Tuesday, May 10, 2016

You Bet Your Sweet Bippy I'm Bitter

It's been six months since we started the home study process. We don't have a case worker yet, haven't even scheduled a home visit. I'm still waiting on child abuse clearances from Illinois and Massachusetts, which I requested about 5 weeks ago. It took between two and three months to find out what I needed to do to get the child abuse clearance from Ireland. Trying to get the payment instrument needed, in euros, so that I could send off for the clearance took me checking two banks, the post office, and AAA, then asking my parents for help. They then went to two banks and had to open up a new account (minimum deposit $2,000) and spend $30 just to get the 6.35 euro bank draft. It cost $33 to mail the paperwork to Ireland, and I have real concerns about whether I'm going to have to cough up more money so that they'll send me the results. 

This on top of the 20 weeks it took to get the FBI background checks the first time and our misadventures with references. One reference, who we asked back in November, kept saying how busy she was and stressed about money. Meanwhile she's taken her daughter to Disney world and spent thousands on home improvements. Finally we had to give up on her, admitting that for all her "Let me know if I can do anything to help!" rhetoric, filling out the reference form wasn't that important to her. Another reference suffered a series of mishaps, with it being forgotten, printed on plain paper instead of the form (deemed unacceptable by our agency), and a series of printer problems. Technically we have enough references, but I can't help but worry if they're good enough.

All of this just for what? The basic premise is "prove that you're a good person." Sometimes it feels like "prove you deserve these children." Heck, just because there's no record of anything doesn't mean that someone hasn't committed crimes; it just means they haven't been caught yet. Isn't the stereotype that the first thing someone says when that find out that someone they knew committed horrible crimes is "But he seemed so nice!"? I think that's what they said about Ted Bundy. I'm not a criminal; I've never even had a speeding ticket. I think I had a couple of parking tickets when I lived in the city of Pittsburgh, but I paid them promptly. I don't cheat on my taxes, donate to charity, recycle, compost, pray, Freecycle, listen, volunteer, and do my best to give thoughtful gifts. 

But can I prove I am a good person? Am I a good enough person? Are those people who say that "If you can't get pregnant, you were clearly not meant to be a parent" right? I spent a weekend sobbing, wracked with self doubt, wondering if this the right thing, if I have the boundless patience and caring to raise adopted children. I can't help but wonder when so often I see adoption referred to as the least bad option. If it's the least bad option, that means that it's still bad. The people that believe that adoption is evil certainly have the strength of their convictions, and it's hard for me not to give them some credence. I certainly agree that in a perfect world there would be no need for adoption; every child would be born to loving parents who could care for them and would stay together forever, living at least until their children were grown. And everyone who wants children would be able to have the exact number of children that they want. Then there would be no children unable to be raised by their biological parents, and no people who want to be parents but who couldn't have biological children. But that's not the world we live in.

So I'm stuck trying to prove that I'm a good person, losing sleep and stressing out over it. It's hard to forget that all they ask if you give birth is whether you have a car seat. So yes, you can bet your sweet bippy* I'm bitter. 

If I could just get pregnant...

But I can't.

* You bet your sweet bippy was one of my grandfather's sayings when I was growing up. He may have picked it up from Laugh In. 


  1. Oh, Stephanie! I'm sorry that it's so much stuff going on with this! So crazy what you have to go through in the first place just to get all the paperwork done, without having all the extra problems on top of it.

  2. Dear Stephanie, infertility is terribly heartbreaking and adoption paperwork is very frustrating. Nevertheless I read your post and in your words there is so much raw pain, anger, bitterness. You even openly call adoption the least bad option but still a bad option. Reading your words it seems you are still at the beginning of your grieving process and if I were your caseworker, after reading your post, I would ask you to take a break from the paperwork and to discuss with a counselor your feelings about infertility and your motivations for choosing adoption.

  3. I believe you misunderstood what I wrote; I do not consider adoption the least bad option. In fact I most often see it called that by social workers or psychologists in the adoption field. I was first introduced to adoption as a bad thing during the 10 hour training course required to adopt through Catholic Charities Pittsburgh. They devoted an entire 2 hour class to the idea. They were so negative about adoption that I felt compelled to ask why, if adoption is so bad, anyone should do it.

    I believe that adoption is the best option in terrible circumstances. Since this reply is getting long, I would prefer to finish covering this topic in a separate post.

  4. Adoption is not 'bad' but surely involves a lot of trauma and pain. Trauma of a couple suffering infertility, trauma of a child being abandoned, trauma of biological parents unable to take care of their child. Adoption doesn't cure infertility but it is a way to parenthood. A couple shouldn't settle for adoption but should choose it as a way to become parents. Adoption should be pursued when both spouses are on the same page and have reached a certain level of acceptance of infertility. In other words even if the adoption process is frustrating and long there should still be some joy when thinking that you are getting ready to become parents through adoption and excitement about the new chapter of life that you are starting.

  5. The process can be so draining and wearing on heart, soul, mind, wallet... :( I'm sorry for all the delays you were experienced - we had some of this when we were trying to get home study approved and they made me want to tear my hair out! And definitely raised some insecurities about whether we were ever going to be parents, etc. By the end, I felt okay with the process knowing that it's a big deal for a child to be raised be people he/she wasn't born to and the state has to try to make sure those people are safe and sane (even though I'm sure it's not a foolproof process). I like what you said in your comment: adoption can be the BEST option for a given child in a given situation...yes there are absolutely losses involved, but that doesn't mean adoption is a bad thing. It's trying to make the best out of a bad situation. I'm sorry you received so much negativity from your training classes :( That would have really discouraged me and made me feel like the bad guy somehow. Continued prayers.

  6. I'm so sorry, Stephanie and I know how hard it is as we adopted this past January. I kept thinking "adoption is so hard" hard on us, hard on the birth mother and father, hopefully not on the child but I'm sure there's some level of loss there too. But it is also very healing on all involved as love is at the core of adoption: the love of a birth mother to not abort, to give her child life which always involves a lot of sacrifice. there is also the love of the adopted parents in wanting to love and care for a child and the love the child gives back to them. Now that we have our beautiful son I would go through it 1,000 times, I'd walk through fire for him, sit on nails, you name it I'd do it. Think positively about adoption and I suggest you read Ray Guarendi's Adoption: Choosing it, Loving It, Living It as I refer to it a lot since I know there is so much negativity out there about adoption. He has such a common sense approach to things.
    Don't make yourself miserable. I also can't help but wonder how your attitude affects your husband...God bless you!