Saturday, January 12, 2008

Pessimistic, Optimistic, Realistic?

Last night we spent some time on the phone with our adoption coordinator discussing travel plans and filling out embassy paperwork for the kids. It boggled my mind to be filling in our own names and addresses under all of the spaces marked "mother" and "father".

Our coordinator is very nice and talkative. After Paul got off the phone, she and I spent some time discussing preparations and parenting and what to do if things aren't going well once we get home.

Obviously, Paul and I are fairly confident that eventually everyone will settle in and our lives will be enriched by becoming parents. I'm trying to prepare myself though for the fact that it might be really, really messy and stressful at first. We've corresponded with several couples that adopted 2 children at once and the overriding comment seemed to be that the first few months were sort of a train wreck but it got better and it was totally worth it and they were happy they'd chosen to go that route.

It's hard for any parent to admit when things aren't going well at home with a new baby (or babies) - that's not something our society is very open about. I think it must be even harder for an adoptive parent or a parent who's experienced a long struggle to have a baby. You've had so long to prepare, so much time to think things through and perfect your parenting philosophy. Heck, in our case we even got a certificate from our home study agency with a gold star on it saying we'd been approved to be parents. Admitting to difficulty after that would be really defeating.

I'm trying to prepare myself for life to be challenging over the next few months. I don't want to seem pessimistic like I'm expecting things to be just awful, but at the same time I don't want to fabricate all sorts of fabulous fantasies about what life will be like. Right now, I'm just really ready for Norah and Atticus to come home so I can stop pondering what it will be like and start experiencing it.


lindsay said...

I spent the past two weeks mourning the fact that I have twins. I love them, but I don't get to love on each one the way I would get to a singleton. I hate that my attention is so divided. It was a really rough few weeks, but then I found a group of women who validated my frustration. Just having people to talk to about these things can make them easier.

I hope that you four settle into a nice routine quickly. And from your post it sounds like if it is a struggle you're not going to be caught off guard!

You know how to find me if you want to talk!

Alexandra said...

Please be open and honest with the ups and downs - it will be really helpful for those of us contemplating adoption of either one or two kids. By the way, for below, ambivalence about room decor does not translate into ambivalence about parenting - and I love yellow (and the blue above too!).

Christina said...

Post-Adoption Blues is a really good book - and not nearly as depressing as it sounds. It sort of deconstructs the post-adoption experiences and validates all those potential negative feelings, in addition to giving ideas for how to deal with them. In fact, just as you mention, it observes that many adoptive parents feel self-conscious about admitting struggles because they had to actively convince someone (aka the agency or country or social worker) that they would be great parents, so therefore they now can't show any flaws. Bio parents don't have to prove to someone that they'll be terrific parents in order to have a baby.

Anyway, sorry for's a good book, I'd recommend it!