Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Adoption Option

I'm not even sure where to start this post as I have not really put my thoughts in order, but I will try to muddle through coherently.

I've thought about adoption in the past.  I know it costs money, a lot of money in many cases (depending on what type of adoption road is chosen).  I know there is a waiting list as long as the Mississippi River for a newborn.  I know there are many hurdles to jump through to get the process going.  I know that sometimes, things go wrong.

I know all of these things in my head and it's very logical and straightforward.  I have always thought that one day I'd actually get pregnant and never need to think about another option.  Well, as you know that has not happened and now that I'm inching ever closer to my End Game, I'm starting to wonder what road I'm heading down.

To myself, I have thought that adoption may be expensive but that it might be possible.  I could ask my dad for some help (I think he'd be more inclined to help me adopt a baby than pay for more medical treatments that may not produce a fruitful outcome), I could borrow a little from my 401(k), we could sell some stuff...it could work.  I have also thought, to myself, that I don't know if I'm up for all the hurdles we would have to jump through.  From what I understand it can be a paperwork nightmare that requires endless hours on the phone, on the Internet and basically running around like a chicken with my head cut off.  To myself, I have worried that BJ might not bond with a child that is not his own.  I don't know why I fear this, but it's there.  I also worry that the Little Guy would not bond as well with a child that had no blood ties to him.  He still doesn't quite understand that if I had a baby it would be his half sibling and not his step sibling...after all, it would be coming from his step mom, right?  That is the thinking of a 9-year old.  I have also worried about the future with an adopted child.  What if he/she doesn't bond with me/us?  What if he/she decides to go look for the birth parents?  What if he/she prefers the birth parents over me/us?  How would I handle that?  How would I handle an angry teenager asking me "why did you even adopt me?"  Would the child be picked on at school for being adopted and then become ashamed/resentful?  I'm jumping a little ahead here so let me get to the point where I take these thoughts and turn them into words in an actual conversation with my husband.

We were looking at the pictures of a newborn on one of the blogs I read.  I'm not going to say which one because it has turned into a very sad situation but has also caused some not so nice people to attack this blogger.  I was so happy looking at the pictures and I showed them to BJ and briefly told him the timeline of the adoption.  He said "I'd do that.  But it costs so much money."  My brain started really thinking this over.  We went to dinner on NYE and I brought it up by saying..."Would you really be able to bond with a child that wasn't your own...one that was adopted?"  He promptly answered with an emphatic "yes, it would be MY kid, OUR kid."  I brought up some of my fears and he didn't know what we would do in some of those situations either, but he said we could figure it out.  Then the blogger's birth parents decided to parent the child.  I told BJ and he said, "that'd be our luck" along with some other colorful language.  Then came the negative comments on the blog.  And then I made the mistake of clicking over to one of the blogs.

There on the page in front of me was a very angry adoptee.  And she had many angry adoptee followers.  I read a few posts and was just floored.  I've known a few adoptees in my life and never got the feeling that they were angry about being adopted, but now I wonder.  And I wonder if the majority of adoptees feel this way?  And I wonder if my adopted child would feel this way?  There is a very strong case for these feelings.  An adopted child may never feel like they fit in with their family.  They may always feel like they should be somewhere else, living a different life.  The adopted child could end up bitter and angry like this blogger and her fellow bloggers and followers, and that is a tragedy.

I know that adoption saves many children from very bad situations.  I don't disagree with adoption.  This is just one of the many things I fear about adoption.  Like I said, I've known a few adoptees and they are living just fine lives and are pretty glad that they were raised in a house with drug free parents instead of in a cardboard box on the street being traded for drugs.  I think parents that decide to give their children up are brave and strong and don't do so because an adoption agency tells them to...they do it because they believe they cannot provide a good enough life.  Sometimes this might backfire.  However, I believe in my heart that most families that adopt children give them a good life and a lot of love.  And I know that people looking to adopt are not setting out to steal children from their birth parents.  Most adoptive families want children to love, children they can spoil, children they can make smile, children they can show the world to.  That's what parenthood is.  I want to be a parent.  It is not a right but a privilege to be a parent.  My body has taken my privilege from me and so I have been thinking of another way to become a parent.

