Where to begin, today? I guess the idea that is currently on my mind is the “why don’t you just…” annoyance!!! First, some background.
I’ve been on the treacherous albeit enlightening road of infertility for almost four years now. For some I am still considered in my infancy. For others I am the gatekeeper! Okay maybe not the gatekeeper, but at least the crazy old lady who gives advice from her front porch’s rocking chair. However, it is much simpler for myself–I’m just a girl who wants to be a mom.
I have tried to keep an open mind throughout these four years because I wanted so desperately to learn from each experience…each miscarriage, each blood-draw, each ultra-sound, each meeting with the OB. I soaked up as much information as I could to remain intelligent about my body. I did this dilligently and sorrowfully. As miscarriage and sadness piled up, so did the pressure to make some firm fertility decisions. Adam and I both knew to stay level-headed and take our time as to make the best decisions for our future family. Although I am better for it now, it was so very difficult in the interim because all I wanted was to make decisions emotionally. Choosing the path of adoption did not come easily, it was not instant, and it was not without hesitation.
Speaking with some experience, I know that most, if not all, friends, family, and passersby do not say things out of malice. They say things out of ignorance or curiosity. If there is one phrase that bothers me and my sisters-in-fertility-arms most it is “why don’t you just (fill in the blank)”. Are you kidding me???
Why don’t you just ADOPT? Right, why don’t you just decide that experiencing life inside a growing belly–the essence of what we were born to do– isn’t all that important? Why don’t you just decide that never seeing the physical reflection of yourself when you look at your child is no big deal? Why don’t you just tie your hope and your pocketbook into the possibility of a baby just to have it yanked out from under you at the last second, time and time again. Attachement disorder, interrupted adoptions, and birthmother issues are real and painful.
Why don’t you just FOSTER?: Oh yeah, I feel like saying, ‘why don’t you just do that’? Why don’t you just bring years and years of trauma, baggage, and sometimes danger into your family? Why don’t you bring a child–who desperately needs a stable and consistent environment–into your home and bond. Watch him or her thrive and grow knowing all the time that child will probably return to an unfit parent or be moved to yet another foster home with no time to say good-bye. Those who foster are heroes…they are true hereos.
Why don’t you just try IVF? Excuse me, why don’t you just decide to give yourself shots in the belly daily? Why don’t you let someone reach inside of you and yank out a bunch of your eggs? Why don’t you just spend $15,000 with the hope that one tiny little embryo that was formed outside of the womb will decide it actually wants to attach to the uterine wall and become a viable pregnancy? At least adoption, international adoption anyway, can somewhat guarantee a baby at the end of the process–even if it takes awhile.
I decided a long time ago to not carry a chip, to not judge too harshly, and to remember that if someone is asking, they probably care about me. It does not make the moment any less annoying. For those of you who have family or friends in this situation, and are wondering what the right thing to say is here is my last word– there is a big difference in asking ‘why don’t you just’ and “hey, I don’t understand your trial, what can you teach me? what are your thoughts on adoption versus in-vetro? do you think you’ll ever consider the possibility of (blank)?” Don’t walk on eggshells. Just put yourself in their shoes before you ask an intensely personal question.
There is no regret in my decision to adopt. I just know how many tears, prayers, and dollars it took me to be a few weeks away from meeting my children. I told a friend the other day that I should really call this a fertility blog w/ a bit of adoption sprinkled on top. Oh, and there’s more on the way!!! I think the closer our adoption gets, the more urgency I feel to document ALL of my fertility. *Readers Beware*