In contemplating the adoption option, M and I have discussed many different scenarios. One tool that we have been using is to "try on" different outcomes. We've decided to imagine how our lives would be if we were parenting a toddler, a school-aged child, twins, a biological infant, an adopted infant, and children of different races. During these try outs, I've tried to imagine myself in different scenarios and picture what I would do, say, act like, feel like if I was living out this situation. It has really helped us to fine tune our decision making process into what "type" of child we would be comfortable parenting, and has helped us to get used to situations that might be different or uncomfortable.
Another options to contemplate, and one I've been a bit afraid to consider fully, is the "child-free" option. What would my life be like if we were child free. I've been thinking about that option a bit lately, and it scares me a bit to realize how easily I could picture the choices I would make and the things I would do. I think we'd live downtown, rather than the suburbs. We'd travel - and go to Europe - preferably when an unpronounceable volcano isn't mucking up traffic and air quality. Maybe we'd save our money for a vacation home (rather than a college fund). I wonder if we'd make different career choices? I think I would take more chances and explore the unfamiliar a bit.
Sometimes, it scares me with how exciting and carefree this life feels. It would be so easy to give up and this child free life sounds kind of fun. Then, I think further down the road. When we're 50. What will life be like then? When we're 80? Who is going to invite us for the holidays? Will we always be the aunt and uncle who don't have anywhere to go? Who will help me clean my apartment when I'm 82 and cannot see the dirt any longer? Whose photos will I display on the wall? Who will I tell my "when I was your age" stories to? Who will get my scrapbooks and my collected family memories that I've been cherishing? Whose wedding will I cry at? Whose baby will I dream of and long to hold? Who will miss me when I'm gone?
I contemplate and think and plan and wonder. And, I realize, that I've lived the child-free life, and it isn't that exciting. I shouldn't hold back on living now, and if I really am doing so, then I need to STOP. And, I believe that child free living isn't for me. I want it all.