Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Doing it Again

I recently had a conversation with an old friend about my plans to adopt, as well as how emotionally difficult dealing with a developmental delay can be. She questioned whether adopting another child was something I should do, given that I have not exactly been skipping through fields of petunias in response to the fact that my son has a (mild) developmental delay, and given that many children in care have undiagnosed developmental delays.

In our conversation, I tried to explain that experiencing negative emotions surrounding disability or developmental delay is normal; what would be pathological is to NOT experience those emotions. But then I came across
this article in the always-apt Rob's blog, and felt that it conveyed what I wanted to say so much better.

In the end, I decided to send her a letter, hoping that I could better explain why I would (and hope to) do it all over again:

I was thinking a lot about the discussion we had about how parents react emotionally to developmental problems or disability in their kids. Recently I came across this article which does a very good job of explaining the grieving process all parents must go through in order to deal with developmental delay or disability in a healthy way.


In Compaito's case, the process is made more difficult at times by virtue of the fact that we cannot be sure yet of the nature of his delay (temporary or permanent), and whether the dreams we imagined for him are really lost at all. It is a kind of "aborted grief", and so it may take more time to process.

In one of the books I was reading when Compaito's language delay was first diagnosed,
"Like Sound through Water", a parent whose child had previously been diagnosed with PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder- Not Otherwise Specified: the King of all Non-Diagnoses) was thrilled when, after a year of Early Intervention, her son caught up to where he should be linguistically and socially. The greatest regret she expressed was that they had decided not to have more children because of her son's "disability" (no longer an issue), and that now he would not have siblings.

I don't want to have that regret. I hope all this helps you understand why I might want to do something (have another child through adoption) when my parenting experience hasn't been "care-free." I want to have another child because Compaito is a loving, social little guy who would be an incredible big brother, and whose life would hopefully be enriched by a sibling into adulthood. I want to have another child because, no matter how painful my experience has been dealing with a developmental delay, it has given me a thousand times more joy.



No comments: