Thursday, April 26, 2007

That Which Weighs Heavy

I've been reading the same story that I am sure much of the Chinese adoptive community has this week. It is not a pretty story of ladybugs and red threads. It is ugly. Woman goes to China for her healthy bouncing baby girl and is greeting by one very sick little child. She make a gut wrenching decision not to parent the child. Things aren't handled all that well and woman returns home empty handed...mad and sad. Child is left in China, future uncertain.

I wasn't planning on publically commenting on this story. I had planned to go on with adorable pictures of my lovely brood and snarky cul-de-sac commentary of life at preschool and perhaps tossing in light fanfare about how my 17month old is suddenly not a baby anymore...she's all about the toddler trouble these days. (Stop by again to see knive throwing toddler style.)

But, I can't. In the last few days I've dreamt I went to Guatemala and adopted a sick little boy. I've been at the grocery store staring at Livi with her runny nose and grubby hands tearing up just because I love her so much. The check out man had to ask me if I was ok. Yes, one of those days I carelessly told him as I whipped out my Visa. I won this adoption lottery was all I could callously think. Who knows what tomorrow will bring but today I won. I admit it, I thought that.

This isn't how life always turns out though. I know this first hand, being a young cancer survivor. I know what it feels like to have a baby die inside of your rotten un-working body after IVF. (How's that for ladybuggy fare?) I'm not completely unaware of how life sometimes deals bent ugly cards to normal nice folks to make them stop in their tracks and take stock in how fragile life really is. One minute you are walking along with your head in the clouds, the next you are sitting on a gurney looking at pasty white guys in white lab coats...hoping for more. Or staring at a govennment official who has all the power in asking for life's greatest favor...knowing full well you will not be obliged.

I personally know a family that could not take a child home with them upon meeting her in China. They were granted to gift of a little girl called C. 1 week later in China. I was admittedly horrified upon hearing this story from the mother the first time. It stopped me in my tracks much like the story I've been reading this week. But you know what? They are nice people. They aren't bullies, they aren't unfeeling, they aren't even self rightous, they had to make a choice for their family. I have no idea what choice I would have made if I'd been in the same position. I'd like to think I'd know what choice...but I don't...since I haven't lived it.

My thoughts this week are with the families that have to make gut wrenching decisions about parenting whether adopted or biological. I hope I have the courage to never judge them harshly for their decisions. Right or wrong, here or there.

In the mean time I hope adoptive parents are more educated through this process of learning about this story. I hope they expect that there will be bumps in the road, and when things turn up all rosy and ladybuggy they are pleasantly surprised. I hope they are committed to knowing that every adoption is in some ways a special needs adoption. Yes, I do believe that every adoption is in some way special needs. Being ever vigilant about watching your adopted child for signs of needed help and intervention is in its own way...a special need.

We will be back to our regularly scheduled girlie antics and the mother following along with bad roots and a sore back soon. All this after a short breath to reflect on life's ability to bring a breathtaking course of pain and doll out intermittent jogs of exhaulted joy all in one journey.


Space Mom said...


Wendy said...

You said it perfectly Perrin. It's great people in general think they know what they'd do in that situation, but until you've actually lived it, they can have no idea.

I can't wait to get back to pics of those beautiful girls.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your post, Perrin. I was not aware of the situation you are referring to but I want to say applause and cheers to you for acknowledging and pointing out that no matter the unfortunate situation (any situation) no one knows how they would react unless they are in the middle of it. When my daughter was 2 I had a high risk pregnancy with a lot of unanswered 'whys' and 'what ifs' and my husband and I made the gut wrenching decision to "terminate the pregnancy". We had to take everything into consideration--the health (or lack thereof) of our not yet born baby, the life of (and time away from) the daughter we already had, the complications and quality of life the baby would have had, etc etc etc I could go on but my point is it's a very difficult decision to make and no one can make the decision until they are in the lead roles. Would I make the same decision today? There again...I can't answer that question because I'm not there...I think my decision would be different today, being older, wiser, more financially secure, etc but I don't know unless I'm put back in the middle of it.

Anyway, sorry for the ramble but thanks for your post!!

Traci's sister

Krista said...

I felt the same way too. Jen's story has put a heaviness in my heart this week. I think her story is important, as few people are discussing the (potentially) negative side to an adoption story.

Anonymous said...

You are right Perrin - every adoption IS a special needs adoption - sometimes on both ends. I wasn't prepared for the condition my daughter was in. I don't think it was anyone's fault and if it was, I don't care. I am just glad to be able to help prepare others. Thanks for your comments.


Anonymous said...

Well said Perrin. I often feel guilty about having a "puppy dog and rainbows" experience the first time around. It's all relative. For us, L is perfect. No major bumps in the road. She's a freaking easy and good kid. We were fortunate.

Will S be as easy? Am I thinking twice? Sigh.

Lee-Anne said...

I've heard snippets about the situation. My full sympathies are with the family that are obviously going through turmoil.

I'd be lying if I didn't wonder why people decide to not bring home their allocated child. I'm praying like mad, that I am not in the situation where I have to make a decision like that.

jaj said...

It's heartbreaking for all involved. An impossible decision to make.

kris said...

Really great post. I was struck by your comment about life being so good, moving along (head in the clouds) to lying on that gurney. It is like that. I went from happy marriage, to him asking for a divorce 2 months from our referral (for first child)- a cancelled adoption, heart and bone crushing hurt, to my mom's death 8 months later. After 1-2 years, I'm still picking up those pieces, putting my life back together.

That said, I can't judge what this mom decided to do having never lived it, but I also keep coming back to the same question if she'd had her biologically, and then found she had severe mental illness, would she then give the child up? Seems unlikely. For me, adoption is the same as birth. No garuantees. But that's just me.

nikki said...

I have nothing of value to add to that.
Very well said. (as always)...