Mother Reflects on Second Adoption
Am I Up for the Challenge Again?
Editor’s Note: The following article is written by an adoptive mom who lives in the United States’ Pacific Northwest region. She and her husband have long wanted to adopt a sibling for their son, but the planning, the waiting and the anticipation have also led to growing doubts about the feasibility of having a second child. Career, family, and encroaching middle age are tough enough to juggle for any mom — throw in the complexities of adoption and you can see why the author is doing some serious soul-searching. For those reasons, she’s asked us to withhold her name.
Every time I run into someone I haven’t seen in a while and they know my husband and I are in the process of adopting a second child, the first question I get asked is “any news about a baby?” Normally this question doesn’t bother me. I appreciate the interest. But the simple fact is I have no idea when we might get news of a baby and I feel like I’m running out of time.
This isn’t our first time around this block. Our son is adopted. The wait for him took about 10 months from the time we entered the “waiting pool” until we received the call that we had been chosen by his birth parents. When I consider a normal pregnancy is about 10 months, the wait wasn’t unreasonable.
The average wait with our adoption agency when we started our journey six years ago was 11 months. It’s now 16 months due to a variety of reasons. More young women are choosing to parent, more expectant parents are bypassing adoption agencies and going straight to the internet to find adoptive parents, and there are more prospective adoptive parents in our agency’s pool than there were with our first adoption.
While I’m grateful every day for my son and am eternally thankful to the young couple that chose us to be his parents, I do sometimes wonder if I’m up for the challenge of parenting an infant again. I think that’s reasonable given my age. I’m 47. But it’s funny how time changes things. I never once doubted during the wait for my son that I was up for the challenge. Maybe the difference now is I know what to expect.
So why do I feel like I’m running out of time? I bought into the belief that women can procreate whenever we are ready. Unfortunately I found out nature doesn’t work that way despite what Hollywood and celebrities lead us to believe. I may have been ready biologically to have a child at a younger age, but I certainly wasn’t mature enough to be anyone’s parent.
There is a plus side to waiting as long as I did to become a mom. I’m financially stable, I have more life experience than some of my younger mom friends and I don’t sweat the small stuff. I’m much more patient with my son now than I would have been if I had become a parent in my twenties. And I know the value of living in the “now.” Part of the reason it’s taken us so long with this second adoption is we’ve been enjoying the time we’ve had with our son.
There’s another reason I feel like I’m racing against the clock. As much as I love being a mom and it fulfills my life in ways I never imagined, I have worked my entire adult life and at this point, I have no desire to give it up. At my age, I can’t afford the luxury of taking time out of the work force to be with my young child or children because I would be looking at re-entering the work force at age 50 or older. I’m realistic enough to know that it’s not easy for a middle-aged woman to compete against someone a couple decades younger in any profession.
However, given that, I do believe we can have it all as women – career, marriage, motherhood – we just can’t have it all at the same time. I know myself well enough to know I’ll never be a CEO or Vice President. Climbing a corporate ladder isn’t as important to me now as climbing the playground ladder with my child. But I do enjoy working. I’m fortunate to have a situation that allows me to work part-time. It gives my life balance to be able to contribute financially to our household and still have time for my husband and son.
When my husband and I married, we waited a few years before starting our family. We always envisioned having two children. We still hold out that hope, but with each passing day, the chances of it happening diminish.
When you are adopting, you don’t have the physical signs of a pregnancy. There are no ultrasounds, no growing belly. There are no clues to the outside world that you are anxiously anticipating a new life becoming a part of your family. It can be excruciating to hear the same question over and over again and not have an answer; the simple fact is this is one of those situations where I have no control over the timing or the process.
What I can control is how I live my life. The waiting process is different for everyone. For my husband, son and me, we conduct our lives as normal. We don’t wait for the phone to ring or to get that email saying that we’re being considered. Sometimes I even forget that we’re in the waiting pool again. Until I get the question from well meaning friends.
While family and friends tell us not to give up on our dream of having two children, the reality is it may not happen in the time frame I hope. I made certain choices to create a life for my family and myself and I am now dealing with the consequences of those choices. I’ll continue to graciously answer those who care enough to ask when we’ll be getting a baby. But I am prepared for the possible outcome that I was meant to parent one child. And for me, that is enough.
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