Saturday, February 19, 2011

Rambling thoughts on biology and being good enough

I mentioned in my last post that the beginning of February marked the eighth anniversary of the day Gregg and I found out biological kids wouldn’t be in the cards for us.  I remember being horribly depressed at the news, but that wasn’t something that lasted a long time.  Right from the start, we believed that we would meet our child through adoption.  We felt that biology might have been nice, but it certainly wasn’t necessary.  While I had always felt the desire to be a mother, I really can’t say that I had a need to be pregnant.

As it has turned out, adoption has not been an easy road for us – not in any way, shape, or form.  There has been the closure of Vietnam.  Potential independent adoptions that went up in smoke.  Losing Pooh and Tigger.  And more. So there are people who feel, when I avoid going to baby showers and other such gatherings, that I can’t tolerate being around pregnant women and hearing about babies because I can’t get pregnant.  Not really.  In reality, I have trouble with these situations because still, even almost two years into the wait, I have a deeply-rooted fear that we will be passed over and I will never have a child.  Last summer Gregg and I went to a friend’s baby-naming party with my parents, and I actually left in tears when it seemed like every couple I saw had at least one young child with them.  I felt that everyone could have a child but us.  (Not a baby.  Not a pregnancy.  A child.)

It’s not a good feeling, feeling that you’re not good enough to be a parent.  I will say with 100% certainty that being forced through this emotional wringer over the last eight years has made me much more acutely sensitive to my future child’s emotional needs.  There is pain in knowing that who I am so severely limits my possibilities for adoption.  There is pain in knowing that because of a diagnosis, we were not good enough to be Pooh and Tigger’s parents. 

There is also pain in knowing that some people outside of the adoption community judge the formation of our family as “second best.”  Before I started working from home, I managed a hair salon for almost five years.  My last year was agonizing.  Everyone who worked at the salon who was in a committed relationship became pregnant within a few months of each other.  Every. Single. Person.  Clients and staff joked that it was in the water.  They wanted to know why I wasn’t drinking the water so I could get pregnant. 

Then along came Pooh and Tigger, and the announcement that we were expecting – two.  “OH!  Twins?  How lovely!” was the common theme.  “No, not twins, a four-year-old girl and her six-year-old brother.”  I cannot begin to tell you how many people changed their tune – from total excitement at the thought that I might be pregnant to completely changing the topic, or telling me that it was bad news to be adopting “older children who surely have problems.”   Again, it would have been good enough if I was pregnant, but not good enough to be adopting.

Gregg told me not too long ago that sometimes I talk about the adoption too much.  It’s hard not to.  We are adopting a child who will be at least the age of three.  That means that our child has already been born and is somewhere – I don’t know where; being taken care of – I don’t know how and I don’t know by whom.  I think of our child every day and wonder and pray and hope we hear something soon so that I will know.  I want to tell our child that s/he is amazing and wonderful and has been waited for for eight long years.   I want to tell our child that no matter what anyone has ever said, s/he is better than good enough – s/he was created by God to be just right. 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Psychic

If you’ve been around me long enough, you might have heard me tell the story about the psychic.  When it comes to my relationship with Gregg, it’s one of my favorite stories, simply because of how “out there” it is. 

When I was a junior in college, I lived with 11 other girls in an on-campus house.  One of the requirements for living in on-campus housing was that we had to do a certain number of activities as a group each school year.  Well, I don’t remember whether it was around mid-terms or finals, but for one of our activities, my friends and I decided it would be fun to bring in some food and hire a psychic to come to the house as a good break from studying.  How much crazier could it get than having 12 girls getting their fortunes read over pizza? 

When it was my turn, the psychic let me ask her one question.  I decided to ask her where she saw things going with the guy I had recently started seeing.  What she told me instead was that she saw me with a man who drove a green vehicle, that we would be married in two and a half years from that point, and that we would travel to many amazing locations. Yeah, OK, lady, whatever you say.  I’m gonna go get some pizza now.  That was fun.  She did some numerology thing, and was on to the next person.  Honestly, that was the last I thought of it.

Until about a year later, when I was cleaning out some papers from school and I found the slip of paper where I had written down what the psychic had predicted.  At that point, I had been engaged to Gregg for the last six months and we were set to get married in two years, and…oh, yeah…he drove a green truck.  We had a cruise to Alaska planned for when I graduated from college and to Hawaii for our honeymoon.  Holy cow, the psychic was right!  (How did that happen?  We just picked someone out of the phonebook for some laughs.)

