Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Confession of an adoptive dad

I'm so lost right now. There isn't a good way to ease into this topic, so I'll just get started...and by the way, this is the short version - since I've already spent hours trying to compose this post tonight with just the right words to accurately convey the sentiment, only to have it eaten by the cyber monster.

Last spring and summer we realized we needed to make some decisions about our family size. It turns out that we both felt that we would love to have another child. A second adoption was considered, but we have so many reservations about it now. We chose to have another biological child. As a few of you know, that endeavor ended abruptly when our baby died in utero nearly half-way through my pregnancy.

Fast-forward a bit - I've been periodically asking my husband if he thinks we should try to have another baby. He always seems thoughtful, but in the end just replies, "I don't know....". I have assumed that perhaps he is still at a point of grieving that he can't really give it full consideration, or that he is afraid of another loss - that is, the loss of another baby. Well, the topic came up again tonight, and all of a sudden, out came the truth. I'm surprised - at his sudden candor, afraid - that his fear could be legitimate, and completely taken aback (shocked) - at the finality...the conviction he voiced:

I'm afraid it would be a boy. If the baby were a boy, he would look like me. I mean, regardless of how much he actually resembles me, I would have one son who doesn't look like me and one son who does look like me. People would comment on that in a round-about way and they would probably assume that I loved him more and that he was more of a 'real' son to me than [our son's name]. I just couldn't stand to hear, 'Oh, he looks so much like you!' I just love [son's name] so much and I feel like I am developing such a strong relationship with him and if I then had a son who looked like me, it would ruin everything. I never want [son's name] to think that I want any other son or that I have some need to have a biological son. So, that's it....that's why I don't know if I want you to
have another baby....I never want any other son. [son's name] is my son.

(Okay, please don't judge!) If nothing else, I would be thankful that he didn't waste any more time thinking that he couldn't share these feelings - regardless if they had any merit. But the truth is, this validates the secret thoughts I had the whole time I was pregnant...what will we do if it's a boy?

It would ruin everything?

I never want another son?

Well, that's pretty much how I feel about it, too, come to think of it. Don't ask me why this wasn't on the radar last spring/summer - before I was pregnant.

So now what.


At 9:38 AM , Blogger Erin said...


I've actually experienced similar thoughts. While the bee does look like us, I think if we DO get pregnant that people will assume we love the biological child more. I worry that the bee will think that also.

Then we have toyed with adopting again, and I don't know if I can do that. But I don't want her to be an only child either, and I really want to parent more than one child.

At 6:42 PM , Blogger cloudscome said...

I think that is a pretty common thought. I have heard many women say that. I haven't ever heard a man say it, but then maybe it just isn't shared as often.

I think it's natural. He has a valid point, people will say such foolish things.

But I honestly think you and he would get past that fear, and when a new child comes into your family you will love him/her completely and joyfully.

The fear fades when you get to know the new wonderful person. Love isn't divided, it multiplies.

At 11:36 AM , Blogger Paula O. said...

((((Oh, Zoe.)))) I did not know about your and your husband's loss. I am so, so sorry.

At 7:04 AM , Blogger LeeJo said...

We have a bio, disabled son. When thinking of having another bio child, my hubby just couldn't, for fear of having a typical boy, and how that would feel post-Bert. I personally give your hubby kudos for admitting it. It takes a real man to admit those deep thoughts.

At 7:43 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I could just hug your husband. He seems like such a great Dad and I really commend you guys for taking all of this into consideration while discussing your second child.

Life's decisions just get harder and harder. It really sucks.

Good luck with your decision. Because you are aware of it, you'll do a great job regardless of which route you go.

Jamie :)

At 5:19 PM , Blogger Kahlan said...

{{{Zoe}}} I think it is great that you are talking about these things and really commend your husband for bringing it up. I wish I had advice, but of course I do not.

At 11:47 AM , Blogger Third Mom said...


First, my deep sympathy for the loss of your baby. I'm so sad for you and your husband.

As to your husband's thoughts: He has shared his deep and sincere feelings, and I don't believe he's alone in them. I remember my husband telling me on the morning our daughter arrived how frightened he was that his relationship with our son would be disrupted, and more. It was hard for him - but life helps you work through these feelings, and he did.

I have to say this, too. I know you have reservations about adopting again. But I would ask that you consider this. Until the day that adoption from Korea has ended because Korea has taken responsibility for its children, there are children who need parents. We all struggle with the rightness of adoption - but a parent as committed to their children and as respectful of their genetic connections as you are is one I think should not rule it out.

At 5:08 AM , Blogger zoe said...

I appreciate all your thoughts and sympathies. It's certainly been a rather surreal experience - proving to me how much I took for granted my first pregnancy and the health of my baby.

This issue is a bit of what some of you are suggesting - the sad feelings for the children whose lives will have to adjust to a new family member should we add to our family again. I agree with all of you that, yes, some of this is similar to what we felt when we added a second child to our family: Our daughter would no longer be our 'only', etc., but it's true that parental love seems easily and naturally multiplied, rather than divided.

I think the issue we are concerned about is this particular gender/adoption combo - a potential bio boy coming along after our adopted son - who is just the most precious little guy in the world to us, and right now the baby of our family, to boot. :) What would be intolerable would be for our (adopted) son to feel - just by the mere presence of a bio son (who would almost certainly become and remain the baby of the family) - that we 'needed' THAT (a bio son) over and above what we already have. And then, of course, for people's ignorant comments to seemingly make it true.

Though not a direct analogy, I think our feelings are similar to what leejo described in her family. (Thanks for your comment!)

Margie - thanks for your words of wisdom, too. I was pondering similar thoughts just yesterday....legitimate situations DO exist....

Thank you all for the encouragement.


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