Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Way Things are SUPPOSED to be

One of the reasons that I think this whole issue -- teenage pregnancy -- is difficult is because nothing is happening the way it is supposed to happen. The news of our first grandchild is supposed to be a wonderful revelation (and the child part of it is, but...) I'm supposed to hear about it FIRST, not because my daughter told her boyfriend's mom's sister who finally told his mom and then forced my daughter to tell me. My daughter is supposed to be married, with a college degree, in the midst of a successful career with a job that offers maternity leave. When she gets sick in the morning her husband is supposed to be dealing with that, as well as her moods. We're supposed to be discussing whether she'll choose to stay at home with the baby or return to work after maternity leave, not which alternative high schools offer childcare (her plan not mine).

But just like so many of the other scenarios in the world of older child adoption, things aren't the way they are supposed to be. Babies aren't supposed to be born into families where they are wanted, attached to, and cared for. They are never supposed to be abused or neglected. In a perfect world are supposed to grow up with the people who gave them birth and spend their lives looking like their parents. They are not supposed to be born with brain damage already because they had a birthmom who drank or did drugs. They aren't supposed to watch a sibling or parent die at the hands of someone else. They aren't supposed to move from home to home to institution. But it's not a perfect world.

So just like every other situation we have dealt with, we have to once again alter our expectations. Our bright and beautiful daughter suddenly has completely altered her future and limited her options. History rears it's ugly head and taunts her -- begging her to follow the path and repeat the cycle.

And we, as well seasoned parents, know that the choice is hers. We can offer her alternatives and show her the way, but she will be the one to decide which path she will follow.

And for the next 18 and a half years, we will watch the story unfold, attempting to be at least one constant in the life of this child. And even though it may not start the way it is supposed to, even though it is starting out much like the generation before it, maybe our presence will be the one thing that will guide things in a different direction. That's our hope, that's our prayer, that's our goal, and that's our purpose.


FosterAbba said...

I am so sorry for the way things are going in your family right now.

I'll tell you the same thing that I left as a comment to Bart's post: we can't "fix" our adopted children who were damaged by the actions of their birth parents. We can give them options, alternatives that would otherwise never have been given, but in the end the child has to choose to live a different life from that which they were born into.

I hope my daughter will make better choices than the ones made by her birth siblings (not living with us) and her birth mother. I know that I can't force her to choose wisely, so the best I can do is parent her until she's 18 and then go from there.

Maybe she'll still want us as her parents. Maybe she wont. I guess we won't know what will happen until we get there.

I know this is hard. Hang in there and make sure you take care of yourself.

debbie said...

you know, what kept flying through my head while reading your post were the words, this is the reality of adopting children with special needs. we can dress it all up and walk around and pretend we are all the brady bunch but the reality is this is the reality. you cannot damage children the way all of our children have been damaged and expect things to turn out just fine. cindy has said so many times that her definition of success has changed and she has the right attitude. about 2 months ago i started working part time in a day care program for developmentally delayed adults. the level of function for most of these adults is infant or todder. it is the most heartbreaking thing i have ever done. most cases cannot be helped but there are a few that read like some of our children. birth mom, alcohol, drugs, abuse, etc. but no one removed them til it was too late and they are so very broken, claudia, it would break your heart. i am sure that these people would give anything to have the chances your daughter will have. truly, this baby is not the worst thing that could happen. it is shocking and different and oh so scary right now, but it is so not the worst thing in the world. you are always so good at seeing the "big picture", i just know you will take this situation and turn it into the most positive thing! i can just picture you teaching your boys how to change a diaper and making a great blog post out of that! and not to sound dramatic, but if you have a center or whatever that has the type of adults i am telling you about, stop in there and sit for a while and just watch. believe me, i come home every day and just cry and thank God that my children are what they are. i hope this all came out o.k., i get so worked up when i know i am going to work as the emotions just overwhelm me.