Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Start Spreading the News

This past Saturday we started telling close family members about starting the adoption process. This was largely a pragmatic move, as we had asked our sister-in-law's sister (Husbandido's oldest brother's wife's sister, who I'll call Gigi) to be one of our references and didn't want everyone to find out secondhand. W and Gigi don't have much family, so Gigi and her daughter have been treated as part of Husbandido's family; we celebrate their birthdays and invite them to family gatherings. Though treated like family, they aren't technically related to us, so Gigi is eligible to be a reference for us, which is great because she has spent significant amounts of time around us in settings with a lot of children.

I underestimated how difficult it would be telling people that we were starting the adoption process. Explaining how it works wasn't the hard part; answering the same millions of questions repeatedly wasn't the hard part. For me, the worst part was hearing "I'm so excited for you!" It's probably counter-intuitive, but those words were the hardest to hear. So often I couldn't help but think "Good for you. I'm not." I keep feeling like the character from the Talking Heads song, "Once in a Lifetime," "And you may tell yourself/This is not my beautiful house/And you may tell yourself/This is not my beautiful wife..." As we were telling family and some friends about our plans for adoption, what's involved, and how long it will take, part of me was screaming "Wait!!! Stop!!! This isn't my life! How did this get to be my life?" I am grateful that the process will take a while; I need that time to accept that it is my life. These aren't the children I have dreamed of or prayed for, but they will be our children.

(We did have a couple of people break out the "You'll get pregnant as soon as you adopt" canard. Mostly we bit our tongues on that one, as we are quickly learning that most of the people who say that are not the sort to be swayed by facts and figures.)


  1. Hi, I ended up reading your blog by chance and I feel a little bit puzzled. It seems you are not fully on board on the adoption choice (you are still actively pursuing treatment for infertility, you feel uncomfortable if somebody is enthusiastic about your plan to adopt) but nevertheless you are considering adopting a sibling group of 4 children under 8. Parenting it is hard, parenting four children with a history of trauma and loss it is even harder, particularly if you are not 100% convinced about adoption.

  2. We definitely got the "now you'll get pregnant...."! when sharing our plans to adopt - sigh. Usually it came from elderly ladies, so we were able to take it with a grain of salt.

    For what it's worth, I am in the adoption process too and I understand the ambivalence! For me, I'd say that at this point I am excited about adopting - and yet there are still many moments when there is sadness about the loss of biological motherhood, a lot of nervousness for being a mom someday to a little one who may have many needs, etc. Or like you said, looking around and thinking, "Wait, this is my life?"

    Our agency is great about stressing that adoption does not cure infertility, and that sad feelings might last your whole life, really - IF is such a deep loss. They give good advice, too, about discerning when a couple is ready to adopt after IF, such as accepting the fact that adoption is different than biological parenthood, not struggling with clinical depression, feeling generally happy about your life, etc.

    All that is to say - I get what you're saying! I pray that the excitement comes, and genuine, heartfelt acceptance (hardest thing ever - a daily choice/struggle/grace for me).