Thursday, 20 August 2009

I just don't know what to do with myself

I don't really know what I'm meant to be doing at the moment, what I'm supposed to be thinking or feeling. J's answer to this is that, Claudia, you don't need to be feeling something ALL THE TIME. Obviously, that's the Y chromosome talking, because what kind of crazy is that? We're probably looking at somewhere between days and weeks before we see our baby's face and our whole world turns upside down - I'm sure I'm feeling something, I'm just not entirely sure what it is.

In the meantime, I've pretty much regressed to being a teenager. I lie around the house and listen to sad music, and I've gone back to listening really hard to lyrics and being sure that they mean something. Girl sailor? By the Shins? You know the lines that go: A stronger girl would shake this off in flight, / and never give it more than just a frowning hour / But you have let your heart decide/ Loss has conquered you... I'm sure that's about me! And if I had a pound for every time I've listened to this , my adoption would have funded itself. (Eternally grateful to Lori for sending me that last song, by the way).

While I'm lying moodily on the sofa bonding with my ipod, I wonder. Does this huge weight of anticipation mean that I'm not allowed to find things difficult once the baby actually arrives? Jana Wolff, in her great book 'Secret Thoughts of an Adoptive Mother' has a chapter entitled 'Adopted poop doesn't smell any different' and I'm thinking about this a lot at the moment. Not just the poop, but the fact that I will have waited so long for this child, and I really hope he or she will change my life for the better, but the concensus seems to be that parenthood involves a lot of hard work and sleepless nights and is not just about the cashmere blankets and the smell of baby head. And while it's true that when I hear people complaining about their children, I want to beat them with a stick them until they realise how lucky they are*, I also know that sleep deprivation is awful, and vomit is gross, and there will be days when I just want to scream, and at the moment I just can't reconcile that knowledge with my intense longing to finally meet my child. And the heartache that I don't even know when that will be.

I guess part of the problem is this: in order to adopt, you have to be so determined to do it. You have to be totally convinced that it's a good idea. You have to want that child so badly in order to cope with the adoption process rollercoaster of humiliation and despair. You have to put all your plans on hold and move to Liminal State. But then, the baby comes, the goal is achieved, and... what then?

I have no idea.

*(Not as effective as you might think!)


  1. I think I've been feeling similar things... I get down, I feel like I should be doing more with my time... I regress... I don't think clearly. Today, I spoke with a wise woman who recommended I give myself permission to be in this place of longing/waiting without any guilt for what I should/shouldn't be doing with this time. The longing and waiting are enough. The unimaginable inner preparations to be a mother are enough ... even when we don't see it ourselves.

    I know this is tough. Period. I hope your wait is not much longer!

    Peace (and I hope I wasn't preachy --- just sharing what I gleaned for today).

  2. I think what you're feeling is totally normal. I definitely had a sad song that I listened to daily while waiting for our children to come home (our process was different, we got the referrals quickly and then waited 7 months to bring them home, I hated waiting!). I would sit in their rooms at night with their pictures and cry. Once they're home it's all about getting to know each other and getting a routine that works for your family and yes, you will get to those days when all you want to do is scream, but hopefully they're few and far between.

  3. Oh girl, I am sorry you are feeling this way. But I do love when people say what they are thinking and feeling. And I think that you are doing that now in the wait and you do have every right to express what you think and feel when your child comes home. Without others to commiserate with, where are we in the world? I don't know if I can think of a proper analogy. If being a parent is like running a marathon, then deciding to adopt, doing all it takes to get it official, going through the wait, then that is the Ironman triathalon.


  4. Adopted poop DOES NOT smell any better. It might even smell worse given the fact that you have waited so long to smell it. And...a 9 yr old wants you to stand in the bathroom while he deals it and you smells it....?????

    I've got a whole "don't feel bad for not being ecstatic when you come home just because you wanted it for so long" post coming on.

    And, because I've been meaning to say it for 2 weeks now...Love, Love, Love what you crafted forward and the ring fits absolutely perfectly on my ring finger you channeler of ring finger sizes, you.

    Good referral vibes coming your way.

    Solidarity with the waiters!

  5. You articulate these struggles so well. That book sounds really

    I think you're right--when we struggle so hard to achieve something at the very least it means we really, really want it (at least as much as we can possibly understand 'it' to be) but that doesn't negate the fact that 'it' is, in fact, life-alteringly hard (so I've observed). But you'll get through it--just like you've gotten through the current struggle, with grace, and dignity, and bouts of agony and despair and maybe even massive quantities of chocolate. And of course, the blogosphere :)

  6. How can we not be feeling something all of the time? Colin has also posed this question to me. This motherhood ride is insane. My hormones are crazy. I feel like I am utterly incabable of being productive. I walking around in a misty haze. Maybe I look normal to the rest of the world ... but I am not normal. I am not even close to normal.
    I feel like I need to have constant distractions to allow myself reprieve from the intensity of my longing, my dreaming, my insecurities,etc. I have become a victim to TV shows online and am trying to lose myself in fiction novels. I should be reading parenting books. I should be learning more and more about everything adoption oriented but I have to just chill.

    We're not close. We have months to go. Who knows how many months to go until I actually get to hold this little being that I have been journeying towards for eons. So I guess I have to find a way to gain some balance. I'm trying to take as much me time as I can or at least that's how I justify my behavioral patterns of sheer laziness. So I have a list .. the list, I know you have one two ... the things to accomplish before the earth-exploding moment when I actually am welcomed to the tribe of mothers.

    So I have just in this week made some progress. I am taking an Amharic course and an Ethiopia History course. This is amazing. But it still leads back to baby or babies. Ahhhhh!!!

    The Liminal State ... we are floating about it, around it, and in it. The rest of the people don't understand. They might even think we're still normal.

  7. I saw what you posted on Evelyn's blog and I concur always escape to Pride and Prejudice. And when you've completed that you can slum it with some other Austen adaptations.

  8. I'm all for seeking out music to "match" my mood and of course all the songs are about "me"... (-;

    I'm not "there", but it seems like you are doing just what you should - really just allowing yourself to feel it and think about it all. Your child will likely change your life in ways you never thought possible and you will roll with the punches with the struggles and savor in the all the good times too...just as you have done through all the rest of this journey.

    Many hugs, hun.

  9. There's so much to respond to in this post, just so much. It's true that adoptive poop doesn't smell any different, that we have those normal days of being a parent and wanting a break, but there's something else there too that I'm not sure how to contrast to the experience of bio kids since I have no frame of reference. I just know that the love is just as deep but has different emotions involved.

    For example: a friend of mine (another mom via adoption) told me that she always finds this deep well of patience with her child because she thinks so much about his birth mother and how she would long to have any moment with him, even with really tough times. I think about this every day, especially when I feel impatient. It's impossible for a mom via birth to have this emotion just because the experience is so different. I think that as moms via adoption, we don't love our kids *more* but differently. It's simply more complex for us. I hope I'm making sense.
    As for Pride & Prejudice: I'm reading right now Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Can you get this where you are? It's so very very very VERY fantastic. Highly recommended. Let me know if you can't find it. I'd be happy to send you my copy when I'm done. It. Will. Make. You. Laugh.


Over to you!