Friday, December 23, 2011

reflecting on my road from infertility to adoption

I've recently been in contact with a woman who has walked the road of infertility and is now gathering information related to adoption. It's been interesting chatting/emailing with her. I can hear the desperation and anguish in her words. How her plan to start a family has become a very dark place.

This made me reflect on my own journey from infertility into the adoption world. I have a different story.

I was very familiar with adoptive families and had walked friends through the process from beginning to end. Due to our exposure of infertility and adoption we never took the idea of starting a family forgranted. And were very aware that our story may also end up on the same path.

We had decided that if biological children weren't in our future then we would direct our energy into adoption. This wasn't a very difficult decision for us. The more difficult piece was deciding if we were ready to become a transracial family.

So after the referral to the fertility clinic, all the tests, the news that the cause of our infertility was "unknown", and that after the last procedure we had a six month window to most likely get pregnant, I was frustrated. I didn't want to "try" for another six months. I didn't want to have to make decisions based on an "unknown" diagnosis. I would have rather heard that there was absolutely no way we would ever, ever become pregnant, and then I would have marched right into the office of the closest adoption agency. I was ready to move on. To be in control again.

In the end, we did follow the doctor's advice and after five months started the adoption process. I felt free. Free to be rid of the past, the testing, the counting, the temperature taking. Free to look forward and plan for the future. I was still desperate to have a child but not in an anguished sort of way.

I feel blessed to have known so many people who formed their families through adoption and to have participated in a few of those journey's. The day we decided to 100% pursue adoption was a good day, and I am thankful for that.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

i've got your back

In my professional life I've come across many women who for either religious, cultural, personal, or reasons otherwise, have concealed their pregnancies. Sometimes for a long time.

I was only able to make it to 16 weeks before I needed to make the news public. I would have gone longer if I could have.

For me, concealing my pregnancy was a form of self-preservation. When telling those closest to me, I was able to explain where my head was at, how I was shocked beyond belief, and in a place of sadness. These friends listened, didn't offer platitudes. That was what I needed. To tell everyone meant opening myself up to comments and questions that I wasn't ready to receive.

Due to my tilted uterus I started showing very quickly -- far too quick for my liking. And once the news was public, I had no control over what was said by others and how it was said. This was still so early in my time of processing -- I was barely coming out of denial and the reaction of others to my pregnancy really impacted me.

As a result, I have walked into situations and immediately become overwhelmed with over-the-top excitement about this pregnancy. And when I react in a less than positive way people don't know what to do. When they heard the news, they didn't also hear the rest of our story.

I have a friend who is repeatedly approached by others with "the big question." She has told me that she's "got my back." When she discloses that, yes, I am indeed pregnant and hears the responses I have heard many times over, she tempers their excitement. She will explain to others how "oh, she just needed to adopt to get pregnant" and "now she'll have one of her own" are perhaps not the best things to say to me.

I am so thankful for this person in my life. A woman who has not walked the road of infertility, adoption, or an unplanned pregnancy, but who has tried to understand and empathize with each part of my story. She has done well.

I can't even explain the comfort felt after hearing the words...."I've got your back...."

So, thank you my dear friend. Thank you for listening and hearing. And for understanding and sharing.

Friday, December 9, 2011

the infertility awareness project

A friend going through infertility recently sent me this excellent video Tears and Hope: the infertility awareness project. 

Please watch and remember.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

is it a gender thing?

I'm a part of a wonderful group of women that meet monthly to discuss books. But we're not like your average book club. All the women in this club are transracial adoptive moms and the books we read/discuss are all related to transracial adoption.

Our group is called ROOTS meaning belonging; the core; and to grow...which describes us as transracial adoptive parents and our kids as transracial adoptees.

We've just started reading through an excellent book called In Their Own Voices: Transracial Adoptees Tell Their Own Stories. This book is a collection of interviews completed with transracial adoptees now in their 20's. A book I would definitely recommend.

We started at the beginning and read through 4 interviews with female adoptees and had lots to discuss regarding their stories. The next month we read through 4 male interviews and found that there was little to say. The stories shared by the women were in-depth and included a lot of emotional issues as well as difficulties finding their way in the black world after having lived in a white home. Whereas the men were more straight forward, stated things just as they were, and seemed to have little need to make adoption or the transracial piece of adoption into a big deal.

This made our group it a gender thing?

I don't want to make sweeping statements. Especially considering that I've read books written by other male transracial adoptees which included a lot of emotion, introspection, and difficulty.

It's just an interesting observation and worth pondering as a mom who has adopted transracially.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

all you needed was...

To relax.

To adopt.

To be happy.

To wait for the right timing.

Then...and only then...

Would you become pregnant.

And have one of your OWN.

Do people really believe this stuff? From the related comments I get, I would think so.

I've become one of the few. One of the ~ 3% of women who are infertile, who then form a family through adoption, and then get pregnant. A statistic.

Everyone has a similar story. Everyone apparently knows someone who has adopted and then become pregnant. At least that is what it feels like to me because I hear all those stories.

Here's the newsflash -- what you don't hear are all the stories of women who adopt a child and do not become pregnant. There are many of them.

What people don't realize, is that by telling me that all I needed to do to get pregnant was to adopt a child, they have completely invalidated my experience with infertility and the adoption well as the beautiful child in my life. It is the pregnancy that is celebrated above all else. The "normal" and "regular" way to have a family. It's almost like people are inferring why did I bother forming a family through adoption if I was going to get pregnant years later anyway? I guess my 8 year ago self didn't have that sort of insight.

It is also difficult for people to understand that after walking the road of infertility and adoption, not everyone needs that pregnancy experience to feel complete. I had resolved that desire years and years ago.

And nothing hurts more then people telling me that now I'll have one of my own. 

T is my own. Plain and simple.

So if you know me, and you know other women struggling with infertility or in the adoption process, please don't use me as a statistic. My story is still my own to shape and mold and the other women don't really want to hear it.