This week I took the kids to the playgroup that our agency hosts for families with children adopted transracially. Since the last time we went they have opened the group up to families who are waiting to adopt, not necessarily transracially. They have also begun to require waiting families attend three agency-based meetings before they are approved, and made this group one of the meetings that could fulfill the requirement.
Typically the room is packed with "mis-matched" parents and children and it takes awhile to sort out who is who, and with whom. It is a lot of fun.
This week I walked in to a new room, a room full of quiet pre-adoptive parents. The facilitator welcomed me and explained the new policy and who all these couples were. She said "you're the only one here who's been through the process!" and turned to the couples and said "you can ask her all of your questions!". She just chirped it out like it was the greatest thing.
I gulped and looked around, wide eyed.
I used to facilitate these meetings. I used to coordinate the waiting family meetings as well. The thing that I so poignantly remember is the sheer vibration of longing in the waiting families, most of them choosing adoption after relinquishing hope of fertility. I remember the vacuum of energy that sucked out the door each time a family came to the meeting with their new baby. I remember the way the waiting women simultaneously wanted to cuddle the baby and know all the details, and turn their heads away because of the pain of it not being their baby. The quiet, internal, agonizing question of "will I ever be a mother?"
For about five seconds I thought about getting on my soapbox and telling these people, leaning forward in their seats, ogling my happy children, the WHOLE TRUTH about adoption. Then, I settled in my seat, got out a snack to distract the kids, and told them, in simplest terms, the story of our adoption. I put in a little bit about unethical state laws for birthparents, maybe something about the injustice of closed adoption records, but really, I just answered their questions and gave them the facts.
I know not many adoptive parents are asking the questions that I am. I think that hardly any pre-adoptive parents are. And I have to say, I can't really blame them. The questions I am asking might possibly be the deciding factor in becoming a parent, or not. For a woman aching to mother a child, I think it is nearly impossible to consider. I'm starting to think that it is for the love of a child, the love of my Small Son, that I can ask these big questions.
Sometimes, as a first choice adopter (meaning I can carry and birth children, by the grace of God, AND I'm choosing to adopt as well), I am cautious to voice my concerns with adoption to those starting out on their paths to adopt. If they ask, I tell all, but I feel so bounteously blessed with two children, and the ability to have and adopt more. I am grateful for the readers who come here, before they adopt, to listen and learn. That is a brave thing. Many of the questions I ask pain me, but I can only imagine how they must pain a woman whose only avenue to becoming a mother is adoption. I'm beginning to understand why a lot of people can't hear what I have to say. Believe it or not, sometimes I hold my tongue and simply talk about the wonders of how my son came to me, for their is wonder and magic in our story.