I think I’m fairly level-headed. But I tend to have anxiety. Not the kind that requires medication, the kind that requires meditation. Adoption – this process – brings about feelings that are so complex, you need a GPS to find your way out. I could win a state fair blue ribbon for the size of my World’s Largest Ball of Emotions.
The brain science of learning (nerd alert from your resident training geek) tells us there are only four basic human emotions. Mad. Sad. Glad. Scared. At least that’s what I’ve always known. Until now. Now I’m feeling emotions that are thick…layered…never one emotion at a time. Rather, it’s emotions tied to emotions – thick, complex feelings like paranoia or shame. (Both of these feelings are assholes, by the way, and they are not invited in…they just show up like uninvited relatives who know how to push your buttons.) The multifarious emotions put that little list of “mad, sad, glad, and scared” to shame. My feelings have feelings…byzantine-sized ones.
Today we jotted down questions that we want to ask our Social Worker Hero the next time we talk to her, and it gave me occasion to unpack the neurosis in my head. I’ll share a few of the questions.
- How many failed adoptions happen each year? This question is fairly straight-forward. We both have Michael Myers-sized fear that Apollo 13 could happen to us again. Since last week, fear is Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robot fighting with my need to be a mom. These two emotions will duke it out eventually, and for now are leaving black eyes on my ability to sleep at night. Patience is a virtue. A virtue I have always lacked. I’ve learned over time to pretend like I have patience – this makes other people feel more comfortable. But I’m acting…I’m just stopping my inner voice from sneaking out of my trap and demanding things more than I used to. I should probably meditate tonight…maybe I’ll sleep better.
- Is anything ruling us out from being presented as adoptive parents to birthmothers? This is about the scenarios we have agreed to consider as adoptive parents, mostly pertinent to the social and behavioral history of the birthmother. We have filled out at least ten pages of detailed scenarios and checked “Will Consider” or “Will Not Consider” on tiny font lists of characteristics, conditions, and behaviors of the birthmother, the baby, and their immediate family. We had to drink wine while filling out that form to get real about our own truth…our north star. Still, if something is limiting us from being presented, we want to know. Should we have checked “yes” on some of the conditions we didn’t even know existed? Damn. Too late now, but I should probably meditate on that.
- Is there any feedback that can be shared from birthmothers who have seen our profile so far? I can’t help if birthmothers aren’t willing to consider a same-sex couple, for example. But I’m willing to change our profile to hide that we have cats if that might help. Because, really, people get weird about cats. Fucking weird. I know some people just like dogs better, but no one ever refers to anyone as a “dog lady”. Why is that? I’ll tell you why – because people are weird about cats. Or they just like to put other people down so they feel better, so they pick on things like having cats. Our cats are badass though. Actually, one is a little high-strung and is on anxiety medication. Meditation didn’t work for her. Unrelated, I should probably meditate tonight.
- Is there a peak season for babies being placed? This is a result of analytical minds wanting to know if we can rationalize low numbers to explain our wait. We’ve been waiting seven weeks. That. Is. Nothing. Folks alongside us have been waiting for years… more than two years in some cases. Since I have the patience of a gnat, seven weeks feels like I’m graduating from fine lines to deep wrinkles during this process. Plus, it is reasonable to think that people who feel obligated to get romantic during Valentine’s Day might result in an uptick of deliveries nine months later. Are we looking for data points? Absolutely. Even this adoption has a strategic plan. Strategically, I should meditate tonight.
Good news, we have vacation coming up. I need to put down my phone for a few days. We both need to rest more. We need to get off this wheel for a short time so that we can go forward with renewed minds who aren’t fearing things, and are instead standing in the joy with which this journey began. I want to feel the joy. I had a glimmer tonight when we sat in the baby’s room. I imagined it was bedtime and I was in the glider holding the baby, listening to acoustic guitar music. I swear my uterus skipped a beat. That feeling? That was the joy. I know it’s in there.
Off to go meditate.