Monthly Archives: February 2016

Making Excuses

The next step in my adoption nesting — we bought a chair for our freshly painted spare room!  I’ve spent the past few months scouring baby furniture stores in search of the perfect one.  It’s a small room, so the chair needs to fit in the space, but my 6 foot tall husband also needs to fit in it.  I had my heart set on particular style, not the mention the fabric had to be something our cat couldn’t destroy.  I came across a craigslist add earlier this week , and yesterday we went to check it out.

It turns out the chair’s owner was a sweet pregnant woman who had purchased it 2 IMG_2870months ago to rock their new baby in the living room of their 1 bedroom apartment.  But now she realized that there just wasn’t enough space, and was hopping to find it a new home.  As we examined it, and discussed how it we could configure it around a
dresser and crib, I found myself needing to justify my obvious lack of pregnant belly.  I turned to her and blurted “we’re adopting.”  She was in the middle of saying something else and didn’t even seem to notice my comment.  And it wasn’t until the words had already left my mouth that I realized she also didn’t seem to need to hear it.  She didn’t seem at all confused by our situation.  So why did I feel the need to justify it?

Because as we slowly walk through this process I am starting to realize time and time again that we don’t fit into the usual mold of a family waiting for a baby.  When I walk into the baby department of a store I feel so out of place.  The only people examining the maneuverability of a stroller are pregnant or already juggling a baby.  I feel the need to explain to the salesperson that I have a reason to be there too.  To justify that I too am planning for the eventual arrival of a child. Once that child is here I know our path will become a little more mainstream.  But until then, we just don’t fit into the societal mold of “expecting parents”.

That became evident a few weeks ago when I decided to compile all my researched wish list items into the start of a baby registry.  Many stores allow you to start your registry online, but they all ask for a due date, which I don’t have.  So I approached a salesperson in Target to ask if they could bypass this question.  My concern got bounced around to a few employees.  Some were understanding when I explained my situation.  Others were a bit rude.  In the end the only solution they could give me was to “make one up”.  But how will I feel when that made up date comes and goes without the arrival of a baby?  I’m not inclined to patronize a company who’s only solution is to put me in such a sensitive situation.

The folks at Babies R Us were a bit more compassionate.  Their registry form actually has a box to check if you’re adopting. But they still require a due date in order to complete the process.  OnCapturee nice salesman spent 20 minutes trying different ways to get the computer to ignore the question.  In the end he couldn’t help me either, but he apologized profusely and promised to relay the problem to the corporate team.  A few hours later I got a call from the regional marketing manager.  She wanted me to know that, though she didn’t have a solution for me just yet, she was very concerned with wanting adoptive parents to feel welcome at their stores.  She promised to get back to me after exploring the situation further.

I know there’s no way to include everyone all the time.  But the population of adoptive parents is not small.  My chair’s previous owner didn’t think twice when our situation was clearly different.  When will others, specifically corporate america, follow her lead? Shame on you Target for disregarding adoptive parents entirely.  Thank you Babies R Us for at least attempting to make me feel included.  And thank you to all the craigslist sellers out there who don’t even think twice about a clearly not pregnant couple buying baby furniture.  Our path is different, but I shouldn’t have to justify myself for being on it.

 


Baby Shower Blues

Our decision to switch to adoption has meant coming to terms with the fact that I may never have a pregnancy. I may never feel a child kick inside me, never grow a life in my body, never give birth. I don’t get to wear that “I’m about to have a baby” badge that comes with a pregnant belly. I’ll never get that excitement from strangers who know just from looking at you what’s coming in your life. I won’t wear cute maternity clothes that show off my bump, or have any of the myriad of other experiences that pregnancy brings. And nothing epitomizes all that to me more than the baby shower.

