(Warning, the vent mode is on)
Earlier this month, I explained to my family that yet another country that we were thinking of adopting from had closed, and finally told them that they should spread the word that they have a family member who is looking to adopt. Since I have family members in 3 countries, who knows what could happen?
I never wanted to do that. I don't want to be a "nebach case" (i.e. pity case). I don't want my relatives talking to people and saying "Hey. I have a sister who doesn't have any kids and who's desperate to adopt. Know anyone?" One reason that we were not that interested in domestic adoption is that I do not want to be the nebach case that is begging birth parents to give me a baby. I don't want to open a Go*ogle Ad*words account that says "Pregnant? Can't keep your baby? Desperate, beautiful, Harvard educated rich white couple with 10 bedroom home in the best school district in the whole country wants to adopt!". I work in advertising, and find it a little demeaning to have to advertise myself. I don't want to be the subject of my own marketing campaign, with my name and picture spread across the Internet. The Jewish community is also pretty small, and I don't want all kinds of people who know us to see us advertised this say. I also can't handle the possibility of a birth mother changing her mind after giving birth. I just don't think I can handle any more disappointment.
We've spoken to a few domestic agencies, and were basically told that our chances were low because we were religous (and we're not even "super Orthodox").
Anyone not involved in adoption thinks that it's so simple.
"Why don't you adopt from Russia? There must be so many Jewish adoption agencies in Russia with loads of babies!". Yeah...no.
We've gotten some phone numbers from people. "Call this person. He's helped people find babies. Make sure you sound sincere." My husband and I have been married for 12 years. How could we not sound sincere? When we do speak to this person, we hear about a couple of possibilities, but they require either money (or promises thereof), or really good connections with a particular group of people, and again, we have to sound sincere (they mean sound desperate). I am NOT interested in either arrangement.
"Call this person. She deals with child abuse cases and has a baby available for adoption right now." We call the woman. She says that the situation is still in process of getting resolved, and we should keep on calling her. I call her 3 times in 4 days, as per her request. On the 3rd call, I get the "don't call me, I'll call you". I get the vibe that she prefers to deal with a certain sub-sect of the Jewish community, and we're not part of that sub-sect, so we're out.
"This person can help you adopt from this country. This country really doesn't have legal adoptions, but he can help you with that." Excuse me? NO WAY. NO WAY IN HELL.
I feel like there's a secret password that I don't know. Why should I have to be either well-off or well-connected (or both)? Why all the secrecy? HOW COULD I NOT BE SINCERE? Sheesh.
We've been married for 12+ years. We have a big house that is time consuming and a bit expensive to maintain, live in a community that specifically has good schools (I think; I might still disagree with their educational tactics), and I've been at my job for over 10 years because I know that it can be a Mommy-friendly job. We both have relatives nearby who can be backup baby sitters.
The truth is though, that if we hadn't been in limbo all this time and knew that we weren't going to be starting a family that quickly, I'd probably be making more money in a different job (with potentially less stress; people regularly tell me that my job is insane, and my company is pretty much nuts), and we'd rather be living somewhere that has a lower cost of living, and somewhere that possibly has a smaller Jewish community so that we could make more of a contribution to the community. We'd also like a more diverse community. When you live in a very large Jewish community, it's pretty segregated. In smaller communities, you're forced to get along with everyone, even if they're a little different. And amazingly enough, every time we check out a smaller Jewish community, we find other couples who've adopted internationally, including from China.
But we've held onto what we have and where we live over the past 12 years, assuming that any time now, we'd get pregnant or be able to adopt. Basically, our life has been in limbo for quite a while, and I feel like this could go on indefinitely.
I also feel like that our life never really started, or really that we've never grown up. We got married, got into the going-to-work groove, watched everyone else grow their families, but just stayed the same. Not that I'm complaining, but we don't even look all that much older! I may be a better equipped potential parent now, what with all the exposure I've had to the world at large (we've travelled a little more than most religious Jewish couples our age, have met many different types of people and are a little more open-minded), and have learned more about parenting by watching so many other people do it, but sometimes I wonder whether it will ever happen.
In 30 days, we will have been logged in the China system for one year.