Feb 11 2013
Sometimes, I think the worst place one can turn for information is the internet– especially adoption information. You’ll find all sorts of extreme ideas regarding adoption (usually from people who have never even adopted a pet, much less a son or daughter). It’s hard to know how you are supposed to feel at any point.
When we were waiting, there were several instances when our caseworker called to talk to us about profile opportunities. We made it clear that there were lots of things we’d make exceptions on, but we wanted to make calls on those things based on each individual situation. Because of this choice, there were a few cases when we knew we were being considered by birth parents, and we spent lots of time on pins and needles. As it turned out, none of these parents ever chose us. In fact, when we did get a call about Baby Boy’s birth mom and dad being interested in us, we had no idea that anyone was even evaluating our profile. For us, it was much easier not knowing that someone was pouring through our profile trying to make the most important choice of their lives… of our life too. We also would have been spared feelings of sadness and rejection if they had chosen someone else to parent Baby Boy.
That leads me to the reason I’m writing this. I read a lot of adoption blogs. I soak up every article that comes across the news involving adoption. Even though we are not currently going through the process, going through it for Baby Boy changed me. Adoption became part of my soul and part of my identity. As I read these blogs and articles, I come across a lot of opinions. It seems people feel pretty strongly that as a prospective adoptive parent, when you aren’t chosen you aren’t allowed to feel loss, and if you do, you’re some kind of bad person. Yes, it is a blessing to their family when birth parents can choose to parent, but it also hurts to be passed up… to have that hope and then… nothing.
Why does it hurt? It’s not over until the fat lady sings, and all potential adoptive parents should know this. Yes. That’s true. Here is something else that’s true. As soon as you know that child exists, you have to allow your heart to love them knowing good and well that you may never see his or her face. Love doesn’t have an on and off switch. It grows from a wisp of hope. You can’t flip a switch and love a child from a designated point in time. Love doesn’t work that way. The moment the idea, the HOPE of that child is known to you, love starts to grow. Your mind can never master your heart in situations like this. Love like this isn’t voluntary.
Just as you can’t turn love on when it’s “time,” you can’t turn it off when things take another path. When you are not chosen, you are sad. Even though it’s not the socially correct thing to say in the adoption community, I say that it’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to grieve for a child that you already loved but will never know. It IS a loss. Yes, you knew it could happen. Yes, you will move on. But no. No, you are not a bad person or a selfish person for loving someone before it is your legal right to love him and for dreaming of holding him in your arms.
It’s okay to be sad. No one ever says this. No one in an official capacity will tell you this. No one online will commit to it either. Whether things unravel early in the process or later in the process or never unravel at all, love is present. Where love is lost, there is sadness. Over time, I have come to realize that it’s natural, not selfish.
There are so many worse things a person can do. Loving someone who isn’t yours to love seems like such a strange thing to criticize a person for to me.