Tuesday, July 6, 2010

At a Standstill

Instead of making this the longest blog in the history of all blogs, I'm breaking it up into sections… This is Part One.

* * *

I am what you would call… ummm… very in touch with my emotions. Zay, on the other hand, wouldn't know an emotion if it slapped him in the face. Over the years, we've learned that when I’m emotional, Zay isn’t going to understand, but he’ll comfort me and listen to me if that’s what I need. And that’s usually all that I need. If I feel like I need to be understood, then I call my brother or my mom… or I’ll have a serious conversation with my journal. Ha ha. That’s the way we’ve learned to work things out so that my overly emotional, follow-my-heart self can coexist with Zay’s rational, non-risk-taker personality. I’d say this works about 90% of the time.

The other 10% of the time is when we are trying to make decisions together. Big decisions, important decisions. Decisions that have risks and lots of pros and cons that have to be taken into consideration, decisions so deeply important that emotions can run high. At these times, decision-making can get complicated trying to merge conflicting ideas with conflicting decision-making techniques with two people with conflicting personalities. Ugh. We're working on it, but right now coming to a decision about adoption feels impossible. When I’m making a decision, I look at all the pros and cons just like he would do… if not more. But when it comes down to it, I like to do what feels right. I take an optimistic approach because I tend to think that everything works out somehow. Zay looks at all the pros and cons, scratches off any “possible” pros (because they don’t count if he has to imagine them), adds all the “possible” cons, and then makes his decision based on what makes sense. To me, he’s pessimistic. To him, I’m unrealistic.

So far, our adoption plans have consisted of me being super excited and anxious to hold that baby that I know is (or will be) out there for us… and Zay tentatively going along, voicing general concerns every once in awhile. I knew that I was way more excited about this than he was, but that's normal. A lot of couples go through the exact same thing with adoption (or getting pregnant), because it’s such a huge decision. Someone is always more fully on board than the other in a relationship, with virtually any big decision that needs to be made. We’re two different people – that means we have to merge two different thought processes, two different personalities, two different sets of fears, hopes, concerns, goals, etc. in order to make this work. That's what marriage is about... and that's what makes decision-making in marriage so hard. :(

I’m learning a lot lately about myself and my motives and my priorities. The truth is, infertility treatments are hard. We didn’t even get as far as many couples do on that journey. We decided to take a break, and during the course of that break we agreed to get through the adoption process and focus on that first. Well, I have come to love every.single.thing about adoption. I think about it all the time. I read like a million blogs about other people’s experiences with it. I talk to parents all the time who have adopted and I try to learn every little thing that I can about the good, bad, and ugly. I do hair for a lot of the black children who were adopted into white families in Utah County, so I get to meet lots of interracial adoptive families and learn from their experiences. I’ve looked at the pros and cons… and for me, my heart is 100% into adopting a baby as soon as possible. I know things aren’t ideal at the moment, but I also know that everything would work out. I can feel it. I'm ready.

But I have to remember that this decision is not my own. It is ours. Zay absolutely has to be 100% on board or it will.not.work.out. He has good days, when he’s slightly more open and optimistic. Those are the days that get my hopes up. Then he has days when he worries – what if we can’t get health insurance, what if the difficulties we face during this process are signs that we shouldn't do it, what if they deny us, what if we get approved but don't get picked by birth parents, what if we don’t have enough money to pay all the adoption fees and possible expenses that could come up, are we really ready to have kids, what if we don’t have our lives “settled” with career(s) and a house and three cars and a boat and jet skis (...I'm kidding...), how would we be able to handle failed adoptions, what if we don’t bond well with the child, maybe we should try getting pregnant again…etc.

Up until this point, I’ve just tried to talk to him on my own and help to calm his fears. But eventually I knew I needed some help. We needed to sit down with our caseworker and hash things out. I needed to remember that my priority here isn’t about getting a child at all costs… it’s about doing what's best for our relationship. That comes first. Kids come second to that. And my motivations for becoming a mother shouldn't be selfish.

So, we sat down with our caseworker

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