Big Adoption Decision and an Imperfect Mom Rant

by Camille on May 21, 2012

I planned to write a nice, non-emotional post sharing information about a big (as in, ginormous) decision that Charlie and I are in the process of making. I planned to calmly ask for your prayers and hopefully gain some insight from any of you who have made similar decisions. However, as usual, things aren’t going the way I planned.

Instead, I’m going to have to share some rather frustrated, furiou– I mean, “spirited” thoughts about the reactions and comments we received when we shared this decision with some people in our lives. I literally have to….or the feelings will continue to swirl through my body in a fuming rage and fly out of my fingers in jagged lighting bolts. I really don’t have time for that kind of ugly in my week, so….

The GINORMOUS Decision

Our agency contacted us recently with the possible opportunity to adopt a six-year-old girl that we’ll call S.

In case you’re wondering, that would bring our kid total to 4….in less than two years. We weren’t seeking another child at this exact moment, and a six-year-old certainly doesn’t fit into the plan we had for the next few years. However, God continues to show us that our plans are generally ridiculous and a waste of time while His plans are more wonderful than we can imagine. Yeah, it seems a little crazy. But adoption seems crazy to some. Ian and Herdest seem crazy to others. But I love my beautiful family, and I’m beginning to trust “crazy” more than the sensible, orderly plans lives typically follow. I mean, check us out. I finally coordinated all our schedules for some updated family photos, and I LOVE them. (Thanks Sacred Moments!)

So, instead of completely dismissing the idea, we’ve committed to prayerfully consider this child as a real possibility for our family. We are praying for God’s clear will….as in a FLASHING NEON SIGN. (If you see one, please let me know immediately.) Nothing is decided at the moment. We still need a lot of details from the agency and ample counseling before we make a final decision. There are a million things to consider (time, stress, Ellie, Herdest, Ian, attachment disorders, schools, schedules, new birth family relationships, where the heck will I put another kid?, etc.), and it may turn out that we’re not the best option for her. But we’ve decided to be open to following where God leads.

REACTIONS FROM PEOPLE I HAVE TO SAY LOTS OF PRAYERS TO KEEP FROM SMASHING LIKE THE HULK!

So, in the process of talking through our thoughts, we’ve decided to slowly share this decision with family and friends. Most have been supportive, some respectfully concerned, and others entirely enthusiastic while offering to play Polly Pockets with the new addition.

However…recently, we shared the information with some people who responded as follows:

1. Complete and total silence. Then, “So, are you infertile? You’re not going to to try in-vitro or something?” 

Dude. First of all….rude! Second, I have more than few blog posts about this subject. I’ve discussed it with you before; after a miscarriage, 4 IUIs, and a few rounds of Clomid, it’s not a big secret. We planned to adopt before the infertility, and our timeline changed.  Now, we know with certainty that adoption is how God plans for us to build our family. Sure, I’ll have a sad moment wondering what it would feel like to be pregnant now and then, but I honestly never wonder about having a “natural” child.  Your facial expressions, tone, and similar comments suggest disappointment–that I should still be seeking to have a “real” baby. My adopted daughter is right over there. See her?! She’s amazing. I NEVER want her to feel that she is somehow secondary. She should never feel like she’s a backup plan to the baby we “really” wanted. She is more than I ever dreamed; more than I deserve. If your comments make me angry, how do you think they might affect her one day? I will go all MAMA-BEAR INSANO NINJA before I let you make her feel less than fabulous, so choose your words carefully if you want to be part of her life.

2. “Why an older child? I mean, what’s the, I hate to say this...inventory on babies? Can you not get a baby?” 

Yup. You read that right. Inventory. Because babies are obviously a commodity to be priced, shelved, and sold to the highest bidder. Word of advice: if you have to preface something with, “I hate to say this…” then you should probably just keep quiet. Could we adopt another baby? Probably. But over the past year, as we’ve learned more and more about various aspects of adoption, we’ve become convicted that God wants us to meet a need.  The AFCARS (Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System Report) of 2010, reports approximately 408, 425 children in the U.S. foster care system. According to AdoptUSKids, more than 20,000 children age out of the foster care system each year without being adopted, and there are 107,000 children currently available for adoption. Why an older child? Because instead of sitting around with idle words of “Oh, this is so sad,” we can take action and be part of a solution. Because we can. Because she needs us.

3. Two children is a lot of work! A six-year-old is so much harder. (Insert self-righteous tone, mocking chuckle, and eye-rolling.) You should go in order and have another baby first. 

I’m not saying that we never want another baby. Mothering a tiny little person is a magical thing, and I’d like to experience it again some day, but it occurred to us from a logistics standpoint, that adding an older child might actually be more feasible right now than adding another baby. I can have two in diapers, strollers, and high chairs that require full attention while bathing, dressing, eating, etc. or I can have one toddler and one child who is old enough to communicate her needs, brush her own teeth, and hopefully, will be content to watch Finding Nemo while I cook dinner rather than hanging on my knee.

