Guilt and failure. These are both two emotions that I struggle with on a daily basis. They often lead to major cases of anxiety, which are often self-induced. If I were to tell you today, I currently take 10 pills to manage my anxiety from my fear of failure and sometimes my guilt of living. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to harm myself or anything (and some of them double as migraine medication), but I go through periods of time where my anxiety gets so high from just living my daily life; things like spending $5 on a coffee, planning a vacation, or buying a new home, that I can hardly breathe. That I get chest pains. That I get nauseated. It’s awful.
For a while, I tried to hide these emotions and it was amazing how quickly they boiled over into my work, my marriage and my family. I didn’t know how to be myself anymore, or even remember who she was. I tried talk therapy and got nowhere, so needless to say…and say without shame, I’m totally medicated and I’m okay with that.
Since the time Steffan and I told our family and close friends about our inability to have our own children, it’s been an emotional roller coaster. The support we get and the guilt we feel is never-ending. We struggle all of the time with this delicate balancing act of how to save the mega bucks it takes for adoption, and still trying to have the semblance of a life that is one that looks like we’re actually living.
If we spent anything extra we both felt guilty. We lived in a modest ranch house that we had been in for almost five years, and were busting out of the seams, and knew we needed more room. As we started to do our research into the plethora of adoption outlets, we learned a lot about the cost; one thing we learned was that any money invested into home studies, etc. is lost if you move at any point during the process. So hypothetically, if we invested $10,000 and then decided it would behoove us to live in a bigger, “family” home, we could stand to lose all of that money and have to start over from square one. That led to a major life call, one that I was excited and nervous about at the same time…buying a bigger house.
Despite the fact that we knew it was the smart decision in the long run: get the family house and then the family, we were nervous about how that order of events would go over with people. In all actuality, we were nervous about how it would go over with us, I mean, we REALLY wanted the family, so how could we justify spending the money on the house before the child? I guess it shouldn’t matter; it’s our money, but it all goes back to what I said at the beginning: guilt and failure.
For a while, we thought every spare dime we had, needed to go to an adoption fund. We are at the point in our lives (early 30s) where if we want something, we can go out and buy it. We don’t Christmas presents or birthday presents anymore. We asked our families to just donate money to an adoption fund that we set up separately from our regular checking or savings. It pained us to think that our family or friends, thought the money they gave us was spent on something else. It wasn’t. I feel like the world is silently judging my choices and it eats away at me. I know it’s all in my head. I know we have the support of our friends and family, but each day we get older, and the thing we want most gets a little further out of reach.
Support is key in this type of event. There have been situations where unknowingly, or not meaningfully, people have insinuated we’re selfish for taking a trip or buying something expensive. What people don’t realize is we work with a financial planner constantly to see what our best options are to make sure we save money and live life.
I guess what it all comes down to is this: please be understanding that every couple who wants to adopt, does so with the passion of a thousand burning suns in their hearts, but we all get to a point where, if that’s all we focused on, we would fall apart in the most gut-wrenching sense of the word. We do all we can to keep our sanity while we endure failed fertility treatments, pregnant friends and family, and the ungodly cost of saving.
And there is always something new around the corner to keep you on your toes. For Steffan and I, the house we bought came smack dab with a beautiful swing set, complete with two slides, a climbing wall, sand box, and two swings. It stares at me while I do the dishes or play with my dogs. We’ve talked about selling it and getting rid of the constant reminder that who knows how far out of reach this dream of ours is, but then again, maybe having it will be a motivating factor to work harder than ever to get what we want.