I don't know if the adoption option will get pursued.  I'm scared shitless about all the implications that adoption can have on parents and children.  I'm scared of screwing up the life of an adopted child that would rather be with his/her birth parents.  I was really starting to lean that way but now I'm not so sure.  My siblings and I are screwed up because our mother basically abandoned us (not as babies) because she thought she was doing "what was best for us because she couldn't take care of us".  Is that how adoptive children feel?  Do they feel that it doesn't matter if a parent can take care of you or not...they'd rather be with a parent that is living on the street than with an adoptive family?

I just don't know anymore.  I'm very confused about all of it.  And that's not to say that we definitely won't pursue adoption, but that I had been thinking of it and now I'm even more scared than I was before.


A said...

We have alot of hesitations with traditional adoption, too. I think people who are called to that road are so obviously made for that journey that it makes it look easy in many ways. But we are not all called that direction, even if it is stereotypically the "answer" to infertility. I used to feel bad saying that I really didn't think that adoption was for us, but I have been trying to remind myself that not everyone is cut out for adoption.

Praying for you! It is no fun to be wandering around aimlessly- we are sort of in that place now (got disappointing news about cost of agency embryo adoption), and it just stinks.

April said...

Your fears are totally normal but there is SO much positive that completely out weighs all those neg. thoughts when your child comes into your life. The process is like anything else you go through. Its one step at a time and to be honost the paperwork seems like a lot of work but what isnt work? TTC is major work that unfortunately for a lot of us takes YEARS away from us and doesn't bear any children. I too thought the waiting would take forever and for some it does but for us the process went quicker than anything else we have done! We started the process(emailing agencies, etc) November 2009 and Stewart was born May 12, 2010. I became a mom 6 months after starting the process. :) I know that adoption isnt for everyone but it can be a beautiful thing to experience and when that little baby is placed into your arms and you become his or her mom all these years of TTC and trying to become a mom become a thing of the past! We have an open adoption with Stewart's bm and it has also been an amazing relationship that I never even considered when we started the process (we were going to do closed or semi private). You already seem like an amazing mommy to your step son and I can only imagine how great you would be to either an adopted or bio child! Good luck in whatever you decide and feel free to email me anytime! (sorry this has turned into a short/long story!) :)

EC said...

It's great that you're keeping an open mind and are weighing all the pros and cons. I know a few families who have had such great experiences through adoption (one international, and one domestic open adoption), and I think that if you decide it's right for you, the obstacles can be overcome. I do know a few people who were adopted that have some of the issues you mentioned, but I think there are probably just as many people who have been adopted who are happy and well adjusted.

For us, we know that adoption isn't the right fit, but I think it can be a great experience if you think it's the route you want to take.

Jay said...

It's much more ethical and humane to support women so they are able to parent their children.

Alex said...

I think it's great that you're working through all these thoughts and fears. So very important! I found your thoughts very interesting. I'm adopted - at 4 - after many foster homes and homelessness. I'm not an "angry adoptee". My real parents are the ones that raised me, the ones that parented me, the ones that have gone through all the hell of raising a teenager, and quite frankly, a messed up little girl. I have had, and still have, some issues related to being on the streets, foster homes, being "given up" and then raised by people that may not have understood what they were getting into. And it hasn't been easy, but these real parents of mine are my adoptive parents.

Good luck working through all these thoughts. And if you ever want to talk more about it, from an adoptee standpoint, I'm always here.

heartincharge said...

Wow. This is the first place I have seen someone address some of my adoption fears. And I wonder if the reason is that you have expressed them like only a stepmom can.

We are the ones that have lived the difference between bond between child and bio parents and bond between child and parental figure that loves you very much. We have lived being the second to mom. We have already shared a child. We know that all the love you give can still lead to a void and resentment from a child who realizes their life was not the "ideal".
There are some kids who grow up in blended families who love all their family members and feel grateful that everyone tried to get along for their sake and others who never forgive their dads for not being in the home or accept their stepparents. You don't know what you will get no matter how you raise them. Same with adoption - you don't know if your child will consider you his or her real parent always or if your child will end up identifying more with his or her birth mom.

Unlike couples who just adopt together and the two of them only share that experience,your husband has a bio child and you don't. You don't know if your husband and your inlaws will see your adopted child the same as they see their blood offspring.

Sorry I hijacked your blog. I just felt like you got me.