A Child Is A Blessing But…

When I was 16, my older sister gave birth to my niece, who passed away recently, and I was over joyed to be an auntie. I am from one of the Caribbean Islands so it is not uncommon for families to live close to each other or live together in a large home. In this situation, we lived at the same residence. When my older sister went back to work, I, a recent high school graduate with no job, became the auntie and full-time babysitter for over 1yr of her life. This was my first close encounter of the parenting kind.

The things I discovered was a baby is cute, smells good, and needs to be protected. The other things I discovered was that a baby/toddler is demanding, needs constant supervision and can be extremely annoying and exhausting. As soon as my sister got home each day, I was waiting at the door with her bundle of joy because I needed a long break. Years later, I did the same thing for another sister during my between college take-a-break transition period. So, I have empathy for stay-at-home mothers and fathers.

Being the youngest child, with many siblings and therefore many nieces and nephews of varying ages, I have had a wealth of experience with kids that most parents have yet to encounter. I used to work in a child behavioral health clinic for a number of years which showed me the not so sweet side of children and bad parenting. I seem to have been saturated with all things children for most of my life. I should have been overjoyed at wanting my own little blessing. On the contrary, I decided during my early teens  that I never voluntarily wanted to be pregnant and gave birth to anything. At one point in my life, I thought adopting was a good idea because there are so many children who could use a good home and I also knew that I would be a good mother if the opportunity every arises.

However, at the age of 40, I still do not want kids. This was clearly re-enforced a few days ago at a family event in which 3 people I knew had kids under 2y/o. Again, they are cute, they are funny, they are a blessing but they are annoying and exhausting over an extended period of time. I had to briefly watch two of those munchkins while Elmo was playing on the computer screen. After 15 minutes, I was anxious for the parents to come get their little blessings so I could enjoy some adult time.

I am very happy for the families or singles who choose to be parents. It is hard work and one of the most important tasks to choose in life. However, children are not for everyone. Those of us who know what we don’t want are perfectly happy with that choice. Yet, those with kids seem to feel the need to dictate to others about their reproductive rights. I witnessed an uncomfortable conversation in which a friend who has one 2y/o was being told she needs to have another because the child needs a sibling.  I know people are not intentionally trying to be rude but there is a prevailing idea that ‘what is good for the goose is good for the gander.’

Kids are life altering. Unless you have a 24/7 nanny or you are a bad neglectful parent, then the burden of responsibility is always on the parent to take care of your child/ren. This is not a burden that everyone wants or is suited to handle. Those little buggers demand your attention, energy, sleep time, constant direction and instruction, you as an adult who knows children shows and songs by heart, they can be frustrating, irritating, and aggravating. They are sweet and sour all wrapped up in one cute body. A parent made a bargain to take on the good and cute with the bad and smelly when it comes to parenting. That is your choice! So, while a child is a wonderful blessing, it is a choice that some made and others rejected.

Motherhood Plan #2 or 3 or 4

It took the CPS team 10 days after my phone interview (actually it is over a month or so since I expressed interest in this child) to  make a decision about a darling 7-year-old child who is in foster care. I received the message on my phone today and it was not a surprise. It is a no-go for this household. However, the thing that did surprised and bothered me greatly was that the CPS team did not choose ANY of the families competing for this child (believe me this adoption process is a competition of the best looking family on paper).  I thought this is very F-ed up.

I think I am more confused now about the process than when I started. Even my adoption worker commented that she does not know what criteria these people are looking for in a family. Seriously! So because they did not find the “perfect” family for this child, she remains in foster care still waiting for the next round of contestants to start this ridiculous show all over again. Did I mention this is F-ed up!

I acknowledge that this has worked well for some families and I am truly happy for them but… I really have no words for my experience especially this final situation. Neither did I have any words with the child before this, they did not want to start the family review because they did not have enough families vying for the child. When the review did start, then the team changed their minds on having the child adopted as single to mandating that she needed to be adopted with her brother. Anyways, as promised, I did informed my adopting agency of my decision to discontinue and I am just waiting for the wrap up and ending of this journey.  I cannot say that I will look back on this with fond memories.

So what’s the next step? I wish I knew. I am not one to put a time limit on such things as motherhood but the reality is I am not getting any younger. I would like to enjoy this experience and share what I have to offer to a child when I am young enough to do so. I am not trying to join the trend of becoming a first time mother at grandma age. I don’t care how youthful someone is but my belief is child care and rearing requires the energy of the young. I have seen too many grandparents raising grandchildren and there is an obvious difference and deficit due to age.

So my logical options are (in no logical order):

1.  move to another state and try the adoption fiasco there and hope and pray for something different

2. Attempt the artificial Intra-uterine Insemination (IUI) process and pray and hope for the best that it works and go through pregnancy as a single

3. Wait and marry someone (before I am old) who has children and take on the role of stepmother

4. Pray and hope that I may meet  and marry someone with father potential while my eggs still has some life and try for the pregnancy with a hubby

5. Save or borrow enough money to do an overseas adoption (my ideal). I think the minimum cost for overseas these days is $30,000

6. Just forget about being a mother and live with it (the hardest reality of all)

At moments like these I wish to be a kid again when I did not have to think about such things and life was simplier (in hindsight). Oh well, one thing I did learn is that there are some very beautiful children out there who need good homes and some love, safety and structure in their lives. Some of the kids need a little more understanding and patience than others but they were all absolutely a blessings.