Friday, March 11, 2005

Painful procrastination

So I'm dawdling about in my various email accounts instead of working on the conference paper I'm supposed to give next week (the argument of which I have recently realized is dangerously close to being complete and utter CRAP) and I come across one of the heartbreaking messages about an adoptable child whose placement has fallen through. This child has several special needs—one minor and correctable, one long-term and scary—but she's only four fucking years old and she needs a family, goddammit. But a baby is not a bunny (last week's "rescue" mission, and happy to report she's thriving), and my husband assures me that unlike cats, children can't be cared for in packs by merely dumping an extra portion in the food bowl. With all that is going on in our lives, we can't even look into a second child.

One of the things we were supposed to learn in our pre-adoption classes was to respect other people's reproductive choices. I couldn't imagine that I would have any problem with that. Motherhood was something I didn't really long for for much of my life, and I had No Freaking Idea how much it would undermine my basic assumptions (stupid? me? yes, I was). But now I see something like this, or hear any discussion about the wasteland of foster care and older child adoption in this country, and I just do Not Understand why everyone isn't adopting. I still sincerely subscribe to the idea and practice of respect for others' choices, but I have to say that I no longer fully comprehend them. I can't look at my daughter without thinking about what her life might have been--what life is like for all those children as smart, funny, and beautiful as she is who fail to find a family, and who live their whole lives without knowing that they are the center of someone's universe. I didn't used to say or feel sappy shit like this, but now I do. All the time. And I hate it. I know that only people who really want to should adopt, and I know that people have very personal responses to the idea of creating a family that way. But I want to show the whole world my daughter and say "This. This. is the best little girl on the planet and there is no F-ing way she could be any more 'mine' than she is right now. What are you waiting for? Adopt! Think of it as a pregnancy you can drink during!"


At 8:30 PM , Blogger bitchphd said...

Yes... well, I keep thinking about that, actually. You never know.

At 8:56 PM , Blogger timna said...

we also think about this quite a lot. esp since the next one we wanted kept getting postponed during the diss years.

At 11:38 PM , Blogger Terminaldegree said...

Although I can certainly respect other peoples' choices to have biological children (and I'm rather grateful to my own folks for doing so!), it breaks my heart every time I hear about Chinese orphans stuck in orphanages...while wealthy Americans spend thousands on fertility treatments.

I plan on adopting from China, too, as soon as I'm earning enough money to support a child, and for China and an adoptiona agency to consider my application. (And I'd like to find a job with health insurance benefits, too...)

At 8:49 AM , Blogger Dorcasina said...

Oh god. All of you--do it if at all possible. we love what we call bio-babies, too (my ranting here aside), but if my husband and i never accomplish another thing in this life, we are on the side of the angels in this. and from a purely selfish standpoint, our daughter is amazing. just amazing. the $$ seems a big hurdle, but we nickel-and-dimed it, and used a re-fi for some of the rest. plus we have incredibly generous family members...

and there are plenty of kids in the US and elsewhere who need homes, as of course you all know.

At 3:01 PM , Blogger Terminaldegree said...

I want to, I want to. But right now I just can't. The money isn't there for a child. I live in an urban area and make, in a good year, about $25K. And I receive NO benefits at work. By the time I pay health insurance, retirement, and rent, there's NOT much left over. I've done the math, and by the time I would pay for daycare and health insurance for a child, my child and I would be eating nothing but Ramen and living in a studio apartment! I'd never be able to afford college tuition at this rate. So my daughter is going to have to wait a little longer. (I'm applying for every teaching job on the market...)

It just kills me to have to wait. Luckily I don't have student loans, or my dream of being mamma would never happen at all.

At 5:10 PM , Blogger Dorcasina said...

I hear you, terminaldegree. And I don't mean to preach to the choir, or to put additional pressure on--I do know firsthand about the economic essentials for raising a child (plus, if it helps, the Chinese gov't has stringent requirements--they help decide when we're "ready"). I hope you get the economic security you need SOON--and I have to say that my adoption has confirmed for me all those sappy things about how events happen for a reason, and according to some plan. My husband was diagnosed with cancer while we were processing our adoption, and yet we continued on. Our daughter is just the musical bookworm we might have bred ourselves, only with a joyful interior life that neither of us had (or has now) or could have passed along to her. So you'll be there for the right baby, at the right time.

I've just found that motherhood has made what was once an emotional and philosophical choice (adoption) into this great big howling need to do more to help more kids. I'm in a lot of pain right now over the ones I can't help because of my husband's health and our own financial situation. Just hoping those, too, will turn around.


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