Please understand, we’re not under any grand illusions that this will be easy. We’re aware that two small children will be a lot of work. We’re aware that six-year-olds have their own unique needs, demands, and developmental challenges. I’m around several six and seven-year-olds at the community center where I volunteer for several hours a week, and I’ve seen how they can transition from perfectly helpful little angels to uncommunicative, stubborn, mess-making terrors in fractions of a second. No doubt, if we decide to parent this child, we’ll be doing TONS of reading and seeking advice from every source we can find. We’ll enroll in family counseling to help S. with the transition and help us fast-track some advanced parenting skills. We’ll be a mess for awhile, I’m sure, but I haven’t met the couple yet that didn’t experience a few bumps in adding a new family member.

So yeah, two children is a lot of work, but that doesn’t stop people from having more than one biological child. Would you be saying the same thing if I’d announced I were pregnant? And maybe the out-of-order thing isn’t typical, but sometimes, doing things just like everyone else isn’t necessarily the only or best way to go about something.

4. Can your marriage handle this? I mean, I was really disappointed when you went to marriage counseling. 

Disappointed? I’m sorry; I think I misheard you. Did you mean concerned, perhaps? Or proud? Because counseling means we were actively trying to improve something rather than living in pretend, pretty unicorn land and faking perfection. To all those married people who have ever been to counseling to work on your perfectly imperfect marriages: I’m PROUD of you! Congratulations for doing the work to have a healthy relationship. Kudos to you for not ignoring problems until they drive you irrevocably apart. You are normal, and you are awesome!

I wrote HERE before about the time a year or so ago that we decided to do marriage counseling for a few months. Years ago, I would have felt ashamed or embarrassed to tell you about that part of our lives. Now, I couldn’t care less who knows. We go to counseling occasionally. Every now and then…it’s our thing. We’re both passionate, highly-opinionated people, and sometimes, we like an objective listener in problem-solving. We like talking over big decisions such as adoption, building a home, etc. with someone to help us stay focused on communication rather than our own emotions. We’ll probably go to counseling many more times over the years, and contrary to your apparent views, I believe that instead of showing our weakness, it testifies to the strength of our commitment.

5. Can you handle this? (As in, me, personally) I mean…all the cleaning and cooking (insert insinuating tone and eyebrow raise to suggest I don’t handle these things all that well)…I mean, you get stressed out. Based on Experience A, I’m not sure you can handle two….

Oh. no. you . didn’t. I can take a lot of crap, but when you start insulting my parenting skills, you’d better be ready.

Experience A involved caring for another toddler who is approximately seven months older than Ellie for a day or so. Adding little dude, with no forewarning or opportunity to childproof before his arrival, was a bit hectic. I also managed fine to keep them both happy, healthy, well-fed, and moderately clean…so whatever. I don’t really think it’s an apt comparison.

Yes, I do struggle with stress. It’s something God and I work on daily. And you’re right;  I hate cleaning house and probably always will. I’m not a super-fan of cooking either. I’m not perfect in any way….but here’s the deal: Nobody is perfect. Fortunately, perfection isn’t a requirement for being an awesome mom.

To answer the question popular on sensationalized magazine covers lately, “Heck yeah. I’m enough.” Even you cannot help but notice and comment on her intelligence, curiosity, and completely comical embrace of life. Guess what? I’m part of that. I may be impatient sometimes. I may get exasperated, frustrated, and exhausted. But she knows without a doubt that I love her. She knows that I will squeal and do a dance when she “tickles” my knees. She knows that I will never fail to plop into the floor and read her whatever book she’s dragging around. She knows there is safety and comfort in my arms, and when she’s hurt or scared, it’s me she wants.  Because while I’m not perfect,  I am pretty darn good at being Mama.

If we adopt another child, the baseboards will get really dusty (whatever. you know I don’t clean them now anyway.) and you’ll be able to knit a rug from the dog hair accumulated on the carpet. So what. If we adopt another child, we might very well live on Subway and Cheerios for a few months if I need a break from meal-planning. Who cares? And if we adopt another child, I may get really, super stressed out….in which case I will go get a massage while S. and Ellie chill with Nana one day or hire someone to clean my house or eat a Hershey bar or take up aerobics (by which I mean talking about aerobics while sipping a little red vino with a friend on the back patio) or turn up the music really loud and dance with all the kiddos to “That’s Amore” while making our own pizzas or ….I don’t know…maybe, stay up late to write a blog post about people that say ridiculous things.

It’s working so far.

 

 

 

 

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Monika May 21, 2012 at 11:25 pm

Seriously?!? The things some people say. I don’t know you that well at all, but I trust that if God leads you to adopt S, then He’ll open all the right doors and close all the wrong ones. AND…I think you’re a great momma. (Also, I completely agree with counseling being a GOOD thing.)
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Camille May 22, 2012 at 8:28 am

Thanks so much. 🙂 I don’t know you that well either, but I enjoy reading your blog and following you on Twitter. I feel like you’ve taught me many things about another viewpoint and that you present valid points to consider without making me feel attacked for the simple fact of being an AP. We’re continuing to pray for guidance. Have an awesome day!

