Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Adoption Follies

I guess I owe you guys an update.

I've not been updating the blog on purpose. I've needed to reassess my directions and meditate on my motivations and all that other new-age stuff.

See, I'm sure a lot of you who have been reading for awhile know that I'm a recovering alcoholic. Well, now I'm recovering from a much more RECENT alcoholism. Yes, I fell off the wagon.

In December. According to my memory of the last few months, I've probably drunk alcoholic beverages every 2 weeks or so since that first fateful sip after 8.5 years of sobriety.

I have a wonderful wife. Because of that, my folks know each and every time I take a drink. Also because of that, I have for the first time entered into some meaninful counseling...with an actual shrink. And contrary to my expectations, it has actually been useful so far. I recommend it...but only to someone who is willing to be open about whatever they're there to talk to the shrink about, and only if they're willing to face their own worst fears/expectations/whatever. Because this particular shrink is following the classic formula I learned in Psych 101, and he's basically mirroring back at me the stuff I give him about myself. I've been in counseling before for my first marriage (my earlier alcohol counselling is a whole different thing), but this is the first shrink I've been willing to pay the fee for for my second visit. The guy is pretty good.

Anyway, I've been able to confide in this guy ALL the broader influences on my life in our second meeting. He has me writing a "journal", which I'm required to bring to him every session. It seems that journal is the basis for our session. I wonder what this guy is going to do when I bring him the journal next time, and there's nothing radically new? Remember that I'm a blogger, and as such am used to psychological nudity. I show you guys most of the deepest stuff I'm thinking. So what will he add, now that I've shown him ALL the stuff, even the deeper stuff that I haven't shown you guys?

Anyway, just so you all might be assured, I've been tackling the alcohol problem head-on, with a wonderful partner. The Wife. I don't know if this is a thing that all women have, but The Wife can tell with one glimpse at my eyes whether I've been drinking. No, this gift is NOT perfect...she's falsely accused me in the recent past. But then, she had good reason. Because I WAS drinking, just not when she caught me.

Anyway, I've enlisted my clergy in my effort to "cleanse" myself. Tonight I had a GREAT talk with our assistant pastor...a talk we scheduled when he was good enough to show up at our door at about 2-hours notics after The Wife figured out that I was messed up YET AGAIN. Anyway, we had a pretty good theological discussion.

See, I'm one of those EVIL "evangelicals" that you hear about so much on the news. The ones that supposedly slavishly follow Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell. Problem is, I found both of those men to be ridiculous, at least as far as their theological outlook is (was) concerned.

Yes, I believe in Jesus. I believe he is our savior, I believe that the Bible is the Truth, and I also believe that God created Heaven and Earth. What I don't believe is that there is necessarily any conflict between the Theory of Evolution and Creationism.

See, I believe that God did His work THROUGH evolution. Hey...God also gave us scientists...and I'm of a scientific mindset. God gave us clues to what happened in the past. He meant for us to find them, and He meant for us to figure it all out. He most certainly did NOT mean for us to kill each other over whose interpretation of observable fact is correct. Apparently, to judge by recent headlines, he left that to Muslims.

Anyway, my Pastor did not seem overly surprised to hear my dirty little secret about my beliefs...but he did feel sufficiently moved by my revelation to offer to lend me a book by a creationist that (by his testimony) "proves" the creationist viewpoint.

Now, I'm open to suggestion. I think that's important...a person SHOULD be open to other points of view. But his book better have better stuff in it than the other 5 or 6 books I've read on the subject. Because otherwise, I'm going to just go on believing what I believe...that God USED evolution to EFFECT his Creation.

See, my belief is that science and religion don't even really intersect. Science addresses some questions...the what, the how, and in some cases the when and the who. Religion addresses the WHY...along with the sometimes-correllating when and who. But the big thing is the WHY. And in my Pastor's case, he was hung up on what I think of as the extremist-wing of the "evolutionists". They often make the statement that this all happened by accident.

That is a statement of faith I'm not willing to make. I believe God is in charge in this world...but I also believe that God tends in almost all cases to work through natural means, at least these days, and probably in most days. Therefore, who's to say that God didn't CRAFT man out of apes? I LIKE the idea. Apes are cool. If I could PICK an animal to be modeled on, I'd probably pick an ape, and probably the chimp or a near relative.

Anyway. On to other things...

We've been working hard on the adoption thing. And I mean HARD. And we've had many disappointments, as well. I don't know if it's just us or if this is normal (comments are welcome from the knowledgeable) but we've had a half-dozen or so "situations" flame out on us. Birth moms "change their minds", or hospitals taking care of the baby change their minds for them, or other adoptive parents swoop in and take what was ours, etc.

So last Friday The Wife talked to a birth mom on the phone for over an hour. They hit it off. The mom has a 13-month-old, she's single, and she doesn't seem to think she can care for another. Fair enough. I was sitting next to The Wife as they talked, and while I didn't participate in the conversation, I definitely got the feeling that it was working well. Well, we've had that before too. See, I've gotten pretty sour on things since I last wrote.

And we have a meeting set up with this same birth mom for next Saturday. Hmmmm. Maybe this one is, at last, for real.

And just to add a little spice, I got a call from a totally different agency we're working with (Thanks again, Mary), and they had a pair of TWINS for us to adopt. They're black, one boy and one girl, and they're 18 months old. The only problem is that they NEED TO BE ADOPTED THIS WEEKEND. Hoooooooold on there, buddy. Why all of a sudden this weekend? We've got to rearrange our lives around if we're going to bring in 2 18-month-olds.

