Woof. The first discussion on the Diane Rehm show yesterday morning was a four-weller (meaning, I found myself welling up listening to it, four times). And I only caught the last 15 minutes!
The show had assembled a number of counselors and pediatricians who deal with adoption issues, prompted by the actions of an adoptive mother who "sent" her son back to Russia after deciding she couldn't handle him. (I can't begin to understand her decision; suffice it to say, I am very sorry she felt that was her only option and I am sorry that she now has to deal with her own reaction to that decision, as well as global condemnation)
The show had a wonderful, moving call (a two-weller) from a mother dealing with a very difficult, six-year old adoptee. She sounded very tired, but very determined. The host asked her if she'd ever wished she hadn't adopted her daughter. Without a second's pause, the caller said no and said, while she hadn't visualized this life for herself, she figured there was a reason she was matched with this child.
There is some one who is going to have an awesome next life.
It reminded me of another interview I read, in which a woman was recounting her life dealing with her teenage son's mental illness. She told of complaining to her minister that, "this wasn't what she signed up for." Her wise counselor responded, "actually, this is exactly what you signed up for." For me, that exchange really drove home the whole amazing and horrible trade-off of parenthood.
Or any relationship where you accept responsibility for another life, actually. To open your heart and allow some one (thing) in requires a huge investment--of emotion, time, and faith. You cede control to let in the sweetness--and the pain. (Probably the technical explanation is that the brain rewires to accommodate this new sense of self and obligation...but where's the poetry in that?) These are important things to remember during the first heady days of falling in love, bringing home a new pet, considering parenthood.
It makes life that much richer, and that much scarier. I can't think of anything more upsetting than losing some one close...the old I-would-give-my-life-for-you sort of feeling. On the other hand, I can't imagine keeping people at arm's length to avoid any heartbreak. That seems rather cold and lonely.
So I wish you all the ability to open your hearts, and keep them open. Cherish the good and soldier through the bad that comes with this responsibility. It's hard to love, I know, but I wonder if it's even harder not to...