Time Wasted: Part 2

Amazing how memory can play tricks on you.

I went back through the many files I’ve saved over the years, and found that my memories of 1988, the year that followed our November 1987 adoption application, was a little different than I initially remembered.

I found a file with a number of copies of mid-Atlantic Resolve newsletters that reminded me that I had volunteered as a chapter newsletter editor from mid-1988 through mid-1989, and served as president from mid-1989 through the following June. I guess when I said I forgot about infertility after we adopted, I wasn’t kidding.

With my memory refreshed by these newsletters, I now understand why my memory of 1988, the year we began the adoption process, is so devoid of adoption. I was involved with Resolve before I took on the newsletter, so I spent much of the year working on infertility-related issues. I’ve sometimes wondered why I have few memories of the 1988 Seoul Olympics, which took place between September 17 and October 2 of that year. I know I watched, because I’m an Olympics junkie, but I remember little of them.

I wish I’d kept a detailed record of our treatment, because I wish I could remember exactly what procedures we had that year. I’d had surgery in June of 1987 and needed to wait several months after that before we could start again, so I know we were in full swing at the end of the year. The failure of whatever we did that fall undoubtedly contributed to our decision to actively begin the adoption process, but it didn’t stop our efforts to try to get pregnant.

Going back through our children’s adoption files, I find absolutely nothing from our adoption agency until October, when we were at last assigned a social worker and given the green light to begin our homestudy, save the letter from the end of 1987 that scheduled our intake meeting for January 4. Our neighbors, who are now close friends, were adopting from the same agency at that time, and I remember their son arrived early that year, perhaps late in January or in February. I have a vivid memory of sitting in their living room, holding their son and chatting. Beyond that, there was absolutely no communication from the agency until October, when we were at last assigned a social worker so we could begin our homestudy.

I do remember beginning to get involved with Resolve’s adoption support committee that year. There were adoption-related programs from time to time, and R and I would attend. Most of these were “how to” types of seminars that talked about the different types of adoption, and on reaching the decision to adopt.

So 1988, the year adoption entered our lives, really wasn’t about adoption at all. It was more of a long good-bye to the possibility of pregnancy. Putting these pieces together helps me understand why I didn’t embrace adoption right from the beginning: it simply wasn’t real to me. And it also explains why I don’t remember a lot of frustration at the wait to begin the process in earnest: I was still busy with infertility and treatment.

I wonder if I would have been able to leave infertility behind as easily as I have if we had begun our homestudy right after intake, at the beginning of the year. Knowing how long it took me to fully accept adoption, I kind of doubt it. So although it was a hard year, filled with unsuccessful treatment and no movement toward adoption, I clearly needed that year to be exactly what it was.

Unfortunately, I left that year as clueless about adoption as I entered it, save for a few generic facts. This may explain why, when we began our homestudy, I saw that milestone only as the beginning of a process that had, as its first objective, to resolve my childlessness. I didn’t understand then, but do now, that this mindset is the wrong one to have when entering into a relationship as complex for all involved as adoption.

Part 1
Part 3 to follow

Comments

DBsmom said…
Thanks for sharing this post. I totally understand the last line. We needed to be educated and counseled!
Paragraphein said…
Enoying this series, Margie. Thank you for sharing it with us.

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