For the past few weeks we have been diligently working away on our domestic adoption application. This is a tenuous process that has required us to reveal every minute detail of our lives. That being said, I have found it quite fun/distracting to have a project. This is the first month in two years where I have not cared much about monitoring for possible ovulation. I finally feel like we are making some sort of “progress” towards our goal of having a family. We spent hours collaborating on our “brochure” created to catch the eye of a birthmother. I have agonized over every word and every photo. It feels incredibly vulnerable to put your greatest wish on paper, expose yourself for who you are, and hope that someone sees something in you that inspires them to share their child with you. We hope to have our home study completed soon.
I learned long ago that I feel much better when I can be open and honest with the world. But there is something incredibly strange about sharing the news that we are trying to adopt. With the unclear timelines and a possibility that we may not ever be selected, there is more uncertainty that I can bear. Despite my desire to want to shout this news from the rooftops, so far, we have entrusted only a small group of close family and friends with this information and will likely wait until we are on the official wait list until we share more freely. I want to preface the following “feelings dump” with fact that every single person we have told has been overwhelmingly supportive, loving, and encouraging.
I have frequently needed time alone to cry after sharing our adoption news. Based on the questions that are asked, the avoidance of the topic altogether, and my usual awkwardness, I get the sense that the general attitude towards adoption is that it is our “last choice” as opposed to “a choice.” Today I saw our family physician to complete the application medical form. As she completed the form, she asked about the status of our fertility clinic referral and offered me new tests that she has never offered before. When I made a joke about my tiny bladder and feeling nervous for the pelvic ultrasound she is sending me for, she said, “it will prepare you for what your bladder will feel like when you are pregnant.” Arghhhhh! I was at this appointment to discuss adoption not fertility! Hubby and I have made a choice and are feeling so excited about becoming parents through this avenue. Why all of a sudden are we pushing the fertility clinic, tests, and taunting me about pregnancy symptoms? I take full responsibility that my perception of people’s reactions is likely tainted by my waining but ever present infertility grief, but I found this interaction to be quite insensitive. We don’t know for certain that we are absolutely infertile and despite the possibility that it may be possible for us to have a pregnancy, we have made the choice to adopt because it feels like the right fit for us. This is not a “last choice” by any means. The possibility that people may perceive our future son or daughter to be a “second choice” kills me.
I have an amazing group of 10 girlfriends and the thought of telling the story over and over was feeling a bit overwhelming to me, so like the chicken I am, I sent them a group email explaining our situation. I recognize how incredibly lame this is but I have been quite emotional and do much better when I have some time to organize my thoughts. I felt incredibly supported by their immediate and encouraging responses. A week later, when I saw them all for our weekly girls night, not a single person brought up my news. They talked about their children and a current pregnancy within the group; but not a single word about my situation. As we were leaving, my one gal pal whispered to me that she was really excited for us and it was enough to make me weep. I went home and cried myself to sleep. The acknowledgment was all I wanted but also magnified the fact that no one else said a word. When anyone of them has announced a pregnancy, we have talked for hours about symptoms and potential names, dreamed of nursery decor, and ogled over sonogram photos. As hurt as I felt, in hindsight I know that my impersonal email made my friends uncertain about how to broach the subject with me in person.
I have come to the obvious realization that my expectations for others is simply unrealistic. I have been setting people up to fail and that is incredibly unfair. Today, I intentionally accept that sharing the news of our desire to adopt is not the same as sharing the news of a pregnancy. People will respond differently and some will need time to process. Only I can set the pace and tone of these conversations – no one can read my mind. I am responsible for asking for what I need. At the end of the day, I know that we are surrounded by so many special people that will be rooting for us and sending us love and light however long this journey takes.