December 11, 2007

Up and down and up and down

Posted in All ahead to adoption at 10:31 am by Erin

And we’re back to a down.

M’s listing appeared today on the waiting child page for our agency.  That means either a) the other family didn’t accept his referral for whatever reason, or b) there wasn’t actually another family and Ms. IU just said it to make me feel better.

I hate the idea that he’s at the care center with no family coming for him.  I wish I could just grab him and take him home with us.  I feel very, very small for not being able to accept the responsibilities associated with CP, because there’s a beautiful little boy who needs a family.  And while we won’t tell P this new information, it’s going to keep ripping me to shreds every time P talks about M’s new family and how they’ll love him.

It hurts now, but it’s going to destroy me if he is still listed by the time we’re in Ethiopia to get K.  Just knowing that he’s so close and yet there’s no family coming to get him…  I don’t know how I’ll handle it.

It doesn’t help that, the day I posted that we’d gotten K’s referral and I didn’t know what to do, a woman posted on the local Ethiopia adoption board to which I belong.  She wanted to say that she’d seen what I’d posted and that she has 2 adopted children with CP and it’s worth it every day.  All the therapy and surgeries, they’re all worth it.  I’m sure she felt like she just wanted to let me know her experiences, but it served to do nothing except make me feel guilty and defensive and pathetic as hell.  I know that parents of children with disabilities say it’s worth it.  We had every intention of adopting a child with a disability (the only special need K has is that he’s malnourished, which could play a huge role but we don’t yet know how it will affect him).  In fact, we had every intention of adopting M when we thought he was a 2 1/2 year old who couldn’t walk or talk and only weighed 22 lbs.  If we hadn’t found out that he’d had CP until after he was home, of course we would have raised him as best we could.  I just know that our best isn’t as good as what he needs.

I wish I could do this.  Every day, I wish I could do this.  Every time I see a family with a disabled child, I feel like the lowest of the low for looking at a diagnosis and being able to say "No."  We were willing to accept all of the symptoms but as soon as there was a name to put them all together, we couldn’t do that.

I keep typing and erasing, trying to justify not accepting his referral–and it’s just not working.  I know we’re not the right family for him.  But it doesn’t matter.  I just can’t say words and make myself feel better.  I don’t think I’m supposed to.  I’ve just never dealt with this kind of grief before and I’m floundering.  In some ways, it’s a little like infertility (I’ve had two people try to tell me it’s like an unexpected pregnancy and I just don’t see the connection at all) but it’s so very, very different to me since there’s a real little boy involved.

So I flounder.  And I have good days and bad days.  Today is clearly destined to be a bad one.



  1. Amy said,

    Oh E, huge hugs are coming again. Don’t feel bad, you were put into a horrible position and you made the choice that is right for your family. Don’t second guess that. K needs you to nourish his body and soul and you are prepared to do that. Give your heart time to heal and give P a kiss.

  2. DD said,

    Again words fail me. Clearly you had a reason to indicate that you and J were not able to accept a child with something as severe as CP. Do not let guilt overtake that reasoning. They ask those questions for a reason. You answered for a reason. I won’t presume to know even a tiny percentage of the pain you feel but know that you have all of my support.

  3. Waiting Amy said,

    Erin I’m so sorry this is weighing on your heart so badly. While we haven’t enter the adoption ring yet, we’ve talked about it extensively. Despite that we might be able to swing a disability financially, we still agreed it would not be the right fit for our family. It does not make you a bad person, just an honest one. The right fit will be found for M, you just have to believe it. And you will give K all he needs. And I think that is how it was meant to be.
    Hugs to you all. Hang in there.

  4. Jitters said,

    Oh, Erin, I am so sorry you are feeling the pressure. You should be able to be happy about your referral. I did see the posting for M also but was cautioned by our social worker that there can be delays in updating if children are actually matched and sometimes they still include children in there who have a match in process but not all the paperwork is completed. I am telling you this to try and make you feel better, but I really want to emphasize that there is no justification you need to make to anyone. M is not a referral we would be prepared to handle either and we said yes to may other medical “issues” on that horrible form.
    I am kind of annoyed that you were PM’ed by someone pushing her agenda from the forum. I do read it, but I have avoided posting because I am not certain of the reception I will receive and everyone seems to know what you should do for your child and how you should do it. I know she may have had good intentions, but she doesn’t know where you are at and really, what may work for her will not work for everyone.
    I hope your day gets better.

