Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I'm Not Proud of This ...

I'm really not. And I wonder if I'm going to get a lot of vitriol for voicing this. But my current blogging philosophy is that it's best to be completely honest about my feelings and experiences because trying to paint a pretty picture isn't going to help anyone.

I need to make something abundantly clear, first and foremost: I am NOT for one second referring to P and M in any part of this. They are, in my mind, what every adoptive couple should be in patience and attitude and love. None of what I have to say applies to them AT ALL. I love them more dearly than I can say and if anyone even so much as thinks anything unkind about them, I will beat that person up.

That said ...

Sometimes - rarely, really, but every now and then - I get irritated by the attitudes of some hopeful adoptive couples. There, I said it.

I don't get irritated by many of them, and as I said, it's something rare. I love adoption and I think it's heartbreaking how many wonderful couples can't have children the typical way. Heck, I've got two pages of links to adoptive couple blogs in the hopes that maybe I can play some small part in helping their birth moms find them.

I try to go through my link lists fairly regularly to make sure I don't have any bad or invalid links. For the most part, I like reading their blogs as well. It helps me to feel that I've made the right decision for my little Roo.

But every so often I'll read something in one or two of their blogs that just grates at me. There's no kind way to explain it - no way of putting it that will make me seem any less juvenile and petty and selfish.

It's something that I'm guilty of, myself, which makes me a hypocrite, and I am acutely aware of that. It's something that everyone is guilty of at some point in this adoption thing, and I certainly don't fault anyone for it. It's just sometimes I get sick of it.

Desperation.

I'm not going to pretend that I can even for a second imagine the agony of the seemingly interminable wait to be chosen. I've never been on that side of it, and I hope and pray that I never will. I feel I can relate a little to the insecurity, the doubt - why not me yet? What is it about me that has kept me from being picked? - because I am single with no love life to speak of, and although I'm probably going to get crap for saying this, I think there are certain similarities in being single and wanting to get married and in being approved and waiting to be chosen.

I'll duck for a moment to avoid the rotted fruit being tossed in my direction.

All done?

Good.

But therein lies some of my beef with why-haven't-we-been-picked-yet desperation. And let me state again, I know how cruel and insensitive this is going to sound, and I am not the least bit proud of myself. When I read that sort of thing on a blog, my knee-jerk reaction is, hey, folks, count your blessings. You've got each other. You're sealed to one another. You've got something, even if it's not exactly what you always planned. No, you don't have children, and maybe you never will. But you have each other, and you've been approved to adopt. You have been found worthy to be parents.

Birth moms never get that official seal of approval.

And birth moms rarely have birth fathers involved to be there with them, to share the burden and the pain. I don't have a good man by my side to say no, we don't have a baby, but we've got each other. In my case, I don't even have a father around for support.

As a single pregnant woman, there is nowhere you can go for validation - no one to tell you that they've looked into your finances and your emotional health and relationship skills and everything else and found you to be a perfectly acceptable mother. The attitude is so often the opposite - you were stupid enough to get into this mess. You can't even take control of your own life. What makes you think you could possibly be responsible for someone else's? No one will tell you that you will make an excellent mother and that any child would be lucky to be in your care.

I searched for that kind of validation during my pregnancy. I couldn't find a single soul who thought I should keep my baby. No one on earth, not even my own mother, thought I could be or do enough for my child. I was found lacking. Not only did my baby's father desert me, but those close to me, whom I loved and admired and respected, also felt I simply wasn't enough, nor could I ever be. Those who knew me best found me lacking.

Adoptive couples have relative strangers - adoption agencies, caseworkers - telling them they are wonderful people, that they've lived lives of example and responsibility, that they've made the very best choices and will be wonderful parents.

Birth mothers have people who know them through and through telling them their babies deserve better than to have them as a mom.

When I was pregnant, I remember hearing someone say that it wasn't fair that so many loving, wonderful couples couldn't have children. The person who said it went on to imply that, as a knocked-up skank, I owed such a couple a child - they deserved to be parents and I didn't. My attitude, once I'd gotten past my initial offense, was that no, it wasn't fair that these couples were childless. But you know what else wasn't fair? I was single. These couples had each other, at least. Whom did I have? No one. Just my baby. They had each other for eternity. I had no such guarantee. This might be the only child I ever had, my only chance at a family. Yeah, their lives were unfair. But you know what? Injustice abounds. And I don't owe anyone anything.

I was wrong about that last bit, of course. I owed Roo the best I could possibly give her, and once Heavenly Father made sure I knew that, and told me who her parents were supposed to be, I gave it to her.

My point is ... well, okay, I'm not sure I have one. I guess it would be to be grateful for what you've got, even if it's not what you thought you wanted. I've come to realize over the past few months that this time I have as a single adult is going to benefit me. I am going to enjoy it while it lasts. I am going to study and travel and organize my life so that when, God willing, the time comes that I do marry, and have children (or not - there are no guarantees) - I will be a better version of myself, better prepared to be a wife and mother. I want to be happy just as I am - single and childless and slightly chunky. I want to learn to be happy without a man. I want to be responsible for my own happiness, instead of waiting for someone to ride in on a white horse and do it for me.

I think that having that kind of attitude - that I'd be happy with, but I can be happy without - is going to make me more attractive to men, and I think that there are certain parallels in adoption.

