Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Practicum

Despite my best efforts to become a more regular blogger, I'm not doing a very good job! It's hard for me to think that things that happen in our everyday life are things that anyone who reads this will care about, so most of the time when something pops into my head that I think I should blog about, I talk myself out of it. But my friends keep nagging me about updating. So, here we are.

Today was my first day of Practicum. I'll be basically interning for a Christian-based international adoption agency about 18 hours a week until I graduate in May. I absolutely loved it. At the beginning of the summer, I had a meeting with my advisor and some of the instructors from my program to talk about my choice of practicum placements. They were concerned that because of losing Olivia, I would "over identify" with parents who desperately want a child. They thought that I might get too upset when I saw parents getting babies... because I couldn't keep my own. In some ways I can understand where they would be coming from with that - by allowing me to accept the placement, they're essentially saying that they know I'm emotionally competent enough to handle the work. So I get it - they have to watch their own backs. But by the end of the meeting, they agreed with me that I could handle it. I mean, I wouldn't be ready to accept a practicum as a social worker at a children's hospital for example, but adoption is a whole different ball game. Especially when it's international. We won't deal with the birth parents at all. Domestic adoption would be rough... I don't know that I would be able to handle meeting with birth mothers to talk about creating adoption plans just yet.

Of course, seeing pictures of sweet, tiny little babies who are being placed for adoption will definitely tug on my heart strings a little bit - it already did today. But the 6 month old Korean little boy that was placed today isn't Olivia, and my mind and heart are fully capable of keeping them separate, especially in a professional setting.

I don't know if it's this way for my other baby-loss mama friends (or DBMs as Lara likes to say), but contrary to the belief of people who haven't gone through this... just because we lost Olivia doesn't mean that we want nothing to do with babies or parents of babies EVER. Most of us, I think, want to help do anything we can to make sure that all babies are healthy and happy and get to grow up in the homes of parents who love them - whether that's biological parents or adoptive parents. Why else would we walk in the March for Babies and raise money for March of Dimes? Start foundations for other children in the names of our lost ones? Host golf tournaments to benefit NICUs?

I think that's what my (well-meaning) instructors thought when they told me they didn't know if I could handle it. Of course I want another baby (eventually), but am I resentful toward parents who are adopting and will be placed with a child within the coming months? No way! In most cases, people adopt because one way or another they have struggled to have a child. Why wouldn't I want people who have struggled just as we have to be blessed with a baby/child to finally complete their family? As far as I'm concerned, it's the greatest gift that anyone could receive, and I can't imagine a better practicum placement/potential future career than helping make that become a reality. The combination of being pregnant, becoming a mother, and losing my baby has made me a more caring, understanding, and compassionate person, not a resentful person who can't stand to see other people happy with their children.
Thankfully, I couldn't have been blessed with a better advisor than the one I have - she has been my cheerleader since before I even formally applied to the program, and has been beyond supportive since we lost Olivia, and has encouraged me to do things that I didn't even think would be possible for me to do.
So, I guess that's all for that little rant. I have been mulling over that meeting for the entire summer, and I felt like I just needed to get it out there... since actually explaining it that way to those instructors would have been the least professional thing I could possibly do. I know the people who read this understand, which is why I love blogging so much in the first place.
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4 comments:

The McNeil Family said...

You write so eloquently, Betsy. And you are correct. Though we have lost little ones, it does not mean that don't want other parents to be happy. Especially in the case of adoption. What a blessing to watch babies and parents be united into a family. Good work, girl!! So very proud of you. Love you!

Tony and Sue said...

Betsy, it was good that you were in our class last Friday/Saturday. I had no idea (how could I?) what your background was. We never were even able to GET pregnant. I just noticed you were following our blog and am looking forward to following you on your journey to parenthood -- however it ends up happening!

Sue

Tony and Sue said...

Hi Betsy, Thanks for the comment on our blog. Unfortunately, I had to delete it as you mentioned our second adoption. We actually haven't told our families that we are actually "in process" yet. Yes, we have the "help us save for our second adoption" thing on there but they don't know we've actually started. Feel free to delete this comment after you read it. Also, because, here's my email address if you want to email us: tssmith527@msn.com. I'm sure we'll be seeing you in the agency office as we plan to BRING our paperwork there. See you! Sue

Lara + Chris said...

Congrats on the placement!! That's so exciting. Your whole post is eloquent, as usual. :)

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