January 09, 2008

I Didn't Expect It to Be So Hard

We met with Ms B and an agency counselor yesterday to go over our open adoption agreement and her birth/hospital plan.

We've had a string of house guests and social obligations, and I hadn't put too much thought into the meeting. Not that I was blowing it off; it was obviously important. But we have a good base of honesty with Ms B and have talked enough to know that we're on the same page about our expectations for openness. I expected to drive down, enjoy some time with Ms B, hash out some details, and go home. We had done this once before, after all; we are adoption veterans. Ha.

But it wasn't easy, at all. Not because we had major disagreements, although we did have to work to consensus on a few things. It was just super emotional and draining. I think the reality of this adoption has been hitting each of us in different ways. By the time we were talking about leaving the hospital, I was reaching for the tissue. (I wasn't the first one to tear up, but those are other people's stories, not mine.)

As the due date approaches, everything seems to grow larger. Forgive the lame image, but imagine all the emotions of adopting as soap bubbles. Until recently, they were wee little bubbles on my mental landscape. One would float up from the depths of my heart, dance around in the breeze and occupy my attention for awhile, then--pop--it would be gone. A bubble of excitement here, a bubble of concern there. But now the bubbles are larger and more frequent. They hang longer in the air, jostling with each other for space. As my joy at the prospect of another child grows, so does my heartache for Ms B. There are bubbles of affection for Ms B, bubbles of anger at her circumstances, bubbles of frustration at ethical obstacles, bubbles of gratefulness for the support we each have, bubbles of love for Baby B, bubbles of sadness for us all.

With all the talk about Juno in the air, I've been thinking lot about the persistent cultural idea that, (spoiler?) with the right combination of pluck and detachment, a woman can sail through relinquishment unscathed and go off into the sunset with her new boyfriend and her guitar. Sometimes adoptive parents are accused of fostering that idea for our own self-interest, enabling us to bury our heads in the sand and imagine adoption as sunshine and roses. No doubt that is partly true. But I think sometimes we misguidedly cling to it out of sincere concern for our children's mothers, these women we have come to love. We desperately want it to be true for their sake, as if by believing we can spare them the heartache.

I'm sure I'll see Juno someday, maybe I'll even enjoy it. But yesterday I sat with a real-life woman who is neither snarky nor detached. And as much as I want to believe that this won't hurt as much as she fears, my heart is breaking because I think it will.

This is not at all where I intended this post to go. There are other things I wanted to say about yesterday (good things, really), but that will have to wait. R arrives tomorrow (yay!) and there is much to be done to get ready.


GLouise said...

Ah, thank you for writing this.

mama2roo said...

ah, you're doing the work that needs to be done. And work is hard. Be proud that you care enough for all this to hurt a little.


Munchkin's Mom said...

I don't have words to make everything easy or make sense. I just want to say that I'm proud of you for talking about this and working through it all. Kudos.

Corey~living and loving said...

A very emotional post. and it really touched my heart. Reading about your process really opens my eyes, and helps me be a more empathetic person. thank you!

AJS said...

Your analogy of the bubbles is excellent. Although the emotions stink sometimes, I am glad you have them...it means this isn't just an easy transaction, but a life changing event for many people.

inconceivablejourney said...

wow, this is really lovely. I am nowhere near this place, but your words bring it home to me. This is certainly something I have given pause to but not in such a tangible way as you have here.

JJandFive said...

You are such a good writer.
Those bubbles are soooo relatable, I'm teary-eyed reading this.

luna said...

I can already feel this, and we're not even there. Love the bubbles analogy. Thanks for this one.

Hilary said...

Just discovered your blog. Thank you for saying all the things that I don't know how to say.

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