For the past 4-5 years I have been considering adopting a child. I want to make a positive difference in a child's life--a child who wants and needs a mommy like me. About four years ago I made a vision board and on that board I wrote "adopt a child in 1-2 yrs". I am a bit overdue, but we cannot control all the circumstances that will bring about the vision--when or how it will mature. First, I wanted to publish a couple books so I wouldn't feel so pressured to do so when I became a mother. You could say I wanted to "lean in" now in preparation for welcoming a child into my life. I have published three books. I also needed to be more financially stable. While I don't have more money than I did three or four years ago, following a series of pay cuts due to the economic downturn and its impact on student registration at my institution, I feel I am more in control of my finances. I cut out a lot of unnecessary expenses, like gym memberships and personal training fees (instead I bought more free weights, a jump rope, dvds, exercise ball, and hit the pavement) and cable (yes, cable which seemed more like rerun hell, only I had to pay for it). I still need to become better at avoiding a good clothing sale, but I have made great strides. So even though I am beyond my target date for adoption, I believe this is the right time and season for me to adopt a child.
It has already been a very emotional process, beginning before I contacted my first adoption agency. I would be watching tv, as a temporary reprieve from my routine or an escape into some comedic or adventurous reality transcending my own, but my escape would be interrupted by some commercial or story about abandoned or abused children. And I would break out in an uncontrollable, deep soul sobbing and wailing. I’d ask myself, out aloud, “what the heck is wrong with you?!” I think it was a combination of my compassion for children needing safe, loving homes AND menopause. God was knocking at the door of my menopausal heart. My body, its season in life, was reminding me and pushing me in the direction of that commitment I had yet to honor. I had fears. I feared my life would become less controllable; that I would not be able to manage a child and a vocation; that I might not be mom material no matter how much I wanted it--not enough patience, for example. [more about my fears later]
It is strange and ironic that I find myself in this place. Although I love children, I never had an overwhelming desire to inhabit a delivery room in order to sweat profusely in unspeakable pain with people telling me to push for what would seem like an eternity. I had severe menstrual pains most of my life and I thought if birthing a baby was anything like that I would pass. My mother said she didn't have much pain during childbirth. In fact, she would stay at home until the very last minute before going to the hospital. She said it was better to wait at home than in a cold hospital room. I pushed my way out of her womb in the elevator at the hospital! I also never wanted to be a single mother having seen how my mother struggled. But I am now choosing to be a single mother, a single black mother. More about this in another blog. I will parent a black female child in a world that is too often an unsafe place, unfriendly, hostile and deadly, for females, for minorities. The human trafficking epidemic in the US, in my state; the 2000 missing children in my state; the willingness of people to kidnap school girls and rape them or rape them on their way to school. The fate of the Renisha McBrides are as troubling to me as are the deaths of the Tamir Rices. She, my child to be, likely already "knows" this about the world, unfortunately. But I am grateful I am not deterred by fear, anymore, but moved by compassion and love.
So my life is not what I expected (and neither is hers), nor what others expected either--who cares what others expect? It is what it is, and I am who I am, now. Others saw my future as a wife and mother of several children---not as a scholar, author, preacher. I do know that if I had married young and had children, I would not be the person I am today, doing what I love (though not always loving it) and wanting to share my life with a child I have yet to meet. I am not saying that one life would be better, more virtuous, than the other, just different. Both could be grand! I may have avoided some physical pain, but adopting, the process, has its own emotional ups and downs and pangs and stressors---few experiences are painless. And I will share some of them with you, if you will join me on this journey here. Blog #2 will discuss the reactions to the news. From time to time I will publish a PS (postscript) or afterthought between numbered blogs. Blog #3, My first orientation with the first of (three) adoption agencies. And on.... Ask questions if you please, and I may be able to answer them.