My son is adopted. I have thought about blogging about this off and on ever since I started this blog last year. Sometimes I’m in the mood to share our story, but as I start to think about what I want to write, I realize that my thoughts are everywhere and I can’t seem to narrow the information down. Other times I find myself NOT wanting to share. Who cares that Buzzsaw is adopted, it doesn’t make him any less MY son. But my own personal issues are separate from my son’s story and adoption is a topic that is forever part of our lives. It’s complicated and simple at the same time for me.
Let’s start with the “simple” part first. It’s simple because I wouldn’t change a thing in my life if it meant that I would not end up with Buzzsaw as my child. It’s simple because regardless of the womb that he came out of, he is very much MY kid in temperament. It’s simple because all of the feelings I have about being a parent, and all of the unconditional love I feel for this little person have absolutely nothing to do with his origins. If he had come from my own uterus I would not feel any different about anything. I know all of that like I know that I need air to breath.
Now for the complicated. Which is well, complicated, to put into coherent words. I’m not ashamed that he is adopted. And I am grateful we live in times that adoption is much more common place than it was even twenty years ago. So many children are adopted for so many different and unique reasons that I have a feeling as Buzzsaw gets older, it’s going to be as common place as divorce. Maybe that sounds sad to some people reading this, but I see it as a good thing. Maybe not a GOOD thing, but being adopted or having divorced parents doesn’t make you less of a person, and sometimes it might even give you a stronger character in the long run.
I decided to write about this tonight because we just came from an evening spent with our new neighbors across the street. They have two children and both are adopted. I don’t know their whole “story”, but I do know that like us (Bdawg and Twinkle), they couldn’t have kids on their own. I find it very comforting that Buzzsaw will have children his own age to grow up with that are like him. That adoption will be no. big. deal. Adoption will just be part of “his story”. He will have someone that can relate to any feelings or issues he may or may not have as he gets older and begins to understand what exactly adoption means.
I also decided to write about this because of an incident from a couple of weeks ago, and this is where it gets complicated. A year before Buzzsaw was born, my husband and I went through a cycle of IVF. We found out shortly before we moved to the D.C. area that Walter Reed Army Hospital had a fertility clinic on site. A month after we moved here we started the process. I made many, many trips at 05:00 in the morning across NOVA ( northern Virginia) and D.C. to get to the clinic. From July to October of 2007, I got to know this route intimately. Ultimately IVF didn’t work for us and we made the decision together not to try again and to move forward with our lives.
It wasn’t an easy decision. Part of me wanted to keep trying. But a bigger part of me knew it would not work, and I couldn’t go through that again and again and again. I had hoped that we could discuss adoption once I was done with school. I knew I wanted to be a mommy no matter what. Bdawg had issues with adoption at the time. I never wanted to be one of those wives that forced my husband into something for the benefit of my own happiness. We don’t have that kind of relationship.
Two weeks ago we decides to take Buzzsaw to the Zoo. Our two different GPS phone systems gave us conflicting information and we found ourselves momentarily lost in D.C. Finally we got on a trajectory that had us heading towards the zoo, and I realized that some of the brownstones and stores looked very familiar. The very intersections we were at no longer looked alien. And it hit me. Five years ago I was traveling this very route to Walter Reed. These were the roads I took trying to get pregnant. Talk about a blast from the past.
It hurt. A lot. For a few minutes. It was a mangle of emotions. Here I was driving on roads that were so painful for me, with my son. I traveled this path in the hopes of getting pregnant with devastating results. Now I was traveling this path with MY SON. I looked at these buildings and remembered driving past them five years ago with bitter memories. But now here I was, going to the zoo with my kid. This is where my own personal issues get entangled with my son’s story, and diverge.
My memories of those trips fives years ago are about loss. The loss of the hope of getting pregnant. The loss of feeling what it is like to have a life growing inside of my body. The betrayal I felt from my own body. I remember breaking down and trying to explain to my husband how I felt that my body couldn’t do what it was supposed to do. The biological process of creating and growing life was not mine to experience. Why the hell am I having a period month after month, year after year, if I’m not able to have children!!! It is a void that I will carry with me until my last breath. I don’t think about it all of the time, and most of the time it doesn’t matter. But it is still there, and will always be there.
When I got the call that the implantation didn’t work I was home alone. I called my husband and my parents to tell them results and that I wasn’t ready to talk. I was angry. And devastated. And so many other things that I can’t, to this day, put into words. Then I surprised myself. I decided that I couldn’t focus on what I didn’t have, I couldn’t crawl into that hole of despair. So I started thinking about what I did have in my life. Starting with my husband, and the beautiful and amazing relationship that we have. I thought about my family and friends and how blessed I was to have people in my life who loved and supported me unconditionally. I thought about the life my husband and I were building for ourselves. We were in a good place financially and I was going to school perusing my dream of a degree in history. I had so much to live for and that hole of despair no longer looked so appealing.
