I’ve started so many posts this past week in an attempt to wipe the last one from the top of this blog and my memory. And yet, I haven’t finished a single one and last Friday still weighs on me.
My thoughts are such a jumbled mess though, I don’t really know where to begin.
Truthfully, my week was exhausting enough on its own, but I’ll save that bitchfest for later (in fact, it’s one of the half-written posts mentioned above).
I will say this though, the way I feel seems to change from day-to-day, hour-to-hour, even minute-to-minute sometimes. I vacillate between these moments of peace and clarity, and other moments filled with things like gut-wrenching hopelessness and despair. Unfortunately the peaceful moments are fragile ones, whereas despair is not shy about settling in and making itself at home.
I think it’s because the peaceful moments are coming from a place inside my thought process that I’m still not really sure of. The best analogy I can think of is a work-related one so I don’t know if it’s really all that good or if it will make sense, but basically it’s as though I’ve built a model to analyze securities and I’ve run a certain security through it and, based on my model, the security seems to be a good buy. The problem is, I’m not confident in my model.
Translation? The only thing that makes me feel better is believing that we will still find our baby through adoption. When I can believe that that is the reason for all of this pain right now, i.e. because God wants for us to meet our child(ren) on this unique path meant just for us. My heart does start to heal when I imagine that adoption will be our saving grace in the midst of this.
But I’m afraid. Afraid that my model is broken, afraid that my health issues will fuck us once again and prevent us from doing the ONE AND ONLY thing that makes me feel like I should bother continuing to put one foot in front of the other most of the time.
So oftentimes, my moments of peace of clarity are interrupted by a tumble into despair as I start to imagine that we will be rejected by every program because of my health issues and we will never be parents and I’m just really not ready to imagine that possibility yet without becoming mildly suicidal. That is kind of the exact thought-process it turns into every. single. fucking. time.
My doctor (who is not an expert on adoption or reproduction) has assured me he doesn’t think it should cause any problems and that he is more than happy to write whatever he needs to to certify that my health issues do not prevent me from being a successful parent, except that I’ve been advised not to get pregnant. The reason I mentioned that he is not an expert on reproduction is because when he brought up adoption last Friday, he also threw out egg donation (actually he said, “You may want to start looking into alternatives, adoption, egg donation, and a whole bunch of other kinds of things they can do nowadays.”) which confused me because as far as anyone knows there is nothing wrong with my eggs. I guess it’s not really that relevant, but just something that’s been bugging me and reminding me once again that doctors don’t know everything (or much of anything really) about the human body either.
I didn’t really go into much detail in the last post about the specifics of the conversation, but something else that really kind of irked me was that my doctor kept bringing up China adoption (“People are bringing home tons of babies from China these days, and you’re already Chinese so it’ll probably be easier!”). By the way, my doctor is not the total asshole this particular conversation makes him out to be, he’s clearly just really bad at discussing this sort of thing and much better at discussing things related to my test results, this is basically what I was talking about in this post about the specialist in TM2. This is the same doctor who gave me his personal cell phone number last summer when I flared and even told me I could call him on vacation if I couldn’t get ahold of my other doctor or the on-call doctor, so I know he doesn’t mean to hurt me and actually cares for me quite a bit.
Still though, this conversation was completely asinine.
Especially because I already knew we wouldn’t meet the requirements for China adoption. I actually thought it was because I was briefly on anti-depressants in college, but I just looked it up and it sounds like that wouldn’t be material since it was over two years ago, BUT the requirements do specifically rule out people with “severe diseases which requires long term treatment and which affect life expectancy, like malignant tumor, lupus erythematosus, nephrosis, epilepsy, and etc.”
I’m sure my doctor would argue that in my case there is no indication (at this point) that it should affect my life expectancy, but I’m pretty sure it’s a Very Bad Sign when they use four conditions as examples of what not to have and you have (or have had, since I am not currently leaking anywhere near enough protein to qualify as nephrotic) two of those four examples. Which only further goes to show that he should have left it at, “Maybe you should start considering adoption.” and left the details up to us as opposed to trying to give “helpful” suggestions on a subject he’s clearly ignorant about.
Anyway, most of the other country requirements I’ve seen are more vague (like “no serious medical conditions”) but I can see how it will probably be an uphill battle if we choose to go the path of international adoption. In third-world countries someone with lupus probably can’t live and function normally. So I can see how it would be hard for them to change their mind-set towards this condition even knowing that in the US we have access to a level of care that is unimaginable in vast swaths of the world.
This depresses me to no end because for awhile now I’ve had my heart set on adopting from a small chain of Eastern Caribbean islands. It may sound completely out of left field, but I stumbled on an adoption story, call it a year ago, which sparked my curiousity and when I looked into it, it sounded like such a straightforward program that I’m surprised it isn’t more popular what with all the issues popping up in other countries (with the UN getting involved, etc.). I get that this is probably because it’s not quite as easy or great as the available information makes it seem, but I choose to believe that it must be a diamond in the rough. Because sometimes it’s just healthier to hang onto your delusions.
Which is probably why I’ve been too afraid to actually email the agency for more information. Because I’m afraid it will only be the first step in a long, drawn-out process, at the end of which could be nothing more than a door slammed shut in my face. I’m trying to be realistic and not get my hopes up, but at some point I have to remind myself that even if I do have my heart-broken, I have to at least try because at the end of the road there is still the possibility of a baby. My baby.
