Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I'm just not good enough

We had an-almost sort of opportunity to maybe become guardians to a boy.  It's kind of confusing, but anyway, there is a boy.  And he could potentially have needed a family, and someone called us.  Someone out there thinks we are good parents and wanted to know whether we might possibly want to parent this boy.  I have met him several times.  He's a nice kid.  Boy Scout, adorable smile, flirtatious eyelashes, a friend to all the girls, athletic with all the guys.

We almost sort of kind of maybe perhaps want a third child, and this kind of fell into our lap.  (Can you tell how very much awkward this is to write about...almost and kind of?)  We did not go out and seek to adopt a child.  Before Chuckles was born, I would have done almost anything to become a mother.  My husband was less sure.  He was fine with any fertility treatments we would need to undergo, but he stopped short at gamete donation and adoption.  It was crushing to me since I just wanted a baby.  Any baby. 

Now, here I am potentially possibly turning down a child.  The young man is older than Chuckles and has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.  When I think about all the things I want for my children in their lives, I realize I just want them to grow up, become independent adults, and be happy.  That is very hard for kids with FAS.  I have no experience with it, but I did a very cursory google search and realized that this child has moderate-to-severe FAS.  He will probably never be able to live independently and probably can't live in a home with a family.  He needs boarding high school, and the intensive therapy and structure that comes with that.  The statistics on FAS are grim: incarceration, unplanned pregnancy, bankruptcy, alcohol and drug addiction, chronic unemployment.  There is even a little saying:  The girls get knocked up, and the boys get locked up.  That is not the promising future one hopes for her child.

It crushes me as a mom and me as an infertile to say that we need to pass on this young man.  He has a family already.  They adopted him as an infant and were unaware of the FAS.  We were only asked to be the guardians should anything happen to them.  The original guardians are backing out as the problems mount and everyone realizes that even as age 18 comes and goes, he would still need a guardian if anything were to happen to his parents.  He will probably need parents for the rest of his life.  His mother and father are already in their mid-50s, so even if they live to 85, the young man will only be in his 40s.  He'll have years of needing help ahead of him.  At that point, perhaps his younger sister (also adopted as an infant) could care for him or maybe she won't want to.  Who knows?  So the parents want a plan.  As it turns out, we are not good candidate parents for him.  At least not right now while we're in the Parenting Small Children Red Zone.  Maybe when Chuckles and Bobo are grown and out of the house, we can reconsider it. 

And you know what?  I'm pretty angry at the birth mother.  Pretty really angry.  And I probably don't even have the right to be angry at her.  But on behalf of this young man, I am angry at her.  FAS is the only 100% preventable birth defect.  Anger, seethe, anger, bunch of other words and unformed thoughts.  Least eloquent post of my blog's history.  So in summation, I feel like crap because I am just not a good enough person/parent to say, "Yes, if anything happens to you, I absolutely will step in and take care of your kids for you."  I suppose it's good that I know my limitations both for my own kids and for these two kids. We just don't have the emotional resources now to handle this.

And that makes me wonder about the potential possible third baby that we might happen to want and maybe even get.  What do I do if the luck of the draw says that I get a special needs child?  I guess some might say you just accept it and soldier on.  You don't go looking for trouble, but if trouble finds you....  I just don't know.  Mostly though, I am just going to focus my anger at the birth mother since that is easier than searching my own soul and being angry with myself.


  1. So, so hard. There really is no good answer for this, is there?

    Although it's really hard to feel OK about making a decision like this (i.e. not to potentially take this on for the rest of your life), I do believe it's the right thing to do if you've assessed it honestly, and it really seems you have. But crushing none-the-less.

    I entertained all of these thoughts (about special needs like Down's Syndrome etc.) when I was pregnant. Ultimately, due to DH's own health issues (heart transplant) and potential requirements down the road, I ultimately made the decision that I could not also take on the responsibility of a highly special needs child, and potentially have to take care of the two of them at one time. It's so hard to admit that. And quite frankly, who knows what we would have actually done if the situation presented itself. I'm the kind of person that does not give up easily on people or things.

    Yes, you can soldier on. But when you are at that crossroads where you actually do have a choice (or more of a choice than if one of your kids developed special needs), I think it's responsible to consider things realistically.

    Anyhow, just some commiseration on the difficulty of it all - for everyone concerned.

  2. I don't think you should be angry with yourself. You cannot solve all the problems that are out there, right? So you recognized that this was something more than you could take on.