Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Why I Don't Feel Like I Have a Choice

Thank you, my three readers :), for your comments and support. I'd like to attempt to answer the questions.

I do, technically, have a choice. And Anthony is supportive of whatever choice I make, but it is, in all honesty, my choice.

We can disrupt, if we do it before finalization. We can say, "No, we can't handle this. Sorry." Max would go back into foster care. They would try to recruit for a family to adopt him again. His chances would not be good for finding another adoptive family. He is a black male and would have a disrupted adoption on his record. In reality, he'd be looking at aging out of foster care. I can't imagine that his life would go on any sort of good path.

Even if he was lucky enough to be adopted, he'd be further down the path of attachment issues for us having blown his trust. We've told him over and over again that he is here to stay. To then not follow through would be devastating for him. We have had the best of intentions when we've said these things to him. We keep hoping that he'll settle in and trust and things will be easier. Any (highly theoretical) family that might want to adopt him would have to overcome all of that.

We've talked about asking if we can turn into a long term foster family while they look for an adoptive family for him, which would at least save him from having to change homes an extra time or two, but we'd still be bailing on him. Plus, what if they don't find anyone?

We have hopes that finalization will bring with it some calm, but I'm trying not to get too invested in that hope. It could get worse. Sometimes that happens.

I could go back on Prozac. He seemed better when I was on Prozac and I felt glad then that we'd kept him. A lot of the glad feeling is just how guilty I'd feel for tossing him out on his ear. However, that was the only good thing about Prozac. Lack of sex drive, weight gain, no real joy. I don't want to go back to that.

We could delay the adoption. We've already done that. We sat on some paperwork this summer for quite a while because we were having serious doubts. We went through the whole disrupt or not decision making process. We decided not to disrupt. We had several reasons for that.

The above mentioned repercussions to Max were definitely some of those reasons. However, also, we were looking at the impact on us. Max's therapist, who, of course, doesn't want to see us disrupt, told us that even though it seems like it will be a relief when the child leaves your home, it really impacts families as more of a death of a child and can be devastating. Now, the sensible thing is to take that with a grain of salt, as her primary interest is in keeping Max in the family, but it does make some sense to me.

In addition, I don't know if I can live with the guilt. I don't know if I can face people and say, "Yeah, we sent him back to foster care." What if his life tanks and we could have made the difference if we'd stuck it out?

I don't want Davan to think that people are disposable. I don't want her to wonder, "How bad to I have to be before they send me away?"

So, the short answer is, yes, there are choices and we've already made them. I still feel trapped and like I don't want to do this. I wish I could turn back the clock and do it differently by saying no after the first day we met Judea and realized he wasn't a good match for us. Or by saying no before he moved in when we realized that we were going to be miserable. Or even by sending him back to live with his foster family after a month or two when the impact would have been less. Each time, we kept thinking, "It's just the stress of moving and a new family for him. It'll get better." Or by saying no when we got the full influx of his paperwork before we'd met him. We messed up when we didn't say no then, but we were worried about if we'd be able to adopt if we said no and we'd been verbally told that he was doing fine.

If I knew that he could go to a family that would stick by him and appreciate him for who he is and was brown like him, I'd step aside for that family. But, there is no dream family like that. We're as close as it's going to get, even with me dragging my feet the whole way.


  1. Nicholina, I've been following your blog and although I have no magic answers, I just want you to know how much I admire the love, dedication, determination and patience you have shown throughout this process. Our family thinks of yours often and please know that the lessons you are showing Davan--and in his own way, Max/Judea--are true treasures that people like me truly admire.


  2. Anonymous8:58 PM

    I'm totally playing devil's advocate - please forgive me, and if you hate me for commenting, I'll stay away in the future.

    (Aside: I think Anthony should tell you what he thinks. Of course he'll support you, but what does he *want*.)

    I believe that the children and the family you have are more important that the children you don't. For example, I'm likely not going to have any more children because the three lovely healthy smart kids that I have deserve a momma who isn't sobbing and thinking terrible thoughts. I also don't feel like playing the statistic cards given my age, my pregnancy history. So, although future children are important, and maybe my next child will be a blessing and a wonder - I'm not going to find out. Because the ones I have are more important than the ones I don't.

    Max isn't your child yet. I'm not talking strictly from a legal, adoptive standpoint. It truly seems like he hasn't found his way into your heart. Have you found his way into his?

    This bonding doesn't happen with birth. It can, but it normally comes later. The falling in love. With one of my kids, it took a few days, another it took months. But it came. With adoption, I would imagine that the process would take longer. But this has been going on a long time. And you don't seem to have fallen in love with him.

    And, you seem to be falling out of love with your family.

    A couple (more) things to consider:

    You don't want Davan to think people are disposable. I totally get that. Buy a puppy, puppy chews shoes, return puppy. Bad modeling. But you have tried. You have tried, and tried and tried.

    But by moving forward with something you don't want to do (or aren't ready to do) - I'm not talking wishy washy feelings, but serious dread and hopelessness - is not a good life lesson for your daughter either. It teaches her paths cannot be changed. And that you cannot admit mistakes.

    Engagements cannot be broken, one cannot get a divorce from an abusive partner, you can't get an abortion, you can't switch majors in college, you can't change religions, you can't switch political parties.

    I'm not saying to ditch the adoption thing. (I know my opinion really doesn't matter).

    But move carefully. You have a chance to think this through some more. There are impacts either way. What if Max's life tanks, and you are his mother?

    Not moving forward will take more bravery than you can possibly imagine. Facing others would be brutal. Facing yourself would be hard too.

    Moving forward will take daily courage and bravery to deal with the challenges that are coming up. Those that will get better, other that will only get worse.

    This is a terribly difficult situation. One that you may need more time to deal with and ponder through. Family is forever.

    You get to choose which path that family is going to be on.

    My dear N...I do not envy your position or your decision. Thank you for sharing this process with the world. It is touching.

  3. No, I don't hate you for commenting. I appreciate your comments and view point. I'm glad you found your way here. :)