This post is not meant to offend anyone. The views and concerns expressed here are my own observations, and are not neccessarily proper, politically correct, or even things that should be said out loud. It is simply my opinion on what I have noticed when placed into a situation I really don't want to be involved in. Take it for what it is worth...
A few weeks ago, I found out that my best friend's sister was pregnant. It is not my place to share her situation, or her background with the rest of the bloggy world, but let's just say it's not good. After finding out that she was already five months, and that abortion was not a choice, she has decided to go the adoption route. So they came to me. Like I am an expert....lol. All I know are the blogs and the viewpoints, and the phone numbers, and the sites. I don't know anything about adoption as it relates to her...just as she knows nothing about adoption as it relates to me. But here I am, trying to help her navigate the path less taken...and now I am going to share my discoveries.
When I was pregnant, and starting my adoption journey, I did not have access to the internet. I did not spend hours searching profiles one by one trying to find "the perfect pair". You know my story...a lot of frustration, a well placed Craigslist Ad, and love at first sight is what brought me to my adoptive parents. I never looked at their "little book" or saw them on Parent Profiles...I simply knew. And for the most part it has worked out.
But this....this is different. For a lot of reasons. My involvement in help T* find baby parents is limited to referrals really. I have been making the connections on various sites, passing along profiles of what I thought seemed to be good people. There is an amazing couple who has already been blessed through adoption that I really liked, and another one whom have had two failed placements. I cannot imagine their suffering, and I made her look at them twice...and wanted to make her pinky swear if she picked them she wouldn't change her mind. But what I have to tell myself over and over again is that this is not my decision...it is what's best for her and her unborn little one.
As a side note...I don't personally understand the moms who change their mind at the last minute. There is nothing wrong in them doing that...it's a given right. And I would never fault someone for changing their mind. It is, after all, THEIR child. I just don't understand it. When I saw my littlest one be born, I wanted her with my whole soul. My whole body and heart said "keep her..keep her..keep her..." but my head stepped in and reminded me that my heart would never change the circumstances surrounding my decision to place. Short of a shiny glass slipper or three magical beans...nothing was going to change that. But now I am off on another tangent.
My point of this post was to talk about "Best Behaviour" and how I think it relates to adoption. I have mentioned before that I feel it ridiculous that there are so many hoops that adoptive parents have to jump through, and after looking at a hundred different profiles in the last week...I feel even stronger about that. This is not a "pity for adoptive parents" post any more so than it is a "woe is me-the birthmom" post. Its just my views on all of the craziness that I have noticed.
I obviously don't understand infertility. I have had 5 children, and seem to be immune to birthcontrol. If my husband stands too close to me and the wind is blowing in the right direction, I get pregnant. For me...that is a curse of sorts. But I am aware that there are so many who would gladly trade places with me. The grass is always greener...My mother had three children, so no fertility problems there. My younger brother, on the other hand, has an almost zero sperm count, and combined with the medical issues his wife has, they will probably never have children. My younger sister is also infertile. She had poly ovarian something or other, and her doctors are totally convinced she will never have children. My brother is broken over their news, while my sister rejoices. I guess it's different for everyone. What bothers me, is that I can get pregnant as many times as I want and it wouldn't matter if I was a terrible person. I made them...I can keep them. There are people who have babies to keep troubled relationships together...there are babies made from crazy drunken one-night-stands...all of these people and all of these babies. I cannot imagine the frustration that these infertile women go through.
And then when they decide to try adoption...my god! Its like a Salem Witch hunt. I am not saying that some type of homestudy or background check shouldn't be done...but the extremes to which it goes just irritates me to no end. But again...I am off track.
What I have noticed in all of these profiles are some very similar themes. Now, I don't know if there are "requirements or elements" that have to be satisfied in these, but they all feature pretty much the same things. I am sure that the point of the profiles is to showcase themselves at their very best, perhaps to fufill the "picture perfect, fairy tale ending" for a baby in order to attract a birthmom. Nice house, nice cars, always tons of hobbies, and I notice that these profiles always mention that they live in a "fantastic school district". There is always the charming "About Us" story, where they met and fell in love at first sight. And then there are the crazy pictures of the couple with random kids...nieces, nephews, neighbours...and always at some fantastic place like Disneyland or the ocean, or a big carnival. And then finally...my personal favorite...the "About Husband from the Wife" and vice versa section. Sometimes I just shake my head and thank God I will never have to do that. I cannot imagine the stress and the frustration that must come in having to think all that up.
