Sunday, March 7, 2010

The million dollar question

Why is it that probably a good 90% of my difficult moments relating to infertility and adoption happen at church?

It was my turn to work in the nursery this morning, and more commonly than not, conversation at some point will turn to babies, who's having babies, who just had a baby, or who will probably soon be having a baby. Pregnancy hormones, labor horror stories, and childbirth scars are all fair game for topics of discussion. I understand that when moms get together, particularly young moms, pregnancy and childbirth does come up at times. I usually just sit quietly and hope for the subject to be changed quickly. Most people know that Sassy was adopted, but it's still an awkward topic for an adoptive mom, as I honestly don't have anything to contribute.

This morning, though, I was dragged into the conversation. I'm sure it was an attempt to make me feel included, but I would have felt better just waiting it out.

Mom #1: "So, are you guys going to be started the proc---"

Me (cuts her off in the middle of the word "process"): "Nope, I'd rather not think about it! I have no idea what we're doing."

Mom #1: "Wouldn't you like to have another baby?"

Me (not interested in explaining the difference between desires and reality): "I'm just really happy with my one kid right now."

Mom #2: "But you don't want them to be too far apart. I know someone who is six years older than their sibling, and they never were very close."

Me: "Oh, I'm not too worried about that yet."

Mom #3: "Well, my kids are all three years apart."

Me: "Maybe I just have a different frame of reference because my next sibling is four years younger than me."

Mom #3: "Really? Are you close?"

Me: "Yes. I'm actually probably even closer with the one who is five years younger than me."

Mom #3: *gives me a dissatisfied look*

Mom #2: "You know, you always think you won't be able to love your second child as much, but you do. I had a few pregnancy scares before I actually ended up being pregnant -- and still got pregnant before I wanted to *laughs* -- and just wasn't excited about that at all. But it all works out in the end."

Mom #1: "Yeah, it's like you can't imagine life any other way now, but once you have another, you won't be able to imagine life any other way then."

Me: "I mean, I know I'd love a second child, but it definitely hard to imagine another loving another child as much as you love your first. It's like -- how can anyone else compare?"

Moms #1, #2, and #3: *smiling, nodding, and giving knowing looks* "You'll be fine! You'd love having a second one!"

Me: "I've always thought how it just won't be the same again, even from when she was a tiny baby."

Mom #1: "Oh, but it is!"

Me: "No, I don't mean about love... I mean about time and attention."

Mom #1: "It really does work out. You really will have enough of everything to go around."

Me: "I mean things like -- when Sassy was a baby, I'd take twenty or thirty minutes just to change her diaper if I wanted to. We'd play or talk or whatever."

Mom #1: "Well... yeah, that DOES change!"

Me: "Even things like Sassy still waking at night sometimes. I'm not ready to be up all night every night again!"

Mom #1: "Yeah. My cousin is an only child, and their reasoning was that her dad didn't think he could love another one as much. When she was a kid, she HATED it. But now as an adult, it's nice because her parents can follow her all around the country when they move and not split their time. She has two boys, and I think her dad now understands what it's like to love two kids. I think he sort of wonders... maybe he could have done it."

Me (getting that the obvious implication here was regret, but not wanting to go down that road with people I'd consider acquaintances): "You know... there's just SO many factors that go into that decision."

Mom #2: "Oh, sure! But you're never really 'ready'... until it happens."

*Another worker brings a young baby into the room, and MY child flocks to see the baby.*

Mom #1 and #2: "See?! She'd be FINE!"

Me: "Yeah... it's ME that I'm worried about though!"

Mom #2: "You'll be FINE! Come on! Have another one! I'm going to talk you into it."

Me (voice shaking): "It's just... I, um... (*getting teary-eyed*) I had a really difficult time bringing Sassy home."

Mom #1 gives me a sympathetic look at this point, and the rest of the room waits for me to divulge as many details as I will.

Me: "It's just, you know... it's tough. I mean... it's taking someone else's child away. I mean, it's not... but it feels like that..."

Mom #1: "But you'd have to think of the good---"

Poor Mom #1. I cut her off for the second time, because I know darn well what was going to be said. Think of the good home you're providing for a baby who needs one. Think of all that she has that she wouldn't have otherwise had. Think of the wonderful Christian home she's now in. Think of what a godly thing adoption is. Think of what her life would have been like if you hadn't intervened.

I couldn't do it. Absolutely never. I couldn't stop the question from coming, but I intercepted it as best I could and spun it in a different direction.

Me: "I know, you think of the end result being that you love your child so much, and you'd go through anything for your child. We talk about this actually, and I know that if it came down to it, I'd have to just push through the initial bad stuff to come out on the other side and be able to love my second child as much as I do Sassy. It's just that... the beginning... it's tough."

I would LOVE to know what anyone else does in situations like these. I try to say the standard line of "We're just happy with one!" and leave it at that, but sometimes, as evidenced by this morning's conversation, that one-liner isn't enough. How can you convey, particularly to a group of people who have NO frame of reference for adoption -- other than it being a "good" thing to do -- the feelings of loss, grief, and hesitation to jump back on the ethics crap shoot? How can you explain, in a relatively brief and somewhat elusive manner, that it's SUCH a multifaceted process? That just because point A leads to point B doesn't mean there aren't eight million microscopic points in between, many of which can carve out a canyon in your soul?

Trying to switch the focus off me a little bit, I asked the only other mom in the room who was parenting an "only" if she got that question a lot, too. She said she was already ten weeks pregnant with her second. Oh. Of course you are.


  1. So sorry, friend. :( I think you were very gracious. I know it doesn't help at all, but I admire you so much, and you have encouraged me more than you will probably ever know. Thank you for helping me see things that I wouldn't otherwise see. <3

  2. Mmmm, wow. I think you handled it really well. I know it's tough. I had an adoptive mom ask if we'd adopt again, and I pretty much tripped over my tonge trying to give an answer. So yeah, I get it. And I'm sorry you can't just have another. But, I'm glad you get it. I've been a bit discouraged out here in blogland lately.

    Anyway, this is busymama, who will be stalking you now that she's found you.


  3. Thanks for the supportive comments, friends. It's so nice to know there are others out there who think like you do.

    Michelle, I had a laugh at your "stalking" comment! I already stalk you through Google Reader. Haha :)

    I *heart* you both!

  4. Not sure exactly how I found your blog. But I am a Birthmother of 20 years and I get this post. I get it. I'm going to keep reading.