And if I’m going to be any kind of parent at all, the least I can do is send one email right?
At the same time, I am opening myself to the idea of domestic adoption where I think we’ll have an easier time making the case that my condition is clearly not affecting my ability to function at a pretty high level (see: demanding/stressful job for the past four years with serious health issues mainly only occuring when attempting to stop meds). However, domestic adoption brings up its own host of fears, not the least of which are the reasons I wasn’t too keen on adopting domestically in the first place. For one, Paul is very open to adopting but he is very against the idea of open adoption. I can usually convince my husband to my point of view when it comes to things like this because he knows how important this is to my happiness, but I really don’t want to have to do any convincing when it comes to this. It’s just too important to risk talking him into something he discovers he isn’t comfortable with later on, so I’m not pushing it (only giving him my thoughts on the potential benefits of an open adoption). I know this is going to drastically limit the number of birth mothers who will even consider us and the fact that we are Asian-American is not going to do us any favors either.
I’m hoping that if we do end up really digging into domestic adoption, Paul will start to appreciate the benefits of an open adoption (e.g. family medical history, possibly less emotional issues for the child, possibly being able to be involved in the pregnancy, etc), but there are no guarantees and I’m thinking if he doesn’t change his mind we could be waiting for a very long time. Maybe forever.
On my end, there are a lot of fears surrounding the potential for being scammed when it comes to domestic adoption, particularly if you do get involved during the pregnancy stage. Also the benefit of having your baby from the first few days of his/her life is tempered by the fact that you can’t be sure the birth mother won’t change her mind until after the papers have been signed. While I have heard of international adoption stories where this has happened, it seems like it’s less common because in most cases the children have already been abandoned or there is really no possible way the birth mother can raise the child no matter how much she may want to (which brings up a whole other can of worms about the many sides of adoption that people who don’t seriously think about adopting probably never consider).
I just don’t think I have the stomach to be jerked around like that for very long and it seems to be a common problem for people who opt for domestic adoption.
Again though, I think if it comes down to it, I’ll just have to suck it up because I’ll do whatever I have to (within the confines of the law, of course).
If we do end up adopting, I don’t think we could live in a better place than here in San Francisco. I think the chances are good that we will have an obviously interracial family, given that the plan is to pursue either Carribean or domestic adoption (although, Taiwan and South Korea are not out of the question either) and if it’s not acceptable here, then it’s probably not acceptable anywhere in the US yet. When I daydream about our future family, I usually don’t picture all of our children as being the same race, and I’m totally okay with it. In fact, I’m probably not supposed to admit this, but I actually kind of prefer it. No one’s going to mistake us for your average traditional family!
Although I’m sure the novelty will wear off, we WILL be just like every other family (which is a good thing!) and I’ll be irritated by the constant inflow of ignorant comments made by the non-adoptive community at large.
Another issue is that Paul and I don’t totally agree on how important it is to emphasis birth culture. We both agree that no matter what we will do our best to teach our kids Chinese (even if neither of us are 100% fluent), but still it seems important for them to at least get the foundations when they’re young. Beyond the possible future advantages of being able to speak the language of the country with the largest populace in the world, our kids are obviously going to be raised in an Asian-American family and we both want to share with them what culture we can. However, I feel like it’s important to, from a young age, encourage them to learn about their birth culture as well. For example, the country I currently have in mind is an English-speaking one, but when I looked into the Haiti program, I was thinking it could be good that I can speak a tiny bit of French because I thought it might come in handy if I needed to try and learn some basic Haitian Creole. Paul on the other hand, was like, Why would you need to learn that? We’ll just teach them English. Whereas in my mind, it was a no-brainer that we would do what we could to keep them familiar with their native language, Paul just didn’t (and still doesn’t) see the need.
I think no matter how liberal it is where we live, there will be unavoidable moments in the future when some idiot says something stupid in front of my child. As much as I will probably want to punch said idiots in those moments, I hope that my kid is secure enough in who they are to move on emotionally unscathed for the most part. I tend to think that the only way this will happen is if they see that we as their parents are interested and proud of their racial heritage by familiarizing ourselves with their birth culture while we are introducing them to ours. Paul tends to think we shouldn’t be highlighting their differences from us at all because we will be making them feel excluded and different. I think his heart is in the right place, but disagree with his logic.
So there it is. Something. Some of that jumble I mentioned way back at the beginning.
Oh and just a word of advice. Don’t ever tell someone who wants to have kids and can’t that they should “look into adoption” “just adopt” and in fact just avoid the word adopt altogether.
Do you really expect the reaction to be, “Oh really? Do pray tell me more about this uh-dop-shun you speak of as I have never in my life heard of it before and it could be an interesting solution to my problems that I had never considered!”
I think I would have found the whole conversation much less disturbing and upsetting if he had simply said, “I’m afraid your health will never allow for you to safely carry to term.”
I totally would have come to the obvious conclusion on my own. In fact, I have.
But I don’t know, maybe it was a good thing since it has forced me to realize that I need to start actively pursuing adoption if that’s what the option is for now. I have to get over this paranoia that another dream of parenthood will be revealed as a baseless pipe dream and just say…here goes…