So, my dog has a very sensitive tummy. This morning I’ve been listening to her stomach play the musical squirting sounds and her constant running to the back door to be let outside. Our dog doesn’t make a sound 99% of the time, so I know something is up because I woke up to the sound of her stomach and I can hear it from the other side of the house.
So, here’s her stomach story – she’s a rescue from an amazing group that works with stray and unwanted dogs living on first nation reserves. All we know about her “history” is that she lived on a reserve for about her first month, then with a quarantine holding family until she was 8 weeks old, and then foster family until we fell in love with her. We do not know if she was fed regularly by people, if she was found with siblings, if she was beaten (although some of her fear reaction indicates that she may have been), or if she had her mother around. We really don’t know too much other then we love her to pieces and she’s amazing and not a day goes by now that she is not showered with love.
Anyways, she has a special tummy. We didn’t know it when we adopted her, but she had giardia – a not so fun stomach parasite. And unfortunately she was stuck with us, two first time puppy people, who had no idea it was a major illness. So, she’d get sick with diarrhea, we’d go to the vet, and then he suggested that probably through the course of the holding home, the foster home and our home, she was just not eating anything consistently. She probably had allergies and a new food would work better and to switch brands once her stomach calms down after giving her ground beef and rice for a few days. So, we went through a 3-4 week cycle where she would have sever diarrhea, then we’d put her on ground beef and rice and then change the brand of food we were feeding her. Then we’d repeat this cycle, each time choosing a more specialist food, which would inevitably be more expensive then the last. After the third round, we went back to the vet, convinced something more was wrong. Turns out I was right.
On the vet’s orders, I got to experience another fun part of new puppy responsibilities – collecting doggy diarrhea for testing. An interesting poop collecting adventure and a couple hundred dollars later, we discovered our poor puppy was suffering from giardia. So, a course of antibiotics and she should be fixed. Well, its can never be that easy, and it took a few courses of antibiotics and a few more weeks. But we got her stomach all fixed up.
Unfortunately, the long term result of this has been that at 4 years old, she still has the most sensitive stomach in the world. We have to be very careful with what we feed her. We never change her food, or she suffers the consequences. The monthly new bag of food requires a special mixing to ensure it doesn’t upset her stomach. Bones are an absolute no-no. People food doesn’t happen (with the exception of limited cheese bits which are her absolute favourite). Rawhide doesn’t work. The poor girl never gets much in the way of special treats because any sudden food changes will usually result in diarrhea. Since we are so cautious, this only happens about once a year now (thankfully).
As for today, thankfully, just a few hours later, my house has been spared any signs of doggy diarrhea and her stomach has stopped playing music. She has finally fallen asleep next to me on the couch and I’m now listening to the relaxing sound of doggy snores as I sit here typing.
I wrote a while back about our initial foray into the world of adoption and what that might mean for us.
We did not have any answers then, and I still do not. So, those of you waiting for our decision to adopt or not to adopt will have to keep waiting as we are not there. This is a process, and this decision will take time.
But, what I do know right now, is that I started this blog to share my thoughts and feelings, including the good, the bad and the ugly. The ugly includes the scary and the socially unacceptable things. So, here goes on a very truthful look at us and adoption. Judge me if you want, but just remember, I promised to be honest about our journey and this is just part of the journey. We don’t know the destination, but this is definitely part of the journey and not all parts are going to be pretty.
What I do know, is that adoption is still on our minds, but we are no closer to making any type of decision.
We are scared of adoption, but I desperately want to know more about adoption now (my husband’s not quite at this stage yet, he’s not in a rush). We have basically ruled out international adoption due to the risks, the costs and the wait times. Neither of us are interested in domestic adoption of an older child in foster care. Which means if we were to pursue adoption it would be an open domestic adoption. Even this scares us, as we are not interested in co-parenting a child. It’s one thing for the child to know there birth parent(s), and we understand that there are many positives to this, but it’s not our ideal situation to be part of a parenting team that includes more than just my husband and I. Further, as discussed in the last post on the subject, everything statistic we have heard has increased our anxiety. And, to make matters worse, all the people we personally know who have adopted have ended up with children with significant mental disabilities. I am pretty sure that I don’t want to knowingly commit my life to raising a child with sever disabilities, just so I can call myself a mother and do the most socially acceptable thing next to having a biological child. (Call me heartless and selfish if you want, you won’t be the first, but it’s how I feel and at least I’m honest about it).
Really, we are both very scared of adoption (not the recurring theme here – fear). We are both very scared of severe mental disabilities that come along with fetal alcohol syndrome or drug addicted babies or any number of other mental disabilities. These are things that we can control if the child is biologically ours and I carry it to term because we can be 100% confident that the health of our baby is the absolute most important thing for us, and while pregnant I don’t even drink herbal tea let alone touch alcohol or drugs (not that I have ever actually touched drugs, but that’s not the point right now). These incredibly important early moments are things we cannot control through adoption, and yet if we chose adoption we also chose to commit our lives to raising and loving this child regardless. We both know that long term in life there are no guarantees, and who’s to say that our biological child wouldn’t get hit by a bus and end up with a brain injury. Life is full of risks and there are no guarantees and we understand that. But, we also understand the much higher risks at the onset with adoption.
What we do know, is that if we actually decide to seriously investigate adoption, it could take years. And, I’m just not sure how long I can live the life of wanting a child without having a child. Living a life consumed with desire for something this significant that we cannot attain, isn’t a healthy life. And it’s not the life I want to lead for year to come.
My gut tells me, that I’m going to get tired of the emotional heartache of more miscarriages (how many can a women really endure?) and the physical consequences on my body, before we are seriously ready to consider adoption. I don’t know when we’ll burn out, but I know I eventually we will (of course this assumes we don’t get a living child with a future pregnancy). My gut tells me, that at some point our journey to having children is just going to fizzle out and come to an end. And we are going to have to move on with life and end up accepting a childfree reality. And, right now, today, I can honestly say, I think living childfree may be the best option for us.
But, one thing I also know is that we both change our minds frequently. This is just what I’m thinking about today, and I have no idea how we might feel tomorrow, or the next day. And, making this decision will likely include us changing our minds more times than either of us wish to count. We are not closing any doors at this time, but, all of these thoughts rattle around in our minds and we just don’t have the answers. I just wish these decisions could be easy, but evidently, for us they are not.