Sunday, March 21, 2010

Still alive, despite strange loss of words

Life is strange. I left Korea assuming that I'd be blogging weekly or more, as usual, about this, that, and the other, but somehow on the way across the Pacific, the cat got my tongue. Or fingers. And here we are, nine months later, without a single post.

The time lag is probably not coincidental. A lot of unexpected things happened in the immediate aftermath of my leaving Korea, and one of those things involved an accidental pregnancy (not mine) that took the wind out of my sails so thoroughly that I could barely breathe for a few months there. I didn't know that it was possible for me to feel so horrible about someone else being pregnant. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, I really didn't feel like it was something that I could talk about on the internet, since the events that made it so hard for me involved loved ones who may read this blog, but since it was hard for me to think for a while without thinking about it, I found myself going silent. However, with the birth of a beautiful healthy baby girl today (not mine), it seems as good a time as any to close that chapter (well, OK, it was a very short chapter, having no actual words in it), and try to start again.

So, here I am.

Transitioning back to life in the US has been, well, interesting. In some ways it was surprisingly easy. I'm not as socially awkward among Americans as I had expected to be after several years away. In fact, people are often surprised when they hear my life story after knowing me casually for a little while. So I think I'm passing as normal, which, I suppose, is good.

Other things have been hard, though. After living in a cosmopolitan city where I was a foreigner for almost three years, it has been hard to readjust my expectations about the world views of the people around me. You see, I'm now living in a very small town. A very small, very white, very homogeneous town, in the South. And it's weird, y'all. Don't get me wrong. The people are nice, as in shirt-off-of-their-backs nice, holding the door even if you're 30 feet behind them nice, exchanging endless pleasantries nice, and seeming to genuinely care about the people around them nice. I'm undoubtedly the rudest person in town by a mile. But everybody around here seems to think that this little town is the center of the world. And as far as I can tell, it's not. I suspect that I would have felt dislocated just about anywhere, but I have never lived in a small town in the USA before, and really, small town America IS a different world from urban America. It's very beautiful here, but it sometimes feels like I'm in a foreign country, even though I'm actually in the US. Other times, though, it feels kind of good. I'm really not sure yet if I like it here. I guess we'll see.

Eggbert is now a big girl of 28 months. She talks, she dances, she climbs anything climbable, and she sings. She is the most delightful person that I have ever known. I remember when she was a newborn wondering if I would continue be as thrilled by the sight of her once I actually got used to having her around. If anything, I find her even more amazing today. She still does ask for her little best friend from Korea, though. I had no idea that it was even possible for a two-year-old to remember someone that they haven't seen for nine months, but it appears that she does.

Mystery is doing OK. He's one of only a handful of brown men in town, which took him a little while to get used to, but by now he just takes it in stride. At first, we both felt uncomfortable when people did a double-take at our family. Now, we don't even notice. One unexpected benefit of being in a tiny minority is that he gets huge smiles (usually coupled with nods or other gestures of acknowledgment) from every other person of color that he passes in a public place. I also get the smiles when I'm out with just Eggbert. The warm feeling that these feelings of instant connection give me more than make up for the occasions when total strangers approach me and Eggbert to ask me what country I adopted Eggbert from. As far as I can tell, I am the only white mother of a nonwhite child in the county that didn't form their family via international adoption. It bothers me that a) they think it's OK to ask a total stranger how their family was formed, b) they assume that all nonwhite kids are foreign, and c) someday, Eggbert will understand the question, and it might bother her a lot more than it bothers me. Often when I explain that she is my bio daughter, they seem embarrassed. As if the problem with their question was that it revealed that they thought that she adopted. And then that bothers me more. Oh well. My skin is thickening quickly, and given the size of the town, probably most people have figured us out pretty soon anyway.

Fertility-wise, we're still in a holding pattern. We're thinking about making a trip to Korea this summer to try one final IVF cycle (while also visiting friends) before we admit defeat. When I mentioned this to my GYN, she suggested that I might want to repeat the clomid challenge test, just to see if my ovaries have totally given up, before we book the tickets. That seemed sensible, so I'm on day 2 of clomid now. For a second, I let myself think "hey, maybe the clomid will do the trick and I'll get pregnant!" And then I remembered that not only has it never done so before, but also that it's specifically contraindicated in women over 40 (ouch! I'm still not used to being one of those) as a fertility treatment because it ruins the uterine lining. I don't really know what we'll do if the results are horrible. I'm pretty sure that tears will be involved, but then again, it might help me to just face facts and move on. I guess we'll see. I spend a lot more time thinking about other options, including both adoption and donor eggs, than I used to. I think Eggbert would be an awesome sister.