Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Why Adoption Isn't At All Like A Rollercoaster

I've heard this analogy 2 million times, and I've even been known to say it myself:  Adoption is like a rollercoaster, full of ups and many downs.  Except for one thing:  It's not like a rollercoaster at all.  Here is where the metaphor goes terribly wrong:  Rollercoasters - they are FUN.  Even the downs are enjoyable because you know it's a ride and there's no actual real fear associated with the plummeting to your death.  Adoption "rides" - not so much.  When you get those dreadful emails that seem like your case or your friend's cases are plummeting to the earth, when you learn of stories about orphanages being shut down, political upheaval, or friend's children "disappearing" in the system - there's absolutely no fun butterflies.  There's despair, depression and terror, but there's never ever fun.  When the ride finally ends and you have this precious child in your arms, you're not even slightly tempted to say "wow, that was fun.  Let's do it again."

Here is what adoption is really like:  Childbirth.  Adoption is just like child birth.  Sometimes, after nine months of waiting, your epidural works, you push twice and here's this precious healthy child.  You may say "that was hard, but I'd do it again."  That was the case when we adopted Taz and when I gave birth to Zoom.  Hard, emotional, exhausting but doable.

Here's what my childbirth was like for The Eldest:  LONG, head the size of a bowling ball, excruciatingly painful, no epidural, in sheer panic I pushed so hard that I broke every blood vessel in and around my eyes and mouth so I looked like I had been hit by a freight train.  Seriously, Mr T was afraid to go out in public with me because he looked like the worst kind of wife beater.

As painful as that childbirth was, it does not hold a candle to how hard this adoption "birth" has been.  I'm absolutely screaming for my epidural and in sheer panic I'm ready to scratch out the eyes of any adoption agency worker who sends me an email suggesting patience.  In sheer panic, I'm ready to hop on a plane to Ethiopia because surely that will get things moving.  It may be hard to believe, but Mr T and I don't currently have our hands in the air, smiling and laughing at each other saying "isn't this crazy, isn't this scary, isn't this fun!"  When this is all said and done, I'm pretty sure we'll both be relieved to make it out alive - with health, marriage and sanity relatively intact.

To recap:  Nearing the end of a rollercoaster looks like this:  Don't they look like they are having fun?

Nearing the end of an adoption, especially a long one, looks more like this:  Doesn't this look like fun?

But, no matter how long or how painful childbirth or adoption birth is, in the end it is worth it.  And, just like childbirth, the painful memories fade and crazy people have been known to do it again ...


  1. I won't say that I "like" this...but wow, I can feel your angst.  Very well said.  :)

  2. your truth is powerful here.  this arduous journey?  it's not for the faint of heart, and we've only just begun...  (carpenters, anyone??) 

  3. Exactly!!  Couldn't have said it better myself.  :)

  4. I heart beat fast the entire time I read this....Yes, yes, yes!!!! I think only people who have gone thru the process can relate and adequately put it into words. Thank you.

  5. Interesting post and discussion. Glad to know that facts from you.

  6. Loved this post! You are so so close!

  7. Amen! We just brought our son home last week from Ethiopia after hitting paperwork bumps every. step. of the way. 21 months after starting the process. 14 months after referral. 7 months after bringing his sister home. 

    And, similar to childbirth, the pain begins to fade, or so I'm told, and the desire to do it again starts to override the excruciating pain of being in the middle of it. We'll see how that goes... ;)

    I found your site while googling for a crock pot wat recipe (which is fun to say!) and started poking around :) Praying for your son to come home soon!

  8. Just stumbled upon your blog via Pinterest. I was looking for a new doro wat recipe for our family, and I continued reading your blog after getting my wat started. We have 2 bio children, 1 boy home from ET 2yrs, and are bringing home 3 more from ET in the next couple weeks. Well said, and yes, we are crazy too. I am in that place right now where (1) I am reveling in all the amazing progress we have made with our oldest son (adopted 2 years ago at 5yo), and (2) I am very aware of the phase we are about to enter ... again.