Disembark here for an adoptive mama’s take on the book, The Kid, by Dan Savage. It’s part of the Barren Bitch’s Book Brigade.
“Every meeting begins with someone dragging in a baby that could’ve been theirs.” Does this scene reflect your experience with infertility or adoption support groups? Do you think that the presentation of the “success story” is truly morale-boosting? What does the experience of the older waiting couple say about the guaranteed nature of adoption?
Oh, yes it’s morale-boosting. Actually, it was this little ploy (the happy late-30s couple with their 10-week-old baby at the agency orientation) that convinced us adoption was a more travellable road than more IF treatments. We realized that it was likely that if we were good people, we’d become parents. Seemed so much easier than that spiteful witch that is Fertility.
The last part of our homestudy was Adoption School. We attended with 5 other couples for a very intimate, soul-baring 3 days. Within a year or so, all 6 of us couples had become families, and we got together for a party. I had this image of Adoption Roulette: could these 6 babies really have familied-up in any other configuration? Could we have ended up with that one, and could Bill and Kris have ended up with Tessa? How much was chance and how much was destiny? A painful thought, not ending up with our daughter.
I wouldn’t call adoption “guaranteed.” But I do like the odds. Like IF, it’s not for the faint of heart. Here’s the big difference as I see it: in IF, you get to DO a lot. There is an illusion that you have some measure of control, in the process if not the outcome. In adoption, once you go through all the hoops, all you can do is ALLOW things to happen — the opposite of doing.
In hindsight, I think that was a pretty good lesson for a control freak like me.
Dan Savage comes to truly appreciate doing an open adoption. He states that seeing Melissa’s pain and feeling the pain of their separation “drove home the logic of open adoption, its absolute necessity.” How do you feel about open adoption? Did reading Savage’s book influence your feelings?
I, too, am a believer. I’ve been in our open adoptions for 6 and 4 years now, and it works well for us. I agree with the logic when the baby is placed as a loving, conscious decision by firstparents. We are thrilled to have our children’s firstmothers in our lives, as you can tell in my other adoption-related posts. We think it’s healthy for our children (but we won’t know for sure for another decade-plus), we know it’s better for their firstmothers and for us.
Savage states, “Fertile couples have complete autonomy”. No one is checking their background before they can be a parent. How have you dealt with the loss of autonomy, whether through fertility testing or home study scrutiny?
We got fingerprinted to make sure we weren’t on a List of Very Bad People. We took a marriage test and scored pretty well. We separately answered nearly 40 essay questions, and we each wrote a 5-page autobiography. We got three friends to say (hopefully) nice things about us on a confidential form. We dug up and copied recent tax returns. We requested credit histories and had physicals. We asked our fertility clinic to write a letter on our behalf. We went to the DMV for copies of our driving records. We spoke individually and as a couple to our social worker. We attended Adoption School. We summarized our lives in an adoption profile.
Two years later, we did it all again (as if our fingerprints might have changed!)
You can’t help but think that if all people had to go through all this before becoming parents, there would be a baby bust just for the hassle-factor.
How did we deal with it? Actually, the DOing was easy. The WAITing wasn’t.
It stank, but I wasn’t going to let that stand between me and motherhood.
Hop along to another stop on this blog tour by visiting the main list at http://stirrup-queens.blogspot.com/. You can also sign up for the next book on this online book club: Love, and Other Impossible Pursuits by Ayelet Waldman (with author participation!).