As I’ve mentioned before, I have no desire to have children. I’m not good with little kids, I have no idea how to talk to them or play with them, and my severe sensory issues would make it very difficult if not impossible for me to handle having a baby. But sometimes I find my heart going out to teenagers who are in bad situations, and I have sometimes thought maybe one day I might be willing to offer a home to one in need.
If this seems to contradict what I’ve said previously, it’s only because I’d forgotten about it. I’d forgotten that I’d ever felt this way. But I had a dream last night that reminded me.
Several years ago, I became aware that a 16-year-old relative of mine was in a bad situation. Her parents were immature, irresponsible, and unloving, and this girl had never had any stability or security. Somehow she had managed to turn out to be an intelligent, deep-thinking young lady, with more wisdom in her little finger than in both of her parents put together. I really liked this girl, and when her mother kicked her out of the house during an argument over something trivial, I yearned to take her in.
I never told anyone other than my husband that I felt this way. Especially her. My husband and I lived in a different city several hours away. To ask her to come there, away from her friends, school, and other relatives, I would have required the confidence that we had something to offer her. But we were living in a small rented home, I wasn’t working, and my husband’s job, like every job he’s ever had, was a short-term contract with no promise of renewal. I was praying that we could get into a more stable position, and if we did, I wanted to offer her a home with us.
But instead of getting into a more stable position, things got worse. The work ran out for my husband. We both desperately searched for work, to no avail. We had no choice but to move in with my parents and we lived with them for two years. When we finally got out of their house again, it was into another insecure situation in a city even further away.
Before I knew it, my young relative was of age, having gotten by living with roommates and boyfriends. She then met and married a man with a good job. She completed her post-secondary education and eventually opened her own business. She and her husband live in a beautiful, spacious house, she drives a brand new car, they have two children, and if her Facebook posts are anything to go by, they have a very happy, successful, prosperous life. She has landed on her feet.
Meanwhile, my husband and I are still struggling. We live in a 500-square-foot apartment. We don’t own a car. I’ve had and lost yet another job due to my inadequate social skills and inability to cope with stress. My husband’s work contract has recently been renewed for only two more months, and after that, we have no idea what’s going to happen. Despite his best efforts, his PhD and two master’s degrees have not been helpful in securing long-term or well-paid employment.
Who am I to think I have anything to offer anyone? I think the reason my heart goes out to young people who need a stable, secure home is because I want a stable, secure home myself. But I don’t have one, and I don’t have the ability create one for myself let alone for someone else.
I can’t help thinking that maybe things wouldn’t have turned out so well for my young relative if she had climbed aboard our sinking ship. She did just fine on her own, thank God.
And yet people still ask, why don’t you have kids? Why don’t you adopt kids? Just recently my husband was grilled about this by an old friend of his, and overhearing the conversation made me feel angry and frustrated.