Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Finding My Place

One of the hardest parts of being at this stage in my life is feeling like I don't have a place where I really belong. I'm in between worlds right now. I'm not TTC. I'm not choosing to live childfree. I'm not an adoptive parent-yet. And even though I am expecting in a way, I don't fit in with those who are pregnant after infertility. We've come through infertility with different scars, different wounds. For the past two years, as I've been dealing with my journey through infertility to adoption, I've benefited from the generous support of amazing women on online infertility message boards. But as our paths diverge, I feel more and more out of place there. Unfortunately, so far I haven't found that type of connection with those in my situation of adopting from foster care. Many of the adoption boards I have seen focus on those who are already parenting. Or they're specific to international adoption or domestic newborn adoption, which can be quite different than adopting from foster care, at least at the beginning. I know once we're placed with a child, there will be more support options, more connections. But right now I'm feeling a bit lost. I have started forming real life connections with others in my MA.PP classes. My hope is that those connections will grow over the next few months as our homestudy is completed and we begin to wait. I'll admit that this real life thing is new for me. It's taking some getting used to talking about my worries and anticipation face to face.

My underlying worry is that this sense of not quite fitting in will never go away, even after I become a parent. Am I always going to feel uncomfortable or disconnected unless I'm with other adoptive parents? Will I be accepted and will I accept myself as a real parent? Am I always going to have the word adoptive attached to my description when others talk about me? What do I say when other mothers start talking about childbirth? What about when they reminisce about their child's first steps or first words, which I likely won't have witnessed in my child? How do I answer when they ask how I chose my child's name when I probably didn't have a choice? Of course the even bigger more important question is, if I feel like this, how can my child begin to feel comfortable with himself and his place in the world?

I don't doubt myself and our choice of adoption because I'm struggling to find my place or because I'm questioning what the future will look like. I know my questions aren't unique. Adoption can be a minefield of questions about identity and fitting in, about relationships and the definition of family, about rejection and conection. I just hope that I have the ability to find answers that work for me, DH, and our child.

8 comments:

Shelby said...

I've long thought about many of the questions you've posed as adoption has always been at the forefront of my mind since the very beginning of this journey. If I adopt, I'm fearful of avoiding Mom groups and Mommy and Me classes, just to shelter myself from the pain and unfortunate ignorance that is bound to crop up, much the same way I shelter myself because of IF. But I shouldn't. In the end, my guess is that when these situations do come up (for example, talking about birth experiences at a Mom group), it'll still sting, but not quite as much because you will be a Mommy, regardless of how you got there.

My husband has a cousin who was adopted and as a possible prospective adoptive parent, I am so blessed to have him in the family because there is never a question how he became to be a part of us-he just is. This gives me so much peace. I hope your daughter/son can find that experience and reading more about you, I'm certain that you'll help guide them to it.

I can only imagine how hard this wait is, but as far as I'm concerned, you are an expecting parent and should get the parking rights and bus seats that go along with!

Karen said...

Every so often I have a brain spasm and accidentally delete a comment while rejecting spam comments. I just did that, but here's the comment copied from the email notification.

Me wrote:

Gosh I have no answers to any of those questions. However I do know that you can't find the answer without asking the question. ;)

Barb said...

The book, Secret Thoughts of an Adoptive Mother helped me to begin to wrap my mind around some of those huge thoughts about adoption. She did private adoption as well, but the things she feels afterward could be very valid for you.

I'm with you on not finding much support for state adoption (which we will have to do when we get the balls). You're creating some right now!! Kara at Becoming Parents has been through some of the California system.

Cindy Nguyen said...

I know what you mean about fitting in. The scars of infertility run deep and I don't think its something any of us will ever get over.

I know what you mean about the difference between online support and real life support, too. Real life people are much more scary to me, but I know that I need them, too.

Personally, I think your journey is much more fascinating than a woman who did the deed with her husband and got pregnant and gave birth to a baby in nine months.

While I'm envious of the fertile gals, and don't doubt how much they love their kids, but I wonder how can they really be as grateful for their children compared to someone who has struggled with infertility?
How can you be so grateful for something thats handed to you on a silver platter? Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to bash the fertiles, I'm just saying that when you are matched with your child, I cannot imagine anyone being more grateful than someone who has struggled.

You bring your own unique insight and experiences to any friends you meet along the way regarding motherhood. Any circle of friends would be lucky to have you. Your going to be great mom.

journey to junior(ette) said...

karen:

i understand that you don't want to continue to keep up with me. i was planning to follow your journey, but i'm guessing you don't want me around anymore, so i won't.

before i sign off, i'd like to say that i do hope that you've taken the supportive comments i've given you from the beginning as they were meant to be taken. i cared about you and wanted to show you that throughout the rough journey that you've had. i'm not sure if you believe that now or not, and i'm sorry if you don't, but i had to tell you that.

Portraits In Sepia said...

I was quite dismayed last weekend when I went to a large, well-known bookstore and there were ZERO books on adopting from the foster care system or just foster children in general. I know they exist and I can't be the only one who wants to read one. I do feel like I am in a unique club and it's hard to find other members to connect with.

Karen said...

Ilissa-
I have appreciated your support through the years. I don’t have any doubt that your support was sincere, as was mine for you. Your comments, like those of others, have sustained me through some of the hardest times of my life.

However, it seemed clear from our last interaction that we were not in compatible places in our lives and that you were finished with me. Honestly, I was surprised to read your comment on here, given how angry you were at me. When you chose to password-protect your blog, I assumed that I would not be welcome there. I assumed that I was part of the reason for your choice. I would have continued to follow your journey otherwise and, I like to think, all of these hurt feelings would have faded with time. As I commented on your last public blog entry, I wish you only peace and happiness in the future.

Torina said...

Hi there, I am a mom who has adopted three fabulous kids through foster care. Amazon dot com has some great books for foster care adoption: Adopting the Older Child, Adopting the Hurt Child, Parenting the Hurt Child, Toddler Adoption, and so many more. It is a total goldmine. Your concerns are valid. I still feel that way (how do I fit in?) at times and I have had my first kid for 2.5 yrs now.

I look forward to reading more of your blog!!