Week 13 - June 12, 2006
~ Adoption Thoughts
Adoption has been on my mind a lot this past week.
Our adoption case worker, who has been marvelous and who we adore, is being transferred across the country this month, and we just attended a farewell luncheon for him. So we were able to visit with a lot of our other adoptive couple friends. Everyone was really nice about our surprise pregnancy too.
I've also had a few inquiries about the status of our third adoption, and I, too, have been thinking of that little baby this week. The update is that there is no update. I have written nothing because I have heard nothing. I talked to our social worker, and he said that he would make a diligent effort to contact our birth mother this coming week to find out how she is doing and to get a status report.
Because of all these adoption thoughts, I have been pondering some of the differences between adopting and being pregnant. One of the main differences is this concept of status. Even after we were chosen for adoption, and we were awaiting the birth of the babies, we spent so much time wondering what was going on. Our first adoption was an open adoption, but there was still so much time waiting and wondering, without information, without a sense of what was happening, and a continual worry that the birth mother might change her mind. The second adoption was worse for communication, in that it was a more closed adoption. Our social worker kept us as informed as he was, but the birth mother so often disappeared, and was so notoriously flaky about keeping appointments, that we were continually left hanging. At least with my pregnancy, I can pretty much tell how things are going every day. I throw up, or get exhausted too easily, or watch my waistline start to grow, or have some other symptom that tells me that the baby is alive and growing.
Some other adoption/pregnancy differences were more obvious from the start--much, much less paperwork, no one coming by my house to tell me if we are "prepared" to have a baby, control over what happens during these nine months (my pre-natal care, what I do and do not take into my body), no concerns about how to present myself to prospective birth parents.
Another difference is in people's comments. I understand that most people have some experience and frame of reference with which to talk about pregnancy, while many have no such example for adoption. People have quite a lot of insightful and personal things to say about pregnancy, whether or not they are directly applicable to me--I do enjoy hearing about their experiences. Unfortunately, many people say some pretty thoughtless and even hurtful things about adoption, and now that I am pregnant, the comments are even worse. If I hear one more time how wonderful it must be for me to finally have my "own" child, I shall scream. (Even worse, one of Paul's close relatives commented on how excited she was for us to get a "real" child--good heavens, what does she think we have now: chopped liver?)
My adopted children are my own, real children. I love them so incredibly much. I am their mother. "Adoption" is only a word that describes how my children came to be in my family. Adoption is about love. I love them. Their father loves them. Their grandparents and other relatives love them. And, somewhere out there, there are numerous other birth family members who love them too. These are children who should never doubt that they are loved and wanted and needed.