As many of our friends and family know, W and I have made the decision to adopt. I can’t put my finger on when we first made this decision; W and both of his brothers were adopted, so obviously the thought has never been a foreign one to us. But I think it was when W’s parents died and we met his biological mother for the first time that I realized that adoption is something that can truly be a “twice blessed” scenario: we were blessed once with W’s family, and once again when his genetic family entered into our lives. I have mixed feelings about the adoption process itself. I’ve self-censored a lot of my thoughts due to the fear of being Googled by women considering us as possible parents, and as a result I’ve remained mostly silent. But I've noticed this silence on the part of other adopting couples, too. The home study, the profile, the wait, the personal feelings of inadequacy... no one seems eager to share much about the process until it's over. And truth be told, a lot of people who have not adopted or are not in the process of adopting make quite a few assumptions about their adopting friends. And maybe it's not benefitting the larger adopting community.
So here it is: we are imperfect. Incredibly, deeply imperfect. I have a genetic disease that many would like to label as life-limiting, and though I do live without limits (and we would not have passed our home study if my good health were not a provable fact), any child of mine is going to see his or her mama taking medicine. It’s never going to be a spectacle or show, but it’s going to be there. But more importantly, because of this small second-nature act on my part, I’m going to be there, too. (And according to my doctors, I’m going to be there for a very, very long time.)
But aside from this elephant, our imperfections extend even further, from our apartment lifestyle (we don’t have the huge house and big yard found in may couples’ profiles) to our somewhat camera-shy personalities (oh, how inadequate I felt when our adoption facilitator said we needed four more pages of photos in our profile!). We are not self-promoters and can only say whole heartedly and with complete integrity that what we do have to offer our children is love.
I’ve come to the conclusion that we cannot be afraid to hide our imperfections, while at the same time acknowledging that we must be careful about oversharing on the Internet, just as we would teach our children. As Jolie O’Dell so appropriately states, “…if you’re writing a story about yourself, well, just remember, the internet’s memory is long. Even if you delete your post, it’s guaranteed to be cached or archived on some server somewhere. So carefully consider how personal you want your personal stories to be.”
I’d love to hear your experiences if you’ve been down this adoption road, carrying all of your imperfections with you. I’ll be honest and say that some elements of it seem so fake-candy-shell-colored pink, from the shiny profile booklet we had a graphic designer put together to the smiles we put on our faces when we are asked incredibly personal questions by a social worker conducting our now-thankfully-over home study. How have you let your authentic love take the lead in what can start to feel like an inauthentic process?
Look for at least one more future post on this process, but for now, this is what is on my heart.