So why this story, and why now?  Well, frankly, because if I could remember the name of the psychic we hired all those years ago, I would go back to my old college town and track that lady down.  Now, the other day, my bloggy friend Kelly over at Just Me made the point of not wanting to see into the future.  And to a great extent, I really agree with her.  Life is full of surprises, good and bad.  I think if Gregg and I knew in advance how much crap was going to hit us in the face right after we were married, we probably would have given up before we even got started.  And aren’t nice things 10 times nicer when they come as surprises?

Had Gregg and I had a biological child, we would have waited until the birth to find out the sex.  (See, I do like surprises.)  We often joke that when we receive our referral it’s going to be like Christmas morning – we left the sex open and the age fairly open, so we have no idea what to expect – and I’m just fine with that. 

So why the psychic?

I’d like to have a clue when to expect THE CALL.  (Were you going to say when I’m least expecting it?  Too late.  Every Thursday and Friday is fair game.  Saturdays through Wednesdays are less likely but still highly suspicious for a phone call.)  Why am I so persistent about having a specific time for this call, you might ask?  I think I’m just too overly organized with my time.  I’d like to know how much time we have to get certain projects done around the house so I can prioritize them.  If the call is not going to come until the end of the year, I’d actually start planning some long weekends away now that we have more vacation time to work with. 

Overly processed?  Sure.  High-strung and tightly-wound?  Absolutely.  I’ll go with any of that.  But if I were given the opportunity to see that psychic one more time, or to have a crystal ball put in my hands, I’d just ask one question:

“What month will we get this phone call?” 

Friday, February 4, 2011

23 months and then some

Oh, my goodness, 23 months.  As in, one month from today is two years.  I’m actually pretty amazed, and there is so much to say this month.

First, let me thank all of you who sent such lovely notes after we lost our sweet Oreo – every word meant so much to Gregg and me.  We still miss him daily and we will always love him very much, but we are so grateful for all of the kindness we have been shown.

Second, I also really need to thank everyone who was praying for Gregg throughout December and January.  He received some terrific news at the end of January, and was able to start a new job January 31.  We are both so grateful for his new opportunity, and it really provides the extra stability we had hoped to have prior to the adoption going through.  Truly, God knows what He’s doing and does have a time and a place for everything.  Sometimes I need to just learn to sit back, shut up, and stop rushing Him.

Aside from the fact that we’re marking 23 months this February, there are lots of other things we will be taking note of this month.  Yesterday, February 3, would have been my grandfather’s birthday.  I mention this because he and I were very close, and I keep telling my grandmother that I believe that he’s got his hand firmly in this adoption.  “Grandma,” I keep saying to her, “You know that this is taking such a long time because Grandpa’s up there waiting for a little boy named Larry, or “LJ” for us – just so we know he had something to do with it.”  She has no doubt I’m right about this. 

In news of other family birthdays, my mother will be celebrating her birthday on the 19th of this month.  (Obviously this is significant because she’s my mother and I love her to pieces.  Happy early birthday, Mom!!!)  This year on her birthday, however, we just found out that our church will be having a visit from the society of St. Gianna Beretta Molla, whom our family has basically taken to be the patroness of our adoption.  We visited her shrine in December and venerated a pair of her gloves, which was very moving.  A traveling memorial will be at our church on Mom’s birthday, so we will be able to do this again.  We are so thrilled that we will be able to have this experience with the patron saint of mothers on my mother’s birthday.

I will add that there is one other thing that makes the beginning of February noteworthy to us.  In the second week of February 2003 – eight years ago – Gregg and I found out through a complete fluke that it was not in the cards for us to have a biological child.  That same night, we decided that biology was of no consequence to us, we would bring our child home through adoption.  We tried for a long time to adopt from Vietnam, but it never worked out – clearly for the reason that our child was not there.  We finally clued in and realized our child was in the Philippines at the end of February 2008 – so we spent our first year assembling the dossier and getting ICAB preapproval.  Just now, thinking it could go another year from that, I kind of got a tiny headache.  God’s timing.  God’s timing.  God’s timing.   Sit back, shut up, and stop rushing Him.  And, hey, February is a short month.

One last thing – a super huge congratulations to a dear bloggy friend, Agnes, who is off to meet her sweet baby girl at long last.  Many blessings to you and your new, beautiful family!