Dwell in Me

Seeking God in the Every Day


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Thoughts of Adopting

I’m back. We did our two weeks in Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos. We did some really fun things and saw some beautiful things. And I’m so glad to be back and able to sleep in my own bed.

For some reason the trip brought up thoughts of adoption. I don’t know if it’s because Angelina Jolie’s first child, Maddox, was adopted from Cambodia (I didn’t know that until we were there), or because the children we saw were so adorable, or something else. DH and I had always talked about adoption, you know, before we found out we couldn’t procreate naturally, in the naive, after we’re done having pregnancies, maybe we’ll adopt some more kids kind of way. And I looked into it briefly when we first found out we were dealing with infertility. But when I really think about adopting, I find it frightens me. What if our kids never feel like they’re ours? Does adoption mean I’ll always feel infertile?

We had the opportunity a while ago to see Mark Schultz in concert in our neighborhood. I enjoy his music and we stood in the rain to watch him play. It was great, until he started talking about his life. He was adopted. And he clearly loves his adoptive parents. But he was talking about how he had always wanted to meet a blood relative. He always wanted to meet someone who was physically related to him. And then he and his wife had their first child. And when that child smiled for the first time, it was his smile. And he was so excited because he had finally met a blood relative.

It’s supposed to be a happy story. And I think I may have been able to share his joy a little better if I heard it today, or last week. But I was very weak then. We were in so much pain and it was all right there on the surface. Just the mention of a baby would make me feel sad and small and not whole. That feeling isn’t totally gone, of course. It still resurfaces from time to time. But I’m a little less sensitive to it today than I was a few months ago.

All I could think of when he was telling this story was that if we adopted we would always be infertile. And that our children would always feel like they missed out on something.

Of course, the case for adopting isn’t helped when you look at the uncertainty and the expense compared with doing IVF. And I still don’t really feel like adoption is a way to replace having children naturally or even through ART. I think some people are called to adopt. And some people have a heart for orphans and will adopt and thereby add to their families. And I think it’s wonderful to adopt a child. A truly wonderful calling. But I wouldn’t want that to be a second-choice plan–I wouldn’t want my children to feel like they were a second-choice plan.

Our hearts could change tomorrow; we could find one day that adopting is the right step for us, the first choice. And maybe a seed has been planted for adoption in our hearts, though it has not yet matured. Right now, choosing adoption would be some kind of compromise. It wouldn’t be right for the child or for us. And I know that.

But I looked at the children around us on our trip and started to wonder . . .

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Going Home

I’m leaving tomorrow to go home–to St. Louis–for Thanksgiving.

I was home in May. That was before we found out our infertility diagnosis, but after we’d been TTC for 9 months. When we first started trying, DH was back in school and I was our sole breadwinner. (Let’s just say that as a freelancer, I don’t win very much bread!) DH’s mom had been pretty clear a few months before that she didn’t think we had any business procreating until he was out of school because “parenting is more than a 40-hour a week job” and we wouldn’t have much money. (Yes, that really upset me. IF has, surprisingly, really mended that relationship somehow.) So, anyway, I called my mom before we started trying to find out if my parents would also be ticked if we got pregnant. She laughed and told me they’d be delighted. I also expressly told her not to tell a soul, not even my dad. Of course, I thought we’d be pregnant within the next month or two and I wanted it to be a surprise when I told everyone.

So, in May, I was surprised to find out that most of my family (I mean, from siblings to aunts and grandparents) knew we were trying. When I confronted my mom about it, she said she had to tell people because it was taking so long and we needed their prayers.

DH and I were furious. And when we found out we were infertile, we were even more upset. I think partly because it’s possible we’ll end up adopting, and I don’ t really like the idea that my family will see our adopted children and whisper to each other, “You know, they didn’t plan on adopting,” or “they tried to have their own kids, but it didn’t work.” I know those things are true, but it doesn’t mean I want everyone (especially any future adopted children) to know that our family represents some kind of plan B  in action.

But, there’s a short-term upside to this. I am heading home tomorrow with the expectation that no one will pester me with the dreaded “when are you going to have kids?” And, as an added bonus, there aren’t any babies in my family yet. Until this summer, DH and I were the only ones married out of all the cousins. One of my cousins married this summer, but I think (hope?) they’ll wait a little while before they try for kiddos.

I know I’m super lucky in this and that many of you may be dreading those holiday gatherings. I wish you all the best and will be thinking of you over the next week and through December that you would be able to take joy in your family time (or lack thereof!) regardless of your situation.