Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Bits and Pieces

I just read my e-mail and came across this, courtesy of Cool Mom Picks. (Sorry, I don't seem to be able to upload the photo.)

How much does my babychile need this? She was conceived to Led Zeppelin in hilarious fashion which I will not recount here. Does wanting this make me wrong? Because if so, I’m not sure I want to be right.


I left a message with my doctor this morning, detailing my pain and discomfort and asking if she’s had any cancellations. Nobody has called me back. I love my doctor with an overflowing loving spoonful of love, but I am mystified as to why she did not go straight to the bat phone and call me right away. I don’t feel good.

Cruising the Internet

Viva had a playdate with three friends on Saturday. One of the moms asked if we want to have another child. (Why do people always ask this? No matter how you answer, then you have to justify your answer. It’s not an easy question.) I was tempted to crack wise and ask, “Why? Are you giving yours away?” but I didn’t, mainly because I think she could take me and I didn’t want the kids to see us rolling on the floor and pulling hair.

But you know, what with Viva creating her imaginary younger brother, and what with me feeling that anyway, she should have a sibling, and that I would love to have another kid if we could afford it (which we can’t), I have held in the back of my head the precious idea of adopting a child. Not a baby, but a child a couple of years younger than Viva. She is almost 4, and her imaginary brother is 2. I think that would be perfect. In the fantasy world in which I live, this wouldn’t happen until she is 5 or so.

The other day, I realized with a start that what this means is that this little person is already out there somewhere, living with somebody, maybe in a good situation or maybe not. I started to get upset about that little person, because I realized that in order for that little person to be available for adoption, some bad shit would have to happen in his family of origin. And what that means on some level is that I’m hoping for some bad shit to happen to somebody so I can have the privilege of raising their kid.

Today, I was reading some of the recent posts on A Birth Project, a blog which I’d come across some time ago through Dawn. I’d bookmarked the site but hadn’t blogrolled it, which is ridiculous because it is really thought-provoking and you know I’m all down with having my thoughts provoked. The author of the site, Lisa Marie, is an adult transcracial adoptee, and she was writing about the book launch for Outsiders Within, an anthology by a slew of transracially adopted writers. If you have interest in that sort of thing, by all means, go read the whole post. She quotes some of the readings in her post, and there were two items that really stood out for me.

First, she quoted Jane Jeong Trenka, who in talking about the transracial adoption of Korean and Chinese children emphasized the importance of finding ways to “understand that empowering a mother/birth family to find ways to raise their own children is one place to look to think about this diaspora that is marked by the very real fact that it is entirely a migration of children.”

Then she cited Julia Chinyere Oparah as asking why there are so many children for adoption to begin with.
What are the circumstances that create thousands of Black children in the U.S.
to be “without families”?

While I doubt that we would transracially adopt if we ever went the adoption route (because most likely we would have a black child placed with us because hello, we're black), I think the questions are valid whether one is pursuing even a same-race adoption. The problems are systemic ones – why are parents “unable” to raise their own children? Who makes that call? I think if I adopted a child, I would be concerned about the birth parents. At some point it begins to feel that building a family through adoption is benefiting from someone else’s misfortune. How do you explain that to the child? How do you help a kid understand the jacked-up mess that is the U.S. child welfare system if you adopt domestically*, and why he ended up with you?

One day at the playground, I started talking to a mom with two kids who were very close in age. They both appeared to be biracial, as did the mom, but they didn’t look anything alike. I asked her what the age difference was.

Other Mom: Five months.
Mama Blah: How’d you manage that? [Duh.]
Other Mom: They’re adopted.
Mama Blah: Oh, wow. [I had figured maybe one was adopted and one was not.] Do you mind if I ask you a little bit about the process?...

So we started talking, and she was very friendly and open, and I was clearly hanging on her every word. The one thing I found both disturbing and yet somewhat understandable was that she said she absolutely wanted an infant because that way it gave her more control over their ultimate development. “Everything you read talks about brain development in the first years of life, and how crucially important this time is. I wanted to be able to control what they eat, whether they’re being read to every day, all that stuff.” I get it, but then I’m thinking, “What about those kids who don’t have a family, and don’t have someone doing that for them? Do we just write them off?”

Well, yes, it seems so. It’s heartbreaking to me. Doesn’t every kid deserve that?

* Which is what I’m assuming we’d be dealing with, since we would not be adopting an infant. Is there such a thing as a private adoption with older children? I am just getting my feet wet with all this and have no fricking clue. At any rate, I want to read the book, just because I am fascinated by racial dynamics.

Update: My doctor’s office called. She is on a leave of absence. Auugh. The earliest they can get me in to see someone else in her practice is January 24th – yes, that’s right, more than two weeks from now. “Is it mainly just discomfort? Or pain? Call back if the pain gets worse and we’ll see what we can do.” What?!?


Cee in SF said...

You know I've had my fair share of pain, so my recommendation is go to the ER. You may have to wait, but it sure won't be a two week wait, just hours. That way you can deal with what you need to deal with now rather than later. You'll have to f/u with your primary afterwards anyway. When you f/u, they ususally squeeze you in earlier for a f/u visit after you've already been to the ER. They'll also be forwarded your tests so they'll know what they're dealing with.

If you can swing it, that's how I'd go. Pain sucks.

E. said...

Man, what a great post. You really raise some good issues here. I've dealt with the "will you have another?" question so many times, and as a mom-of-one who is struggling with the question of whether to have another, I don't really appreciate it. I don't know: do parents with two kids get asked this all the time? Maybe. I doubt it.

Sometimes when I'm battling my ambivalence about whether to stick with one or try to have another, I think of the adoption option as a possibility. But I've struggled with many of the questions you ask above. (Esp. b/c we're white, and would never want to go out of our way to adopt a white baby or kid, but I worry about the ethics of raising a child with needs arising from racial and cultural identity that I'm not sure I'm qualified to address.)

Anyway, I think if Viva ends up getting a sibling, it'll be great in many ways. But one is great too, and that family configurations has a lot of advantages. (And if you're interested in some good info on why only children are not inherently deprived, check out Bill McKibben's Maybe One: A Personal and Environmental Argument for Single-Child Families.)

Lisa Blah Blah said...

cee: I'm not in pain per se, I'm experiencing discomfort, and it comes and goes. For instance, if I'm lying down and I laugh, sometimes it hurts. Sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes it hurts when I'm not doing anything. Sometimes not. I'm fairly certain this is fibroid-related, but then, I'm not a medical professional. Today, I feel okay. I think I can hang in for another week.

e: Yeah, it's a very tough issue. People certainly are opinionated about what you choose to do with your own family -- my grandmother, for example, says that my sister "waited too late" to have her second child and shouldn't have had her kids so far apart (there's a 4 year age difference). My sister had secondary infertility and had to go on Clomid for several months after already trying to conceive for several months without it, so she wasn't "waiting" to have another kid, she was having problems. I know I'm off on a tangent, but my point (and I do have one) is that it's really nobody's damn business when or if you choose to bring another child into the family. It's really exasperating trying to deal with other people's expectations.

That said, I love having the one child so much. Viva is generally pretty easy at this point (knock on wood) -- we are quite a happy little family, and if I only ever had her, I wouldn't feel something was missing. But then, I would love for her to have the closeness with a sibling that I had growing up. There are no guarantees that she would have that closeness with either a biological or adoptive sibling, I know. I just would like for her to have that extra dollop of love and "I got your back" feeling.

Someday I'll figure this all out. But today, I need to get lunch.