Friday, May 26, 2017

I am bitter. I am lucky.

Last night we had our foster care class, and my dominant emotion was anger. or bitterness. or grief. Or a mix of all three.

I spent the day hanging out with a pregnant co-worker and shopping for my best friend's baby shower. I am THRILLED for both of them.

But I am bitter that I don't get to just make a baby.
I am bitter that we can't have a kid who is biologically both of ours.
I am bitter that I have to go through classes to build a family when it feels like any idiot on the street gets to just accidentally make it happen.
I am bitter that I don't get all the mommy milestones of announcing my pregnancy to my husband, my family, my community; of having a traditional baby shower; of daydreaming about our baby's characteristics taken from our own; of choosing my baby's name.
I am bitter that I don't get to fight off strangers who want to touch my belly.
I am bitter that we have to learn about drug exposure and abuse and insecure attachment styles - I'm bitter that we might need all that info at our disposal when we have our kids because they'll potentially have been through hell before they get to us.
I am bitter that my gain when we do get to adopt is someone else's loss.
I am bitter that a child I care for over the course of a year or more will be returned to a "minimally adequate" home.

All of these are important for me to feel. If someone told me to "choose happy" or look on the bright side, I'd probably bite their heads off. But...

I am lucky.

I am lucky to live in a county with so. much. support for foster families.
I am lucky to have parents who fostered children and know what it's like.
I am lucky to have sisters who are rooting for us and our adopted babes, who will see our kiddos as their nieces and nephews as much as if they were blood relatives.

I am lucky to have Pat. A partner who followed my lead in research; who followed my gut in choosing foster care; who is flexible if we find that this isn't really the path for us. A partner who wants kids; who can tell from my posture that I'm in a piss-poor mood during class before I even tell him that I'm angry; who doesn't question all the chocolate I buy because I'm an emotional eater and it's part of how I'm getting through this; who will be there with me for every step of this; who had a strong mother and knows I can be that too; who recognizes that we are going to parent and run our household as a team, not as a homemaker and a breadwinner.

I am lucky.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

One year down, and our first training class

A year ago today, Pat and I learned that we could not have babies that were biologically both of ours. After we got the call telling us this - definitively, for 100% sure - Pat worked from home, because he is Pat, and I cried on the couch, quietly, trying not to let him hear me.

Then I took a nap. (as one does.)

Then I started my research.

As I mentioned, I landed pretty quickly on the idea of foster-to-adopt. When I thought of our kids, I'd always theorized whether my genes would beat out all of Pat's; with my darker hair and darker eyes. I looked forward to seeing our family resemblances in the kids, figuring out who had whose eyes and nose and singing voice and athletic talent or lack thereof.

But if the kiddos weren't going to be biologically both of ours... I thought adoption would be our next best plan.

By the end of May, I can remember filling in my father-in-law on what I'd learned about adoption and sending him links to articles online. I checked out books from the library and started looking at what local agencies required.

Pat was a little slower; he was leaning toward private adoption.

In August, we attended an orientation for our county's foster care, and Pat agreed: Foster-to-adopt would be our path. About a week later, I signed us up for our Core Training class, months in advance because of Pat's work schedule.

There has been a lot of internal reckoning for me since we landed on this path. There are heartaches already. Our babies will not be mini Patricks running around, as I'd once imagined. They won't have my dad's eyes, as I do, or my mom's everything else, as I do. They will be named by their birth families, and Pat and I will honor those names as gifts from the ones who also gave them their lives. And there may be babies who are ours only for a short time, and then go back to their families of origin.

But we will be their mom and dad, while we have them, for as long as we have them.

Last week, we started our foster care certification classes - Core Training. There was some computer trouble - the computer ate our initial registration, and we didn't get updates we should have. We showed up in the wrong city and a week into the class (as they had changed the dates and the location). We'll do Weeks 2-8 then do Week 1 with the next group. Just more bumps in the road.

Still, it feels good to be taking steps toward finding our family. We are finally doing something, on the path, making it happen.

More to come, when there's more to say. Love to all.

Abbey