Friday, May 18, 2012

Can't? Or Won't?

Some gentle readers of the Loquat may remember back to a long, long time ago when this was an adoption blog. Times sure have changed since then. Our adoption experience was a terrible disaster: We watched our agency basically fall apart, I got cold feet about the whole thing, and finally we chose to end the adoption because Chris hated his job and we didn't feel like we should bring kids into that stressful situation. A few months later, we found out about my mental illness and I was put on meds, effectively ending any chance we had at an international adoption.

That was four years ago--wow. Times really do change. Chris and I settled into being a family of two and were well on our way to making that permanent. Our childless choice could be perceived as selfishness and occasionally was. But it definitely shaped us into who we are now: As we rapidly approach our thirties, we've lost the naive idealism that drove us four years ago. We've been on vacations. We've enjoyed being alone. We've relished being able to keep sharp knives in unlocked drawers. They say that every infertile couple should consider being a family of two seriously before launching themselves into an adoption, and I wholeheartedly agree with that: Love the bejeebers out of each other for a time. Be "selfish". Grow a little older and wiser. Revel in the amazingness that is marriage and consider never turning back.

I didn't want to turn back.

Until I read this: "Where is the mommy-war for the motherless child?"

Like I said, I was hopelessly naive and idealistic during our adoption attempt. I wanted to save the world. Just how I planned to do that by adopting a set of five-year-old twins (one of whom was blind) is beyond me. We moved on, and while I can't speak for my husband I know I've certainly moved past that youthful idealism. So what is it about adopting from foster care that keeps luring me back? It's not guilt--guilt is a terrible motivator. I think it's a sense of injustice. Eighteen-year-olds who put themselves on photolistings in a desperate attempt to find a family can't not make one sad. A child who isn't getting adopted because all the families in a Christian agency don't want a black child can't not make one infuriated. I have friends who've adopted successfully from foster care--why not me?

I've got the predictable excuses: The first attempt at adoption was too traumatic. No agency will take a person who's mentally ill (this is actually something I need to verify). But whenever I'm faced with adopting from foster care, I always ask myself if I really can't do it or if I just don't want to. I guess I just don't want to, and I'm beginning to realize that I can't say that's not selfishness. But now I think I'm ready to help--not in a save-the-world, over-idealistic kind of way, but in a real, tangible way. Starfish theory. "It mattered to that one."

The local college radio station plays PSAs for AdoptUSKids, and there's one that particularly cracks me up: It starts with a new mother saying, "I know more about throwing a luncheon for ten than I do about making lunch for a 10-year-old." It ends with her pondering whether or not she can make mac-n-cheese with brie. I always liked this PSA because I don't know a darn thing about feeding a child, but I'm pretty sure mizuna is off the menu. Still, here's the plan: Once Chris is done with nursing school, we'll apply to do respite care. When he's finished his BSN, we'll apply to adopt. Scary, I know--but it feels like the right thing to do.

I guess this is another one of my self-righteous, navel-gazy posts, but it is my blog and I can say what I want on it.


bre said...

Bravo Chandler. We are adopting a family member from foster care. Its terrifying, but we honestly can't let her go into the system. The foster family she is with now, has 6 kids (and two moms).. they can't keep her. We honestly had never intended to become a part of the foster program, but how can we not, now knowing the need. As a church we talk about rescuing people from prostitution, drugs, etc, but what if we can circumvent that? The bible calls us to care for widows and orphans. And we need to. Respite care is so desperately needed as well- you have to be cleared to care for foster children, and most people don't realize there is a need. I am so thankful for people like you willing to do that!

StacyandChad said...

How you've inspired me to look into this as well. I just wish my dear hubby would get on board as well. I'll be praying for you as you begin this journey!

LSB said...

I'll be praying with you all the way. You have a good plan. Work toward it.