Sunday, May 2, 2010

In Which I'm A Tad Bit Oversensitive And Whine A Lot

Last night I went a little crazy and started rearranging our office.

We're not very far into this whole adoption process yet, and already I'm going nuts with the waiting, which isn't a good sign.  The office will eventually be Sylvie's room, and I was thinking about how we'll be sending her a photo album of the house.  We'll have pictures of our room, with its big comfy-looking bed, Connor's room with his toys, little comfy-looking bed and swing hanging from the ceiling, and her room, which before last night contained a futon and a computer desk.

Cozy.

Sure, it's way, way early to be doing her room; the kid won't be coming home any time before Christmas.  But I want to make sure we're giving her the right idea; that she'll be sleeping in a room with, you know, a bed in it and whatnot, and that we're not adopting her to be our personal secretary or something.  I started thinking about it, as we'll have to take these pictures relatively soon and start putting our book together, and as a result I went a little nuts and Jeremy came home from his workout to discover me hauling the furniture around.  I won't do anything about the futon just yet because I don't have anything to replace it with as of right now and that room is currently our guest room, but the second I find an adorable trundle bed on craigslist you can bet I'll be recruiting help to haul that out of there too.

The way I explained my behavior to a rather bemused Jer is that I'm comparing this whole thing to a pregnancy.  I'm not nuts; I'm nesting.  I mean, yeah, sure, I don't have all of the hormones involved, but I'm still trying to bond to a kid I haven't met yet, and the time frame is about the same.  I don't have to put up with any of the inconveniences of pregnancy, of course-- the nausea, the weight gain, the stretch marks, etc.-- but I also get very few of the perks.  You tell people that you're pregnant and for the most part they get really excited for you, often sharing stories about their own pregnancies and asking about your plans.  The reaction when I announced my pregnancy with Connor was overwhelmingly positive.  Being just as excited about the adoption as I was about my pregnancy with Connor, I've announced the adoption in the same way (enthusiastically to both friends and perfect strangers), and these are some of the reactions I've gotten:

"That's nice, but why are you adopting a foreign kid?"
"Don't you already have your hands full raising your own child?"
"That's so good of you.  I could never do that."
"Awww, don't worry.  I'm sure you'll get pregnant soon."

Few people have reacted with the same sort of joy that I'd hear if I was pregnant, and that's sort of a hard reality, because to my mind in many ways we are expecting and it would be wonderful to get the same reaction.  I mean sure, my daughter will come with a history and another set of parents, but we're still adding a member to our family.  I know it's unrealistic to expect other people to see things the same way, but it would at least be nice if they'd at least quit assuming that we're either adopting because we've exhausted all of our other options or adopting because we want to rescue some poor, pitiful child and give them a "good home."  I could certainly do without the horror stories people seem to need to tell about their acquaintances who adopted children they "thought were normal" but then turned out to be serial killers or something.  I'm aware that I'm being oversensitive, but it's really hard to compare the universally positive reaction I got while pregnant to the decidedly mixed reaction I get when I say we're adopting.  I never had anyone tell me when I was pregnant that I should "rethink this whole thing" because "most of those kids are really screwed up and will ruin your life."  

There's not a whole lot that I can do about how other people react to our intention to adopt, but I want to make sure that Sylvie knows she is wanted and will be celebrated in our household just as much as Connor has been and continues to be.  So I'll continue my overhaul of her space, and hopefully by the time she gets her photo book there'll be a picture in there of a room with a pretty little trundle bed just waiting for her.

It's going to be a long year.

~Jess

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

She does need a trundle bed for her cousin to sleep in! Good for you and your nesting. I can't imagine the wait for your newest family member. We can't wait and she isn't even going to live with us. Love to all- Mary J.

Kristin said...

A coworker of mine and her adult daughter are fostering 5 siblings, aged 7 and under. The kids' parents' rights were terminated this spring, and now my coworker and said daughter are proceeding with adopting all five. Of course, your situations are entirely different, but I'm super excited for both your family and hers. Such an exciting time all the way around!! :)

Kristin said...

I have one daughter with a duplicaton on 22 who has much less issues then Connor. She has ADHD, Autism, SID, and extremely poor fine motor skills.

When I was pg with my 4th, my MIL kept saying "well, what are you going to do if the baby ends up like Lauren?".

People would still be saying insulting, wacko things if you had chosen to expand your family by pregnancy rather than adoption.

Congratulations!!

Jess said...

I understand the nesting. I also think it is awesome that you and Jer are adding to your family.

My husband is one of 6 children that was adopted from a foreign country. He and the rest of them are all normal, well rounded people. One is currently studying to be a doctor, three of them are in the military and the others are in college. (So now you have at least one non-horror story.)

Wherever HE Leads We'll Go said...

I read this and all I can think is - what is wrong with people? Why would anyone make those comments to you? It is bad enough that they would think those things, but to verbalize them is just horrifying.

