Thursday, January 6, 2011

The tornado ripping through my brain

Things at home are shockingly normal this first week of 2011. Olivia has morphed into a relatively normal child. Gone are many (not nearly all, mind you) of her hyperactive traits. She goes to bed at a decent hour, even with a few naps this week (she has a cold, a nap is often in order). It seems we've struck a relatively comfortable balance between no-nap days and nap days, and life is pretty good.

So, things here are normal. EXCEPT. Olivia's birthmom recently found out that she is pregnant. And now we've been sucked into the soap opera that is her life.

She called us as soon as she found out, crying and asking if we'd be willing to adopt this baby (of course we would!) because of the mess that her life is. I talked to her for awhile and calmed her down and told her that we were here to talk if she needed us, and that while we are totally willing to adopt the baby, we wanted her to know that it was her decision and she has time to make it.

Since then, she has calmed down, and now she thinks she wants to try to get her life together and try to parent. BUT she still wants us on board and ready to adopt in case she can't accomplish this by baby's due date in the Summer. And her life has fallen apart (major, catastrophic changes, in my perspective, anyway) at least three times in the two weeks since she first found out she was pregnant. Somehow, I don't see that pattern changing anytime soon.

I won't get into the reasons that her life is, was, and continues to be a mess. We WANT her life to change and go in a positive direction. We really, truly want that. But MAJOR changes need to take place (by her own admission) and she has almost NO support.

I referred her to the Gabriel Project in our area because, as much as I personally want to help her, I can't get THAT involved. I just can't. We love that we can have such an open and supportive relationship with Olivia's's important to us to keep it that way. But somehow, somewhere, there must be boundaries in this relationship that we don't cross, ever. And it's getting harder and harder to define those boundaries as we get our hearts wrapped up in a baby who might never be ours.

Here's the thing. We would be ecstatic to be able to adopt again, even more so to adopt a baby who is biologically related to our daughter. We know we could give that baby a good home and lots of love and more opportunities than Samantha is likely to be able to give. We also know that no matter how logical the choice for adoption may seem when you weigh all the factors, THIS IS HER CHILD, and she has every right to make the decision to parent or to place. We support her right to make that decision. Intellectually. Emotionally, it's a little harder to define...

So, while I want to be the one to hold her hand and help her make good decisions for herself and the baby, I can't. I'm too invested. My desire for a baby and my desire for Samantha to turn her life around...well, they are often in conflict with each other. So I'm trying to strike a balance between staying supportive and staying out of it. It's a challenge, friends. And we have seven months to ride this roller-coaster. I'm already feeling a little motion-sickness.

Adoption breaks your heart. There is always loss. But I see this joyful, well-adjusted (if a little hyperactive) child who just learned to do her first cartwheel and thinks Grandma is her own personal angel and her cousins are her best friends...a child who FITS in this family, and I realize that there's a plan in all of this and it's worth a little heart break.

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