Wednesday, March 2, 2011


I’m In A Field Of Land Mines

For each of us life a different journey. We go through many experiences that shape us as people. We experience happiness, and joys that we may have never known before. And at times we seem to be surrounded by despair, and depression sets into our everyday thinking. We forget many times what we live for, or why we keep going. Usually this is for brief periods.

Recently I have noticed a trend happening with my fellow adoption supporters. I have noticed that we have been embracing the “Woe is me” thought process. I do not mean to say that it is not acceptable for us to feel alone from time to time. Or that our emotions are not justified or real. But I do mean to say that we need to remember what it is that we are striving for.

I have noticed that the majority of the time when I am thinking of things involved in my own adoption. I tend to think of the extreme variables. What happens after Darling is placed with the family? Will I be able to visit? Will the family still want the mother and me to be involved? Will they prefer us to only be informed of Darling’s growth? I think of these many thoughts and I notice that it has been keeping me up at night. I can only imagine that for Darling’s mother and other birthmothers that it is at least twice as hard to deal with. They have to deal with these thoughts, on top of all the side effects the pregnancy are taking on them. It is then easy to feel like no one can relate. That no one understands.

Hopeful Adoptive Parents:
While birthmothers and birthfathers have a lot on their plate to think about and deal with; I feel like the Hopeful Adoptive Parents take the brunt of the worry and therefore tend to be the most susceptible to “Woe is me”. The reason I feel this way is because they don’t have just one child to think of. They have the potential to think of MANY children to think of. To think of what is best for this child being presented to them (when that happens). Most of the time when I think of the adoption of a child; I think about it from the birthparent’s point of view (big surprise). I think of the fact that I have the ability to say “I love this family, but I don’t think they are right for my child”. It seems so nonchalant and almost easy for me to just make the judgment and then move on. If you really think about it, it only makes sense for me and other birthparents to have this thought process. The numbers in the adoption field are very much so in our favor. There are far fewer birthparents than there are Hopeful Adoptive Parents.

The Hopeful Adoptive Parents have far less opportunity for selection because of this. That means, when an Adoptive Family is selected to be considered for placement they REALLY have to examine what is best for the child. For those of us who are not, take a moment to think about that statement; a person who wants more than anything else to have a new addition to their love circle, to their family. Must then examine if they can do that with any child that is put before them. For birthparents it is so much easier. We have so much of a larger selection to choose from. Hopeful Adoptive Parents do not! Hopeful Adoptive Parents could go YEARS without being selected. The want for a child can become nearly overwhelming for them. And when presented with the opportunity it can become very difficult for them to remember that they must do what is best for the child in the same way that a birthparent must. Even if that means acknowledging that they are not right for the child.

Now that we can see that it happens to each of us in different ways. Let us remember that simple fact. We all go through it. And we all have to work through it in whatever way it is that helps us. This can be through prayer, it can be by writing out thoughts, it can be through the comfort found in music that embraces the emotion being felt, or by connecting with others in the same or different sides of the adoption triad. I am guilty of using all of these coping mechanisms. And I’m sure there are others that may apply to others that I am not even aware of. We just need to remember that it is not only something we all go through. But it is something we need to experience, and the best way is one day at a time.
This is a website that has helped me to be able to handle the whole thing.

Now before I finish I just want to say that one of the things that honestly helps me the most, is the knowledge of all the love that my Darling will receive. I almost feel as though Darling will have a bit of an advantage in that aspect. She will have the knowledge that not only do her Adoptive Parents love her. But that her Birthparents love her as well. I hope that my Darling will always be able to feel that she is loved and wanted by many people. That given the chance many MANY Hopeful Adoptive Parents would welcome her into their lives and families with arms open.

Today’s song is by non other than my all time favorite band. I apologize for anyone that may find it irritating that I will be using them as often as I know I will, but they just get me haha.


  1. I think we all go through roller coasters in our lives, it's just the way it is. I think the key is not getting stuck in that slump and continuously singing the "Woe is me" song.

    You're right that there are more opportunities for you to examine adoptive parents and feel more "choosy" as an expectant father making that decision, but I appreciate your insight. Personally, when adoption is about the child and not about the birth parents or adoptive family, then both sides who are making this decision for the child have to consider the child. Adoption is about a lot of things, but first and always foremost it is about a child's life. Always.

    So many adoptive parents do rush into an adoption because they were "chosen" or "matched." It's frustrating to see because sometimes it makes hopeful adoptive parents look like ravenous wolves ready to pounce on fresh meat. (sorry for the terrible analogy) However, when we are "choosy" or "picky," we are judged that we should just be grateful that we were chosen and that "beggars can't be choosers." Yeah, well, it makes an interesting dilemma. Saying "no" to a situation for a child that absolutely needs a loving home, knowing you could give that love, but having to say "no" because you know that it wouldn't be right for that child or the children in your home is one of the hardest things a person can do. I've done it twice, and not without guilt.

    As for the coping mechanisms you mention, I've used all of those, too, but I don't feel one ounce of guilt. Wallowing in our grief is selfish. Yes, I believe it's a normal stage of grief and hardship and "okay," but it is selfish. We naturally want to cower and think how hard it is for US. I personally have found it empowering and freeing to commiserate with others who are traveling a similar road. That is something I wouldn't ever change, and something I will always endorse. In finding others who lift you up and who are willing to listen and share your burden for a while, You may find lifelong friends that you never expected. I know I have.

