Thursday, 1 December 2011

Making Meanings 

The process of adoption and the process of online dating are similar for the prospective parent in some ways.  I know because I have done both. The thing that really struck me is that both required -for me- a large amount of faith over experience.

There may be people who go onto online dating sites without feeling that love has let them down in some way, but most are striped through with desperation and disappointment like a humbug. Similarly, though there may be people who feel that it is better to adopt than have their own children, for the vast majority it is desperation at being childless that gets them into a situation where they have to fill out forms saying what they can or can't cope with by way of challenges. 

As a prospective adopter I had to overcome a shell of cynicism lacquered layer by layer over years of hopes that had fried to a cinder so that now it was almost as indestructible as the shell on a beetle that could survive a nuclear explosion. But once I started to examine possibilities of matches I was amazed at myself, the way that I started to make meanings just on a photo about why a child might be 'meant to be' for me. One baby looked a bit like the illustration on a book I'd liked as a child. I laughed at myself for dreaming up such spurious  meanings but I also couldn't help myself.

When I met my daughter it was special for being so beautifully, pure of such made up meanings. It was purely her looking at me and then turning away to look at the cat- which was far more interesting. I was glad that somehow I had managed to avoid cloying up the meeting with manufactured meanings and preconceptions, though I have no idea how this happened. I think it was because the situation leading up to me meeting her was so fraught with legal and other issues that I really didn't think it was going to happen. I was in such a spasm of cynicsm that I really didn't think I would run off with her, even though I had been allowed to meet her. My mind was frozen with amazement. The meaning I have made on this, in retrospect, is that I am glad it felt so pure of artificial meanings.

I was thinking about the need for humans to make meanings because X is still making up meanings regarding daddies and the lack of them and I don't know whether to say more might confuse further or not. Meanings are slippery little fish. The meanings she is making about daddies aren't so wide of the mark as they were. She doesn't think her daddy has been stolen by the police any more. Now she thinks he is in Africa - this is something to do with her hair and something I said about it.  But she doesn't seem too bothered. We had a three year old to stay for a sleepover last weekend, It was fun, she slept in our bed with us. We all spent a large amount of the night tripping to the loo but they both managed not to wet the bed, which was a first for X. In the morning, over breakfast, X asked her friend if she had a daddy. The little friend said she didn't. X said she didn't either. They both seemed pleased with this state of affairs. "I've got a just got a mummy too," said X. "You either have a mummy or a daddy but you don't need both." Our visitor agreed, nodding her head and adding: "my friend at nursery hasn't got a mummy or a daddy - but it doesn't matter because he's got a scooter."

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