Microblog Mondays – Things I Wish I’d Known – 4

Microblog_MondaysThere was a point in my last point which was part of a larger thought that didn’t make it into the pevious post (Bad editing, sue me).  I mentioned that some people think adoption is a trendy, hip thing to do.  Once A.ngelina Jolie and M.adonna got on board that train, it left the station with cute orphans on board.  As if somehow once they add an “adopted” child to their own family, they will join their glamorous company.  Perhaps they think that because they have such a comfortable, wealthy life, they should help out the less fortunate.  I don’t encourage those people.  They can donate money.  They are either committed to growing their family or they’re not; a child to love and care for as part of their family, not a charity case.

Once infertility became a reality, people were quick to say, “Just adopt…. there are so many kids waiting for good parents”.  None of those people had actually done it of course and it was nowhere on their radar.  They felt a biological imperative to procreate despite all the needy children waiting. Once we become more educated in the process of adoption, well, let’s just say our eyes were opened.  It was staggering, really, all the details of the process. There were so many rules and regulations depending on the country and if people had to go through what adoptive parents go through there’d be a lot less waiting children in the world.  Having said that, there are a lot of maladjusted people in the world so I am grateful there are regulations.

When it was all said and done, many, many people kept telling me how lucky our child was. As a matter of fact, when I first brought Boo to an immigration doctor (requirement for permanent residency in Canada), that’s what the doctor said.   It was confusing to hear that.  Why were people thanking me for adopting him?  I didn’t adopt to be altruistic in the slightest. I didn’t want to be commended.  I wasn’t trying to get into heaven or follow a mission, I wasn’t trying to accomplish a good deed, I wasn’t trying to save an orphan about to be trampled by an elephant.  I simply wanted to have a child to parent.  Specifically a newborn because I didn’t want to miss one more second of that life that I absolutely had to.  That’s it.   I understand people weren’t trying to insult me, so I just smiled and said, no, I am the lucky one.

People will ask you “how much?” Sometimes, even “how much did your baby cost you?” Once again, know your audience. Don’t feel obligated to answer. “Why do you want to know?” is a handy response.  Do they want to know out of idle curiosity or perhaps they are considering adoption themselves. Sometimes you have time to chat and sometimes you just want to get your groceries and get home.  Give them the website of your agency, refer them to a site or take their email.

Sometimes people will want to share every adoption nightmare story out there.  They certainly like to make movies out of them. Someone will tell you about how so and so’s mother adopted a demon child that molested their daughter or set fire to their house. Or they grew up and ended up in jail.  You can either tell them to shut the hell up or a more polite “Did you think you were being helpful in telling me that?”.   When I was waiting I think I read or heard all of them.  The one where the birthmother takes all the support money and was never pregnant at all or they never intended to relinquish or someone talked them out of it.  Yep, that one kept me up many nights.  We were matched 5 months before the due date. I only had one ultrasound picture and never got another one even though I was supposed to. We hired a recommended social worker that I had to nag to do her job.  Failed matches do happen, that’s a fact.  But you can’t control other people, you can only control how you react.  I think I spent the whole 5 months wondering “what if” and wanting to control everything.  All you can do is hope that the right situation comes to you and the right decision is made. Follow your gut instincts.  If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. 

7 thoughts on “Microblog Mondays – Things I Wish I’d Known – 4

  1. Such a great point: “They felt a biological imperative to procreate despite all the needy children waiting.”

    All of this, actually. My head kept nodding.

  2. Wonderful post! I’m so glad there’s another one, because I’m waiting to repost until I can have all of the series… although maybe it will keep on going so I should start with the first four. I was shocked when I told my grandmother that we were waiting adoptive parents, and her response was initially, “An infant? Well, all I know is there’s a lot of older children who need homes out there.” WHA? I frequently feel like saying, “oh please don’t misunderstand… I’m no Mother Theresa. I am fairly selfish in my reasons for adopting.” I don’t understand the immediate leap to “Saving the Children,” or in one case “Oh good for you for adopting from the US! More people need to do that!” Uh, nope… I’m adopting domestically because like you, we wanted to miss as little as possible and domestic allows us to bring an infant home from the hospital. Again, not altruistic, but really because of our own desires. Which is perfectly okay! Lots of different reasons for different types of adoption. I once said “I’m no Angelina Jolie” and then felt guilty, like that was an incredibly un-PC thing to say, like her adoptions are more “save the world” than “create a family.” I love your response suggestions… “Why do you want to know” and “Did you think that was helpful” are keepers for sure! Thanks as always for all your from-the-trenches advice… so helpful for this waiting mom.

    • You know I felt guilty too for that feeling of just wanting a child and then adopting to fulfill that desire. I felt like oh, should I have chosen international adoption so that I can feel righteous and deserving of the praise? But that was another process that I found too daunting and overwhelming.

  3. Wow. Just, wow. I have little personal experience with adoption, but I thought I’d heard all the horror stories from friends and family who’ve adopted. The, “how much?” is a new one to me, and it hurts my brain that people can be so insensitive. Kudos to you for being able to handle them with such grace.

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