When I was younger, I didn’t really think too much about having kids. I didn’t plan the meticulous details of my wedding and dream about the guy that would be the father of my children. I didn’t play with baby dolls and daydream about being about peering into a stroller to gaze upon sleeping toddler. I just didn’t. I fantasized about being a poor college student living in a five floor walk-up in New York, being a writer, and combing over art museums in Europe and ancient ruins in South America. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy children or the idea of having them eventually. I just wasn’t one of those women who felt destined to be a mom. And for those of you who are wondering, no I didn’t go to college in New York and I’ve yet to set foot in South America, but I’m a writer and I’ve been to the Lourve, so there’s that.
Then, Guy and I started dating. I knew he was it for me which is eyeroll inducing, even to me. I mean come on, we were 17 but…its true. I feel in love with him on the steps of the Washington Memorial in the pouring rain and it took me an entire year to muster the courage to ask him to a movie. We talked pretty early on about our expectations. We both wanted to get out of the valley we grew up in, had similar ideals but enough ideological differences to keep the debates interesting, needed to see the world, loved dogs and wanted a house full of mudpies and jelly smudges, aka children. Knowing someone was with me, who loved me, despite the fact I am prone to (very short) temper tantrums and like to ride around with the radio blasting , my head hanging out of the window like an overzealous cocker spaniel, allowed me to access a new part of my brain, one that actively wanted kids.
Adoption has always been on the table for me and I was relieved when Guy said it was an option for him as well. Even before I knew having biological kids would be a struggle medically (Harper is a magic baby, but that’s a post for another day), I wanted to adopt. I was never specifically attached to the idea of having biological children. It should be said that I am deeply in love with my little girl and am happy to have had the experience of pregnancy and even that awful c-section that made her presence all the more sweet.
Often the tug to adopt is strong because I want more children. Adoption is not a selfless act. People adopt because they want something. They want a son or a daughter. If they are doing if for the wrong reasons, they want a gold star. I struggled with this. You see, I love a gold star more than most people. I needed to make sure this wasn’t a gold star scavenger hunt. I found myself pouring over adoption information, reading blogs, and reserving books from the public library. There are not a lot of things I feel called to do. I’m not a deeply religious person and I think the idea of accepting a call is one so often associated with divine intervention. I’m still navigating the idea of faith and what that entails for me personally. I do believe in purpose and I believe in the endless potential every person carries with them.
A while back, I read that adoptive parents can only save a child once, the rest is parenting . That has stuck with me for a long time and has been central to my inner monologue about adoption, intent, and my personal reasons for wishing to adopt. Adoption for me is not about saving anyone. Its not a heroic measure but instead a logical conclusion. There are children in this world without parents to love them for a variety of reasons, most of which are tragic and senseless, but even so this is a reality. We are parents with love to give who are interested in raising more children. I can love a child that is not biologically my own to the same extent that I love Harper. Therefore, serious contemplation about adoption is logical. Additionally, I think love is a human right. The validation that comes from knowing you are someone’s and someone is yours is imperative to success and fulfillment, especially when young. There is nothing quite like knowing there are people in this world who know you, the good, the bad, the stupid and the ugly, yet love the whole that results from the combined sum of your strengths and weaknesses.When all possible avenues for children to be kept with their biological parents have been exhausted, those kids should receive that love from adoptive parents and have the opportunity to share the love they have for other people in a receptive environment.
We hadn’t really shared our ideas about adopting outside of a few flippant comments made to very close friends over the years, until a couple of weeks ago. We were at brunch and someone asked when we planned to have our next child. Guy said we planned to adopt our next child and there it was, out in the open, to friends and acquaintances, and even strangers. Hearing it out loud made it real.
We just aren’t there yet. First of all, there is money. In order to have more children in our home, we would need a bigger house, and a bigger house means higher rent. We are quite literally full to capacity with four people and two dogs in a 900 square foot space The other thing, and this might sound a little crazy, is we have a barky dog, who is terrified of strangers, and I think we need to get her more comfortable around people before we bring in anyone for a home-study and try to convince them she’s harmless. At 12 pounds of shaking, barking, terror, she’s pretty incapacitated around new people and tends to bark from afar but she sounds absolutely nuts and it goes on forever. We want to bring a trainer in and work through her issues before we move forward.
But the thought it out there, floating, and acknowledged.