  2. I'm not an advocate of the "woe is me" attitude, and yes, we all have struggles. However, I do believe there is not only a plethora of coping mechanisms, but a process one must go through when presented with difficulties; especially when it comes to grief, loss, and trauma. And since each person is different, their process in coping will be very different than another situation.

    I'm a big Elizabeth Kubler Ross believer. I feel that unless those feelings are dealt with accordingly and correctly, they recur throughout life and can cause emotional trauma later. Sweeping issues under the rug simply takes them out of sight for a while. The mess is still there sitting under the rug and must still be dealt with at some point.

    To judge feeling grief as selfish (even if it seems they are wallowing) is just that... judging somebody's grief.... and is wrong. I can't imagine grief others have felt, it makes me sad to even try. Why is judging grief and the grieving process suddenly okay? To me, it is not. I can sympathize, empathize, and perhaps offer advise from my life experience, but never judge others grief process as selfish. Ouch!

    I only know how *I* deal with trials and if it takes me a week of prayers, talking through feelings, and more of the other coping mechanisms you mentioned, then that is *MY* time table. The greater the trauma, grief, loss, and circumstance, the longer it may take... while other situations may just need days to hours to rectify within oneself.

    That being said, I agree....One day at a time, keep a more eternal perspective, remember what we're striving for, and try to keep a positive attitude. But there is nothing wrong with allowing ourselves time to work through our feelings however we can, and in our own time frame without judgment.

  3. When I say "selfish," I don't mean that in a bad way, believe me. I've grieved and still do. I say selfish because it focuses on one's self, and THAT'S OKAY. The first time someone said that to me, I was hurt, annoyed, and very angry; but as I thought about it, she was right. Grief is selfish because we HAVE to focus on ourselves, and again, that's OKAY. There is nothing wrong with that, and I'm not judging someone who is grieving. Believe me, I have empathy for those who do, and I also do not believe in a timeline for grief. "Selfish" is a bad word used to describe it, but I'm not the one that is great with words. . .I'm sorry I offended you. I am; but that's what I get for not being able to state it appropriately. . .sorry. :(

  4. :) I still love you L. Always will. And since I know you, I was sure nothing was meant offensively. I guess I was the one sounding snippy and rude. My sincere apologies!!!
    Like a good blog post and comment, this has really made me think (commence the chorus of "Uh-oh"). :) I can see what you mean, grief having a way of bringing the focus to oneself in a way. I've heard that grief is, in a way, selfish before. In order to move on, you do have to find a way to personally deal with the suffering and pain associated with the grief and loss. That requires introspection.

    You know, in nursing school, particularly the mental health rotation, they teach that grief is actually an intense focus on others. Grief occurs from the loss of a loved one, the loss of a dream or expectation... many, many things can cause grief. The feelings of pain, suffering, heartache, and sadness associated with grief are from being separating from that person, dream, expectation... whatever...and acknowledging the separation from that love currently (or a future separation). I really like how the Mayo Clinic defines it:

    I guess, like all things in life, there is a balance. With each person it is different. Grief is normal, healthy, and productive a majority of the time and, in many ways, is a coping mechanism in and of itself. However, there are times when grief does get out of hand. I feel that at some point, grief is able to take over and becomes counter-productive in excess. Which would be WAY past the "woe is me" complex. And only should be determined as "unhealthily grieving" by a professional. I guess I'm just a believer that grief is a very personal process of coming to accept changes in life... and that simply cannot be judged by others. Certainly is interesting to discuss and think about though. I'm always up for a good "thinker." :)

  5. After reading your comments I had to go back through and make sure that my point I was trying to get across was in there. The main things about "Woe is me" that I feel should be avoided is when it affects who you are to the point that you are no longer yourself. L and Mama RN I know for a fact to both be pretty darn happy and loving people. If either of you were embracing it for too long, I would imagine that one of your loved ones would say something. Something like "quit being a party pooper and lets go tip us a cow!". So the point (just to be clear) is that we all need to grieve, and in whatever way that is for us. I just don't think it should change us as wholly as a person. Also. I did not mean to single anyone out. Except Mama RN for being so amazingly strong. When I wrote this I was mainly thinking of a person who isn't really in my inner circle....

  6. Well, I agree with both of you, and Mommy, RN -- thanks again for clarifying what I was REALLY trying to say. And I completely agree that she is one very Strong Woman, and I just love her, too!

    P.S. If either of you needs to tip a cow, let me know, I'm IN!!!

  7. I am so grateful that I found Adoption Voices and all the other wonderful women who have become my adoption family. From the Hopeful Adoptive Parent side, it is soooo helpful to have others to be there and just "get it" in ways that no one else understands. We surely do have bad days and better days on the rollercoaster ride of adoption. I can only imagine that ride for you B. I find your perspective to be so fascinating. I never would have thought that someone might think HAPs have the "Brunt of the worry." you make a very interesting point there. I guess I just see it the decision of the birthparents as the the ultimate sacrifice, for lack of a better word here. We know we have slim chances of being the "chosen" family and that things not working out are always possible. We certainly get discouraged and it can be hard to get out of that rut.

    Your perspective and thoughtfulness continue to astound, impress and educate me.