I never looked at L* & M*'s "little book". Looking back, and realizing how much effort probably went into it, I often wonder if that upset them. I told them from the start that I was more interested in seeing pictures of them after they had been wide awake and unshowered for three days. Or dragging all of those "nieces, nephews, and neighbour's kids" through Wal-Mart at 9 p.m. to do grocery shopping on a budget. Or when they were busting at the seams from a cold and a migraine, and still having to get up at 7a.m. to try and find a missing shoe or a homework packet. I wanted to know that they fought like normal people from time to time, and that they didn't have white furniture, and that their house could get messy. I secretley hoped that they too had to deal with a crazy ex wife, or anything that would make them more real. Even after telling them that, they ALWAYS maintained their "Best Behaviour". But why...? They knew I was giving them a child...they knew I would not change my mind...and they knew I just wanted them to be normal people who would love this baby more than they loved themselves. But the plastic facade remained. And it is currently sitting in thousands of hopeful couples profiles. Personally...I think its bullshit. I understand the logic...but I still think its bullshit.
If I had ever been infertile...I would have lived a completely childless life. Very truly. I would never be able to jump through the hoops, and the red tape. I met my husband at work, while he was going through the world's nastiest divorce, and it took months to decide I loved him enough to deal with the baggage that came with him. I LIVE in Walmart...truly, I am there every day. Target is too rich for my blood. I don't run off to the zoo or an aquarium with a bunch of kids when I have free time. As for hobbies...yeah right. I have them...but NEVER have the time to actually do them. I work and work and work. My house is not a trainwreck, but it is very well lived in. I would not pass a white glove test...ever. My house isn't even child proofed, unless you consider two cupboard latches. If I had to sit down and write a 500 word essay on what I think of my husband it would probably include that he is intelligent, and dedicated, and has a great sense of humor. But somewhere in there, it would have to say, "He may be an ass...but he's MY ass!". And as far as him writing about me....I can only imagine. Its not that we aren't a strong couple who loves each other come what may...It's simply that we do not know how to "put on the show". And thankfully, we do not have to.
I always read about open communication, and honesty being key in balancing successful open adoptions. I also read about all of the birthmoms who had terrible experiences after the communication and honesty stopped. After reading a particularly sad story about that the other night, I had a rare opportunity to talk with my husband about all of this. "Adoption" is almost as bad of a word to him as "Yankees", and generally he won't talk about it.
I was talking about all of the "plasticness" and his views were interesting to hear. While I don't neccessarily agree, he did make some good points. He pointed out that perhaps some aparents...after spending years going to classes and homestudies, and books, and pass along cards, and pitying looks from others...maybe they can't help their actions. Maybe after having so many people so far up in their business, and all of the money it takes to get through the process...maybe it is just human nature to take the baby and run. Maybe they feel that they have "paid their dues" and that they experienced mountains of paperwork and red tape as their "labor"...while all I had to do was get an epidural, six little pushes, and then take a nap. He wasn't making excuses for those aparents that cut off their birthmom's...he was simply playing Devil's Advocate with me. But perhaps there is some truth in that.
I have mentioned before that I wish my aparents were involved in the adoption community. I understand that they "just want to be parents", and while I can't really fault them for it, the fact still remains that their story would probably provide some inspiration to other hopeful adoptive parents. I LOVE their story (though I may be very biased because I played such a big part in their "happiest ending available") and am so sorry and frustrated that they keep it so quiet. While they did not have an easy journey to get to me...once we connected, it was pretty much "smooth sailing" for them. I fought with doctors, nurses, ultrasound techs, social workers, any and everyone who ever tried to make L* & M* feel like outsiders. I let them have as much involvement as they wanted, reassuring them if I needed to. It took hours of pep talks and dozens of emails from me before they finally loosened up enough to go buy a crib and start preparing to become parents. I was low key, and low maintanence as far as birthmom's go. I sacrificed my own needs to ensure theirs were met when it came to the birth and the bonding. I did not stop the placement. I let them experience as much as they could, since I had already. I personally feel like I should get a gold star for being such a "problem free" tummy mummy.
But even after becoming parents, there is still some of that "best behaviour" on display. I don't get many pictures or emails from them now, and never any phone calls or texts (which I would love), but when they do come...its always all of the wonderful things that are happening with her, and a "thank you" for giving them the baby. Almost a year after placement, I don't really want "thank you's" anymore. I just want to know what is going on. I want to know if L* still has time to go to the gym 4 days a week. I want to know if M* is going to be able to see a spring training game or if they'll have to stay home because of the baby. I want to know if they "feel" like they are really her parents, or if they feel like substitutes. I wish that they would push the facade away long enough to realize that whats done is done, and I would really just like to be their friends. Not their daughters birthmom...just their friends. I would like to see a game together. I would like to go shopping with L* one day. Have a drink or a dinner. Anything that shows we are two sets of very real people who have had very real struggles in life, but are overcoming them and moving on.
This post is beginning to frustrate me, because it has branched off in 10 different directions, and now in between the kids and the three days I have been working on it here and there, I have lost my original point. I guess its just to say that its ok to just be who you are, and its far better than trying to be perfect all of the time. We are humans, whether BMom, AMom, Mom, sister, wife, or child.
If they can't love you at your worst...they don't deserve to love you at your best.