It was a difficult year, sometimes. I remember one evening when Bdawg and I were out at dinner and he brought up the “everything happens for a reason” and stuff being a part of “God’s plan”, and I got pretty hostile. I remember telling him that if “God” him/herself were standing in front of me at that moment I had no problem saying what a fucked up plan they had, and what fucking reason could there be for crackheads being able to have children but not us!?! But I also remember a weirdly amusing moment when a young guy that used to work with me talked about how he didn’t want children and thought it was cool that someone my age ( a 20 yr age difference between us) didn’t have kids. He looked at the guy standing next to him and jokingly said, “watch, now she’ll tell me she can’t have kids or something.” I looked at him and said, ” actually, I can’t have kids.” He was devastated. I tried for quite sometime to reassure him that I wasn’t offended and found it strangely amusing. He wasn’t trying to be hurtful, and I knew that. I was grateful that I could laugh and find humor in something that could be so very painful. It might be hard for some to understand, but I was very grateful to that young man for showing me a way to laugh when normally I wanted to cry.
Life moved forward. I continued with school and got a job that I genuinely like to this day. We took some vacation time the following August and went back to Florida to visit Bdawg’s mom and sister, and to visit some of our friends from when we lived in that area. We went and saw an old neighbor of ours that I had stayed in touch with since we left. She was about 10 years older than me and her family had a lot of “issues” that I ended up being a support through and a safe haven from over the four years that we lived there. I cared for this woman and I knew it meant so much to her that we came to see her, twice, during that visit. I have to give my husband the credit for us going back to visit her and her grandchildren for the second visit. It’s not that I didn’t want to go back, I just knew how out of the way it was for us to return and I didn’t want to commit us both to such a trip. Looking back, I guess everything does happen for a reason.
Two months later I got the call at about 0530 that changed our lives. It was my old neighbor. Her adult daughter was going into labor. They both knew that another child in her daughters life, at that time, well, it just wasn’t something that was a good idea. I can’t speak for her and I cannot judge her, and I won’t. Ever. Needless to say, the opportunity to become parents was quite literally was dropped into our laps. It didn’t take long for us BOTH to realize that this was NOT something that we could say no to. Six weeks later we brought our little Buzsaw home and became a family.
Over the last four years adoption hasn’t been a huge part of our lives. Buzzsaw has just been too young for it to be a major topic in our lives. But he is getting older and we have to NOW conscientiously deal with the topic. We have no idea about how this will effect Buzzsaw. He may take it all in stride and have very few questions. On the other hand, he could want to know every little detail about his births parents and why they decided to give him up for adoption, and we need to prepare for either scenario.
This is another place where it is complicated, or at the very least, it is not a black and white issue. My husband, Bdawg, and I are very different. After twelve years I have yet to find his breaking point. He is a pretty unflappable man, and there is very little that ” ruffles his feathers . ” Believe me when I say that I have tried to push a few buttons. I don’t believe that my husband is prepared for the possible issues that could come from our son’s origins. But I also believe that ( to quote my husband), I could be worrying about nothing. Either way, adoption is a topic that we cannot avoid forever. No matter how much we would like to leave the issue behind us.
People who think that adoption is an easy answer are extremely delusional. No matter the side you find yourself on in this scenario, it is difficult. Birth parents or adoptive parent, it is a topic that weighs heavily. Every story is unique and every child deals with his/her own story in their unique way. There really is no preparation. Adoptive parents can talk until they are blue in the face, and STILL be utterly unprepared when it comes to their child’s questions about their origins. That is what terrifies me.
I have No idea how my little Buzsaw will react when he finally understands the story of his origins. No matter what I prepare for, he could come up with an angle that I could never see coming. He could have questions that I can not answer. He could have issues that I can not comprehend. How do I make my son understand that my feelings about not being able to get pregnant have nothing to do with him or my love for him? How do I make my son understand that adopting him is completely separate from my not being able to have children of my own? How do I make him understand that I can morn the loss of my own fertility and celebrate his life and our adoption of him simultaneously?
These are the burdens of an adoptive parent. Which, in some ways, aren’t too different from biological parents. A parent can do everything right and still end up with a very screwed up child. And a parent can do everything wrong and end up raising a child that changes the course of humanity. This is where it gets “simple” again; I’m not so different from every other biological parent. I just have different questions to answer. . .