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.
9 thoughts on “Adoption”
I just wrote a post about my friend Mary who adopted Thomas. Check it out.
Actually, I meant to message you, but your lovely post is what sparked my Google adoption inquiries yesterday! 🙂 I always enjoy reading the happy stories about adoption. Thank you for sharing about Mary and Thomas.
I love this so much. Keep thinking about and pursuing your dreams.
Will do. Thanks, Stephen.
Yes, it is all about perspective. And Judy (not her real name) is right — with kids, they become the top priority and diabetes isn’t as consuming…at least in my experience. Yet I also found that my kids gave me a new reason to take care of myself and my diabetes. The timing of my starting to use an insulin pump eight months before my first son was born is not a coincidence.
With that said, these are all deeply individual and personal matters. Insulin pump, parenting, adoption… these things suit each person differently. There’s no such thing as One Size Fits All in this matter.
Definitely. I like your point about the child being a big reason to take care of one’s own health, too. Another great D perspective.
While I love that you are considering adoption, my perspective comes from a diabetic who mom who carried both of her children while doing the daily battle of living with diabetes. And I have to say it is SCARY. However, my Ob was like a military TI when it came to my numbers, and I had two very healthy pregnancies as a result. I started young though. Now, over five years since my youngest was born we are still debating a third. Am I healthy enough, is my diabetes under good enough control to start trying, I need to lose more weight (which in my opinion is a harder battle with diabetes), am I getting too old, can my body handle it again…? This list surrounding my diabetes alone goes on. However, it is doable! When you know you are or will be carrying that sweet little one, your perspective shifts. It’s all about giving them the best possible environment and the best chance of life. Before o had my kids I didn’t manage my diabetes well…sometimes I simply didn’t. I was diagnosed as a teen and so I suppose part of me was hoping if I ignored it, it’d just go away. But I’m sure we’ve all had those times in our lives. Even now, I can’t imagine not doing my best to manage my diabetes just so I can be there. In the long term and just for the day to day stuff. I remember being 20, alone in my apartment with a massive low and my baby crying in the crib with me just sitting on the floor next to him with a gallon of OJ I had been chugging. Sitting there crying because I dare not try to pick up my baby yet because I was still too shaky. I hated that, and unfortunately those moments aren’t completely avoidable, whether we give birth or adopt. Being a parent with diabetes is just like being any other parent or just being a diabetic. We can try our darnedest but those horrible, scary moments that we’ll never forget will still happen. But it’s all the others that make it worth it.
Thanks, Sarah. I agree. Like many good things in life, raising kids is a difficult feat made more difficult by diabetes, but the final outcome is so worth it. Thanks for your perspective here.