Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Facing our demons

After a whole day of dialing for dollars and asking 9 different adoption agencies about their protocol, costs, success rates, support, processes and procedures, I think we have a winner.

To us what is important is a combo of support available, expertise in mixed race domestic newborn adoption, wait time, and, finally, costs. Mostly we want to have a not-horrific experience and still be able to buy food for said baby once he/she arrives.

I gotta tell you guys this adoption thing opens up an ENTIRE can of crap that you fertiles never have to deal with.

To start, before you even get any paperwork, your decisions include:

Newborn vs. older (newborn for us), domestic vs. international (domestic as you can get newborns), special needs versus non-special needs (as much as it pains me to say we really think right now we can't do special needs, or at least not PLAN on special needs), what state, what agency, how much to spend, what to ask, what we expect, how long things will take, etc.

Then it really gets ugly.

Basically, adopting puts you face to face with your worst self. You fill out a 3764387843769873-page application where you bare all your sordid fertility disasters, your income, mortgage, savings, family history, therapy and anxiety drug experience, medical history, etc. Then a social worker comes to your home and walks around and tells you if you have too many pets, not enough seats in your car, too few bedrooms, or an unsavory environment. I am sure we will feel judged.

And they can get in line with that, because you are already judging yourself. You have never really come face to face with your own demons until you start having conversations with your husband like this: "Would we do 1/2 black and 1/2 white? What about 1/2 black and 1/2 hispanic? What about 1/4 Native American, 1/2 black and half white? What about drug use in the first trimester? Birthfather is an alcoholic? Birthmother is a medicated schizophrenic? Is that too risky for us?" Jesus. I mean, who are we to judge? And does anyone else think it is sort of hard to be making all these decisions? I mean hell, I can't even house an embryo for more than 3 weeks, who am I to judge?

It is really, really, really hard. How do you decide? Does it even matter? I was telling my therapist today (who is now my AT - adoption therapist - not FT anymore) that J and I want to do a bi-racial adoption because a. there are many, many kids out there in that demo that need homes and b. it will help us be placed with a child more quickly, because of letter a. We feel like our lifestyle, where we live, and whom we surround ourselves with will be a warm, loving, caring and accepting place for a bi-racial child to grow and thrive. Well, we hope so. I guess someone will tell us.

However, some of the materials I am reading talk in depth about the challenges of white, middle-class ignoramuses like us adopting children of color; that the kids never really know their identity, that other kids will tease them and call them horrible names, that the family may break apart due to the kid not feeling as tho he/she belongs with said parents, etc. Is that true? Who has good stories of bi-racial adoptions to white parents going well? Why do I feel like our seemingly selfless decision is actually totally selfish, and that our choice to adopt a child of color is really about us being in a hurry and it is not best for the child?

Honestly, all I care about is giving our child the best life possible. As free from ignorant comments, strife, challenge, etc as possible. I am in love with him/her already, and s/he may not even be conceived yet. (Tho I think s/he is - I just feel like this is going to go quickly)...

I need some adopting friends. I need others to help guide us and make us feel less scared and less uncomfortable. I need some good happy ending stories and to hear from people who have adopted and are having the time of their lives, even if it started with miscarriages and bad fertility and uncertainty and fear. Because we are scared shitless. But we want to build a family so much through adoption we are going forward regardless.


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