Friday, August 1, 2008

Home Visit and Cold Feet

We had our home visit yesterday.  I spent the last two days cleaning and organizing.  My closets are neat, my fridge is spotless, and my windows are streak-free.  We passed, which wasn't a hard feat because all that the social worker did was peek at our "child's" room (to make sure it's big enough to hold a child), test the smoke detectors, and check for exits.  I tried to think of subtle ways to get him to notice the scrubbed baseboards and the neatly stacked tupperware, but everything I came up with seemed slightly awkward. If you don't mind waiting just a minute, I'll get you a tupperware container to take that bottled water back to the office in (I should have baked cookies; I could have offered a container then).  Oops, I dropped the matching (and easily accessible) lid right next to our squeaky clean baseboard. No worries. Oh, look how the sunlight streaming in from the crystal clear window glass through the lid makes a prism on the freshly scrubbed wall. Anyway, we should get a letter soon inviting us to take MAPP classes, our next step in the process, in September.    

Which is just great timing in light of the fact that DH and I are now beginning to question whether we can or even want to do this.  By "this", I mean become parents.  Is that shocking? I think it must because I could never even say those words out loud to anyone I know in real life. They just get stuck in my throat. Why are we having cold feet now?

DH has the more noble category of concerns and questions. He's worried about what kind of parent he's going to be.  He didn't have the best examples growing up and he doesn't want to pass that junk on to his child.  He's concerned that he'll fail in his efforts to teach our child what he or she needs to know to be a good person.  I think he's worried about having the same kind of messed up relationship with our child that he has with his parents.  

As for me, well, my fears are (embarrassingly) selfish ones.  For the first time in a long time, I feel like my life belongs to me.  I'm not anxious or stressed out about anything.  I don't have to plan my life around appointments and injections.  I love spending time with DH without the cloud of treatments hanging over our heads all the time. It's like when we were dating, but better.  I feel so free.  Am I ready to give up this newly rediscovered control over my life for the roller coaster of adoption and parenthood?  

If we had got pregnant from our last IVF, we might have had the same worries, but we wouldn't have perceived that there was a choice.  We would have just kept going down the path on which we started three years ago. But, as preadoptive parents, we do have a choice.  We could stop all this right now and live our lives child-free: be the favorite auntie and uncle to all our friends' kids, travel, go out to dinner, drink wine, and have only each other to worry about.  I've never actually considered that before and now that I'm examining the possibility of a life without adoption,  having that choice makes the whole situation feel overwhelming.  

From what I've read and heard, all our fears are normal.  But still they make me doubt myself. That's what fear always does, right? I can't say that the thought of turning away from adoption brings me less fear.  It doesn't feel right to me at all.  In fact, it's enough to nearly bring on a panic attack. But I am afraid that the adoption process will turn me into the person I was when we were going through treatments.  I don't want to be that unhappy, stressed out person again.  Now that I have a bit of distance from it, I just can't go back there--I can't.  I guess the benefit of cold feet is that you get to look at your situation and make a conscious choice about how to deal with it, rather than going through the motions. You feel the doubt and fear and move through it, more aware of the pitfalls, and maybe, just maybe, being more capable of avoiding them.  Or at least that's my hope.  


Shelby said...

I can understand your cold feet. When we've taken breaks here and there, I too feel like I return back to being 'me', no longer obsessed with timing and blood tests. We are free to travel, free to spend money on ourselves, and free to enjoy each other's company. It's a great feeling. I am sure in the end that whatever decision you make will be the right one because so much thought and care went into it.

By the way, does the social worker for home visits show up somewhat unexpectedly? What's the time frame they give you?

Karen said...

Thanks for visiting my blog Shelby. I've enjoyed catching up on your story. The social worker gave us lots of notice. He called in early July to schedule a visit. He offered to do it the next week, but we were going away. Even when they come for post-placement visits I think most of them are scheduled. Hopefully I'll find out more in my MAPP classes.

Shelby said...

I wonder if they all work that way. I've thought to myself, "oh my God, self, what will you do if you have to keep the house lickably sparkly for 6 months straight?" It's a feat I've never accomplished. I'm sure given the necessity I will, but I'm dying to find out how it really works. If you do decide on adoption as your path, I will be watching closely for pointers!

Lost in Space said...

Karen, your thoughts make alot of sense to me. I think that I sometimes get so caught up in what the next treatment or test or procedure will be that I actually have to remind myself that a baby could come out of any of this. After so many years, the focus is all about getting and staying pregnant. With this focus gone, I can see how your fears of a baby can now get the best of you. Sending you lots of hugs and peace as you work through these feelings.

journey to junior said...

what you are going through makes a lot of sense. having a child is a huge leap into the unknown. adoption rachets that up another notch. plus, as you pointed out, you are still healing from ART hell. you and your husband deserve time to just be yourselves and focus on only each other.

there is no right answer here of course - only what you feel is best for you and your husband. i do think you are right, though - no matter what happens with IF and the path to parenthood or child-free living, there will always be second-guessing, cold feet, and fear.

Barb said...

I've had the same worries. Thanks for sharing.

Wendy said...

I'm glad that your home visit went well. I think I would be the same way with wanting to point out all of the scrubbed and clean parts of the house!

I think it has to be normal to wonder if adoption/parenting is what you want. It's such a huge step. I can't imagine not wondering about it.

I also understand not wanting to be who you were when you were ttc. I know I don't like who I am some days. It's such a consuming thing to be dealing with and such a relief to not have to think about it, worry about it.

I hope you and your DH are able to work it all out and make the best decisions for the two of you. (hugs)