Dear Carolyn: Im a 45-year-old single woman who is financially secure and a self-described introvert. Years ago, I moved miles away from my parents. My parents positive qualities far outweigh their negative ones, but lately I feel increasingly upset about our seemingly happy family.
I am happy being single, have a decent job, own a home, and have created a good life for myself. I badly want to adopt or foster a child on my own and I have thought of doing this for years. Every time I bring this up to my parents, I am bombarded with the negative aspects of being a single parent. Additionally, my father is admittedly prejudiced and has made remarks about the possibility that I may adopt a nonwhite child.
I would not expect my parents to support my child financially or emotionally. They are amazing people in many ways but for the life of me I cannot understand why they are so against my goal.
I have tried talking to my parents about how their statements make me feel, and nothing has changed. I fear that if I listen to my mothers litany of reasons I shouldnt be a parent, I will never fulfill my dream. In many other ways I have always been close to my parents and it feels strange to make this an off-limits topic and simply do what I want to do.
Any advice? M.
Answer: Id say you have in fact listened to your mothers litany of reasons you shouldnt be a parent. Not deciding is the same as not becoming.
Now, if youre still thinking about it for your own reasons, then do keep thinking. Thats important. Carefully weigh your mothers warnings, even; blind-squirrel theory, she could be wrong about 99 things and strike nut on the 100th.
But if youre all set otherwise and your only obstacle is your parents disapproval, then, congratulations. You have no obstacles.
Thats because youre 45. This is not a state of being that requires parental approval. And youre well off, and eager to foster or adopt.
If the issue is more about fears they may be right, then do your homework using knowledgeable, accredited sources, of which your parents are neither. Your fathers overt and unapologetic racism pardon me while I get this off my chest: wow utterly disqualifies him as a source of just about everything, except perhaps as the embodiment of the prejudice you and a future child may face and of the steps required to protect said child from him.
If you havent already, then please talk to people actually involved in such child placements so you can find out whats even possible. If youve done this, then, next step: Decide if the possible is still desirable.
If yes, then get to it. Dont explain yourself, just be yourself. You dont need to make the topic off limits, though, either, since its enough not to engage with them on it any further. A fine distinction, maybe, but one that gives you the control: Thanks, Ill keep that in mind. More potatoes?
But you do need to decide, now, if youre strong enough to be an ally to any child you bring into this family. Because, wow.
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