Saturday, April 9, 2011

Happy, Busy, Sad

I am so grateful for how I am feeling these days. SERIOUSLY. 2011 had a bit of a rough beginning for me, what with a few months of first trimester misery (unexpected misery, no less) and then a round of illnesses. I am 19 weeks pregnant now and feeling so, so much better that it's hard to even describe. I feel like the past few months were this dismal fog when I was just barely functioning, and now I feel SO ALIVE. It is so wonderful to feel quasi-normal and to enjoy food and to face a new day without dread about how bad I feel. It is also so wonderful to catch up on all the details of life that have fallen by the wayside in the meantime, all the projects and paperwork and details of family life that got pushed to the side because I just couldn't handle it. We organized and de-cluttered the garage! I took Grace to a belated 5-year check-up! I made Rob take the Texas registration stickers off the cars with a hair dryer and a razor blade! I dusted!

I think part of my new-found motivation to deal with ALL the things is hormonally-induced crazed nesting. Isn't it a little early for that? And does this whole phenomenon seem weird to anyone else? I would never argue against the reality of the nesting instinct but it seems very strange to me that some cocktail of hormones can make me want-- no, NEED to organize the closets and replace yucky old outlets with bright shiny new outlets and file all the papers. It makes more sense to me that something biochemical could make someone, say, intensely bond with a new baby or want to have sex; those things seem more basically biological to me. But brain chemicals that produce an intense need to repaint a room? Weird.

Among other details that have recently been taken care of, Grace is all registered for kindergarten now. We ended up registering her at our neighborhood school. We still haven't heard back if she got one of the coveted ELP spots (we won't until May) but I think even if she does, we will stick here close to home. This is partly because I totally bailed on all the open houses and information sessions for the ELP magnet schools (I. just. couldn't.) and thus I have no basis on which to make a decision. And it is partly because I think walking her to school and having her there for half-day kindergarten will be better for her and me. And it is partly because I think Grace will do absolutely fine in a mainstream classroom, especially for kindergarten, given her personality and sociability and whatnot. Anyway, I gathered up her paperwork and vaccination records and birth certificate and copies of utility bills (our neighborhood school is considered very desirable so they are apparently pretty serious about establishing where exactly you live) and took them over to the little school. Now we shall see if she ends up in a morning or afternoon kindergarten. At first, I was going to request a morning one because that seems much more normal and I am pretty sure that if she is an afternoon one, we will just putter about every morning and not get dressed and never get anything accomplished in the mornings. But then I remembered that I would have a NEWBORN BABY this fall and I thought maybe that wouldn't be such a bad thing. It's not like you get anything done with a newborn baby anyway, and slow mornings with nowhere to be until noon following rough nights don't sound that terrible. Plagued with indecision, I ended up at "Eh, whatever," and have decided to let God pick. I say this half-jokingly because I am pretty sure that's not how God normally works and that he is not a crystal ball to which you can abdicate decision-making responsibility, but on the other hand, I do believe in a God who is loving and caring and personally involved in our lives.

I haven't talked much about adoption plans recently, and that is largely because we haven't really decided anything. Our background checks are still out being checked so we haven't had to tell the adoption agency exactly what we want to do yet.  Once those come back, we will be approved prospective adoptive parents and would normally then be put on the active list and our profile shown to prospective birthmothers and so forth. We are leaning away from doing that right now. It turns out that what we were contemplating has an official name-- it's called "artificial twinning", siblings who are not biologically related who are less than nine months apart in age. And it turns out that it is generally frowned on, for a lot of good reasons. I found this article especially compelling, although obviously bits of it do not apply to our situation. Supposedly it is harder than having biological twins because the two babies are not ever at the same developmental stage; the difference between a 3-month-old and an 8-month-old is HUGE, as I have definitely experienced, and it would be really hard to meet both of those babies' needs at the same time. Our parenting style definitely comes into play here; I really want to be able to, you know, hold my baby a lot and wear my baby in a sling while chasing around the older ones and be able to do the non-stop nursing that most newborns need/want. If the situation had been different and we were pushed into an artificial twinning situation (i.e. I'd become unexpectedly pregnant after being matched with a birthmother or right after a new baby was placed with us or something) then I think we would have embraced it and dealt with the challenges and I'm sure been glad that we'd gone down that road. Choosing to do this in a more deliberate way gives us pause, though. And since we are looking at adopting a mostly healthy newborn, these babies are going to get adopted by someone; the wait time at our agency for African-American babies is 3-6 months, not 1 week. Don't get me wrong-- I think there is a significant need for families open to adopting a child of color (exhibit A: our agency's wait time for white babies is 9-12 months) but what I am saying is that the need for parents is not so dire that us choosing not to adopt this year means a baby will go without a family.

So what does this all mean? I am pretty sure that we are not going to go on the active list when our approval comes in.  This makes me sad sad sad. Will we update our paperwork in a year or two and come back to this? I honestly don't know. We'd always pictured ourselves with three kids, and four sounds like a LOT. Also, a family of 2 white biological kids + 1 black adopted kid seems not too unbalanced, while changing the ratio to 3 to 1 seems different to me. Right now I feel less sure that we'll adopt than I have EVER, like since we got married, and this too makes me sad sad sad. On the other hand, I think Rob and I have realized how much we do desire to adopt through this experience, so maybe we'll reevaluate in 2012 or 2013? No doors are certainly closed (except the door to more biological children, which we are going to CLOSE) so we will see. In the meantime, I will comfort myself from feeling sad about not adopting this year with the very great happiness of getting ready for a different kind of new baby. And also, getting some chickens.


Ree said...

Are you really getting chickens? Or is that a nesting joke? :)

And so sorry to hear about the sadness... Letting go of a dream is hard, even if you're not sure it's forever. On the other hand, 4 doesn't seem like much to me at all. :D Whatever you decide, I'm sure it will be just right! Love you friend!

Carlie said...

No path ends without another one beginning. SO sorry that you're facing a new story and not the one you dreamed...I hope the new one is far better than anything you could have worked up.

Yeah on the hormones that make you paint being weird! So freaky. I could use a bottled dose of that right much house rehab to do and so little motivation. Don't wanna be pregnant though so I think the hormone alone would be perfect.

And chickens??? WoohoO! What kind? Can't wait to see that happen!

Eva said...

The good news is that you are bringing another person to the world who should be as kind as you and Rob are. Even if your plans were different, it is good for the world to have more kind people.

And speaking of hormones, those things are great. I'm sure they will help you cope with the sadness once the new baby arrives.