Learning to share…

ATWhen I first started writing this blog, I had it set to private so no one could find it. I was going to treat it like a personal journal of our adoption process. Writing has always been therapeutic for me and sometimes it’s the only way I can sort out complicated emotions. But even though they taught me to share in kindergarten, I rarely do when it comes to writing about matters of the heart.

But after writing a few posts, I thought I’d share it with my mom so she could stay updated on what was happening and understand how I was feeling since I’m not always so good at verbalizing that kind of thing. I hadn’t planned to share it outside my immediate family because it just felt too personal.

I have a tendency, as I think most people do, to keep painful things private. Somewhere along the line, I learned to keep my pain to myself which is why most of you didn’t know we had been struggling to start a family. If we had decided to progress with infertility treatments and pursue IVF, it probably would have remained that way–a very personal thing. I would have continued to suffer emotionally and mentally, in private and without ever telling you what was happening. I wouldn’t have shared the hell I would surely have been going through if and when IVF failed. It’s in my nature to want to project strength, not vulnerability, even if vulnerable is exactly how I’m feeling. It’s a defense mechanism, I think.

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Getting over it: on acceptance and adoption

A part of me has always known that I would not have a biological child. I’ve just always had a feeling that it would not be that way for me. It used to break my heart and I spent so much time worrying about it. Don’t get me wrong: it didn’t consume me entirely–I enjoy my life very much, particularly the last few years–but I also lived with a dull, ever-present heartache for a long time. Psychologists say the emotional pain of infertility is similar to receiving a terminal cancer diagnosis. There have been moments when I absolutely believe that. Not being able to start a family when everyone around you is doing so is absolutely, end-of-the-world devastating.

Summer-s-Stages-of-Grief-the-oc-10182118-333-500Looking back now, I can see that I went through all five stages of grief (illustrated here by that girl from the O.C.): 1. Denial: It’s no big deal. I need to “just relax” about it. If I try this supplement or that herb or stand on my head for twenty minutes or whatever, it will happen. 2. Anger: I can’t take seeing another pregnant woman or newborn! Why can everyone get pregnant but me?! Screw you, body! Up yours, world! 3. Bargaining/pleading: Please, please, I will do anything. I will give all my clothes to charity, volunteer at the soup kitchen every night, help old ladies cross the street, anything. 4. Depression: Crying. Crying. More crying. Sappy chick flicks. Not wanting to get out of bed. Avoiding life in general.

I cycled through numbers 1-4, on and off at varying intensities, for several years. But then like a ray of sunshine… the stage I had been waiting for finally appeared, # 5. Acceptance: I’m not going to have a biological child. And that’s OK. Get me off this crazy train, please.

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Things I wish people knew about our adoption, #1

As a hopeful adoptive parent, I don’t expect people to understand what we are going through or what to say to us when we tell them about our adoption. I know that adoption is a different experience than most people have ever had and that people may not know what to think, especially with all of the myths and horror stories that have been in the press over the years. But even though we are just beginning the process, there are already some things I wish people knew.

#1: We chose adoption and we are excited about it

adoption is beautifulMy closest friends and family know how excited I am about adoption. But this past week, I had a well-meaning friend sit me down and ask me if I was really OK with adoption. It totally caught me off-guard. “Of course I’m OK with this – I’m very excited,” I said. This person looked at me with an expression of pity as if trying to draw out my true negative feelings. “You can tell me the truth,” she said. “How do you really feel?” I feel excited. Really. Seriously, I do.

I understand that many people feel that adoption is a last resort. That may be true for some, but while we tried very hard to have a biological child first, we did not try as hard as we could have. We did not do IVF, even though there is a chance that would have worked. We chose adoption over infertility treatments as the right thing for our family. We chose to adopt a child for many reasons. We are thrilled. We are beyond happy. We are not sad or disappointed or depressed that we “have to adopt.” We don’t have to adopt. We could have kept trying to have a biological child. Maybe we could have. Or we could have elected not to have children at all.

But we WANT to adopt. It’s every bit as special to us as if we were pregnant right now–and honestly, maybe it’s even a little bit more special. Is it going to be easy? No. Will there be some tough moments along the way? Of course. We know we will have to face some unique challenges that our friends with biological children won’t. But do we feel it will be worth it? Definitely.

Continue reading “Things I wish people knew about our adoption, #1”