Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Adoption: Another Way to "Have" Children

As an adopted child, I'm often asked my thoughts on adopting. I think it's wonderful. With that in mind, people have asked why Peter and I have gone to lengths to get pregnant. It's completely financial. We've looked into adopting, even through Catholic Social Services, and the cost was over $5,000. While infertility treatments are expensive, our insurance covers everything. Our out of pocket is tiny compared to what we'd pay adopting. Now, to be fair, Peter's employer offers an adoption reimbursement program, but we'd still have to have the money to pay upfront. Since we don't have it, a private adoption is out of the question. We are also looking with the Commonwealth, as they have children waiting to be adopted. Many of the children we are eligible for, due to our age, have special needs, which is not a problem for us at all. However, to be fair, it isn't fair to a child that needs round the clock care to have a mother that is on bedrest for 3 months and can't hold them or take care of them. Since we don't know what pregnancy will hold for me and we do know that we want a large family, we feel that it is best to wait until it is apparent that we can no longer birth children (because of my lack of hormones, it would mean allowing myself to go into menopause early), which I would put in my mid-thirties. (While many women can and do have children in their 3os and beyond, neither Peter nor I feel it is worth the risk to the child when I am already "high risk").

Many years ago, Peter and I came close to adopting a little girl with hydrocephalus. But, at the same time, my father was ill and needed to come and live with us. We couldn't handle taking care of two people, both time wise or financially, and, while that little girl lives in our heart to this day, she is now someone else's daughter and is well loved. We've inquired about several children, but they've been placed with other families, who better fit their needs. One day, when the time is right, I know that God will open this door as well. Right now, we just have to wait for that to happen, which is rough when you are as impatient as I am.

I've been raised to believe that adoption is just another way to "have" children. That it is no different than having a child vaginally or via C-section. That we are all related somehow. That it is really nurture over nature any day. This isn't just what I was raised to think- it's what I do think. My mom used to tell me that my brother was her tummybaby and I was her heartbaby... A child born from her heart, from love. During those days growing up, knowing I was somehow "different", it was that saying that made me feel better, that made me feel a part of a family. To this day, it is what I cling to when the world makes me feel less real, less valued.

Even as an adult, I hear why adopted children are "different". I've even had someone say that "You never love an adopted child like you love your "real" child". What ignorance. I've given birth to two beautiful children and I love them with my heart and soul. Because they've died and I only parented them minutes compared to a lifetime, does that make my love less real? Does it make them less real? Will I love my other children less because Nicholas and Sophia will always be perfect? Of course not. Love isn't measured that way. True love isn't measured at all! We love others because they are unique, because they are themselves, because they are a sign of the Divine on earth! People who limit their love for any reason- their children aren't biologically theirs, their kid goes through a "troubled" phase- these people don't know what true love is.

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