Monday, October 6, 2008

Explaining Vs. Storytelling

Don't you want your own children?

Why would you want to adopt?

Where are you adopting from?

American babies are all drug affected aren't they?

Why don't you try in-vitro?

It's so sad you have to adopt.

You're so lucky you won't have to give birth.

How much does it cost?

Whoa, that's expensive, can you afford it?

Questions and comments like these are common for a couple looking into adopting a child to hear. I have been asked all of the above by people as close to me as my mother and as unknown to me as the sales rep from the dental supply company at work. They are all deeply personal, and highly insulting if asked by a stranger. In all honesty, the most offensive thing is that instead of asking me to tell my story, they inquire about things that are important to them. Usually these questions are only a miniscule part of the story. They want an explanation not an understanding of our motivation. The people who ask these questions want reassurance that we've looked at all the options and facts before jumping into a pot that they're not familiar with. What they don't seem to want to know is, the real story of our journey.

Adoption is not the "alternate route." It isn't a second best way to build a family, and it most certainly isn't a decision that anyone makes lightly. No one adopts a child so that they won't have to go through the pains of labor and delivery. In all seriousness, adoption has its own labor and delivery process. Nothing about it is "easier" than building your family through biology, and both are equally yet separately difficult.

In our case, I had an idea that we may not be able to conceive a child. I had symptoms of fertility problems beginning in High School. When I met and married my husband, I went on the pill to "make sure" we wouldn't get pregnant before our fifth anniversary. In my heart I knew it was most likely not something I needed to worry about. But we all tell ourselves little things to move forward. When we decided to "try" we did so for two years without medical assistance. When it became evident that help was needed, we prayerfully considered our choices. We chose a maximum assistance level of medication. If we weren't going to get pregnant in our own bed we weren't going to get pregnant at all.

Clomid is a difficult prescription drug. It worked for me in that it did produce follicles but they never matured to the size necessary for conception. It also made it difficult for me to manage my weight. So, we took stock of our emotions, finances and family climate and realized that all things seemed in order for us to adopt.

Emotionally both my husband and I are capable of loving children that don't belong to us. We have several friends with young children and while we don't love them exactly as if they were our own, we recognize the capacity to do so. The idea that one need not give birth to be a parent was a concept that we found we could wrap our minds around. When asked; our families showed the proper supportive attitudes toward adoption; and we could manage the financial undertakings of the process. This is not to say that we didn't approach the situation with a certain amount of anxiety or trepidation. We were just as scared and ignorant of the process as the next person. Even now I would never claim to be an adoption expert. All I really know is what's going on with our particular situation and how our agency works.

What I know is that my heart was built with several missing pieces. There's the place for God, the place for parents, the place for a husband and at least one for a child. God does not make a woman with a mothering heart just to let that heart go fallow. That void is not meant to ache for all time. It is meant to be filled with love for a child. God doesn't forsake the desires of our hearts, He finds the proper puzzle piece to fill it, and even better than finding the right piece, He designs it to fit perfectly.

And just to answer those questions above:

My child will be my own.

I don't just want to adopt, I am overjoyed to be doing so.

I am adopting an American infant.

No, there are many situations where drugs and alcohol are not a factor.

Fertility treatments are a personal matter, I'd rather not discuss them publicly.

I am honored to be an adoptive parent in waiting and I will be honored to be an adoptive parent.

Birth is a miracle; Adoption is a different miracle with its own contractions.

In some cases Adoption is free.

Like Fertility Treatments, Finances are a personal matter.

I'd like to encourage anyone who knows of a person who is adopting a child to ask, "Tell me your adoption story" instead of any of the above questions. Most likely your questions will be answered and if they aren't; perhaps that information isn't something you need to know.

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