are threatned and I believe somewhat jealous that they could never do what we are doing. Just consider it a feather in your cap. One of my worst offenders was my own Dad and you'll never guess, he is adopted. Have a wonderful day.

Swerl said...

We're having a totally crappy day because a family member, who LOVES the idea of the adoption is totally freaked out about the idea of us traveling, especially with our two bio boys. We're getting the worst, most unfair pressure to escort because the family member can't take the stress of thinking about US flying and staying in Ethiopia -- even if we stay at the Hilton. Grrrr. Won't even hear facts, just wants to freak out. Not that this person offered to go with us, babysit or even cat sit!

I relate.