Adoption Awareness Month: Infertility

I’ve been reading about infertility again.   I really don’t understand it.  My experiences of loss and shame do not stem from my infertility, au contraire.  I am infertile now, but totally cool with it.  Menopause, yay!  (getting my glib out on the table here).

I am very sensitive about feelings in person, particularly my own.

And my feelings get riled up that SOME adoptive parents don’t want to have their infertility brought up and aired out regarding adoption.  If their feelings are hurt by their situation of infertility, those feelings are being shared with their adopted children, whether they intend to or not.

I’ve been reading someone who plans to home school her children without bias.   She hopes her children grow up without knowing her political views, so they can form their own.  That is only likely if her children are fairly insensitive and/or dense themselves… or vision impaired, maybe.  Our kids watch us all the time.  They usually know more about us than we do.  It’s part of their survival.

Our kids know what hurts our feelings.  They’re reading our facial expressions.  They’re watching us.  They catch the subtleties.  It behooves us to know ourselves so we’re aware of what we’re showing them; so our unconscious behaviors don’t speak louder than our conscious ideals do.

What do adopted children want?  To be loved and accepted unconditionally.  Don’t we all?  But most of the time we don’t feel it.  So we often behave to earn the much more common conditional loving.  Shoot it would be nice if infertile people loved and accepted themselves unconditionally, the way God made them.

Really, it would be nice.

Trying to get to my point here soon.

Please, please, please work out infertility issues before starting to “grow your family through adoption”.  Acknowledge and accept you can not have “your own children”.  No doubt it is possible to love adoptees just as much as one loves genetic children.  — IF you’ve worked through your own “stuff”.

But some people treat their genetic children pretty shabbily.

Maybe we could think about it this way–  When you acquire an adoptee, you are starting a blended family.  That child already has biological parents.   There are articles, books and research studies, newsletters and classes on how to deal with blending families due to divorce and death.  Difficulties are anticipated.  There are stories about helping children realize their parents divorce was not their fault.  Where are the tips for helping adopted children understand their very real loss was not their fault either?

It is not the child’s fault.  It is not the child’s business to cover for either their first or adoptive parents.

They don’t need anyone speaking ill of their nature or nurture.  Children tend to take those kinds of things way too personally.  I can be pretty defensive of my own mother.  I remember being on the attack as a teenager.  “She didn’t understand me.  She oppressed me.  She tried to use me as a salve to her own ego. ”  That’s all true.  She was imperfect.  Not only did she promote my firstborn’s adoption, she discouraged our reunion.  But she’s MY mother and I do not want to hear anyone else criticizing her.

I do not want my firstborn daughter to hear anyone criticizing her mothers.  How do you feel about your mother?  How do you feel about other people’s opinions about your mother(s)?

Adoptees can’t fill the shoes of missing genetic children either.  It’s not their fault some people can’t have genetic children.  I think that is HUGE, a huge mistake, to expect some innocent baby to grow up in your image or ideal.  It’s a common mistake too.

I thought my natural/raised son would grow up in my image.  The differences started becoming clear when he was two.  His interests differed from his parents.   It was kind of fun to discover that in the context of our commonality.   I imagine it could be more challenging to find your child developing in unexpected ways without that genetic mirroring — especially if you’ve been deceived into thinking you’re receiving a “gift of a child to raise as your own.”

I remember finding my mother’s copy of Kahlil Gibran when I was a child, and reading, “Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself…” I believe that.


10 responses to “Adoption Awareness Month: Infertility

  1. “Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself…”

    I love this. Have you heard Sweet Honey In the Rock singing this? It’s absolutely amazing, beautiful. I tried to find it on youtube, the way I had heard it on a CD, and couldn’t.

    That whole part of Khalil Gibran is amazing . . . and true, no matter how our children come to us.

  2. I once was at a gathering where a woman was discussing her issues with difficulty conceiving / possible infertility. I remember this so well because she said while she was dealing with this issue she had written in her journal, “this could destroy me.”

    She did eventually conceive with the help of a highly successful fertility specialist. But I was quite surprised by the thought of being “destroyed” by infertility.

  3. It gives me pause to consider what is a “me” that could be destroyed by infertility.

  4. Been there. Both sides. Lost my only child to adoption, suffered through infertillity and had a stillborn child.

    I somehow got through it all and found myself at peace, knowing I would live my life without children. It really happened, I was at peace. I was strong. I was successful. I was the world’s greatest aunt.

    16 years later my son found me. Go figure.

  5. I don’t think I could have been “destroyed” by infertility, but I tell ya, going through the whole experience of trying to get pregnant via the reproductive endocrinologists — now that’s an experience that is likely to . . . not destroy, but nearly, I think, some people. It was the most crazy-making time of my life, seriously, and while you may walk in thinking, “we’ll just do a few months and that’s all,” somehow it becomes like a thing unto its own and before you know it, you’ve done 11 months of IUIs and one in vitro fertilization and feel like you have no control over yourself.

    I hated it, just hated it, but felt like I couldn’t stop it. I was so utterly relieved when I said “STOP. ENOUGH.”

    I actually did go to counseling the whole time I was going through treatment and worked through a lot of stuff — still not enough — but a lot.

    The rest? — I’ve actually worked through by reading some really tough stuff online and not shying away from the tough questions. It sure hasn’t been easy, and I’m still learning. But there’s no way I want a mini-me — and believe me, I don’t have one, LOL!! Nate is his very own person and thankfully, has a very strong personality to boot! Good for him! He is typically wildly self confident.

    Anyways, I’ve been through the whole infertility thing and I’m not even sure I can explain it very well. It just takes you places you don’t think you’ll go. Those hormones really and truly mess with you like you wouldn’t believe, and I think they cause more long-term harm than we’re lead to think.

    Unfortunately, in my case, I think they could have been a contributor to my cancer since my cancer is estrogen positive. Hindsight and all that, and I can’t blame myself. But it still sucks.

  6. Judy – I imagine the hormones could really mess with your mind and emotions, then combine that with medical advice etc. Arrrrgggghhhhhhh… Once you start down that road it must be crazymaking.

    My behavior when I was pregnant was um, a little temperamental.

    I’m sorry you had to go through all that. But I’m awfully grateful for your courage to deal with what you’ve got.

  7. Thank you, Justice. You’re such a blessing to me.

  8. Having gone through menopause isn’t the same as being infertile. And having children and saying you are ok with being ” infertile” isn’t the same as not having any children and not being able to get pregnant.

    Not all women who suffer from infertility want to choose adoption as an alternative or solution to that.

    It’s like someone saying that they are ok with having lost a child to adoption when the reality was that their child was living with their ex or away at boarding school or something.

    You don’t know what it’s like to be infertile.

    Everything else you wrote I totally agree but this part annoyed me.

  9. Kim, I’m well aware that I don’t know what it’s like to be infertile and recognize that I was being glib talking about menopause as a form of infertility.

    It sounds like there is more behind your words than I understand. Maybe you have experienced infertility or adoption… I don’t mean to be taking anything away from you. Perhaps you can find some value in being annoyed. I usually do.

  10. I experience infertility and I experienced relinquishment. I think if someone was glib to us about that it would also be annoying.

    *you* however are not annoying!

    it’s me, Kim of KimKim, I thought you could see that sorry I wasn’t clearer.

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