Friday, August 11, 2006

The Decision to Adopt

I really like my life as it is now. My husband is amazing, we are happy together, and I think we could continue as we are for years without bringing children into our home. Neither of us has the urge to reproduce yet, and I still prefer puppies over babies.

So we are not adopting because of an overarching biological drive to recombine DNA, nor to cuddle, blow raspberries on tummies, and watch first steps. In reality, babies scare the bejesus out of me. I ascribe this to my youngest sister, who was born when I was a teen, and her very very difficult babyhood, I suppose. No, I was not responsible for her care at all hours as my mother and father were, but I was there to witness the colic (oh my god, the colic), the broken leg (my mom was carrying my sister down the stairs, mom's foot caught in her nightgown, and they fell), and the allergies that first nearly killed her (never, never watch a paramedic trach a baby), then caused a temporary sensory disorder so severe that touching her resulted in bloodcurdling screams so loud that the police once came to our house, alerted by someone walking by our house who thought someone was being murdered. The first year of my sister's life was scary as hell.

Don't take the above paragraph to mean I don't like babies or children. And I'm not going the foster-adopt route to avoid babies (in fact, learning about the attachment cycle during the adoption process has done more than anything else to make me more comfortable with the idea of babies) -- we're still thinking about those. But my story of my sister is part of the reason we're planning on adopting older children, since I don't think I could retain my sanity if a child I am responsible for won't be able to answer the question, "Where does it hurt?" Plus, I've been down the baby path twice in the last sixteen years, and I know that brothers and sisters aren't the same as your own, but I think their coming-along keeps my biological urge sated-- I have a been-there-done-that attitude toward children, sometimes, and I know what ages I like. I do really believe this will make me a better parent, once I am one.

This may sound odd, but we're adopting because we can. The hub and I have a great life, and we'd like to share it. We've read all the "scary books" and we still think we can make it work. We're good people, we think, and we know that we can provide a stable, loving home. We know we can be a soft place to land. We want to be a home for someone without one.

This is not to say we're doing this out of an over-developed sense of altruism. We're adopting children, not social statements, and I don't plan on taking up residence on a cross anytime soon. I'm not an activist -- the only thing I've ever handcuffed myself to is the bedposts. Yes, I'll probably buy a 118,000 minus 1 tee shirt, but that's about as far as I expect my in-your-faceness to go. Yep, I'll have answers for people who ask (I'm anticipating this because there's a good chance my kids will either be another race, or too old to look like they are my biological children), I'll tell my friends about foster-adoption, but above all, I'm going to try to be a good mother to my kids, try to fill in some of the missing pieces there might otherwise be without a permanent family.

I guess what this all leads up to is a question: Is it okay to adopt because you want to, and not because you yearn for a child?


Queenbee said...

I think the wanting to is ALL that matters. That desire is there for a reason; my guess is that there are children or a child out there who needs you. One (or two or three) who will fit into your life and who will just belong with you. Call me idealistic, but I believe when you have that kind of a desire it is for a reason - you have a child, you just haven't met him or her yet.

Baggage said...

I think it's fine too, as long as you have a realistic idea of what you are doing. Because after you adopt, you are stuck with the day to day kid thing just like any other parent. I wanted to adopt too, I wanted to be a parent, but more so I wanted to have a baby. But then I adopted. And now I forget about the adoption stuff most of the time, and just worry about the parenting.

As long as you WANT TO and aren't walking around thinking you are saving a bunch of kids, then hell yeah it is fine.

Cuz you only get to save them once, and then you are left to badly parent them like me. haha. :)

Maerlowe said...

Y'all make me laugh. I'm very aware that there are plenty of ways to help kids without adopting them. There is a part of me that says, "what would happen to all these kids if there weren't anyone who wanted them," which I think is natural, but it isn't about the saving, its about the being there and the being a mom, and if I can be a mom to someone who's already here and wants one, I think that's a better fit for me. I'm not expecting the kids to fall down at my feet and worship me, cause I'm not a freakin idiot, but more than anything I want my kids to know that they're wanted and loved and safe and that I will do whatever I can for them, even if it take years and years and years for them to get the message.

Just having some difficulty answering the "Why are you adopting" question, I guess, since my reasons don't make sense to people. I'm getting a lot of, "oh, you're such a good, brave person to be doing this," and while I do think what we're doing is good, it makes me kinda squirmy to be complimented like that, cause that's not what/why we're going down this path.

Krissy said...

Just my two cents: That squirmy feeling is a good sign. I think it's an indication that you're probably in adoption for the right reasons.

It's the people that glow beatifically (aren't we JUST?) that I worry about.