A birth mom doesn't want to read that your life is miserable without children. She doesn't want to feel that your happiness hinges on a baby. The most appealing thing to a birth mother (in my opinion, anyway) is a couple who wants a baby very badly, but who are making the most of life without one because they know that it will happen when it's meant to happen, if it's meant to happen at all.

And now I'd like to apologize for being immature and petty and selfish and whiny and rude and inconsiderate. It's a bit of a departure for me (don't laugh) and it's not something I plan on revisiting. I just needed to get it out, and if you've made it this far, then God bless you, little buddy. Because this was quite a rant.

11 comments:

Margaret said...

I thought that you said things very well. I did not marry my husband until I was 32 and so I understand the loneliness of being single (for what seems like forever). I am blessed to have my son even though I suffer from infertility. What I am struggling with now is knowing that I will never be pregnant again. I have "friends" saying things like "well, at least you have one" or "you can always adopt". That is not what I need to hear right now, I need the time to grieve not experiencing pregnancy again. OK, now I am on a mini rant.

Anyways it is my thought that a potential birth mother reading a blog where someone is desperate would turn me off them as potential parents for my child. Just my $0.02 worth.

Mother of the Wild Boys said...

Amen.

birthmothertalks said...

Good Post.

Que and Brittany's Adoption Journal said...

No, what you said was good! Sometimes we as adoptive couples need another set of eyes to look at how we represent ourselves.

Sometimes I wish caseworkers would help out their couples a little more in the profile department.

AubreyMo said...

Hi, my name is Aubrey and I'm a blog lurker :)

That out of the way, I don't think you're out of line at all with how you put this post. I think too many people tend to focus on what the adoptive parents have to go through - the wait period - but we fail to forget how it must feel to be the birthmom.

I think your goal of learning to be happy with yourself is a great one to have!!
I've really enjoyed reading your blog (went through your archives and read from start to finish!). It's easy to see that everything you write is written from a birth mom who loves her baby so very very much and gave her baby the world. You deserve the world too, I really hope you can see how wonderful and strong you are.

Thank you for being strong enough to share your story. I hope you know that I'm here, throwing fist-pumps in the air for you every step of the way.

Jill Elizabeth said...

I wish that too, Brittany :o)
I think it almost needs to be a class at the adoption academies or something. There's so much paperwork, so many things to have to write - and almost no advice on how to do it properly!

Angie said...

Actually, they are many, many, many nauseating classes that say just that, "Don't sound too desperate. You don't want to come off desperate." Even though by that point many if not most of us are exactly that. If you want honesty, then there it is.

We get tired of it too, no one wants to be desperate or chooses to be desperate. I think you know this better than most, desperation is just something that comes as a part of wanting something so deeply, so sincerely, and for so long that desperation weeps out at times.

Wanting children (at the right time, with the right person, all that jazz) is a very righteous desire and despite what many onlookers may think, the fact is you still don't have one. And the only person you know who can do anything about it, hasn't yet. And you begin to wonder if deep down, He knows better than anyone that maybe you just aren't worthy enough, or good enough despite what everyone else is saying.

I'm just saying it's a tough pill to swallow. I don't pity the birthmother side either, I think both parties come together in a sense "broken." Which is why I think open adoption can be so healing for both sides. Every person involved in adoption needs some kind of help and has a prayer that can only be answered by someone else...thus desperation often comes into play.

I think the biggest difference in the birthmother side and the adoptive couple side is choice. The birthmother has all the choices. She chose to first off, made the choices that lead to pregnancy, often with a man that is low down rotten. She then gets the choice of what to make of that pregnancy, single parent, marriage, adoption, even abortion. If she does choose adoption, which as you know are very few; she chooses when, who, and how that is to take place. Up until those papers are signed, adoptive couples have absolutely no say in the outcome of "their" potential child. Imagine that. A child meant for you family has been entrusted to someone else for a time, it takes an incredible amount of faith to endure as I am sure it does after placement.

Anyway...I greatly admire every birthmother I know and those I do not. They are truly the most unselfish, Christlike people I know and I only hope to become a small part of what they are in this life. Surely, the Lord must trust them greatly to give them such a charge over one of his precious spirits.

Nicole said...

This is a great blog! No icky sugar coating. :) Thanks for linking to our adoption blog. You have no idea how nice it is to hear a birth mom's perspective in such a real and well-written way.

Kellerwoman said...

As a casual observer, a woman who suffers from infertility (but isn't in the adoption process right now), and a member of Team Jill, I think you're right. I stalk adoption blogs, and tend to form my first impressions on the birth moms or hoping couples, and wonder if I'm even close to being right. It's SO hard to represent yourself accurately online. I sometimes get nervous for the couples that I follow, because I think this or that post would be a total turnoff to a birth mom.

It's such a delicate balance, because children are not a commodity. That's something I try to remind myself when I get jealous of my mom friends. It's not like wanting a new car. It's not "they have one, so I want one too."

I think parents-in-waiting who put themselves out there online should repeat that to themselves before publishing each post. Just to give it a once-over and make sure they're not coming off as pining for a commodity.

Heather said...

Very honest post. Everything you said has crossed my mind at one point or another since I placed my daughter.

You're doing awesome Jill. I am glad to read that you are finding peace.

gettingitoffmymind said...

so much of what you said is so true, I think as an adoptive parent we could learn alot from you, thanks for sharing!