Monthly Archives: October 2015

Daydreamin’

I’ve always been a daydreamer.  Weather it’s riding on a bus or in the car, during a lazy Sunday afternoon, or while I’m drifting off to sleep, my mind tends to wander and my imagination ignites.  At this time two years ago, it seemed all my daydreams centered around my future children, and the pregnancy that would bring them into the world.  My husband and I were just starting to have those important conversations. “Are we ready?”  “Is it the right time?”  And finally, “Let’s do this!”  If you’d asked me then where we’d be in two years, I never would have predicted this.  I had an inkling things might not be easy, but deep down I really thought my daydreams would come true.  A big part of me thought by now, two years later, we would have a one year old baby.

The problem with daydreams is that when they don’t come true, when you want so badly for them to be real and then find out they can’t happen, then they haunt you.  Lately I’ve found myself playing in the shadows of “what if?” What if we had gotten pregnant right away?  What if I was pregnant now?  What if things were easier and life was different?

It’s not a matter of IF, it’s a matter of WHEN.  That’s when everyone keeps telling us now.  It’s a different daydream, but a similar ending.  And they tell us it will happen, just give it time. But on days like today, when I’m caught up in all the what-ifs, it’s hard to believe it.  I look back at the last two years, how much has happened, how hard we’ve tried, and here we stand with nothing to show for it.  I look around me, everyone else is moving forward, and here we are standing still.  I look ahead and I can’t see anything but more of the same.

So when will it be our turn?  When will this all pay off? When will my daydreams come true?


The birthmom come to life

Last week our adoption class was introduced to two birthmoms.  Their situations were very different, but both were impressive and strong young women.  One had placed a son just under two years ago, and brought her mom for moral support.  The other placed a daughter 8 years ago, and is now studying social work and counseling other young birthmoms.  Both have remained involved in the children’s lives, and have a strong connection with the adoptive parents. Listening to them speak was intense, and left us with a lot to digest.  I know their stories are one extreme.  Only birthmoms who have continued a connection to the child they’ve placed, who don’t mind re-living the experience of placing them, would want to come speak to a group of prospective adoptive parents.  So I took what they said with a small grain of salt.  But as I sat there, imagining their words coming from our future birthmother match, the feelings I came away with were strong.

Almost immediately I was struck by the language they used.  The first few times they refereed to “my son” and “my daughter”, I felt a sting.  Isn’t it the adoptive parents’ son now?  Isn’t that how it works?  She let’s the child go, in title and in spirit, right?  But the more I listened, the less it stung.  I started to hear how much she loves her child, yes her child.  She carried him, gave birth to him, of course he’s her son.  Then she made a comment about her son‘s parents. There’s a different between being a mom and being a parent.  It’s the age-old nature vs. nurture debate, and the bottom line is both are important.  I won’t get to be my child’s natural mom, that label will belong to someone else, and she deserves to keep it.  But that won’t make her my child’s parent.

Both the women we listened to will forever be birthmothers, but neither wanted a title in their child’s life.  In both cases the children simply call them by their first name.  One woman explained that she knows she will always be her son’s birthmother, but she’s not his mom.  I think that is worth repeating.  She’s her son’s birthmother, but not his mom.  As someone who is often frustrated when people get caught up in semantics, I am now realizing how the vernacular in this particular situation can harness so much.  And beyond that, I’m realizing that charged words don’t have to mean chaos.  Just because my child will be someone else’s son or daughter doesn’t mean I won’t be their mom.

My husband was struck less by what the women said, but rather who they were.  Before we went in to the class I asked him how he felt about hearing them speak.  He said he expected it to be sad.  But listening to them was quite the opposite. Both had such strength, and were very comfortable with the choices they’d made.  Again, this is one extreme, I’m sure not all birthmoms are so poised.  But listening to these two women, we were struck by how down to earth and, well, normal they were.  The infamous, scary birthmom came to life, and wasn’t so scary when brought into the light.

Above all else, meeting these two birthmoms reinforced that nothing about this will be “typical”.  Natural parenthood is the path we’re accustomed to.  Our path is different.  At this week’s class we were addressed by a man who had been adopted at birth in the late ’40s.  His parting advice for parenting an adopted child was to “honor their story.”  We can’t force our situation into the “typical” mold.  But why should we?


Hurry Up

It feels like there has been so much to do in the last few weeks.  So much so that I haven’t had any time to write.  First, we had to work with the social worker to complete the home study.  We sat down with her in her office together, then each took a turn meeting with her separately, and then she came to our home for a short final visit.  I was nervous that one miss-step on our part could lead her to deciding we weren’t fit to adopt, that we had to be on our best behavior in order to pass.  In actuality, she was looking for large red flags, an unsafe home, an abusive family member, extreme situations that certainly didn’t apply to us.  So a few short meetings and a mountain of paperwork later, the home study is finished.  It will take a few more weeks for her to write up and submit the final report, but we’re free to move ahead with the process.

And moving ahead means finding a birthmom, which means outreach.  I’ve spent the past few weeks revising, modifying, simplifying, and manipulating our “Dear Birthmom” flier into a final form.  I spent countless hours staring at it, rotating pictures, adjusting text, and changing color schemes.  A big part of me has loved having something to work on, something I can control.  But at some point I had to let go and declare it done.  Off to the printer it went, and this morning I delivered the final copies to the agency.  We are now officially listed as a potential adoptive family!