Oh, it HAD to be this weekend. Why? Well, their mom decided she can't parent them, and her family (where they apparenly are placed now) has decided they can't parent them either. Are they both healthy? No behavioral issues? No, we're assured. They're both healthy, they just need a home. Riiiiiight.

Note to adoptive parents...beware of the things they're reluctant to tell you. Somehow we learned this without actually adopting, but I'm offering that bit of wisdom here for free.

After consulting with my folks, who confirmed my misgivings but offered their financial support should we choose the other path anyway, we have, at least temporarily, declined. Part of this is that we want desperately to have the infant we're currently working toward, but also because this whole thing just feels WRONG. Why so soon? Why the pressure treatment? If they were just HONEST and gave us the unvarnished truth, we might well consider adopting them. But not when we feel like we're being hustled.

They could start by explaining why they're offering us two Afro-American kids for the price they earlier quoted us for ONE. Is it just because of the twin thing, or is there something else? Because I made a special point of asking them earlier if we ever were to find a twin situation if we'd get a 2-4-1 special (only half joking at the time) and they told us there would be certain savings, but it wouldn't be 2-4-1. Now suddenly it IS. why?

Anyway, enough of that. Suffice it to say, we're desperately looking for an adoption situation, we'd be good parents, and anybody who knows of a preganant woman thinking of adoption should contact us at their earliest possible convenience. Because while we have a pretty good line on our first child, we'd like to end up with 2-3 children. I'll let me earlier writings in this space speak for how much that child would be loved and how much of our lives we'd pour into that child's upbringing.


At 3:33 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't want to question your motives or your honesty for writing what you did here. But I grew up with an alcoholic who was still drinking. It was better than being on the street. And my life wasn't bad by any regard. However: I wouldn't recommend it. It has affectedly me negatively in ways I have only dimly understood. If you are going to adopt, you absolutely have to be dry.

At 6:07 AM , Blogger Heather said...

Totally agree with your "God used evolution" thing! I have always wondered why more people don't think along those lines. Creationism is an embarrassment to religion, and I'm sure drives not a few people away from religion.

Even if those twins didn't have behavior problems to begin with, I'd think that being adopted at that age would give them a few, at least until they got adjusted.

Good luck finding a baby! I assume that you know that there are serious tax advantages for adopting.

At 7:43 AM , Blogger Mary said...

As always, you know you have my support. I know how hard it is to overcome an addiction (I smoked for 30+ years) but you will be strong with The Wife by your side. And I'll keep you posted on anything I find!

At 10:44 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a reunited Mother and I would be sick and furious if I had found out that she had went into an alcoholic home.I hope you tell any Mom considering you and your wife as parents for her child that you are an alcoholic.
I also hope your going to AA and your wife to alanon.
I was raised in an alcoholic home and it was hell.An adoptee will have enough to deal with without having to deal with a drunk for a Dad.Keep working on yourself without bringing a child or children into your home.
I do think that pregnant Mothers need to read and understand that there is no guarantee that with adoption her child will be raised in a healthy family.So many Mothers are led to believe that if there is a home study then these things will be exposed.Often times they aren't and the child suffers.

At 8:25 PM , Blogger Dan said...

My anonymous commenters have good points and their input is appreciated. Indeed, a practicing alcoholic is not the one you want raising a child.

If my dad wasn't an alcoholic when I was born, then he was fairly close, I think, from the stories Mom has told me. After I was more problem. Zip.

And that's how it'll be with this situation. I'm already done, since I'm painfully aware that such a thing can torpedo an adoption situation in a moment.

I won't be drinking any more. I was dry for 8.5 years. I slipped and allowed it to go on for nearly 3 months. That's shameful on my part, but now there's no more slipping. There can't be. There'll hopefully be a little life depending on it. Time to try to double or triple my record.

Anonymous #1, point taken. You are absolutely correct.

Anonymous #2, I encourage you to read my archives. You'll see that I've struggled with kids that grew up in alcoholic homes. I've invited them to live in my house. I know full well the consequences, and I'd never put a child through that.

At 1:46 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have one question.. As you are a professed, self-acknowledged alcoholic, how are you passing a Home Study? And always remember, once an alcoholic, always an will forever be one step away from that drink. Are you telling these mothers who are opting for adoption that you are an alcoholic? It's one thing to be born into a family with an alcoholic..but I cannot fathom why any mother would deliberately hand over her newborn to a stranger alcoholic. And why on earth is your wife looking to adopt a baby, when she has 'King Baby' right in her midst! And being 'dry' is simply not enough..I am sure you have heard of the 'Dry Drunk' syndrome. Don't you think it would be better to get your own house and life in order, completely..before looking to bring a stranger baby into your home? My family has many alcoholics..and no good comes to the child who is brought up in such a home..not even an adopted child..that particular child has already suffered one huge loss, that of it's own mother..please don't add anymore losses to an innocent child's life.
Single parents having babies are blasted all the time for being drunks and drug addicts (true or untrue). But isn't it amazing how when one adds the word 'adoption'...all is forgiven and even cheered on to bring stranger babies/children into their alcoholic homes.

And if you and your wife have been totally honest about your alcoholism with these mothers who are opting for adoption for their babies/children and still are entertaining the notion of 'placing' their baby/child within your home...That mother needs a massive Head Check!

At 10:45 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now......WHO in blazes PASSED a homestudy for an alcoholic to adopt?
They should have his/her license permanently revoked.

At 1:14 PM , Blogger Jesse D said...

I'm a "late commentor". I just discovered your blog here. I guess you've taken enough crap from the good ole general public about your sobriety/adoption. As a recovering addict, I wish you well and hope you remain strong. As a mother, I see your struggle and my heart aches. I wish you the best of luck and will pray for you.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home