Wife: So, what are you looking forward to most when we get our new baby?
Me: Uh… I donno.
Wife: Okay, um, what colour do you think we should paint in their room?
Me: Uh… I donno.
Wife: Okay… what do you think about the new chainsaw?
Me: OH! The new Huskvarana 21″ with dual clutching system? With the bigger motor which has automatic chain lubrication and an improved steal and… why are you looking at me like that?
Me: Are you mad?
Me: I can tell you’re mad.
Me: Did I do something wrong?
Me: I did something wrong.
Me: I’m sorry. I’m an idiot.
Wife: Okay. Do you want to talk about Adoption or not?
Me: Uhhhhhh… No?
Wife: GREAT! What do you think about the new adoption policy that Zimbabwe is passing in relation to the International Adoption Agreement signed in Geneva in the Summer of 1997 by the 14 major countries of international adoption and ratified in August of 2003 by adding Section 3.1.3.(b) Article 14 Annex 27? Just talk to me! Tell me your thoughts about adoption! Just give me SOMETHING!
Me: …. uh… mmmm… I think Angelina Jolie looks great after adopting 4 kids!
Me: What?! Oh wait… are you mad again?
Me: But you wanted to talk about Adoption!
Aaaand, and that’s how it goes sometimes. Look, its not that we men are INTENTIONALLY idiots when it comes to “things” like this. Emotional things. Adoptive things. Its not our fault… men and women are different. And those differences can cause problems between us.
Apparently, we (men) are from Mars, then they (women) are from Venus. I’m a waffle, and she is Spaghetti. Apparently there are 5 Love Languages, women speak 5, and we Men don’t listen.
Men are wired (I think) to fill the role of a Protector and Provider. However, the adoption process really strips away any ability we have to fill that role.
As an adoptive father, we can not “protect” anyone…
We can not protect our family from the emotional up and downs during the adoption process.
We can not protect our not yet adopted child from any pain or hurt of not being part of our family yet.
We can not “provide” anything for anyone either…
We can not provide a quicker adoption process.
We can not provide “guaranteed” success for our child, or our family.
We are left, stranded as men, torn between what we want to do (ie: protect + provide) and what we can do.
And we are left in a state of… well, “idiot” – if idiot were a state of mind.
So to all the Moms out there, who have had to deal with Dads who seem more interested in their power tools than they should be… We’re sorry.
We’re not idiots… we just “Emotionally Challenged”.
Which, by the way, is not the same as “Emotionally Negligent”. Recently, we started our 2nd adoption process. We had been made aware of a wonderful 8 year old girl in a wheel chair who was looking for a good home, and right from the get-go, my wife and I both felt differently about this wonderful 8 year old girl.
My wife, bless her soul, was abounding in love! Reckless in desire and lacking desperately any sense of practicality or forethought.
I was, bless my soul, the perfect example of cold calculation, and being “Emotionally Negligent”. How could we care for a girl in a wheel chair? We have a 3 floors in our home! We have 4 other children! Our car isn’t big enough! We don’t have a “lift” to help her up or down the stairs! We can’t afford it! We just can’t do it!
Aaaah, what a selfish thought. And I even convinced myself that I was UNselfish. That I was looking out for the good of the whole family, and/but I was putting the needs of our existing children before the needs of any future child whom we may welcome into our home.
I hate to admit it (trust me I do)… by I think my wife was right. We can get a lift… eventually… I mean, I can work more overtime right? We can love a child in a wheel chair. We can make adjustments to our transportation.
But there was no “logical” ah-ha moment which made me realize that my wife was right and I was just throwing out excuses. It was the moment when our Adoption Practitioner said we could not adopt an 8 year old out of birth order.
It was the moment when all my excuses were stripped away… and not because we found solutions to all my worries.
No, my excuses were stripped away because we were not allowed to adopt her. And for the first time I was able to look at this wonderful 8 year old girl and realize… that she was amazing, and wonderful, and deserves to be loved beyond all reason – and in a perfect world, in a world where I’m not “Emotionally Challenged”, I could be that… I CAN be that. We all can be that.
We just have to get past our own emotional challenges, if that is fear, or lies of what we can and can not handle, telling ourselves that there is someone else out there for them, that our life style isn’t suited for such and such a child… all valid statements… but useless to that child waiting to belong to a family.
It is sad that we had to lose her, for me to truly see her without all the emotional baggage I was carrying.