Thursday, June 26, 2014

Not That Anybody's Counting...

It's been 19 months since we told our families we were going to try to adopt again.   It was our "big" announcement at Thanksgiving.   Thanksgiving 2012.

On Thanksgiving 2013, my sister made the "big" announcement that she was pregnant.  Her baby arrived last month.  Her sixth.

I can drive myself crazy counting the months, believe me, I've done it.   I can drive myself even crazier by counting the number of babies who could've been born during this time.   Should've been born.   Could've been adopted.   By us.  By one of the millions of couples waiting to adopt.

Should've -  would've - could've.

I don't want to think that the children whom God wanted to add to our family were aborted but statistics don't lie.   These ridiculous waits that go on for years, not just months, after getting approved to adopt are driven by one thing.  The ridiculously high cost of adopting an infant is driven by one thing.  

Supply and demand.

I will never have the large family I once dreamed of.  My two children will not have all the siblings they could've had and that their father and I wanted to give them.    It just takes too long and the expense is too high.

Sure, we can consider fostering, or taking older children, or special needs adoptions (all of which are still lengthy processes). None of those options is off the table.

But when it comes to simply wanting to adopt another baby, one who we can love and know starting from his or her first days of life, I feel greedy.

I feel greedy because there just aren't enough.


  1. Dear Lynda, you need a hug today. Here is me sending you an e-hug!

    It can be really tough seeing family members, or friends, or even pretty much anyone else (people at church!) continuing to have more and more babies, while our own family numbers continue to stay in the low digits for far too long. I'm there with you...

    We have three, and by "secular" standards that verges on a large family, but in our Catholic circles we are on the lowest end of the spectrum. Everyone we know has at least three, but mostly a lot more.

    But for us, it looks like three will have to do. I was told just this week by my obgyn, once again, that I have the medical complications that made it difficult for us to conceive the first time. Only this time it's worse than before, and the treatments are more limited. husband and I are still just processing that news. We were actually gearing up for a new pregnancy now that my youngest is 2.5, but now that hope has come crashing, and this time it's all broken. It hurts, it does. Once again, it feels like the death of a baby that we never actually had - baby #4, for whom we had made a hopeful space in our hearts. It also feels like the death of any other babies we could have had.

    The one glimmer of hope that I am starting to think about now is, perhaps, adoption somewhere down the road. We would have a long ways to go for sure, as you describe. But it seems like our only possibility now, most likely. And that too is no easy road.

    I grieve with you for the children who are missing in our families, whom we wish we could have had, whom we wanted so much to have running around in our back yards and coming to give us hugs.

    That is the sorrow of our hearts. But you know what? There is another hope, I realize: perhaps, if our own children end up having larger families one day, then that space in our hearts can also be filled by grandchildren. I have seen that happen with some families. One of my friends had one child, but 5 grandchildren! Another had 3 children, and now has 10 grandchildren and counting! So yes, one day our hearts and arms might be full after all. Keep smiling :-)

    1. Thank you, Lea...I needed an e-hug for sure. And it sounds like I should send one back to you. It was in March 2013 that my obgyn told me after having my last miscarriage that I should basically give up due to age and hormonal issues. At the time, we were already in the adoption pool so we really felt like adoption was going to be our saving grace. Maybe it still will be. I really have a hard time taking no for an answer..something I've never been good at! I guess for those of us who love being mothers, we'll always want "one more".

      As far as grandkids go...well, I have one son who already is a lady's man so you could be right! But actually, I try not to dwell on grandchildren too much. I know from personal experience that sometimes parents who didn't have all the children they wanted can sometimes end up living vicariously through their kids and their grandkids. My parents had infertility and only had two, and my entire life, I heard them repeat that they wanted lots of grandkids. So when I faced infertility, I felt like a failure for their sakes as well as mine. Then as my sister had more and more children, I felt less and less valued. By the time I finally had a baby, my sister had already given my parents four grandchildren and she became the one they knew they could "count on" for providing children to the family. Any children my husband and I produce/adopt are considered just a bonus. It is not a healthy family dynamic and certainly not a legacy I want to pass on to my own children someday.

      If anyone feels called to adopt, like possibly you and your husband, I think by all means they should pursue it. I am just venting in this post some of the frustration and discouragement that comes with that territory. Adoption can be a huge blessing but it can also lead you to another cross because, like infertility, it doesn't always end the way you want it to. I am sending prayers your way as you discern you next steps.

    2. Lynda, wow, you have opened my eyes to not doing that to my own children one day! It's incredible isn't it, the variety of ways in which parents can behave in unhealthy ways towards their children - even when they are adults!

      You'd think that having experienced infertility, your own parents would be an example of understanding and more supportive than anyone, rather than expecting you or your sister to become baby machines for the family. It's very sad and unfair how they have made you feel less valued in the family based on how many children you have. I would never want to do that to my children!

      My own parents were quite demanding regarding grandchildren at one point, when we weren't producing and they didn't know why. I am an only child, so I got all the heat. After we finally had a baby they calmed down though, and they never bothered us about "making more", which I really appreciate - especially now.

      Grandchildren are a nice bonus in life but you're right, it would be totally unfair to pressure our children on that account or treat them differently based on how many they "produce". That shows selfishness and disregard for the feelings of your own children, which is disappointing to see in our parents no matter what age they are. Older doesn't mean wiser, I guess.

      A friend of mine comes from a family of 7 children, and only two of them had families of their own. The other 5 ended up single and without children! (On the other hand, the two with children had 11 children between them). Life turns out differently for everyone, and parents ought to accept their adult children as they are, and support them on their path.

      Of course, it's a thorny issue, because I'm not sure how much support I could muster if my children end up rebelling against the faith and doing immoral things, that's where I would have to draw the line - but I would still respect their free will and keep trying to bring them back to faith and reason.

    3. Lea, I think this phenomenon of women/mothers trying to "re-live" parenthood through their grandchildren is not uncommon today. Infertility might be one reason, but there are many women who do not feel at peace with how they handled their first chance at being mothers and who treat being grandmothers as their "second chance" at parenthood.
      One story that comes to mind was from the social worker who we worked with for our first adoption. She told us that she had seen many potential adoptions fail because the grandmother, not the birthmother, stepped in and wanted to keep the baby and raise it. According to our social worker, this was especially true if the grandmother herself had struggled with infertility or did not spend much time raising her own kids when they were young and wanted to somehow make amends for it later.
      It is amazing just how selfishness can manifest itself generation after generation if we do not make a cognitive effort to break the cycle.

  2. Sincerely praying for you and your family.

    God bless.

  3. Sincerely praying for you and your family.

    God bless.

  4. Lynda, we have similar timelines for this recent chapter we are on - 19 months since you announced plans to adopt, 19 months since we started TTC for the first time. Adoption crosses my mind several times every day, and for some of the reasons you mentioned here, I wonder if that will ever be an option for us. I once heard someone say that when you prayerfully consider adoption and are called to it, a spot is made in your heart that only an adopted child can fill. I wonder if that spot is being made as I type, and what all of that means, especially if the odds place us on the losing end of that journey too.

    1. Chella, It is true, at least from our experience, that adoption is a calling and like all callings, they take time to discern. If you do feel called, then I would say go for it. I don't want this post to discourage anyone from trying to adopt. There are some agencies that use a sliding scale for fees and lower income folks pay less than higher income folks. As far as the odds go for getting an infant, those aren't too good for any of us, and it is because we now live in a society that overwhelmingly chooses abortion over adoption. But it's still worth trying and yes, there will be a space made for a baby in your heart if you do, which means it will be another emotional journey but God's grace can get you through it.