May 23, 2007

My Brain is Broken

I returned from running a long errand just now to find I left the front door open. Not just unlocked, but swung wide to the world. My laptop sat untouched on the living room couch, so it looks like no one stopped by. But I'm still slightly paranoid that someone is hiding in a closet upstairs.

Then I went into the kitchen, only to realize that the oven was on. From when I used it last night.

I half expect that I forgot to take Puppy to the babysitter this morning and he is still sitting upstairs in his crib.

Good grief.

I blame it all on my overworked brain. We've reached the point in the adoption process of making what are--to me--the most difficult choices. Adoption is a deliberate journey, and each step requires decisions that remove possible outcomes in sweeping chunks. Some we made months ago, by virtue of the route we chose: our adoption will be domestic, relatively local, and most likely a voluntary placement of an infant (our agency does handle a small number of involuntary relinquishments and toddler adoptions). Remaining are decisions about age and gender, drug and alcohol exposure, known disabilities, level of openness. Questions of limits.

I'm experiencing a sense of déjà vu as we circle back though the process again. With each new issue I think, "Haven't I had this internal debate before? Haven't we already made this decision?" Of course we have, two years ago as we prepared for Puppy. But we're finding it is not as simple as parroting the choices we made then. We are the same people at our cores, but with a view of ourselves as parents (and as adoptive parents) that is both more sober and more confident. We have moved to a city and state very different from where we were then. Most of all, Puppy is with us now, and deserves to be considered even though he can't yet speak for himself.

My mind is full, pondering those decisions, questioning the ones we've tentatively made. Those thoughts jostle with mental pressures from work and the everyday concerns of my overthinking self. Last night I didn't fall asleep until close to 4:00 a.m., kept up by competing concerns.
I need to write about our choices--mainly for myself, so I literally can sleep at night. When we adopted the first time, I kept these decisions private. I did it to protect my hypothetical child’s privacy, but more so my own. I was loathe to discuss them with anyone who hadn’t ever had to make them. Even within adoption circles, I find they are slightly taboo. We are quick to judge each other, and I am foremost among sinners in that regard.

When we adopted Puppy, there were roughly 350 waiting families at our agency. K and R once told me they looked through about 200 profiles. I sometimes wonder which piece of Puppy’s brief history kept those other 150 profiles from them. Where was the point at which those families drew the line, said they could go no farther? I do not begrudge them those boundaries, if they were drawn with care and honesty. But I wonder. Which small box left unchecked would have kept Puppy and his parents from joining our family?

It is the difficulty of setting limits. Not wanting to keep ourselves from a now-unknown joy, but also not wanting to fail a hypothetical child and his/her parents by walking into a situation we should have known we could not handle. It is not an easy task.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ugh, I remember those little boxes. They have the power to make a girl feel the need to go to confession. Or throw up. Or both. I mean, WHO likes to own up to their own prejudice, insecurity, and fear? And you're right...which box will be your salvation or your doom in building a family?? I feel for you. Get some sleep.

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