I got the job, officially. When flipping through the paperwork I had to bring with me to the pre-hire physical I was reminded that this whole working outside the home deal is going to be a hassle. But speaking with my mother-in-law, whose post-kid career has her taking care of lots of people less physically or mentally capable than her, and hearing her urge me to read Matthew 25 again, reminds me of how grateful I am that it’s at least a job that will mean something and will not just be another round of me cheerfully helping someone else make even more dough.
Home projects: Debabyification continues with the CDs moved to wallets and jewel cases stored in the basement. With alphabetization, two days. I keep telling myself that a tidy house makes me work more efficiently (whether or not cleaning the mess actually replaces work time–sometimes just having the mess puts me on edge) but I can’t help but cringe at the time I lost. We also switched from shower doors (ugh and ugly) to a rod and curtains and got a detachable shower head so we can bathe the dogs again. Mundane to you, maybe, but for me a major quality-of-life issue, as it makes bathing the Snapper much easier and safer, and also because a snazzy new curtain makes the ugly ancient bathroom look not so bad.
Thinking: Emailing back and forth with another Women for Peace Iowa member on how to create community among very different people in ways that will promote peace locally. I have some ideas but I feel really out of my depth. I’m just a white girl who grew up in largely white communities (with some interesting variations, but that’s another story) and I’m not sure how to bring people together artificially (at first) in a way that will stick.
Thinking adoption: When we were in the thick of the adoption process over a year ago we were baby-crazy. Looking back, we accepted things ethically that we would never accept now, and however much I’d like to think it’s all my newly discovered knowledge I have to admit that it was also baby craziness. For example, we became suspicious that our agency (or rather the agency they were working with across state) was not providing adequate counseling to the women we were being ‘matched’ with. I think we were far too willing to let that suspicion fade into the background. I would have no qualms now making sure that proper counseling (with lots of information about parenting, child support, the psychological effects of placing, etc.) was happening before I worked with an agency. Now unless third-party counseling is employed I’ll always be less than satisfied (and even then who will pay the third party? Babies and money will always be too bound up in ways that end up favoring adoptive parents) but I’m not close to ideas for how it could be implemented. I also would not have accepted our social worker saying things like, “I know you want to encourage her to nurse but just be aware that birthmothers who do that almost never place,” as if we were supposed to just tiptoe around a mother so she wouldn’t change her mind. It was all about assessing the risk and she was forever reassuring us that a changed mind was rare. What I’d like to hear NOW is “she won’t really place until after the baby is born. No one knows what is in a mother’s heart, but what we’ll pray for is that she makes the right decision for her and her baby.”
Regarding the retrospective opinion on not-Boomer’s mother deciding not to place: Here’s the thing. I do believe that people have incredible reserves, particularly when it comes to their children. I would like to believe that not-Boomer is doing well. But I’m also intimately acquainted, through Attic Man’s time as a welfare caseworker in not-Boomer’s mother’s state, that while no child starves on welfare, many (not all–lots of things come into play here) of them are malnourished. Cash assistance is a pittance, food assistance is a pittance, and until this year WIC didn’t provide for fresh fruits and vegetables (it’s tied to the Farm Bill and subsidies–did you know that?). I’m not saying that she shouldn’t have placed. I’m not saying that we would be a better family for not-Boomer than hers because we have more money. But it’s not as simple as saying that love is enough and as long as he’s with his first mother he’ll be alright. Most likely he will be alright in some ways and not in others, just as he would be, with other combinations, in our family. The balance sheet isn’t clear and it isn’t up to us to decide which way the scales tip.
The Snapper has his very first cold and is simultaneously miserable and adorable.
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