I started to respond to Kara in the appropriate comment format, but the answer kind of got out of hand, length-wise—so I’m moving it here.

I was a little sad as I read you call Joey the “child gifted to you” which seems to suggest that Cricket never was meant to be yours, wasn’t your gift. Do you believe this? I hope you don’t believe you were simply a vessel for him to make his way to R & N. 😦

I am sure I read this through my hypersensitive adoptee lenses, but again, it makes me pause.

I certainly did at the time. I very much believed that I must have gotten pregnant for a reason—you know, aside from the obvious sex-having reason. After all, I wasn’t the kind of girl who gets pregnant; I can’t call myself “good,” exactly, but I didn’t get into trouble. I never snuck out, I didn’t have a drink until I was twenty-one, and I only cut class one time—it was an accident!—I was in the school library at recess and got so caught up in a book that I lost track of time. Luckily, my teacher was entertained. I had detention one time: for forgetting to bring my history textbook to class. And children are a gift—so how could he be meant for me, the panicky person whose heart sank when she saw the positive test?

I remember the last time that I considered parenting Cricket as an option. I was on a train, coming home from visiting my sister—it must have been June. I was alternately losing cell reception and losing internet access, talking to my boyfriend through whichever medium was available to me, and crying and crying. He still wanted abortion, although he was consistently willing to support whatever decision I made . . . but just the fact that he still wanted me to have an abortion was incredibly distressing. It was a little weird. I was and am Catholic, but I’m also pro-choice—and the fact that I immediately thought of the mouse (as I called him while I was pregnant) as a person really caught me off guard. And if my boyfriend wanted me to have an abortion, then we couldn’t parent, because I didn’t want him to have parents who hadn’t been delighted about him from day one (or as close to that as any human can get). So after that conversation, I crossed parenting off my list of possibles and started trying to figure out for whom this child had been intended.

I wanted so badly for things to have been destined, and to need only to figure out what was supposed to happen so that I could facilitate it. Ruth and Nora had spent months and thousands of dollars getting ready for a baby, and they seemed very nice—so this baby must have been meant for them through me. Why through me? Heck, I still believe that I deserve any bad thing that happens to me (the bad thing being the crisis pregnancy, not Cricket).

When I talk about Joey being gifted to me, I’m not thinking about that in contrast to Cricket—but I do think that losing our first has left both me and the Mister profoundly grateful for Joey. Just this afternoon I was rocking him and trying to help him get a bubble out, and he was grisling a bit, and I teared up thinking about how glad I was to have him. Mr. Book does this thing that I misinterpreted at first; sometimes when Joey is in his arms and howling, Mr. Book will look at him and laugh. At first I thought that he was laughing at the baby, and it bothered me—but we talked about it, and now I can hear the note of surprise in his voice. He’s just so happy to see Joey, even at the howliest of times, that sometimes he laughs.

I value your lens, lady. 😉


8 thoughts on “Comment

  1. Thanks for the explanation. I can see how a frame of mind can shape one’s experience. Absolutely. But I still think you would have made Cricket great parents, and I am so glad that you are working to keep him in your life.

    I can’t see Cricket as “destined” for Ruth and Nora just because they had money and were older. Not because they don’t have the potential to be great parents, but because they don’t treat YOU with the proper amount of respect. By letting you down, they let Cricket down. And I am angry with them for being so controlling.

    I sit here in the hospital, wheezing with pneumonia and two clots in my lungs, and I want to hug you and yell at R & N. Seriously yell. In a very weak voice, but only because of circumstances. 😉

    • Oh my goodness, it sounds like you need a hug!

      Mr. Book has said that in some ways we’d be better parents, and I know what he means, although I waffle about agreeing. And heavens, I’m sure that in some ways we’d be worse. But I no longer think that Cricket was born to join Ruth and Nora—I’m a little agnostic about his destiny these days.

      • I might get to go home from the hospital today! Hooray.

        I agree with Mr. Book. Of course. If you’re “good enough” parents for Joey, you are exactly right for Cricket. If you follow the logic in the other way, then Ruth and Nora would be better for Joey, too. No way. Many kids are not planned or even wanted from conception, but end up being loved very much by their natural parents. I can see how guilt colored your view of all that happened with Cricket, although the separation of child and pregnancy stymies me. Hate the pregnancy, love the child?

        Many adoptees are told, “It’s not that you were rejected, it was the situation.” But we *are* the situation, you see? And so much of the detritus from the situation rains down on us for the rest of our lives because we are reminders of the situation.

        Cricket’s destiny is his own, but I am glad you’ll be there to help him in ways that so many of us from the closed adoption days missed out on. He’ll know you always loved him.

  2. I know there are many people in the adoption world who use that meant to be/destined language & I don’t buy it. It’s more like what is (or what becomes?).

    Every baby of mine has felt like a gift. Biggest in the universe.

  3. One thing I wonder about –though it’s absolutely none of my business of course, and I’m genuinely sorry if I’m overstepping my boundary as a lurker-, is why you chose Ruth and Nora to parent Cricket. I’m making some assumptions here, but it doesn’t sound as though either you or Mr Book get on with them particularly well, or that you have much in common with them.

    I’m sure they both have some wonderful qualities too, but didn’t the less great stuff (like Ruth’s apparent tendency to control situations) come across while you were expecting?

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