I haven’t been able to bring myself to go to a baby shower since our last miscarriage. I love my friends, and want nothing more than to support them. But in many ways the baby shower has come to represent to me everything I don’t get to have. That excitement, that joy of everyone gathered around a pregnant woman, gushing over her, giving her advice, anticipating the baby to come. It’s not the same in an adoption. the uncertainty means you can’t let your excitement get too high until that baby is in your arms and the papers are signed. You don’t get to anticipate in nearly the same way.

My boss, who I love, is 8 months pregnant. Her official shower was a couple of months ago, one of the aforementioned showers that I could not bring myself to attend. She completely understood. Today there was an informal luncheon for her at work. It was in our main conference room, just a few yards from my desk. I tried, but as soon as the conversation turned to seasoned parents advising the mom-to-be I felt myself start to break down. I took a walk instead.

As I strolled the trails outside the office I realized the other factor that made this particular shower so difficult. My boss was 3 weeks further along than me, or rather than I was. I should have been in the chair next to her, rubbing my bump absent mindedly as well. There should have been a companion office pool on when my water will break. Everyone should have been commenting on how tough it was going to be for me with twins. That luncheon should have been for me as well.

Instead, I’m walking a different path. Maybe years from now, when I’m watching my child sleep, this will all seem so insignificant. Maybe I’ll go to baby showers and be one of the experienced parents advising the novice pregnant woman. Or maybe I will remain unable to attend. Perhaps it will forever be a reminder of pregnancies lost, a symbol that I may one day become a mother, but I may never carry a child.


Nesting, Adoption Style

Pregnant women experience an overwhelming desire to get their home ready for the unborn child. They clean, they organize, they paint and decorate a nursery. They have a deadline, a due date when their baby will descend upon their home, and they need to get it ready for the arrival.

But when you’re adopting you don’t have a due date. Sure, once you match you’ll have the birthmom’s due date. But you may not match with more than a few weeks, or even a few hours, notice. And even then, it might fall through. No, when you’re adopting you don’t know when you’ll bring your baby home until you’re actually doing it. The unpredictability and insecurity of it all makes it hard to prepare.

It seems there are two broad schools of thought on how much you should prepare as an adoptive parent. On the one hand, you may not get much notice, so take this time and get things ready. However “this time” could be long, and it’s hard to pace yourself when you don’t know how long. So many waiting families choose to do nothing, in fear of spending months, or even years, walking past a finished nursery without a baby to use it.

At first I thought my emotionally fragile state meant I should hold off. And yet my type A, planning, organized personality wants nothing more than to nest! I am deprived of so many things that other moms get to enjoy. Why should I deprive myself of this as well? I may be setting myself up for future heartache, or maybe I’ll create myself an oasis where I can sit and dream of my future child, whoever she or he may be.

So I’ve been researching strollers, collecting baby items from friends with older children, and last weekend I painted our spare room, the first step of turning it into a nursery.  I’ve had a long time to think about what this nursery will look like.  So many details were thought up years ago, but failure and disappointment left that “dream nursery” unrealized.  Now I finally get to take the first physical step of bringing it to life.  I stared at paint chips for weeks, finally selected a color, and then spent hours carefully applying it to

IMG_2860 (1)

I swear the camera is distorting the color. That wall is much more blue in real life, and none of those samples are brown. Ahhh the tricks light plays on our eyes!

the walls. But when I stepped back and looked at my handiwork the color wasn’t what I had imagined.  It happens a lot, a small paint sample can’t always give you an idea of what the full wall will look like.  My husband and friends keep reassuring me.  “It looks great,” they say.  They’re right, it does, but it’s not what I’d imagined.  I wanted grey, and this is more blue.  Oh well, I guess we’ll have a pale blue room instead.

But why should I settle? So many things in this process are beyond my control, so much I have to compromise. Yet this is very much within my power to change.  For the price of a bucket of paint, I can make this little sliver of my world exactly how I want it.  So next weekend I’ll take a few more hours and paint the room again.  In an imperfect reality, I’ll get to have one perfect thing.