Tuesday, June 8, 2010

One of Them

Not much to report on generally. P started Summer Camp yesterday and isn't very keen on listening to his counselors (yet? Please let it be "yet"!!!). A is getting better with his pincher grip and can actually get food to his mouth now, which is both a blessing and a curse I suppose. We had a great family oriented weekend and we're just travelin' along life's road right now, seeing what comes... :)


And on to the ramble!!!


For so much of my life I've felt like a bit of an outsider. I was raised an only child even with two older siblings, as they didn't live with our family but with my father's first wife. I was alone a lot, often sitting in quiet and thinking, thinking, and imagining things over and over again. I learned to amuse myself pretty quickly. I also learned that I was somehow different. I always felt different. I was taller and usually older than all my friends, given that I started school late. I stood out. I wasn't allowed to be a kid as frequently as everyone else and I was often reprimanded more than my friends, told that I "should know better" simply because I had a more adult frame. I was always a little different. I wasn't one of them, and I knew it. No matter how hard I tried to fit in (hard as the tall, fat, socially awkard kid) I never really did.

I grew to be okay with that. Normal was boring and over rated anyway. Look at all the things my peers were missing! Quality programming like Star Trek, or literature like X-Men comics, or hours spent calmly daydreaming to oneself, lost in worlds unimaginable and often incomprehensible. I learned to look at the bright side. I wasn't like them, but then again they weren't like me either. I may not experience all of their joys, but likewise they'd never experience all of mine, and sometimes I felt that was their loss. I suppose, underneath it all, I really may be an optimist.

When I went to college I finally felt like I had a group, like I belonged to a set of people. That lasted for about a month or two until all the drama of me and Nik hooking up happened. But, but, I was supposed to hook up with another guy! And another girl in our group was tooootally in love with him and I betrayed her and seduced Nik and OMG the world is ending because I'm a dirty whore who destroyed the status quo!!! Eventually people "forgave" our transgression, but it was never the same. Again it brought out the same notion: I am not one of them. I am different. I am on the outside. I maybe be able to participate in activities with them, I may be able to associate with them, but I do not belong to any group. I am my own person.

That's not to say I'm a loner. Far from it! I've always had friends, some good, some bad, some totally irreplaceable (including my BFF who I'll be seeing tonight as I do every Tuesday just about). I'm a loyal friend, a thick 'n' thinner, when I feel close to somebody. I'm just... better at one on one.

When it came time to get married and settle down we were also pulled out of the group. They were all going on to graduate school or more years in undergrad, or visiting foreign lands, or travelling or working or partying non-stop. And we were settling into a traditional relationship. It was... odd. It felt like new territory. And it felt lonely. We felt lonely. It's lonely to be first sometimes...

Soon the isolation reached a fever pitch. We were alone in our state of the world, in a different town than most of our friends. Nik was spending his time at work and we only had a couple hours a day. I was at home all the time, sleeping 4am-noon, stuck there without a car. We didn't talk to too many people. And we wanted to be parents, something none of our peers could relate to in the least. We were the odd one's out.

And then the TTC journey took it's tole and we were truly alone, truly isolated, truly desolate. We were not one of anyone. How many people know those in their very early twenties struggling to conceive? We wanted a child, which was unlike our friends. We could not produce a child, which was unlike our peers. We were... different. Alone. Not one of them. Not one of anyone.

But... there was another group. The Adopter group. I'd always admired them. They went through so much for their children! They could love a child they hadn't borne, a child who was traumatized and frightened of them! They went through hell and back to bring their children home! They were... saints. Angels. Not normal parents, no. I saw them the same way most people still see them (and us). As "good people." Their children were charity cases. Cute, expensive charity cases.

I'm pretty sure one of the reasons I didn't jump at the opportunity to adopt was because I really felt like wanted to be a NORMAL parent with a NORMAL kid. I didn't want the labels or the stigma. And I just wanted to be one of those normal parents who makes love and produces a child, a perfect blend of the parents' genes. I wanted to be normal. I wanted to be one of them, one of the average parents.

Then we took the plunge. What if we could be the people we admired? What if... that was our fate? What if WE could move hell and high water to bring home a child? What if WE could accept a frightened child? What if we were... one of THEM?

Throughout the whole process I kept coming back to it.

Those people online talking about going through a homestudy, submitting themselves to intrusion and questioning, being squeaky clean enough to pass....

We were one of them.

Those people who could scrounge and save and raise funds, enough to cover the entire cost of an international adoption on one salary...

We were one of them.

Those people waiting, and waiting, and waiting for "the call," for the day you'd finally see your child's face, know their name, their story, anything at all...

We were one of them.

Those people gazing into the slightly pixelated eyes on a photograph every day and night, talking to it, stroking tiny cheeks and praying with all their hearts that the child would be safe...

We were one of them.

Those people falling in love, over and over again, with a person they'd never met...

We were one of them.

Those people boarding an airplane, giddy with excitement, shaking with fear, coming to terms with the fact that, Oh my God, it's happening! It's finally happening! We're going to be parents!

We were one of them.

Those people meeting their child for the first time and finally knowing what true love is...

Oh, God, we were one of them.

And so, so much more. We were the people whose child was petrified. We were the people who had a rough first year. We were the people who dealt with issues we hadn't foreseen.

And we were parents.

As much as it was hard to believe, and even hard to see for awhile, we had joined a group. Not just people who adopted. Not just transracial families. We were a family. We were parents. We were suddenly part of the largest community on the planet, save for the "human" community.

Now I feel much more normal, much more a part of society. Sure my family is a little outside the norm, and sure we're a bit noticeable. But we're in this group, and we've been accepted into this group. Our kids are like the kids of so many others, our troubles the same, our thoughts the same. We can make friends easily and feel included anywhere we go because suddenly we understand others so much better. Our kids, the kids of all of us, have evened the playing field and brought all of us parents to the same level.

Sure, we all have special circumstances that might change things here or there. This family is large, that one is small, these children don't look like their parents, those children only have one parent, this child has special needs, this family had to work its butt off to have a child, that family travels, that family is settled, etc etc.

When we added Paxton into our family, and when we battled the post adoption blues + anxious attachment + PTSD for all of us, I couldn't really foresee what was going to happen. I couldn't have told you that when the dust finally settled I would be a more confident and peaceful person. I couldn't really tell you that I would feel so, so much happier as a stay at home mom than I ever did as a free young college student. I couldn't tell you how much I'd enjoy my schedule, my house duties, my children. But I do. And I'm happy to be part of this community of parents, and of adults, and of human beings all over the world.

Finally I can happily declare that I have a place, that I found who I am, and that I like myself. I am one of so many groups now. And I am still me. And I love my life.


Also, both boys are currently asleep and I've had 3 cups of coffee and 8 hours sleep.

So, seriously, I LOOOOOOOOOOVE my life :)

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