After Baby Z's adoption, I put my e-mail on the list of references for our agency. I believe in our agency despite some difficulties along the way, and I believe in bringing the gritty realness of adoption to people looking at entering the process. In my mind, it's something that needs to be entered into with eyes wide open, and knowing real stories is the best way to learn.
Those poor people asking me for a reference.
I've been contacted via e-mail a few times, and have offered up my thoughts through text.
This time, it happened over the phone. The couple would have liked to talk with both S and me, but it didn't work out because I was on travel through the weekend. So, I did it alone. In fact, I totally forgot about our appointment until the phone rang with an unknown number as I sat enjoying my pumpkin pie Blizzard. Lucky them, something in me prompted me to answer instead of letting it go to voice mail!
I talked to them for 45 minutes while sitting at a small Dairy Queen in a small town, and as is my way of interacting with the world, spewed it all. The various case worker changes we had, the failed placement and failed match, the length of our waits, the race issue, and on and on.
At the end of my description of the failed placement and failed match, the woman said..."um, wow, your story sounds so intense."
And that's when I knew I had gone too far. I backpedaled, "Yes, but that doesn't ALWAYS happen, it just CAN happen".
They asked pointed questions about race*, drug and alcohol use by potential birthparents, open adoption. All the stuff we all worry about as prospective adoptive parents just beginning the process. I delivered all my thoughts.
At the end of the conversation, they thanked me for being so open to talking to them while I was traveling and I breezily responded with a "Sure!"
As I drove back to my hotel, I didn't feel good. I felt drained, I kept going over the conversation in my head wondering what I said wrong, wondering if I scared the shit out of them, wondering if I said too much. In my head, I started to craft an e-mail with additional resources besides the ones I had pointed them towards, then wondered if that was too much.
I got in the shower, thinking about what to eat for dinner in a tiny town with few options. Halfway through, I found myself choking back tears that bubbled up from....where?
Recently, I had the opportunity to meet with Kevin Hoffmanand read this post by Angela Tucker. First, Kevin talked about being triggered in adoptee panels, and Angela says " In a nutshell, I bled emotionally on stage, offering a behind the scenes, deeper look at Closure, sharing many truths typically reserved for a behind closed doors, confidential session in a therapists office." Both share the stresses in sharing their stories. When I heard/read these stories, I thought that it makes sense to be drained by the emotional weight of their stories and all the judgement that may come with being so open in a society that wants to paint them as the "grateful/lucky adopted child"
What I didn't realize is that I can be emotionally drained and triggered in sharing my story even though I have my two awesome kids. I thought I was past it. I guess I'm not.
*on which they quizzed me quite a bit, and for the first time I realized that my reticence in adopting a child of African-American descent stems from not wanting to interact with the general public all the damn time that I go out. Even though X is a minority, we are not as conspicuous a family. That may come later, but I have time to get used to the idea. The things I learn about myself sometimes come when I'm in the middle of a sentence. How about you?