My husband and I were concerned that we wouldn’t be able to adopt since I am a Unitarian Universalist Pagan. All of our books went under the bed, and I put simple scented candles and a large seashell on my altar. We filled out initial state papers saying I was a UU and he was Spiritual. I wondered about the legality of this, and after nine weeks of foster/adoption classes we found out we didn’t have to include that information. We were honest about my PTSD and our depression.
Everything was going spectacularly. The home inspector said we passed, she liked our class homework, and she even thought we’d have a child in the home by October to begin our six-month trial period toward adoption. I can’t explain how excited Michael and I were. I was dancing around the house, so happy. We moved our bedroom furniture into the office where he works from home. The empty room would eventually belong to a young child new to our lives. I’d peek in and dream of how it would be decorated based on their age and gender. I upgraded my simple altar to one celebrating the Goddess. It had a statue I made of Her with honeybees on her dress.
The final step was a fitness examination, so we visited our primary physician. The only concern he has was our depression. Suddenly Family Services told us we had to have psychological evaluations because of our doctor’s concern. No one had mentioned this before. Why hadn’t they said something in the beginning? I got an exam with a psychiatric nurse which cost me over $1000 dollars, by the way. Diagnosis: PTSD. DUH!
No one in the department had handled a case where the applicant had a mental illness, plus our personal worker was new in general. The matter would have to go to a higher supervisor. In a couple of weeks we got a call. It was about the first week of October. The person working our case, their supervisor, and the top supervisor wanted to meet with us. Mike and I knew this was going to be it: the yes or no answer on if we would be allowed to adopt.
Our worker arrived first. She looked nervous. Not a good sign, I thought. Not a good sign at all. The rest of the group arrived, and we were told that we could not adopt. I had been hospitalized for PTSD too recently. I lost it. Hot tears rolled down my face, and I held Mike. I couldn’t look at any of them, and I barely could talk. I asked, was anything else we could do? One said no, not at this time, but we could try again in a few years. That would risk opening up our hearts again just to face another no. We could drop out and try again or dispute the decision.
If I disputed the decision and failed, there would be a permanent mark on my background check. I wouldn’t be able to substitute teach if that were checked by a potential employer. I love working with kids and didn’t want to give that up.
My life hit bottom and I went through the stages of grief.
Denial: No no this isn’t happening. This isn’t happening. My womb doesn’t work and now I’ll never have a child in my life.
Anger: The Family Services people are stupid. They are denying because I was clumsy and set up my Pagan altar! It was discrimination. I was discriminated against because of my disability! Why didn’t the Goddess help me!
Bargaining: I don’t think I went through this stage of feeling I could do anything to make the situation better.
Depression: I didn’t get out of bed except to use the restroom or eat. I cried all of the time. I stopped writing. I just could bare to put the pain on the page. I stopped offering news on Twitter and Google+. I would stare into the empty room with the rocker feeling like my child had died. Then felt guilt and selfish because I was baron and unable to adopt but hadn’t lost a child. Who was I to understand a mother’s pain?
I hope this explains my silence and long retreat.
Acceptance: Michael and I are taking our time. I’m taking time to heal, finish up a writing project, and basically do what I want. My sister has returned to work so I watch her toddler and infant during the day along with her three school aged children in the afternoon. That keeps my hands busy! I’m learning a lot about raising a child while having PTSD and my sister is there to guide me. This is something I wouldn’t have had if the adoption process had moved forward.
Maybe a child we adopt in the future, if we do, will need someone with lots of experience raising a child. After all, children from broken homes often have PTSD or other emotional disorders or develop them.
We can’t see as much as the Gods see.
That’s about all I can write on the topic. Too much more and I get sad again. I am doing a lot better and hope to return to writing here at the Staff of Asclepius.