Friday, 1 June 2012

personal post- the loss of the fantasy child

So far, a lot of the posts have seemed a little clinical. There is a lot of "book learning" to do and it is all really important. There are also a lot of emotions that AH and I have dealt with/still deal with. The fact is, at the end of the day, we will have little strangers in our home who are with us, for better or for worse and it will be up to us to make a family out of that situation. This is a post about one of the very personal aspects of this process.

From the time we are children, we have an idea of what our own children will be like. We think about the physical characteristics we will pass on. We think about the things that we'll teach them. We think about the way we'll take care of them. We think about how beautiful they'll be. We think about how smart they'll be. We know that the children that come from us will be perfect. When we are with our spouse, we think about the amazing traits that they will pass on- the things that we love about them.

This is all a fantasy. Any parent will tell you that no child turns out how you expect them too. In giving birth to a child, you cannot protect them from all "defects" or diseases. You cannot pick whether they get your blue eyes or your crooked teeth. But there is still a chance that some aspect of your 'fantasy child' will be realised.

Adoption is different. AH used the game Yahtzee to describe it. He says that when you give birth, it's like you've already got some dice on the table. No matter what you roll with the remaining dice, you already know some of the variables. With adoption, it's like putting all the dice back in the cup on your last roll and not knowing if you'll get a "Yahtzee" or your "chance" (not that your "chance" is a bad thing, many close games have been won on a "chance" score!).

When we made the decision to adopt it felt overwhelmingly "right" in a way that trying to have birth children never did. We are at times blissful, anxious, excited, serene and terrified (sometimes all at once); just like any other 'parents to be'. But it is important to accept the loss of the fantasy birth-child so that we can fully welcome our own children into our lives with no prejudice or presumption.