Tuesday, October 9, 2007

I Don't Know If I Am Ready

In between dodging the ungrateful infertiles at the Adoption Fair this past weekend, I picked up some good information including a magazine cleverly titled "Adoption Guide 2007." I have been on a crazy work travel schedule this week, on a plane more than off of one, which gave me plenty of time to read the entire thing. Twice.

I cried several times during the read, especially when engrossed in the stories of suffering hopeful parents being united with their long awaited children. Tears coursed down my cheeks when I read about the "Waiting Children," the beautiful name given to children in an ugly predicament - they are "too old," "too emotionally disturbed," "too many," or "too something." Whatever the reason, they wait for their parents to come for them as I wait for a child to come to me. Does this strike anyone else as odd?

I feel awful when I think about this irony. I ache to hold a child and these children ache to be held. I yearn to be someone's mother and they yearn to be someone's son or daughter. I claim that all I want is to be a mom, but I think I might be lying. I do want to be a mother, but I want it on my selfish terms. I feel as if I have been cheated because I can't carry a baby to term. So, I feel entitled to have a newborn - fresh out of the hospital. My husband is also firm on this, he wants the baby experience, he wants the fairytale. But where is the fairytale for these waiting children? Where is their happy ending?

Adoption shouldn't be about selfish visions of the perfect newborn. It should be about fufilling our desire to be parents. We could have a Waiting Child in a few weeks if we wanted, the state expedites these things to clear up the system, and the costs are little to none. So, I guess we don't want to be parents that badly.

Maybe I am not ready to be a parent. Being a truly good parent is about being selfless. It is not about living your dreams through your children, it is about helping them to achieve theirs. Maybe this is why I haven't been able to have a baby? It has always been about making me happy, fulfilling my dreams of becoming a mother.

It is amazing what my own posts reveal to me at times. I have a lot of thinking to do.


Polka Dot said...

I know how you feel. I've looked through the state's listings several times, always coming out of it with a broken heart for the children. And I always think - I can't do that. I don't know that I could handle an emotionally damaged child. And I too want the baby experience.

But I've also known it's a selfish thing that I want. Instead of seeing the opportunities, I see the challenges.

It's not pretty.

Samantha said...

Honey, you are being too hard on yourself. My husband and I also went to a seminar hosted by our local children's services department. Older children, and children in foster care have a lot of special needs and care that go into taking care of them. The social worker warned us that doing this was not for everyone, that it was a tough challenge. We decided that we weren't in a situation where we could do that. Could it be seen as selfish? I suppose so. But I think about all of my other friends out there having babies on their own. I don't consider them selfish because they chose to have their own baby rather than adopt a special needs child. You have to follow your heart and do what's true for you.

Fertilize Me said...

AMEN Samantha!! It is true, not every avenue is for eveyone. Some women feel the way you feel about IVF/ART. Be kind and gentle with yourself and your dreams. You are allowed to dream of fairytales. You are allowed to be selfish at times. Some times people mis label honesty as selfishness. Honesty and desires of our hearts and expectations are hard to swallow at times. You recognize this, That never makes you selfish - in fact it is quite the contray. In my opinion. Hang in there. Thinking of you!

Searching said...

So, if you weren't selfish (and therefore human), you'd be an extra terrestrial adopting far too many children that you don't have the resources for? It would actually be unfair to adopt a child you aren't quite capable of raising for any of the reasons out there. I know I do NOT want a drug-addicted infant. My husband thinks this is horrible of me, but I take care of these sweet babies all the time. It KILLS me. They are in so much pain from withdrawals and literally cannot quit screaming for days. Sometimes we have to give them mor.phine and met.ha.done. To brand new babies. I have the hardest time caring for them because it just stabs a knife in my heart and it's not their fault and I'm so angry at those mothers. I usually drive home crying the days I have babies like that. I do feel horribly selfish for not wanting to deal with that and feel bad I would "cross out" any child. Everyone deserves love and I would love that baby if they were mine. You would love any baby given to you to parent as well. I don't think it makes you a bad person to have restrictions or whatever you may call it. Makes you feel bad, yes, but only because you are a wonderful and caring person who is already thinking like a great mommy.

How many pregnant women out there continue smoking, drinking, doing drugs, or other risk behaviors? They don't care one lick about that child. If they are allowed to keep it they probably can't provide for their child and you can see the types of adults that come from those babies with development or other disabilities that aren't given the care they need. But you, not even mothering any of these babies, already feel the pain of what they go through. That's alot more than what the majority of the world gives them. Keep all those babies and children in your prayers every night and you are doing alot. And never feel bad for knowing your limitations so that you can give the best to the child that God means for you to have.

(But, if you still do feel like crap anyways, I'm right there with you. I hate feeling like a selfish witch!)

In Search of Morning Sickness said...

I have to say it's heartbreaking. I want those children to have homes and families and love.

We too though wanted the newborn experience.

Maybe this sounds like a cop-out, but I just know for our first we couldn't do ones of the older, high needs children. It's just the way it is. Perhaps in the future things would be different and we would do it.

Sometimes people really have the heart AND the emotional ability to care for these children, but if you don't, there is not a reason to feel bad.

Baby Steps to Baby Shoes said...

I have had these same feelings. And for the first time found myself saying this week, that I might consider it adopting an older child if I could just have the baby experience first.

There is part of me that thinks if I don't have biological children that I would be losing a lot of things, why do I have to give up the newborn experience too? The little voice inside says can't I just have that one little thing?

Melissa said...

I relate to this so much. Husband and talk about it often. I think sometimes we have things in our hearts for a reason, and you HAVE to listen to your heart. Only time will tell what it's there for, but I believe that feeling is there for a purpose. Don't feel guilty for being honest, you should never do so.

JJ said...

A very honest post--and one a lot of us can relate too--its hard to justify our feelings and what our heart is telling us sometimes--I know mine gets clouded from all the decisions we are faced with.
Keep searching, listening and trusting...

Erin said...

I think IF is a mourning process. You have to mourn the loss of your current dream to move on to the next. You aren't selfish, you are just in a different place right now, and may never be in that next place. It is ok. We are no more selfish than any fertile person, we just have the time to over analyze EVERYTHING! You deserve the baby experience!

Missy said...

This is such a great post. It's definitely something that I've thought about at times, and I can relate to your feelings of guilt. However, I agree with a lot of the other ladies-we shouldn't feel more guilty than a fertile person does. Infertility brings enough emotional trauma, and it won't go away if we adopt a child from the system. In fact, I think it wouldn't be fair to the child. Sure, they would have a home, but I would think that they might bring with them extra emotional baggage that would make the situation worse.

BrownEyedGirl said...

Your post is definately something we can all relate to. My hubby and I have had this conversation not too long ago as well while researching adoption.

We both feel that we dont' have the means to raise an older child yet and that we need to grow with the baby and learn with the child through all the steps. It's not easy to be thrown into parenting a seven year old when we haven't even parented a newborn, one year old, two yr old, etc. It's just not as easy as we would maybe want it to be.

My heart aches for those kids too and I think in the future, my husband and I are discussing and thinking about the adoption of an older child, they deserve a chance but we also deserve a chance to be a good parent to that child and if that means having a new born to grow with first, then so be it.

We've got to be honest, as a above poster said...it's not selfish, it's honest.

Von said...

We attended an adoption meeting in August and came away with the same sort of feelings. Don't be too hard on yourself. You have to do what you feel is right in your heart.