There is a dark scary side to adoption. You read about it in places where they mention the adoption or emotional “rollercoaster.” But there are never any details. I know why. Here, there be monsters.
I’ve been here before. Many times before. Now that I count I’ve been here 18 times before. I hate it here. But the only way to tell somebody about this place is to tell them while you’re here. When you leave (and I firmly believe that someday I will never come back to this place) you get this pseudo-amnesia. You remember you were here, you remember it was bad, but specifics are hard to recall.
I call this place the Dark Side of the Moon.
No, this is not where you end up when you have adoption paperwork problems. That is Hell. It sort of looks sterile and official…like the waiting area of the DMV. This is also not where you are when you are waiting…that kind of looks like Luke Skywalker’s front yard on Tatooine.
This is the Dark Side of the Moon. This is where you end up when you loose a child. Loosing a child in adoption is sadly very easy. Some of us (i.e. Me) cannot help but get extremely attached to every file we inquire on, every motherless (or fatherless) child that we create an imaginary life for, every unborn soul we carry within our bodies for too short a time, or every foster child we watch walk away…forever. It is cold here, there is no atmosphere to breathe, there is no light. There is almost nothing…only tears and anguish.
You can see it coming, sometimes. There is a whole heck of work involved in not landing in this desolate place, but when you think you might be in for a visit there is a lot of sleepless nights and hoping and praying and general celestial bargaining.
I think I am (unfortunately) coming in for a landing here, again. Let me explain why: Last week I inquired on 2 waiting children on the waiting child list. I knew I was in for a rough time from the instant I read the files. Like the 18 little people who have sent me to The Dark Side of The Moon in the past I fell in love instantly. I was in the clouds (don’t you love it there…you can find it all over the internet too, in the faces of parents when they meet their children, the photos of gotcha day…awww) until this afternoon when I got an e-mail comparing getting their files to getting the star quarterback in the first round draft pick of the NFL. Now, I’m not a football person at all, but I understood the point of the metaphor. (We are commencing our decent to The Dark Side of the Moon, please make sure your seat back and tray tables are in their upright and locked positions…)
And it sucks. It sucked the first time. It sucks the 19th/20th times. Sometimes it sucks worse (in my experience returning foster children and miscarriages get top ranking) sometimes it sucks only a little. And sometimes the fact that you have been here so often just adds suck to an already sucky situation.
In the multitude of adoption books I have read quite a bit on Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). This doesn’t scare me because I an totally understand exactly what a child with this diagnosis might be going through. I know, because I involutarily pull out a similar coping mechanism every time I’m in for a landing on The Dark Side of the Moon. Everytime you jump in head first but at the first sign of trouble you try and slam on brakes or distance yourself or prepare yourself for the emotional impact that you are sure is going to happen (because it happened before). If you can prepare maybe when the landing happens it will be less catastrophic (it isn’t). It starts with the announcment…something that clues you in that life in the clouds is not reality. It might be something small (like an odd stomach pain) or something fairly obvious (like today’s e-mail). When I become cognizant of the announcement there is a physical reaction…my face get hot and tingly and I feel panic (like fight or flight). Then comes the aforementioned pleading and hoping (this can go on for a while and happens just before actual landing…you hope that the unseen pilot will abort landing and you can go back to the clouds). Then what you most fear would happen…does happen. You land on The Dark Side of the Moon.
I really thought (and the romantic person in me still thinks) that I wouldn’t end up here this time around. After all… prospective adoptive mother all approved for 2 children with a dossier registered with the MOJ and 2 orphan children on MOJ list waiting for a mother seems like a pretty perfect fit. But unless the NGO I am registered with gets first round draft pick then these files…their files…will go where I cannot follow and they will still be searching for their parents and I will still be searching for my children. And I will once again be firmly on The Dark Side of the Moon searching for a way out of here.
Please pilot…pull up. Pull Up. PULL UP!!!