  5. Samantha said,

    I’m sorry this is a bad day for you. Adoption brings its own set of new challenges with thinking about what you can and can’t handle. When you and J considered medical issues and made the difficult decisions, you were doing what was best for you and any potential child of yours. It’s unfortunate that you were then put in a situation where a specific child forced you to confront that decision again. As you’ve noted, your agency shouldn’t have allowed that.
    Try not to judge yourself too harshly. Imagine if you had a friend in a similar situation: would you think she’s a bad person? Perhaps you have had friends who don’t feel willing or able to adopt an older child, and only want a healthy child under 1 year old. I suspect that you don’t find them to be morally deficient. Try to treat yourself kindly.

  6. Erin said,


  7. sky girl said,

    Oh Erin, I wish you wouldn’t be so hard on yourself. Your anguish over this makes me want to cry.

  8. Jenn said,

    Oh hun… I hurt for you… It’s so hard to have made a decision and still feel like it’s going to tear you down. If you and J. made the decision that that is a disability that you cannot handle, then there has to be a good reason. The best and most caring person in the world is still going to feel bad, regardless. Just remember, there is a plan to all of this confusion we call life, and M.’s perfect family is out there. They just haven’t found each other yet… but they will.

  9. Erin O' said,

    Hang in there, none of this is easy.
    I do remember that our agency must put a child on the waiting child list when a family is unable to accept a referral, whether or not there is another family in the wings. It is part of their policy. In fact, we put our names in for a waiting child when notified (all waiting families with a particular age range were notified) — we found out later that we were nowhere near the top of the list and another family was ready and waiting.
    Not that it makes it any better, or easier, but it might be the case.
    I think you’re brave for sharing these difficult feelings, and I hope it helps you to let it out.

  10. Rebel said,

    Oh Erin, I can and will tell you right now that raising a special needs child is not always “worth it”. I have adopted a special needs child, and I can tell you that I have days even now where I look in the mirror, and ask myself what in the hell I was thinking. It is HARD, and you and J know your limits, financially, physically and emotionally, and that is a good thing!! I honestly jumped into things before I thought them through fully, and even though I love my son with all my heart, it is very hard to watch him struggle. I get angry with myself for the feelings that I sometimes have, and have even wondered if I am just way to selfish to be a mom, but then I remember that even parents who have given birth to children with and without issues have days when they question themselves…
    Please don’t let that guilt into your heart, it doesn’t belong there!!!!

  11. KimN said,

    I’m so sorry. I know first hand how difficult it can be to turn down a referral because its more than you can handle.
    We accepted a referral for a baby that was later found to be HIV positive. I think about that baby boy often (in fact his birthday is next week). I can only hope he has a family taking care of him.

  12. Mary said,

    Hoping and praying along with you that things will start to go better. Hugs.

  13. lucky#2 said,

    Erin, the situation that your agency put you in was so terribly wrong and my heart breaks for you for having to deal with this. It seems to me that you are going through the five stages of grief — please know we are all praying for you and your family.

  14. beagle said,

    I’m so sorry this hurts so much.

  15. JessPond said,

    Oh hon, it’s ok. Really. If you couldn’t do it, you couldn’t do it…I mean, really. If it was the right decision for you guys, it was right for M, too, because you don’t want to take on more than you can handle.
    Prayers to you. I hope you’re feeling better soon, and that M’s pic is off the waiting list soon, too.

  16. lauren said,

    =( I am so sorry Erin….I don’t really know what to say.

  17. spinarella said,

    Erin, what you and J did was in the best interest of your current family, and you have no reason to answer to anyone else. So far as the feedback you’ve received, let’s agree that every child brings their own joy to their parents. However, in my personal experience, I’ve watched a situation in DH’s family which involves a 48-yo severely disabled man (DH’s cousin), an elderly widowed mother in failing health, and two grown sisters with families and careers of their own, all of whom are blue-collar folks. My DM’s best friend also has a child (her only) who is mentally on a 4th-grade level with multiple physical disabilities. She loves her child to the ends of the earth, but she has never hidden the daily challenges of the situation. Some questions that she has brought up during conversations include: who will care for the disabled child if something happens to her and her husband? Can they afford to put away 4x the normal amount for retirement, because they have to insure their retirement as well as continuing care for their child? In my opinion, anyone dealing with a child with disabilities needs to fully consider the impact of the situation on any siblings, as you are not just deciding for yourself, but are also involving their futures as well, as well as the financial, emotional, and physical implications it will have on you and your family. You’ve said it best: you knew that you could not provide the best for M. You should be commended for knowing your limits.

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