Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Thoughts on yarn, food and adoption

Why do M&Ms of non-traditional colors seem to taste better than traditionally colored M&Ms? We bought weird colored M&Ms in Vegas and I just love them. Well, loved them as now they are all gone. Goodbye teal and maroon chocolate candies.

The hat I made my niece is apparently very fashionable and all the 5th graders want to know where she got it. Who knew I could be a hip tween designer?

I bought two more skeins of yarn today because my nephew wants a hat and another one of my nieces wants a hat like L's. I'm knitting up a storm.

Read this article (referred by Sarah) about eating and fertility. I've been thinking about changing our diet a lot lately, and I'm trying to be inspired by the article. Now, I don't seem to have ovulatory problems. I'm not even sure I have poor quality eggs, though perhaps I do. But I figure, if eating less animal protein, more milk fat and higher quality carbs will help with ovulation issues, then I will just try it and see if it helps with egg quality, too. Or I just might see if it helps me be more healthy in general. I was thinking of going with the reduced simple carbohydrates and more complex carbohydrates route anyway, and this seems like a similar idea. Combined with exercise and increased water consumption, maybe I (and T) can shed a few pounds. If anybody can glean more about eating habits from this article, please send them my way. I sort of only skimmed it.

I walked a little today. Yesterday I used the elliptical.

Tonight we are going to a domestic infant adoption seminar given by ACONE. I think I just need as much time as I can possibly get to digest this whole adoption thing. When we first started doing the donor thing I was absolutely certain that I would get and stay pregnant successfully, but I am getting further and further from believing that anymore. And even if I do manage to stay pregnant one time, I just find it so hard to believe that I would be able to do it again in a few years from now. I just think it's nearly impossible that we will not end up adopting at least one child at some point in time.

Though I don't think I can mentally cope with doing infertility treatment and adoption at the same time, I think it's important to start thinking about all of the adoption paperwork and the process so that when we are ready, we will know what we are getting into. Each of these processes are exhausting, so I want to give myself enough time to be able to process each of these huge decisions we are about to make. Ending treatments is a huge decision. Adoption is also a huge decision. There's just so much to wrap our heads around.

I've also been thinking a lot more about not choosing interracial adoption. I know I've mentioned before that the fact that I don't want to do an interracial adoption makes me feel racist. There was a piece on This American Life this weekend (on the Matchmaker episode) about a woman who is hired as an actress to work in this realistic doll department at FAO Schwartz. She acts as a nurse who gets the little girls to 'adopt' these very realistic baby dolls. They sign 'adoption papers' and pay an 'adoption fee' in order to bring the dolls home. She is not allowed to break the illusion of this being an adoption process. They have a sample doll that they are supposed to tend to when there are no customers around. This doll is white, but it is a sample because its head is too heavy and its fingers are webbed and it is just an irregular doll. They called him Nubbins. Well, people came in and 'adopted' all of the white babies first. Then there were only dolls of color and Nubbins. Little girls would come and play with the dolls of color and the mothers would ask if there were dolls that "looked more like Sally does," obviously asking if there were any white dolls. When this woman said no, some left and some did buy dolls of color. The Asian babies went first. The Latino babies went next. Finally, all that were left were Nubbins and the Black babies. This one mother and her daughter came in for a doll, and the mother not even trying to be subtle asks where are the white babies. The woman says there are none. The mother asks about Nubbins. The woman shows the mother Nubbins and his head flops weirdly and his webbed hands do odd things, and the mother wants Nubbins anyway. So, Nubbins, the defective white doll, was adopted before the Black babies were adopted.

I feel like one of those mothers. It makes me feel awful. It makes me feel like a bad person. I think that story is terrible, and I feel like I am one of them.

But dolls aren't children. Dolls don't learn. Dolls don't have feelings. Dolls don't need to learn how to live in a racist world. Dolls don't understand that they don't look like their parents. Dolls are inanimate objects. Children are not.

And then I get angry at myself. Infertility sucks. Knowing that you may never, ever stay pregnant long enough to have a baby sucks. Knowing that you may have to decide to stop trying to have a baby sucks. Knowing that you have to go through this huge process and pay tens of thousands of dollars to be able to have a family sucks. It is a painful process. It is wrought with emotional trauma. And I'm making myself feel bad because I don't want my child to have to ask me why he or she has different skin color than mommy and daddy. I'm making myself feel bad because I just want to have my family find some way to be "average," whatever that is.

I feel like that we will have enough to deal with, whether it be educating our child about adoption, navigating T's and my differing views on religion, or having a donor conceived child. I don't want to add an additional layer of seeking out a place in another culture for our child so that he or she doesn't feel alienated? And I've just read so many stories of these children being caught in the middle. Too white to identify with whatever their ethnicity is and too ethnic to be white. I just don't feel equipped to handle that in addition to everything else. I admire those who are able to do that. It is a wonderful thing if you can do it. I just don't think I can. My energy has been spent getting to where I am now.

I just can't stop feeling bad about it, though.


My Reality said...

I have thought long and hard about the race issue thing. I don't really care if I had a purple kid or one with polka dots. I just want a kid. But, as an adoptee myself, I think it would be easier for the kid if their history wasn't displayed in public everytime they were with us. I think it would be easier for the child to be the same race as we are. If the child wants to tell his/her story, I want it to be the child's choice. I don't want the child to be questioned/forced to explain why their parents are white. Make sense?

Samantha said...

First, on the diet and ovulation article, I read that and decided to go ahead and try it. I pretty much was already following their recommendations except the whole milk one. So now I drink whole milk and eat whole milk yogurt and cheese. I've been doing it since December, and I've actually lost a little weight because i've been watching what I eat more. No ovulation, however. I did have 26 days of bleeding in a row :( hey, that probably would have happened anyway.

