Maybe the sun will shine in my back door some day?

So no, I wasn’t affecting any change in T’s life when she came to stay with me for a week, but having her here certainly turned my life upside down. Chief among the upheavals was something I should have figured out long before she got here. How could I not have realized how completely my week with her would pull the sorrow of my childlessness to the fore?

As I’ve said before, the sadness is always just below the surface. When I think of what could have been during either go-round with The Morphine Man, it’s there even though he and I never talked about children. I did a lot more than talk about children with AC, though, and every time I see a baby who looks even the least bit like me or him, the pain is there. If I had been able to hold onto that pregnancy, our child would be two years old now. If I had been able to carry to term with either of my successful fertility treatments, those children would be even older. I think about those not-meant-to-be babies, and my heart breaks every time.

Being with T gave me a taste of what I’m missing, a look at just how green (challenging and fun and stressful and wonderful) the grass on the far side of that fence really is.

In that lofty, intellectual way that it is sometimes helpful to operate, I know I can’t have a baby. I know that my body isn’t up for it. And I know that at this point my age is making it fairly impossible. Yeah, I know all that. In the not-at-all-lofty, messy-as-hell emo way that I usually operate, knowing has had no real effect on my ability to truly accept any of this.

A few years ago I tried to head this train wreck off at the pass, tried to take destiny in my own hands or some such romance-novel action. I got myself a fertility doc and went to work. And work, and work and some more work besides. I spent nearly all my money on all that work — including a loan I took out to cover a few additional attempts. Then I decided to stop, to give up. I’d had two miscarriages and couldn’t throw myself back into that crazy-making process again. I wanted to run away for a little while, so I took the rest of my fertility loan and went to Jamaica. (That was my first trip to JA. I wonder how long it would have taken me to discover my future home if either of those pregnancies had gone full term.) Then I met AC and started a different kind of crazy-making process. That last miscarriage — losing the baby I would have shared with AC — made me sufficiently dysfunctional that I pretty nearly lost my job.  Then I knew I really had to accept that I wasn’t going to be anyone’s mother. My body, my heart, my head … all far too messed up for me to justify messing with any of them any further.

I’ve thought about adoption, and I’ve always dismissed it. It seems logical to me that an adoption agency that would place a child with me is an agency that should be up for a fine-tooth-comb review. As I am so fond of saying, I can hardly take care of myself, I’m certainly not prepared to take care of a child.

And that’s still true, the week with T notwithstanding. But the week with T has forced a shift in my brain. There was so much that felt good when she was here, and I started to wonder if maybe I had dismissed adoption too soon. (After all, if monsters like this woman get approved again and again … surely I could be seen as a good candidate just one time?”)

I don’t know where I’m going with this, if I’m going anywhere with it. There’s so much to consider, not the least of which is the fact that the loss of funding at work means I won’t be getting the long-awaited raise my boss and I built into that grant proposal. And there are bigger, scarier things to wrestle with. And there are really lovely things to think about, too. Like the look on the face of a colleague in the field who has recently brought home the beautiful toddler she’s been trying to adopt for almost a year, the way she seems less strident and angry. Not that I’m strident or angry … well, not so strident, anyway. My age is an issue, but is it a reason to set this idea aside? I don’t know.

Wow. Who knew the thrill of finding the perfect birthday gift for T would lead me here? And which of the fifteen tines on this fork in the road do I follow?

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5 thoughts on “Maybe the sun will shine in my back door some day?

  1. Oh, wow. I hadn’t realized that you’d been through so much. I’m sorry for your losses.

    I think adoption is a beautiful thing. I have the impression that there are many older children looking for a permanent family.

    There was a photo exhibit fairly recently in one of the train stations in Boston. There was a project whereby professional photographers worked with an adoption agency of some sort to produce portraits of children who were in need of permanent homes. (Most had been in foster care.) Each child, or pair of siblings in some cases, had a beautifully produced portrait and a text profile, telling about about their situation and their own interests, and their hopes for the future.

    I was so moved by the faces and the stories of the kids, as well as by the project. I found myself wanting to adopt one of those children. Now isn’t the right time though. Maybe some day.

  2. inmate1972

    If there is one thing I’ve learned over the years it is this: there’s never a good time to have a child. So if you want to have one, go ahead and adopt. I’ve known countless people who have totally changed their lives to be the parent their child needs them to be. The fact that you even question it puts you half-way there.

  3. I agree with Inmate, there is never a good time, it’s all about committment. If your committed to doing the best you can and forgiving yourself a bit when even you can’t live up to that standard, you can do it. It’s messy and awful and humbling and I will tell you, nothing shines a light on your personal shortcoming quite like a child. It’s also wonderful and hilarious.

    For me it cracked my heart right open and I’ve never been the same. Two of my three children are adopted and I wouldn’t change one thing, I’m mom to them and even though I’ve had a baby on my own, they were the first to make me a mother.

    I love your comment on the 15 tines on the fork–it’s true there is a lot to think about. See if the urge passes, sometimes it’s just momentarily reignited and sometimes it was there all along, quietly resting just below the surface.
    If you still want to do it, and you’re committed, I say go for it. Plenty of us have been raised by one parent and did ok and there are so many children who pray every night for someone to pick them.

  4. Ah, I’m so sorry about the lost babies. I didn’t know. From what I know of you, not so up close, but many years now via the Internet, I wholeheartedly think you would be a wonderful mother. You are smart, you are attuned to others and attentive, you care about what is happening in people’s lives and how things are going for them, you are vibrant and fully alive. You might not end up deciding to adopt, but if you do decide not to, one of the reasons definitely should not be that you wouldn’t be a good mother. You are ALREADY a good mother, in a way, to your students and, for instance, to T.

  5. I wouldn’t be foolish enough to give you advice but if you decide it is what your heart needs then you will find a way to do it. I’m sure I could live without my children but I would not be as complete as I am — on the other hand, I know my sister would not be the happy person she is if she had children. Hoping for the best!

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