Even though it hasn’t been that long, since I stopped trying to conceive and started down the adoption path, during this short period, I’ve heard a lot of ‘comments about adoption’ from people that could be my BFFs. Many people, including me, have deep seated biases against adoption, and discovering that about myself and others has bothered me.
So, I’ve decided to dedicate Monday’s to “Teachable Moments”, growth opportunities for me and my friends; right now I have about six weeks worth of material soooo… let’s begin.
I was having lunch with a newish friend, not quite a BFF, but she could become one, I suppose. We hit it off really well at a work party, and since our offices are close to one another, we started having lunch together on a regular basis. One day at lunch, I was feeling like I wanted to “talk”.
It had only been about a week since my last IVF cycle was canceled and I couldn’t take it anymore. It was hard for me to sit across the table from her and not share what was at the forefront of my mind—”Holy Crap! We’re going to adopt!”
Since I didn’t know her that well, however, I started off gently, testing the waters.“Nadia and I are thinking of adopting an infant,” I said while sticking a piece of lettuce in my mouth.
“Oh,” she replied, , you don’t want to have any of your own children?”
“Ouch”, I thought. And said, “Well, I don’t think that’s going to happen; we’ve been trying for years.”
There, I said it. And my sense of failure hung in the air, as I kept munching on croutons, but there was something else that was hanging alongside my failure—fear and bias.
I must admit that she was very sweet about my ttc failures. We talked about it and she admitted that she never wanted to have kids but that she admired people that adopted because there are so many kids who need homes in the world.
It was a perfectly fine exchange, but her comment still stung. It pained me to hear her make a distinction between having my own child and adopting; particularly in the midst my own doubts about how I would feel about a little adopted one. And, when I think about that lunch, I feel bad that that I didn’t say more at the time. I feel ashamed that my only response was “well, that’s not going to happen”, validating her assumption that adopted children are different, inauthentic.
At that time, I was harboring thoughts and that my adopted child could somehow be different, not truly my own because their DNA would be different. I had doubts, after all, I had been obsessed with getting pregnant for three years, and I still had/have a lot to work through about ending that pursuit. Don’t get me wrong, hers was an “innocent remark” and I countered with an “innocent response”, it was just a simple lunch exchange, but our “innocence” packed a powerful punch.
Since that lunch I’ve started to fantasize about a little one, Little Wing entering our lives, and because of those fantacies I’ve replayed that exchange several times in my mind. Eva, how wouldy you answer that question today?
I know that next time I’m asked I will respond differently. I have to. I don’t want Little Wing to enter my life with my baggage. I want him or her to feel completely legit from the start, so I’m going start creating that space for him or her in my heart and in my actions, words and deeds right now.
So next time I”m asked, “don’t you want to have your own children?” I might say, “well, an adopted child would be my own child, but Nadia and I have been trying to get pregnant for about three years and have decided to stop trying. This is just different path. And we’re very excited.”
Next time, if I say that, I know that I’ll feel better about myself and the lessons that I’m learning and creating on behalf of Little Wing.