On adoption, I go back and forth and side to side on what I might want, what I could accept, and just can't figure it out. It's tough. I don't think you're racist for wanting a child the same race as you, and would never presume to judge you about it.

Vanessa said...

I dont think it makes you a bad person. Its the same as saying that you would rather not have a child with disabilities. Its all a matter of what you feel equipped to handle. And you have to be the judge of that.

K77 said...

I think it's just another one of those things that isn't right for everyone. Like adoption, IVF, gamete donation etc etc. Not all paths are right for everyone. It's just how it is.

Waiting Amy said...

Exactly, everyone's path is different. When we were discussing the issue of race and adoption we said we had no problems with an interracial adoption. Like Reality, we felt we could love any child. But in all honesty as I thought more on it, I had more concerns. Similar to yours. Our marriage in interfaith too, and it just seemed that things could be so complicated for that child. I don't know what decision I would have reached, as things have changed now. But I guess what I am saying is that I understand your concerns and worries. And they are more for what the child will go through, so I know that you will make a good decision for your family.

Beagle said...

It's a difficult topic.
But if you think about it in reverse, no one expects that an African American couple should prefer a Caucasian child, nor are they called racist for wanting one the same race as themselves.

It *should* not be any different for a Caucasian couple.

Sadly, it is perceived differently though. But being honest about what you want for your family does NOT make you a racist.

Gumby said...

I totally agree with everyone here. It's a matter of what you are comfortable with and it does not make you a racist.
As a wife of an adopted man (also daughter and sister of adoptees), I have seen first hand how just being adopted has affected him. Growing up not knowing where he came from and who he looks like; wondering who were his (birth) parents and why did they give him away? I have seen my mom cry with joy at healing the lost connection by finding her birth father. It just seems like there's already enough "stuff" and that added layer you mention of it being obvious to everyone would/could be that much harder. Just like I would search for a woman that looked as much like me as possible or a man that looked like my husband if we were doing donor gametes, I would want any kid of mine to look like us because his/her birth story is his/hers to tell.
Also, the selfish side of me would not want people to be able to just look at us and figure our infertility story - "Oh, they must not be able to have their "own" kids. How sad." Just my opinion...

ultimatejourney said...

I completely agree that you are not racist. Couples who are able to make babies the old-fashioned way get children who look like them. You have made so many sacrifices in the interest of becoming a parent. You have every right to draw the line at the end of your comfort zone.

When we told my brother and his fiancee that we were going to try to get pg w/DI, and told him about the donor we had selected, he asked me if we had considered using a donor of another race. I assume the question was indirectly motivated by the fact that his fiancee is Asian. We told him that we hadn't looked at any non-white donors. I don't think they took that as us being racist. It just wasn't something we were comfortable with.

An a totally different note, I love the notion of you as a hip tween designer. I've always thought you could turn the knitting thing into more than a hobby. I bet if your hats took off with the young crowd, you could charge a ton of money for them!

Tray said...

Don't feel guilty. Remember if you bring a child of another race into your home there are a ton of things to consider. For example, you have to embrace that childs heritage. The child won't look like you so you have to be ready to have people ask questions. If the child is african american there are many who don't think white people should adopt african american chldren and will be sure to tell you. It's all about your comfort level. Oddly enough I was just talking to my therapist about this topic last night. I realized that I'm perfectly comfortable w/a hispanic child, but not african american. It's just me. Not right. Not wrong. Just my comfort zone. I also realized that if we aren't successful w/DI we'll move onto Colombia.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to start out by saying that I agree with all of the comments that basically say potential adoptive parents may have any kind of preference that they want. Some people really want a girl. Others may really want a boy. Sexist? I don't think so. I do wonder, if I don't know the reason, why a person who very much wants to adopt would only want one gender or another, but they are entitled to limit their search if they want. I don't think anyone should adopt a child unless they are committed to giving that child a loving home, so it's probably better that the potential adoptive parent figures out their own preferences and limits their adoptive search accordingly.

That said, I look nothing like my biologically-related sisters. And my children are not likely to look just like me. Not every biologically related family shares hair color, eye color, or even skin color.

Other posters' experiences may be different than mine, but I know many people who are racially mixed, which means they grew up with one or two parents who are considered in the US to be of a different race. And it's not been that big of a deal. My husband is mixed and he was raised by a single mom; I asked for his take on this issue and he said that he never wondered why he was a different color from his mom, and he never had to explain it to anyone either.

I know that there are opinions out there about white families adopting non-white kids, but the fact is that there are a lot of non-white kids (as well as a lot of white kids) in the foster care system who need a loving home whatever the color of the parents. When it comes to Native American kids who need homes, there are laws in place that require looking first for a Native American parent (or parents) for placement, but I have seen many wonderful placements with non-Native American foster-to-adoptive parents. There just are not enough Native placements, even when they must be considered first.

If you are concerned about how the child is going to feel about the adoption, in terms of losing his/her culture, consider whether the alternative is a loving adoptive home or some less preferable alternative like long term foster care or placement in a group home.

I get that parents want kids that look like them. I personally look forward to having a baby that looks like some blend of myself and my husband. But I don't think all of the concerns about interracial adoption are as prevalent as people fear. I would not compare raising a child who has a different skin color than myself to be like raising a child with a disability.

I like that this is a very supportive community and I do see that every other comment has already said don't feel guilty about your preferences. I am not posting to preach that you should go out and adopt a Latino or African American child. But I wanted to chime in with some of my experiences and those of my husband (and friends of mine/ours too)--blended families can be beautiful.

It also probably affects my view that my extended family is full of families with both biological and adopted kids.