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Cindy May 22, 2012 at 8:42 am

Never doubt that you are a great parent. Like I have said before you are one of the people I looked to last year when I got pregnant. You and Charlie do this parenting thing well and still have a life. I was so terrified that I would be locked in my house with a baby for 18 years. I think you are a strong woman and can handle just about anything. I am looking forward to playing Polly Pockets, Care Bears, Barbies, Dress Up or whatever else she wants to do if you do this. I love me some dress up!!!

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Camille May 22, 2012 at 10:25 am

Thanks girl! I love you, and I think it’s sweet you think I’m strong when you’re one of the top people I call during my weak moments…so like, every day. 😉 You are an amazing mother, and Sam is the cutest, happiest, most wonderful little guy. I can’t wait until he’s old enough to really give Ellie a run for her money. You do love some dress up, and you’re SO good at it. You know you’re welcome to play here anytime.

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McCall May 22, 2012 at 8:48 am

Camille- I am so sorry that there are such rude people in this world in which we live. However, please remember that YOU are following God’s plan for your life, and HIS opinion is the only one that matters! And the next time someone is rude to you about God’s plan to grow your family, feel free to give them my number. THank you for being the HANDS and FEET of Christ to the people you come in contact with and your children, who could not possibly be more your children if you had birthed them! Birthing a child in no way equates being a parent. I AM SO PROUD OF YOU! 🙂 GOd has blessed me BIG TIME through providing me with such a Godly friend! LOVE YOU! -McCall

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Camille May 22, 2012 at 10:17 am

Thanks so much for the support. 🙂 You inspire me every day with all you share about your life of service and your adventures in motherhood to those two beautiful girls. I’m so glad to be working a Chrysalis with you, and the BIG blessings and love are SO entirely mutual. I know you’re getting some shots later today; I’ll be praying for you! Thanks again.

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Diane May 22, 2012 at 4:18 pm

Camille:
I always said that it was the third child that really “rocked” my world. Once I figured out how to handle three, adding two more siblings just wasn’t that hard. Since you have already quite successfully adjusted to three, I say, “Go For It,” when you are ready.

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Camille May 22, 2012 at 10:25 pm

Hah! Well….since the boys are able to take care of themselves for the most part, I know the time demands are nowhere near what it would be having three small children, but knowing we want a large family, I know I’ll have to make the jump at some point…..so why not be open to now if that’s what God intends? Thanks for commenting, and please pray for us! 🙂

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Carrie Horne May 22, 2012 at 7:38 pm

I say “YOU GO GIRL”. You can’t mess with the Lord and if this is what He has for you and Charlie then if people have rude comments for you, just tell them to take it to God. I had man ask me in a group setting the other day if I wanted to have my own children. The man basically said that I hadn’t prayed enough for God to give me my “own child”. I just don’t have time for people like that, I have a two year old that IS MINE to take care of! Keep the blog going girl. You say what I wish I could put into words!!!!!! Let the crazy peoples comments go in one ear and out on the blog and then let it go, and do what GOD has for you to do!

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Camille May 22, 2012 at 10:20 pm

Thanks girl! I really appreciate the support. I know I should probably just ignore the dumb comments and pray harder for forgiveness and love, but I hope by writing about some of this stuff that someone might think, “Gee. Maybe I shouldn’t say that anymore.” 🙂 And, you know, it makes me feel better.

I love all the pictures you post of Micah SO much; those sweet curls look just like Ellie’s. I hope they get to meet one day. We miss you and Chris so much, but we’ve been SO blessed to find an amazing Sunday school class and group of friends at a local church. They’re like another family. God is SO amazing, and He keeps messing with our lives in these ways I couldn’t have imagined a few years ago. I pray He continues to bring you JOY. 🙂

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Amber June 12, 2012 at 2:30 pm

What is wrong with people?!? I don’t know why the instant you talk about adoption, people have to tell you their horror stories and imagine horror stories for you! It’s really sad.
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Camille June 12, 2012 at 8:37 pm

Thanks for commenting. I discovered your blog through my friend McCall at Finding Our Way, and I loved reading about your open adoption. We have a complicated situation, but we’re committed to openness, and I’m always so grateful to find others advocating for and sharing what can be such a wonderful thing. Have a blessed day!

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Amber June 13, 2012 at 12:41 pm

Thanks, Camille! I love McCall! Had the chance to meet her at Created for Care in March. Were you there? We love open adoption, but do have complications on the bf side and totally understand how difficult it can be. He makes beautiful things out of very difficult things and we love that we can be a part of His plan. Look forward to following your journey!
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