Follow me on the crazy, hopeful, discouraging, funny, and ultimately successful (one way or another) path to parenthood while facing infertility.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

When Time Speeds By But You Stand Still

I am almost out of the hectic chaos that is annual review meetings, where you go over this year for your students and the plan for next year in the form of IEPs (Individualized Education Plans) -- roughly 13 page legal documents that spell out strengths, needs, modifications, accommodations, goals and for many of my students, plans for post-high school. They are intense. I actually felt lucky to have the days we had off for the giant snowstorm because it gave me time to work on them and get them finalized up, although I spent a fair amount of one day making parent calls to go over plans prior to my meetings. I was happy to have the parent calls I've had so far go well, to hear "yes, that sounds like my child" from parents -- I pride myself in really knowing my students and how to best support them yet push them, too.

This is, although in March, the culminating event of the year in special education. It signals a shift from this year to next year. I also sit in on the incoming 7th grade meetings for the program where I teach Reading and English.

These meetings have me feeling more than a little sad though.

I cannot BELIEVE that here we are, in March, talking about transitioning to next year and I AM STILL THERE. I am not on maternity leave. I do not have any exciting news to share.

When going into the 7th grade meetings, I had to decide -- do I tell parents about the adoption process now? If I was pregnant, it would be apparent that I might not be there next year. But I'm not, and in actuality I've been expecting for 19 months, but without any kind of notice and lately opportunities that are whiplash fast, so do I need to tell them now? I decided not to.

Because if I have to tell ONE MORE GROUP of parents that I may or may not be there the whole year, that I am in the adoption process, to receive CONGRATULATIONS that are well intended but then ward that off with, "well, it's been a while and the process is long and unpredictable, so there's no real baby yet...it's a fake baby right now" which just makes parents look at me like I'm insane...I will literally lose it. I have had to tell people in some shape or form for THREE SCHOOL YEARS that I might go out, but then the year goes by and time passes on (faster and faster I might add) and absolutely NOTHING changes. For me, at least.

I get new groups of students. I get new hopeful faces when my phone rings during class (and shared frustration when it's just an appointment reminder or worse, a telemarketer). I get new sets of parents who are either openly excited for me or worried for what that might mean for their child in terms of consistency, or a mix of both.

I get it. But at the same time, here I am, IN THE SAME PLACE, and nothing has changed. Not yet. So I don't really feel like telling another group "oh, I might be here next year or I might not." Why cause anxiety when so far, I tell them and things remain the same?

It is very hard to cycle through school year after school year and have very little progress on my end, and have to explain the process over and over and over...only to have it not actually matter in the end. There's still time for this school year...I am hopeful that something will pan out before June. Maybe. It's hard not to be a little jaded at the prospect of things working out. And at this point, I kind of hope for a summer placement (although I would take one RIGHT NOW if it was available) because then I can take the whole school year off and not have to have that conversation ripe with hypothetical instability. How luxurious it would be to just have an uninterrupted space of time where I can pretend I'm like anybody else who is expecting a baby, to have it neat and encapsulated.

Except my gestation is hypothetical, and recalcitrant, and unpredictable, and causes mass confusion.

And when the calendar goes to the next month, when the meetings are upon us, when there's nearly only one quarter left of the school year, it just reminds me of how quickly time goes by and how cruelly it leaves us in the dust, standing still and empty-handed, watching other babies get born and my friends' children grow up until it seems we are in some kind of awful time loop.

I still hope, though. Time can't stand still forever. Something will change at some point. I have to believe that or else lose my sanity.

10 comments:

  1. This is just hard, plain and simple. It's hard because of all you said above and because so few people actually can relate. But it's hard because this whole process is hard.

    I'm so sorry that it's another year of facing this and being in limbo. That alone sucks. Thinking of you

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    1. Thank you. It really does suck to face the end of another year, even though there's still 12 weeks or so left. Every reminder that we are inching closer to a second renewal of our home study makes me sad. But some days are sadder than others, so I'll process those and move on by. I appreciate the thoughts!

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  2. I'm sorry this is so hard. You are obviously a very caring and responsible person, to both your students and their families (and in special ed it definitely is a team effort). It was kind of you to inform parents of the possibility that you might not be their child's teacher at the same time. But on the other hand I can picture your frustration at having that conversation about adoption, and truly, I don't think you need feel guilty about avoiding the matter. Yes adoption will in some way interfere with your teaching schedule, but so, hypothetically, could any number of other events: accident, injury, unexpected life event, you win the lottery or an all expenses paid trip abroad (I had to add some happy ones in there). You are a professional but also a human with a right to attempt human endeavours that have been attempted by people since the dawn of time, such as starting a family. All your student families had a child by some means, so they can hardly fault you for wanting the same, I think. That's my way of thinking. No matter what the long, uncertain wait still sucks, in myriad ways. But you have my psychological support in the interesting project of attempting to sabotage one's currently manageable life in favour of another unknown, possibly less manageable one. For what it's worth.

