03 July 2009

What if?...challenges

My oldest and closest friend, G, lives out in the Pacific Northwest with her wife C and C's son J. If time and schedules permitted we'd be on the phone everyday. Unfortunately, time and schedules most often don't permit so we have to be content with one phone conversation per week and as such our conversations are usually lengthy We had just such a long conversation yesterday about parenting.

J is a great kid. Funny and goofy. But he is also a kid who has a lot of challenges. I won't go into the particulars except to say that he is in a special (and wonderful) school for kids who have significant emotional/behavioral issues, developmental delays and who experience severe social challenges. He is definitely benefiting from his time at the school. G tells me that there have been vast improvements in his behavior. However, as J gets older, stronger and in some ways more independent (and still other ways much more dependent) his challenges become even more challenging to G and C. While they can still manage him (to a point some days) right now, they are starting to research their options for if and when the time comes that his challenges become too overwhelming and his needs must be met in some kind of assisted living situation.

Difficult situation.

Difficult choices.

G says to me, "Isn't it funny that I'm struggling so much right now with being a mom and you're in the process of just becoming a mom? How does that make you feel?"

How does that make me feel?

Yeah, there is that part of me that worries, "What if we adopt a child who seems perfectly healthy as an infant [like J], but who later proves to have developmental challenges [like J] or some kind of genetic disorder or a birth defect that went undetected?"

No matter how much health history we get about the Birth Parents and Birth Family, there is always that chance that something "wrong" will manifest later on.

What if?

What if?

What if?

Then again, as I pointed out to my father not so long ago, the same thing could happen with a biological child of ours.

It's a crap shoot.

Parenthood is kind of a crap shoot. You get what you get. Your child or children might be exactly what you hoped for and dreamed of and wanted and desired.

And then again, the whole parenthood gig might be really hard because of unforeseen crap shoot stuff that you didn't expect or didn't want or couldn't possibly imagine.

So, am I worried?


But here's what I'm realizing as I worry and read blogs and talk to friends, relatives and colleagues who are parents:

Chris and I are entering into the crap shoot of parenthood and we'll get what we get and we'll be a family no matter what.

Hopefully our Little One will be healthy and perfect and free from developmental issues and undiscovered birth defects and other terrible things. We'll luck out and have a wonderful experience. A wonderful family.

But, if that's not the case, and there is something - some challenge - we will deal with it. We'll work through whatever comes our way. We'll talk. We'll strategize. We'll figure it all out because that's what we'll have to do.


As parents.

As a family.

And even in the midst of any challenges that come our way I am sure that there will be much wonderfulness to enjoy.

G and C are struggling a bit right now. They are a bit overwhelmed, but at the same time they are working so very hard together to work through these tough times with J. And I have every hope and confidence that they'll get through this and be better for it. And I hope that in the midst of these challenges they are still experiencing wonderfulness as a family.


  1. Life has been so - well, either all taken up with J or else recovering from having J (we're so lucky to have built in respite in that he lives with his other parents every other week) - that I'm behind on reading your blog.

    Speaking of feeling excited (by the CNN connection), I feel honored that you included our conversation/my situation in this blog. I often worry that I'm bringing you down somehow by not being super duper happy mom.

    One of the main things I've learned in all of this is how vital a support system is to parents and to the family as a whole. Parents and kids need time off from one another, they need a network that can be the back up singers, if you will, of the main melody.

    I just saw the documentary "In the Shadows of Motown" and learned the instrumental role of the Funk Brother in the Motown songs - they were instrumental to making Motown a success and its singers stars with their unbelievable music. Unfortunately they never got the recognition they deserved thought the documentary helped to rectify that. In other words, we all need (and need to respect) a Funk Brothers of our own - the folks who can expand and deepen what we do, to whom we can give the chance to share their incredible gifts and with whom - together - raise the next generation.

    Big love, G

  2. Thanks for your wonderful, thoughtful insights, G. You are an amazing human being and - even if you don't always think so - an amazing mom. You don't bring me down at all! - quite the opposite, I always want to seek out your wisdom.

    Big Love right back'atcha!