Saturday, May 5, 2012

Gaining a 2-Year-Old

When I found out that my niece was being taken away from her mother (no relation), my mind went into a bit of a fine frenzy. I had to make a decision. And I had to make it soon. DCFS gives a couple of hours to decide and you don’t just decide to take her for a few weeks, you have to decide, in that moment, that if her parents never get their act together, then you would be ready and willing to adopt the child. I sort of hate DCFS for that. I sort of love them, too. But right now I just think they are a little batshit crazy in asking people to make those kinds of decisions.

So—putting my brain in hyper-speed--I thought about it. Maybe I am the crazy one. Maybe the answer is such an obvious “YES” that the fact that I would hesitate so long makes me a bad person. Maybe it makes me selfish and self-centered. Or maybe it makes me intelligent and cautious. I’m not sure anymore because I haven’t gotten a full night’s sleep in about 7 days.

The thought process of deciding between having my niece come to live with me, and having her go with a foster family went something like this:

1.     Maybe foster care will be better. Maybe she will be placed with a loving couple who really wants a child. (I’d cling to this for about 3 minutes and then it would go away)
2.     Maybe she’ll be sexually abused in foster care (this one never went away)
3.     Maybe the mom will be home all day and play with her and help her learn and grow. (happy thoughts!)
4.     Maybe the mom will put her in front of the tv all day and ignore her and only do it for the government money. (sad thoughts)

And then the thoughts continued to this:

1.     I do not want kids.
2.     I love my life the way it is.
3.     What can I give to a child?
4.     How will I be able to afford daycare and babysitters?
5.     I had so many plans for my photography business this summer and a 2 year old is going to eat up all that time…how do I provide a living for myself...and her, now?
6.     My single friends aren’t going to hang out with me...or they won't understand...and....

But, more difficult than processing all my rollercoaster thoughts, has been processing what people have been telling me:

1.     This will be good for you, it will make you softer.
2.     See, God really did want you to have children, so you got them one way or another (don’t you just love that Christian God? Always giving you what you need, instead of what you want? )
3.     This will increase your ability to love (again, because apparently, all single people are somehow so stunted in this area).
4.     This will give more meaning to your life (this one pisses me off the most, as I don’t really succumb to the idea that being childless means that I have less value or meaning in my life).
5.     This will be the best and hardest experience of your life  (this one confuses me).

I understand that I’ve opened myself up to all kinds of advice. I’m taking it in. I’m processing it, but, in the end, I don’t think I am going to fall into the nice little categories that everyone seems to create regarding parenthood. But, naturally, I'm also trying to protect myself from the real possibility that her parents are going to get her back and I'll watch them all fall into old patterns again. 

But, this week is probably not the best to assess it all as truthfully, I’ve mostly just felt numb.

As a friend said to me the other day, “putting on a play is hard, being a parent is hard, dealing with new situations is hard, trying to be patient with people who don't deserve it is hard, and coping with less than normal sleep is hard--but to suddenly deal with all of those things all at once!  I'm not surprised at you feeling numb--I imagine that, like a computer dealing with too many programs going at the same time, your body and spirit and mind are just trying to survive.”


Kristine said...

d'Arcy, I think you'll be a fabulously unconventional caretaker and role model! (Would you consider adopting me? ;) )

And, if it's any comfort, the arrival of a child is shocking and overwhelming, no matter how long you've had to plan for it. And even when you've lived through it before--it's still just stunning how needy and how wonderful the little creatures are.

Steve Finnell said...
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Rowena said...

D'arcy, I think it's awesome. I assume she's the little girl in your fb photos? If so, ZOMG, so fricking cute.

Believe me, I know how much of a responsibility kids are, but they also give so much to you and make your life richer, deeper, and give purpose.

I am impressed with you again.

I've also decided to get back into blogging. It's kind of nice to have that prod to get creating and pay attention.

Dottie! said...

Thanks for posting and for your honesty on the subject. It's going to be tough and I'll send you some good vibes. Don't be too harsh on the mommy crowd because what they have been saying is true. It's something that is honestly impossible to comprehend without having experienced it first hand.

When I got preggerz I was a basket of mixed emotions. I didn't get to finish college (I had to drop out of my classes due to INANE insomnia), I felt like all my life ambitions were going out the window... I honestly wasn't sure that this was what I really wanted. I even resented my husband somewhat.

But somehow, when that little alien came out of my body, a flood of love came pouring out of me like I have NEVER experienced before. Not even in my most "I'm so happy and life is so good I can die now cuz life is so awesome!!!!11" state had I felt the way I did in that moment. And even in some mornings, when I'm getting ready for work, that same feeling wells up inside of me. In those moments all I want to do is hug him, hold him, suck in all the love that I'm feeling and ask for forgiveness for ever doubting that I wanted him to come here. There's no explanation for it. It's not that single people can't love or feel love or whatever... it's just something that happens in the process of creation.

But it's very different when the child isn't your own, and it wasn't a situation you were wanting to happen to begin with. The fact that you took her in, and you will provide her with something her own parents can't (stability!) that will get you in the dharma hall of fame. I totally admire you for making such a hard decision and I know you can handle it. The numbness will pass. I promise.

JonJon said...

I love the thought of you being a mother. Because you will be brilliantly unconventional and that cute little girl will benefit from it.

C said...

Wow! wow! Wow! Wow! I cannot even imagine having all of those things happening in your life and changes all of a sudden! Give yourself a break. This is all really really hard and confusing. Implicitly trust yourself. Be kind and generous with yourself. I'm proud of you- everything you do turns to beauty. This will too. One way or the other. AND nothing that happens in this moment, in the next couple month, years, etc. is forever. Life is LONG. Things change all the time and it is okay to just think about what is best for tomorrow, today, right now!'s that for advice? Sorry. I just meant to comment and it turned into something else!

luminainfinite said...

Amazed. I am amazed at this dramatic turn of events and how breathtaking it is to witness. I love you and how you are recording such an adventure. I love you as a Mama! How fun is this?!