Musings of a Marfan Mom

Adoption Anxieties

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This post is a whole mish-mash of adoption thoughts. I find that the closer we are to the end of the beginning of this adoption journey, the more anxious I’m becoming.

What if we never get picked? What if we wait for years and years and no mother/parents ever decide that we are the right family to place their child with? How will that feel? How will M handle that? He is soooo excited about the possibility of a sister. After reading over other hopeful parent profiles to figure out how to develop our own, it’s hard not to feel inadequate.

What if we get picked? Are we ready for this? What will a 3rd child feel like? I mean, I FEEL ready for this, but it’s hard to prepare for, you know? Especially when a match could happen with a few months notice, or after the baby is born, in which case you hop in the car or catch the next plane. And a 3rd means Mark and I will be outnumbered!

I know I have to give up control, that an adoption will happen or not happen on its own time. But just as often as I hear that, I hear “but there are things you can do to help along the process.” So, we’ve built our online profile, created our own website, and told our friends. Do we pay to advertise? Create pass along/business cards? I don’t know.

As we’re wrapping up this time of preparation, I feel like I still need to be doing something. So, I’ve been trying to read blog posts by open adoption bloggers…some birth/first mothers, some adoptive mothers, some adult adoptees. And you know what? They kind of make me feel worse. This weekend I came across a post where the commentors decried hopeful adoptive parents with any sort of preference in the type of child they were willing to adopt (i.e. – those who say that they aren’t open to adopting a child with x or y diagnosis). Logically I know that I shouldn’t be bothered by judgmental people like that (and it’s not like the blog post was the first I’ve encountered this) and we should do what feels right for OUR family, but I still felt guilty for awhile that we – while definitely open to some special needs – aren’t open to everything. But at the same time, we have to balance a new child’s needs with our current realities.

Also, many of these same bloggers allude to how difficult open adoption is, but at the same time adding “but it’s totally worth it!” I don’t need sold on how “worth it” it is…we get that. But could someone explain what’s difficult? Our agency hasn’t talked about what happens after the adoption at all. Obviously stories are personal and the whole world doesn’t need to know details, but some sort of “this is what you might want to expect” would be really useful. Reading the same “we were totally unprepared for how hard it is, but it’s so worth it” line is kind of making me nervous. If those of you who have gone before felt clueless, can you help those of us (hopefully) coming through the ranks to prepare?

Finally, it’s also difficult to read about ethical adoption (the very reasonable assertion that expectant parents’ rights to be upheld in the adoption process) without coming across the people who would do away with adoption totally, or those who want to make sure adoptive parents know “their place,” that they are not the “real” parents and only formed their family by tearing apart someone else’s. I think I’m just going to stop reading anything.

Honestly, I don’t even know where to talk about these things. I’m not involved in any online adoption groups. Our agency has one that I’ve reached out to, but they don’t have an event till the spring. Our families don’t really talk about the adoption much, I guess because to them it’s still something “in the future?” We have some friends who have adopted or who have placed a child for adoption that I’ve asked questions of, but that’s about it.

So for those of you who have been here, how do you let the worries go? How do you just enjoy the waiting period?

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7 Comments

  1. You’re further into the parenting thing than I, but this post reminds me a lot of my feelings while I was pregnant for Jack. I stopped reading What to Expect after the first week- too scary. The blogs you are reading sound like that. I also got obsessive about reading birth stories, which I found useful when I was finally in labor, but were a bit nerve-wracking beforehand. I think your reading is like that- it leads to too many questions now, but I bet some of it will be useful later. The comments about “hard but worth it” are also what I encountered when I was trying to figure out what we were getting into becoming parents and so far the comment is true, but probably each parent would explain it differently. Trust yourself. You two are great parents and any family would be lucky to entrust a child to you. I’ll be praying for you!

    [Reply]

    marfmom Reply:

    Really great point with the comparison to the What to Expect books. And thank you for the prayers :)

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  2. My youngest sister is adopted (she’s now 15 and doing just fine, thankyouverymuch). When we were still in the midst of the adoption process, my parents were very clear that they were doing this, first and foremost, because they wanted to add a third child to the family, NOT because they were trying to “save” a child, be selfless, etc., etc. There are a lot of problematic “savior” narratives around adoption, but it is just as problematic to demand that all adoptive parents be willing/able to “save” children to the point of not being able to say, “This will not work for us and our family”.

    Also, Maya, not that it’s a contest or anything, but it’s not like your family isn’t doing its part for kids with special needs. It is, of course, totally up to you guys to determine what you can handle no matter what your situation is, but you are already doing SO MUCH and you should definitely not feel guilty for not wanting to bite off more than you can chew. Recognizing what would be best for you, for your current children, and for your prospective child and then expressing that is not selfish. It is responsible. So don’t let the haters hate. :)

    – this message brought to you by an adoptive sister

    [Reply]

    marfmom Reply:

    Thanks, Leah! :) It is disappointing to see the “savior” narratives in adoption, but frustrating when it’s the adoptive parents perpetuating them.

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  3. Even as we adopted a child with an autism diagnosis (and, as it turned out, plenty of other hard to place conditions), we had limits to what we felt we could handle in terms of conditions and diagnoses. It’s not unfair to a child to not adopt him if you can’t provide the type of parenting he needs. Better that child goes to parents who are confident regarding whatever her challenges are; otherwise both adoptee and family may have a less enjoyable life than they could.

    My “can’t do it” dx was fetal alcohol syndrome.

    Our “open adoption” means that we trade letters and photos with Just’s great-grandmother and his grandmother twice a year. We send letters and photos to their addresses; they send cards for Just and letters to us care of the children’s aid adoption center. They don’t know where we are, and that’s how we want it. Birth Mom is not stable and has questionable judgement.

    [Reply]

    marfmom Reply:

    “Better that child goes to parents who are confident regarding whatever her challenges are; otherwise both adoptee and family may have a less enjoyable life than they could.”

    Totally agree! And if we provided better supports to families, then more families might feel comfortable adopting a child with more complex needs.

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  4. I meant “not fair to a child TO adopt him if you can’t provide…”

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