I am very excited for you, Jeremy and Connor. Adoption is not a plan B, C or D. This is plan A! It is a time to celebrate! It is a very exciting time as you wait for Sylvie's arrival. The wait may be long, but what a blessing it will be to bring your little girl home!

leah said...

I hope the wait goes by quickly- I would be so excited that I'd be making those paper chains to count down the days, and I'd have already painted the room pink (g)!

I am so excited for you- I can't imagine anyone having a negative reaction! Then again, I am totally surrounded by positive adoption experiences. My cousin (who is well-adjusted and has a family of his own now, thank you very much), three of my mommy-friends (happy, fun-loving kids- all of them), and our librarian (regular 8 year old kid who loves ice skating).

We have gotten negative comments on having more children- from my mother in law. She's worried another child would have Nolan's "issues." And that if we had another, that Nolan wouldn't get the love and attention that he needs. As if love is divided rather than multiplied....

Blessings to your beautiful family!

Lin said...

People say the oddest things. They said all sorts of weird stuff when you told them you were pregnant too, and when you told them the name you were thinking of, and that you were/weren't breastfeeding, using disposable/cloth diapers, etc. They just don't know what to say. Just enjoy the weirdness and laugh. :)

Julia O'C said...

Growing up, there was a family at our church who took in foster kids. They had also adopted 2 with special needs, and they had two biological kids. I LOVED going to their house - it was so full of love and laughter. Kids everywhere. Joy everywhere. So I guess that's where my mind goes when I hear about someone adopting or bringing in foster kids.

The only opinions that matter here are the opinions of you, Jeremy and Connor (and maybe Loki...I get the feeling that Loki is a cat with opinions). There are people who can find negative things to say about the ocean. And trees. And kittens. There are people who find raucous laughter annoying. As my 5 year old would say, "Hmph..what-EVER."

Not that my opinion matters, but I'm so happy for you guys I can hardly stand it!!!!!!

gloria said...

Are you serious?! The way people process things is so strange. Offensive. As far as nesting. I totally believe it. I think adoptive mothers probably "nest" more than biological. Really.

I'm so excited for you guys. Wish we'd be there to meet Sylvie, but with my own new child to worry about, I can't travel past July. So we'll only be spending a few short months out there. Hope to see you guys soon!

Ashley's Mom said...

I could write a book on the horrible, insensitive things people have said to me over the years about my choices to adopt children with special needs.

But what beats all the comments is what happened when my 5th child came home just a month ago - nothing...

Nobody said a thing - not congratulations, not how are things going, not do you need anything...just silence.

I haven't figured out yet if it is because they think I am crazy, or they ran out of all their rude responses on the first 4 children, or they have a problem with the fact that my latest addition is African American (we do live in the South...).

But whatever the reasons, they really piss me off, to be blunt.

Christy said...

Big hugs! I understand - we get a lot of different reactions. Fortunately family has been fairly positive but I've heard things like:
-Why don't you adopt a child from this country?
- I thought only rich and famous people adopted from places like that (really?!?)
- You are a saint..yada yada...blah! I really don't know how to respond to the last one. I WANT another child. Fulfilling that desire and being able to avoid another pregnancy - it's wonderful for me. That in no way makes me special!

I am excited for you! Good luck in your journey! I am already driving my DH crazy with my "nesting" etc and we're still fairly early in the process! Thinking of you!

Julia said...

Amazing. (Referring to what people say.) And to Ashley's Mom: Congratulations on your beautiful new child!!! All the best to you and your family.

Anonymous said...

I think if more moms ingrained into their children the mantra "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything AT ALL!"; we would be a lot better off once said children become adults.

The nesting sounds absolutely normal to me. Your daughter (I'm sure this will become a reality) will no doubt love and be excited at seeing "her own" room; which I'm sure is something she has never known.

Also, I think sending her pictures of your home in general and her room in particular will help with her transition when she gets here because she will be familiar with things.

I'm excited WITH you, happy FOR you and very proud OF you.

Duncanville friend,
Pamela F.(mother of Annette)

psychologizer said...

Dude! I'm super, super excited for you! And jealous! And by the way, when do you want to either come get your bike or have me bring it to you! We must hang out!

Jess said...

Thanks so much for all of your support, gals. I really appreciate it-- it's just what I needed to hear.

A HUGE congratulations to you and the rest of your family, Ashley's Mom. Ronnie looks like a great kid and he seems to fit right in. I especially love that video of him dancing; the boy's got moves!

Gloria, we can't wait to see you and that bubbly girl of yours-- can't believe how big she's getting!

Psych, call me and we'll get together! I'm ready for that bike, and to hang out with your awesome self again!

~Jess

Chloes Mom Mary said...

Jess, I am always amazed at the rude people in the world. I am as excited for you, Jer and Connor as everyone else that has posted here. I am continually learning that there are many wonderful people out there and many thoughtless people. In the positon you are in, I too would be nesting like crazy.

Hugs,

 
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