Monday, May 12, 2008
Thoughts at 6 months waiting...
I know I said that I was going to check in at monthly intervals and share my thoughts. I haven't done this for a variety of reasons. First of all, I feel frightened to say what I really think about International adoption. I don't want anyone to pull my Dossier, especially me. My desire to raise two children from Ethiopia is my strongest want. Even if I had a "private" blog, I am not sure that I would or could articulate everything that has been going through my mind.
You know the Kubler-Ross grief cycle? It looks like this...
Now in NO WAY am I saying that being in the process of adopting children compares to facing a serious illness or a devastating loss. The only thing that I am saying, is that I feel like this "waiting process" has several stages. I feel like I have gone through many of these stages already. I hope that by mentioning them here, I might hear that someone else wrestled with some of this stuff. This is sounding vague and I am just going to spit out what I want to say. Before I do I just want to say to my social workers and the Department of Justice, Thanks for reading, I hope you think my photos are funny, and I am fully committed to my adoption. It is the single most important thing (next to my current family) in my life.
So here are what I think have been my stages of waiting . It has been six months since we applied to adopt two small children from Ethiopia. Again, these are my thoughts of how it has been for me. In no way am I trying to project or assume that others have had the same experience. Not everyone is a resident of Crazytown.
First Stage of Waiting: RELIEF. Relief that you and your husband have finally landed on the same page regarding your family building. (Page 93 right honey?) You agree on the country. You agree on the agency.You agree to the expense.
Second Stage: JOY. Joy overwhelms you. There is a light (two lights) at the end of a long, nine year tunnel. You have a spring in your step. The excitement is palpable. You can go to a playground without weeping. You become a member of a club that has up until now excluded you. You can talk about preschool and even attend community school board meetings without fear of someone carrying you out in a straight-jacket. You skim the paper to see just what is the name or number of that education account you can start? Is it a 503k or something? You weigh the benefits of trundle vs bunk? You childproof. You tell EVERYONE you know about your plans.
Third Stage: What I would like to refer to as the WIN/WIN/NAIVETE /MELISSA FAYE GREENE STAGE. You have just finished,"There is No Me Without You." You think, not only I am helping myself, but I am helping Africa. We want kids, these orphans need families. They do. They absolutely need help. There are millions of orphans that need homes. There are families that have been decimated by AIDS and other diseases. There are so many parentless children. It is a win win situation. You get your family, they get a family.
Fourth Stage: HARSH REALITY/ ETHICAL QUESTIONING. A lot of these children up for adoption are not necessarily orphans. In fact a lot of them have TWO parents, a mom and a dad. They have siblings. They are being relinquished because their family can no longer afford to feed them. They will be, by your adopting them, taken from their country, their family and the only lives they have ever known. Their losses will be enormous. This is where it starts to get tricky. This is where you start wrestling a lot. " If I really cared about Ethiopia, I would take these thousands of dollars in adoption fees and bring them immediately to the organization that would do everything in their power to preserve this Ethiopian family." These thousands of dollars could keep many Ethiopian families intact. Which brings me to my next stage...
Fifth Stage: The I AM A SELFISH ASSHOLE. My white privileged need of having a family is much stronger than my need to help Ethiopia. My mothering hormones are not going to be dissipated by my concern for struggling Africans. I am an asshole.
Sixth Stage: BARGAINING. I am an asshole, but I agree to change my need. This is when, if you are me, you announce to your husband one morning, " I think that we should adopt a twelve year old from Ethiopia instead. Our neighbor is twelve and they can hang out together. Our child can go right into school. We will make sure that she is in actuality a true orphan, an only child, and HIV positive. We have good health insurance ."
This is when your husband starts to wish he never met you. Your husband who likes, more than anything, to make a decision and stick with it. Your husband starts some questioning of his own,"Who is this Crazy person and why did I ever marry her?"
Seventh Stage: OUTRAGE. Why doesn't everyone else know how bad things are around the world? Why aren't people doing more? Why is Haiti in the shitter and no one cares? Is Don Cheadle getting through to anyone? Unfortunately this outrage turns into a self-righteousness and a judgemental attitude, which sends me back down spiraling into...
Eighth Stage: GUILT. I feel guilty. I feel guilty for judging. I feel guilty for adopting. I feel guilty for eating, you name it...I feel guilty.
Ninth Stage: RESOLVE. I will do more. I will bring awareness. I will make a difference. I will do something. I will start a project that will help.
Tenth Stage: RENEWED OPTIMISM. It's okay. I will continue. I will call today and give our agency the third payment they have been asking for. I will continue my reading. I will learn more about parenting. I will do my best to be a mother to these two children. I will give it everything that I have. I will continue to wrestle. I will try to do what is best. I will look for answers.
So that's where I am at. See why I don't write about it every month?
If you have any thoughts that you don't feel comfortable posting in the comments, please e-mail me. (I just realized that you could link an e-mail address to your profile. Duh.)