Last night, I had another adoption dream. (This one was very specific; we actually met a birth mother. Tweaks.) And recently, I’ve had a few difficult adoption moments.
Woe Number Six: The things people say.
I am surrounded by kind and beautiful people in my life. I often feel blessed and grateful for this. My family and my friends predominantly have good boundaries, and are respectful and loving and kind.
And yet – there are things people say that are extremely hard to hear when you’re an Adoptive-Parent-In-Waiting. No one is intending to upset me, but there have been various moments when I’ve thought, If I could say it without hurting their feelings, I would tell this person why what they’ve said is hurtful.
Recently I was at a BBQ with a few acquaintances, and holding an adorable, smiley six-month-old child, whose parents I barely knew. His mother, sweet and kind and smiling, came to check on him. I told her how adorable and sweet and lovable her son was, and she thanked me proudly. I then joked to her about being a “flight risk” – that her little one was so sweet, I was at risk of running away with him.
She laughed. “Ha! You don’t want that. He’s awake all night crying; you wouldn’t want to deal with that part.”
She didn’t mean anything by it. I’m not even sure if she knows that Tee and I have been waiting for over a year for Our Baby to come home. She was being chatty and friendly.
And yet – obviously – I wanted to kick her in the shins and run away.
Because I do want to be up all night with a screaming six-month-old baby. I do want to spend all afternoon dealing with a tantrumming, napless toddler. I do want to have to plan six weeks in advance for a date night with my wife.
I want all of those things.
She is not the first or the only to say something similar, and I’ve decided that it’s the “you” that’s the hardest for me – You don’t want to be up all night. I have lots of friends with babies, and I don’t begrudge any of them complaining or venting about lack of sleep, challenging children, or anything else. But it hurts me for someone to say, You don’t want to deal with ____. There is literally nothing that a mother can be dealing with – no stress, no heartache, no headache – that would keep me from desperately wanting to be a mommy.
Woe Number Seven: Giving Adoptive-Parents-In-Waiting irrational hope.
Recently, we met with our adoption home study social worker for our home study update. Having to have this meeting was a bummer for Tee and me. Our bummed-out-ness doesn’t really make sense. Even if our baby had already come home, we would have to have our home study updated, since we plan to adopt at least two babies with our agency.
However, we were both hoping that our baby would have come home before that year marker arrived.
We chatted with the social worker (SW) about preparations we’d made. We explained that we’d obtained certain items – a small amount of clothing, hand-me-down bottles and bathtubs from friends, cloth diapers – but that we were holding off on other things, like a crib, a glider, baby carriers. We explained that we wanted to be ready – but maybe not too ready – not so ready that we were just sitting around idly, waiting for Our Baby to come with no other preparations to think about or dream about.
The SW listened, and then responded. “I think you should give yourself permission to get ready,” she said encouragingly. “The average wait for families is about a year and a half.” (For us, waiting a year and a half would mean that Our Baby came home in September 2015, approximately.)
“Maybe I’ll be your good luck charm,” she said, smiling warmly at us. “I just finished another family’s home study update, and they got matched with Their Baby a week later.”
Why would she say that to us?!
Of course, the day our update was completed, we got a call about a baby. Of course, my heart soared and my brain went crazy with thoughts and hopes. Maybe the SW is our good luck charm! This is it. This is fate! This is perfect timing. This will be an amazing and beautiful and charming story to tell.
Then, too, what I always do, is I let my imagination run wild. I think about all the reasons why this day, this week, are the PERFECT WEEK for Our Baby to come home. My mom is visiting this week – she could come over and visit and help! We have several loved ones who just had babies – all our babies will be around the same age! It’s coming to the end of the school year -now is a perfect time to take FMLA leave!
Then, it doesn’t happen, and I’m disappointed.
However – I still feel reassured by her giving us ‘permission’ to get ourselves ready. She’s been doing this a long time, and she has no reason to be inaccurate with us about the average experience of the Adoptive-Parents-In-Waiting she’s worked with. So – we’re getting ready. And waiting. And hoping.