"You do care," said Dumbledore. He had not flinched or made a single move to stop Harry demolishing his office. His expression was calm, almost detached. "You care so much you feel as though you will bleed to death with the pain of it."
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
I've reached this point with this adoption. I feel like throwing a tantrum. People, very kindheartedly, ask me how it's going and I roll my eyes and growl out an answer (and I DO want them to ask.) I'm so tired of it. I'm so tired of the wait and the "hard" and I just WANT IT OVER. Sometimes, I worry that I am beginning to sound like I don't care very much anymore but the truth is that I care so much that I feel overwrought by it.
(In fact, in each of my three pregnancies I reached the moment, at around 7 months, where I was overwhelmed and "done" with being pregnant. I called it the "Just GET IT OUT" phase. I am so there. I am so done with this process. I just want to go to China, pick up my daughter, come home, and get used to our new "normal.")
Several things have surprised me about this process. People's reactions for one - "Why?!" or "I wish I could do that" (um, then do it) or "Saint!" or "Villain!"
People have such intense opinions about adoption.
(I was surprised to find that the terms "Gotcha Day" and "paper pregnancy" are offensive to some people, they're not to me, I find them accurate. For that matter, International Adoption is very controversial in some circles - in fact, I just read where someone had left another hateful post saying "International Adoption is nothing but brokering babies" on my agency's homepage. Good grief! Yeah, that'd be why there are so many of those babies -and older kids- in orphanages <sarcasm>. Do these people do ANY research, any at all? I just sorta roll my eyes and resist the urge to punch the computer.)
I think it's partly because, until recently, adoption was sort of a taboo subject and so we aren't really equipped with the quick "right" responses. Adoption forces us out of our comfort zones and not everyone is really good at dealing with that. It's also because we all have our own assumptions, there is a way that we view adoption primarily because of our own experiences in life. Adoption challenges us on some base levels -our preconceptions about childhood and parenthood, our belief structure about our rights as individuals, the sanctity of relationships, the grief and the joy surrounding giving birth or not being able to, the rights that we have to parent or not to parent, all are brought into focus.
And, when your basic preconceptions are challenged, the real you - the romantic, the cynic, the lover, the self-imposed martyr, the healthy, the hurt- it all comes bubbling to the surface. Sometimes, it spews. I have been in the line of direct fire, a few times. (I probably will be again. We will be a "trans-racial family." People will look at us and struggle to "do the math" - I know that they will because I do it too, whenever I see a family that does not fit the norm. But, some people's mouths get away from them as their brains "do the math.") The truth is that every adoption, every motivation, every parent, every childhood, is different. You just can't put stereotypes on that.
One of the other things that I really wasn't prepared for was JUST how very much this has felt like a pregnancy. Obviously, I'm not physically pregnant but emotionally and mentally? Oh, man!
I've been pregnant and given birth three times. They were all the same and all not the same, in so many ways. This is no different. I love Q-Boo with a fierce love, just like I loved all my babies before they were born. They'd move inside of me and I would just be overcome with emotion. The same is true with her, she "moves" inside of my heart and I am overcome with love and a real, almost tangible, need for her. She is only pictures and some information on my computer, right now, but she's mine just as much as if she were jutting out from my belly, turning my insides to mush, and I want her. Desperately.
(I do not discount her birth mother's place in the story. Q-Boo's birth mother made the choices that she made - she grieved, she decided, she did what she could do. I am not responsible for those choices. I can only make the choices that are before me to make. Her birth mother gave life to Q-Boo and, for that, I will always be grateful but I will be who makes it possible for Q-Boo to thrive in that life. We both are her mothers and it does a disservice to Q-Boo to try to distinguish between the two of us. Let us love her, let her love us. And, if you have a cranky opinion, please just keep it to yourself. You really haven't earned the right to have one, anyway.)
Every pregnancy is a promise...that could be broken. Not all pregnancies come to term, we've all heard the horror stories. Adoption is no different, there are horror stories there also. I am terrified of this "pregnancy" miscaring. I try to think of my life without Q-Boo and it scares me - she's changed who I am just like any child changes a parent.
(One lady actually asked me, "Are you sure it'll all work out?" Seriously, why didn't she just poke all my fleshy parts with a fork?)
Oh, yes. I have feared and worried and been excited and been stressed, been thrilled and terrified and fallen in deep love, been emotional and nested (and nested and nested and STILL nesting.) I have labored and worked and been sick. I have prepared and researched and decided. I have committed myself to the path that is before me. Yes, to me, it feels like a pregnancy in every way.
C'mon labor and delivery!