Since I was very young, I’ve always said that I wanted to adopt a child. Over the years, decisiveness has not exactly been my greatest strength, though. Should I wear the grey dress, or the multicolored one?, Which school should I attend?, and other life choices have waged epic pros and cons list battles within my mind. Yet adoption is a topic I have never really wavered on. I want to do it- when the timing is right.
At this moment in time, it is not right. I need to finish grad school and make major strides in improving my own health, for starters. I also just need some time to enjoy what remains of my twenties. Perhaps (probably?) I will continue with school after I finish my Master’s degree? Realistically, adoption is many years away.
That does not stop me from occasionally Googling “adoption” and perusing the regulations and the steps of the adoption process, as well as the stories of families made whole by the addition of the adopted child. I want to make sure that I keep that adoption dream alive somehow, that I one day can give back to another human being in a way that is beyond anything I have ever done before. And, I imagine, that human being will in turn teach me a thing or two (okay, tons of cool things) along the way.
Years ago I attended an outpatient program focused on fine-tuning diabetes management skills. The participants spent a week bonding with one another and working through our respective diabetes challenges. This was prior to my #doc involvement, and it was the first time I felt the void inside me filled with what I had longed for all along: connection with others who understood.
While at dinner one evening, I mentioned my guilt about my mood swings associated with wacky blood sugars. Was it fair to my family and friends? Would it be fair to my future children? I went on to talk about other anxieties. What if one day my vision were to suffer as a complication of diabetes?
Judy*, one of the program participants and a proud mother, looked me directly in the eye and said, “Honey, you need to have children. You won’t have time to worry so much about yourself then!”
She meant it both in jest and in seriousness, and that is why I respected her so much. Judy had a certain aura about her- wise, outgoing, and elegant all in one. When she spoke, you paid attention.
Many years removed from that moment, I still know that Judy is right. In order to truly find myself, I have to become selfless. When the day finally comes to adopt, only then will I fully understand Judy’s advice.
In the meantime, I think it is okay to maintain certain dreams, even if they seem far away. I daydream about the diabetes cure party often. I wonder about future graduate programs or job prospects. There is no harm in dreaming big.
Adoption is definitely at the forefront of my mind because of diabetes. Additionally, I have a wonderful cousin who was adopted and is such a blessing to have in our family. Realistically, I am not sure that my diabetes management will ever be consistently safe enough for me to have a healthy pregnancy for myself and my child. It is not impossible, though. Perhaps in time things will change. It does not have to be something permanently erased off my chalkboard of life plans.
I try not to dwell on it, but I admit that not dwelling on it is an easy way out considering I am far away from starting a family for various professional and academic reasons. There’s that whole marrying a soulmate thing, too. But I still think that adoption will be a route that I pursue, whether or not I also get married and have biological children at some point.
I do want to highlight that without diabetes, the blessing of adoption may not be something that I would be considering as a serious future endeavor. If not for diabetes and my cousin’s great example, both myself and my future adopted child could potentially miss out on a wonderful opportunity to be a family together. When the time comes to adopt, we may not choose each other if diabetes had not chosen me many years ago.
We say it often: Diabetes gives us perspective. I see that here, especially. Some of these topics are quite emotional for us. I must admit that it feels a bit odd to write a blog post about something that I have not yet done; rather this blog is about something that I plan to do many years from now. But putting it down on paper makes the concept more real. Maintaining hopes and dreams despite diabetes being a big jerkface is one of our best assets in showing diabetes who the real boss is. Whatever your future goals may be and however far away they may seem, keep that faith alive somehow. Often God will surprise you with the right answer or opportunity when you least expect it.
*Name changed for privacy reasons.