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    1. Thank you for your thoughts, they are worth a lot. I think the thing that stands out to me is that when I first entered into the adoption arena, the teacher I shared my more intensive program with was due in May. So she was telling everyone that she was not going to be there the following year, and she was so obviously expecting a child, and I felt so horribly jealous at the similarities (even my school psychologist was like, "you're expecting too! You could say something!") but the vast difference that I walk around like a ticking time bomb, as though I am 30 weeks (or 40!) ALL THE TIME. I won't have advance notice most likely. I won't "pop." So I like to give some advance notice in September at Open House at least (and it's on my About Me section of my teacher website), so it's not a shock. But you're right, there's ABSOLUTELY no reason to tell the 7th grade people so early. I can always email them (or have my 7th grade colleage do it) if something comes up, that it was nice to meet them but SEEYA! But the reality is that I will probably be doing the whole "hey, guess what" talk in September. Again. Sigh. Being transparent has its advantages, and I love that I don't have to be sneaky about my phone ringing during the work day, and my adoption shoot card (the less tongue-in-cheek, hopeful, martini-free one from two years ago) is on my door. Because everyone else puts their family cards with babies and cute kids and stuff on their doors, so why should I be left out?

      Anyway, long rant, but I see your point about the possibility of leaves for other reasons...and I definitely chose not to spill the beans early in hopes that the beans spill themselves before this group becomes mine. I just want some change, dammit. It sucks to feel stuck in the same amorphous place. But that's why they say the waiting is so hard. SO HARD. Man, sorry to reply so long! :)You got me thinking. :)

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  3. Life is so incredibly, extraordinarily unfair. I am so sorry Jess. sending so many good thoughts out to you right now, hoping it helps to make your load feel a little lighter. Lots of prayers, too, as always.
    I don't blame you for not having the conversation with parents. I honestly don't think it's any of their business, in the same way that it wouldn't be if you were naturally TTC and could potentially become pregnant and out on leave long before the next school year would start. I mean, you wouldn't share that, right? Just because it's adoption and could potentially happen in a moments notice doesn't mean you aren't entitled to your privacy surrounding that.
    And like Torthuil said above, any number of things could happen last minute to make you require time off that you could never plan for.
    ~Sigh~If only good thoughts could conjure a baby...Jess, you have so many people pulling for you, so many people on your side. I feel helpless that all this love isn't enough to take away your pain. (((Big Hugs)))

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    1. Thank you so much for your thoughts. I just left the longest reply comment in the world for Torthuil, but the basics is this... I'm not TTC, I'm like a pregnant person but who is stuck at third trimester forever, because that baby is going to come with very little notice. I didn't tell parents when I was going through IVF, because I'd have plenty of time (hopefully) if I got pregnant...when I started to show, I could start having those conversations. However, now there's no marker. Now there is a very real possibility as shown by January's profile opportunity that I could be here today, out on maternity leave tomorrow. But the 7th grade groups don't need to know that, I do agree totally on that one! They'll find out hopefully sooner than September open house (or personal letter writing). It just stinks to watch the years cycle by so clearly because of the school year, and think about all the students I will have to email when this finally does work out because now there are three school years' worth! HOLY CRAPOLA that's a lot of notifications. I still get emails from kids I had three years ago asking if I've got my baby yet. So you can see how it's a double edged sword, to have so many people invested (yay so much love!) but to have so many people pile up because NOTHING CHANGES (boo stagnancy and feeling sorry for myself). THank you for the wish to conjure up a baby, I wish that was true too. I will never understand why this whole endeavor has been so, so, SO hard. But the pain will come and go (and come again), and all you guys cheering me on and abiding with me when I'm crotchety about the whole thing makes a big difference. So thank you!

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  4. As someone who has gone through her share of pregnancy loss, and did manage one live baby, I didn't tell anyone I was pregnant until I was over 25 weeks along, because i didn't want to untell them when/if it ended with a dead baby again. I imagine having to tell people your baby didn't live is about as miserable as telling them you are still waiting-- and honestly, it really REALLY does suck, especially as everyone else is on their second living baby. So all this to say, you do what feels right for you, and stop worrying about everyone else. When the day comes and you head off work to be with your baby, all those who matter will be nothing but thrilled.

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    1. I am so, so sorry for your losses. There is something so frustrating about having these things taken away -- to see the people who announce early in the first trimester and have everything work out and then realize you're struggling with just never being able to say anything, or being denied the feeling of safety in your pregnancy to feel comfortable sharing until the end. I think with parents the end is best, but it's hard when the end for me is always with no advance notice even for me. :) I agree with you that that those who matter will be nothing but thrilled when this all comes to fruition, someday. I hope! I think for me it's the standing still more than the telling or not. It's being in the same place, year after year after year. Thanks so much for your thoughts and sharing your story.

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  5. Just wondering if you ever hear from your adoption agency constructive feedback on why another family is chosen instead of you and Bryce? To me, it's no question that you would be wonderful parents, but I'm 41, not your target audience ha ha! I hope this doesn't come off as crass to even ask you this, that is not my intention.

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    1. It really isn't a competition, although it seems that way when you lay it out, right? I always ask for feedback. It ranges from "the other family had a different makeup" which can mean anything from already having a child to having more extended family in the area or more possible aunts and uncles and cousins for a child. It really is just what feels right to the birth/expectant parents -- it can be "nothing was identified" or "they just felt more connected to the other family." There is nothing concrete to hang on to, which is difficult but also encouraging that it's literally nothing we can change or do. We've been told our book is awesome, and no one is put off by our book...we just haven't been The One for anyone yet. Just another part of the process that makes it hard -- how can you not search for what it is about yourself that might make us not chosen? So human nature. Ask away, I don't mind questions like these whatsoever! :) You asked very sensitively, so thank you. :)

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