Friday, August 09, 2013

Starting to Discuss

The way we've decided to talk through the adoption process probably isn't the way other couples might do it. But, we do what we do, and I may as well put it out there.

We found an agency through my church, and downloaded their adoptive parents pre-questionnaire. The first pages are easy enough -- questions about us, our ethnicity, jobs, religion, health, age, etc. Then there are the pages about what kinds of children we would be interested in adopting. This is a really loaded part of the questionnaire, because who wouldn't want to adopt any child who needed them? But it's harder than that. This isn't a matter of pulling up to the drive-through at McDonalds and ordering up your perfect kid. But it is about what kinds of adoptive issues you're prepared to deal with. And going through these questions are helping us sort through our reasons for adopting and have good conversations about our fears and hopes for how this process may go. Anything that fosters honest conversation is a win in my book. It may take us a long time to work through that questionnaire, but at the end of it, I think we will have a much better idea of what we want to do next with it.

For example, the first question asks about the race of the child. We'd all like to believe we are colorblind and none of us are racists, only willing to adopt a child that looks like us. On the other hand, if we adopt a child of a different race, everyone knows we've adopted that child. Say we adopt a black child. We will get every manner of question from random strangers who might ask (right in front of the child, no less) whether we love Caleb more than our adopted child, or if we didn't believe that the black community would have been a better place for that child, or who knows what else. Do we need to be showy about the fact that we've adopted? Or would it be better not to attract the immediate attention of people around us because we're a "different" looking family? Would it be better for the child to be able to plausibly blend in rather than sticking out? Would we be lining them up to be rejected by their black peers for having a white family while also being rejected by their white peers for not being white? Or does this require everyone around us and them to have to figure out how to make the world a better place for people of all races? And as long as we're talking about "better," better for whom? Is it better for that child to grow up in foster care? Shuffled from family member to family member? Not having anyone to call "mom" and "dad"?

Ultimately, we decided there are only two options. Either we are only willing to adopt a white child, or race doesn't matter. We couldn't think of any reason we would be willing to adopt a black child but not an Asian child or a Native American/Hispanic child. So, we're either wanting to make it look to a stranger that we have a "natural" family, or we're okay with random people looking at us and knowing we have an adopted child. There were a lot of options on that list, but finally, we checked the "Any" box.

I don't think we have rose-colored glasses about what that could mean. We know it will be hard, and we will deal with rudeness. But the thought of rejecting a child from being part of our family simply because of the color of his or her skin just broke us down. We couldn't do that if we could provide them with a better life.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

New Thoughts on Family Making

So, we've had a crazy month in my little family. Caleb turned one, had hand-foot-and-mouth disease, fell on his head and broke his collarbone. RB got a sinus infection. I had my first post-D&C period which became a suspected ectopic pregnancy. Too much. Really, just too much.

RB is doing better, Caleb is almost all healed up and nearly walking, and I survived my period. One thing I didn't expect, though, was that when we were looking the possibility of dead baby #3, I realized I'm not sure I can deal with that. Sure, I am not real excited about being pregnant again. But the risk that that abysmal pregnancy could turn into not a live baby that I can take home at the end of it is really still there. I have no reasons for my two miscarriages. I don't know if I can take the diagnosis of habitual aborter that comes with a third. Seriously. Who in the medical community thought that was a good name for people who have recurring miscarriages?

At the end of the day, between the likelihood that I would be sick for 9 months (or however long I manage to carry another baby) and the likelihood that I wouldn't be able to carry the baby long enough to get it to viability, we've started talking about other options.

I've always wanted to adopt. There are just too many babies out there who need good homes. And we could be one of them. I have never felt like I would have to be biologically connected to a child to love it and bond with it. We just didn't pursue it right off, since my initial research showed that having been married less than 2-5 years put us in an unlikely-to-be-considered camp. I've since found that to fall in the not-strictly-true camp, but that's what started us on trying to have a biological child. Faster, less red tape, and a smaller likelihood that we would deal with the emotional roller coaster that is adoption.

But now we're on an emotional roller coaster regardless. And we've been married the amount of time at which many of the agencies in our area will consider us. So, we're reconsidering the possibility.

I don't want to give the impression that adoption is easier or somehow a fall-back option or anything like that. It just wasn't an option for us before, and it is now. I'm not even entirely sure if this is what we want to do. Heck, there are days we aren't sure we should even add another child to our brand of crazy. But I want to think it through and make sure we don't have a defaulted decision by aging out or otherwise delaying until it's impractical. I'm still learning all the ways that I have to be delicate in talking about something like this, but I have to start putting pen to paper in order to process this decision.