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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Trying to Relate

Two times in the past week I've had the opportunity to talk about adoption with new people I've been meeting. I enjoy these interchanges very much since I'm always in the mood to discuss adoption! Still, both times I've been a little taken aback when I heard, "oh I've always wanted to adopt." I think to myself, "really?" Please don't misunderstand, I very much DO want to adopt and I am very happy with where we are in the process now, as well as the decisions we've made that have led us to this point. Having said that, if someone would have asked me five or six years ago if I wanted to adopt, my answer would have been no. Adoption is not second best, it's just different. It's different from the way most of us envision building our families.

I know most people I talk to are simply trying to relate to me when they say such things, but if they really thought about it they would realize sometimes it's simply better to keep some thoughts private. My response is generally something to the effect that while adoption wasn't originally my first choice toward the goal of having a family, it is my choice now...and then more adoption talk usually follows.

I believe that part of my "job" as a prospective adoptive mother is to provide adoption education when there's an opportunity. Still, so much of this process is unprecedented and leaves little with which to relate adoption for "everyday" people. There is no way for the average person to understand adoption and what it means for all members of the adoption triad, how to talk about it, even how to think about adoption until and unless it has affected them personally. Sometimes this really frustrates me...

14 comments:

Bri said...

I haven't gotten that one, yet. I am sure I will. I think for some people wanting to adopt is something they "want" to do as a fleeting thought because they have kind hearts, but don't really every pursue. I can see how that statement would deminish what we are going through and the intensity of our WANT to have a family.

Lisa and John said...

I really did always want to adopt, but I wanted to do it in addition to having biological children not necessarily instead of. Also in my desire to adopt my ideal picture did not include waiting and various other hoops we have to go through. It was just focussed on bringing home children to love and be loved by.

Debbie B said...

People think of adopting as a novelty now, I believe. They always wanted to adopt because they think it's cool.
But if you look at statistics the number of people that say this and don't adopt is huge.

Sometimes it's hard always being the educator. But if we don't do it who will.

Leah W said...

hi, my name is leah and i have been off and on again checking in on you thru "heart cries".

i personally have said that and was/am serious. my husband and i have one biological son and decided to add more children to our family by trying to adopt thru foster care. we are currently getting ready to have our home study done and have filled out all the paper work and gone to the classes.

some people definitely mean it when they say "I have always wanted to do that" it just isn't the right time for them. try not to let it upset you-like you said, until you are going thru it you have no idea what it is like and it is easy to feel like "then why don't you do it" because it is SUCH a passion for who ever really decides to go thru it.

give them the benefit of the doubt and even ENCOURAGE them to look into it. there are lots of kids who need homes!

Eileen said...

Adoption is not something I seriously considered either in the past, especially when I was going through IF treatment. As you said so well, it is not second best, but different. It is worlds away from IF treatment. Still a roller coaster, but with different hills, drops, and curves! (I must be at the flat part of the ride.) I've had similar comments from people I KNOW wouldn't actually go through the process. I interpret that as they're admiring us for our path to parenthood:), not that they're serious about pursuing adoption. The one that gets me is the "that is so great of you to adopt". Anyway, I would need a lot of educating about the adoption process if I weren't going through it myself, so I'm trying not to get too defensive with some of the comments.

Trace said...

Yes, people have said that to me, but it's usually someone who chose foster adoption or international adoption because they thought they were offering them a "better life".

Would adoption be the way I'd choose to form my family? No, but not because I'm dying to be pregnant or feel the need for a bio child. Really just because there is so much heartache and effort that accompanies it. Whereas the (non-infertile) average person gets to have s*x and, 9 months later they are a parent. Which is more fun? Home study, paying an easy 30,00, or having s*x.

Natalie said...

I have heard that comment...from my sister! Who, has three biological children! At first it caught me off guard, but, if there are people out there who have the heart to open their home to children who need it...why not? She and her husband had talked about wanting 4 children since the day they were married, but she had a lot of trouble having number 3. She mentioned adopting to rule out the "birthing" factor. I understand where you are coming from...it seems unfair somehow that someone who is able to have their own children would try to get another child (and take one away from those of us who long for it)...but in the end...think of all the children out there who need homes and will get them!! So, even though it doesn't seem like people are being sincere...I bet many of them have thought seriously about it...you never really know what someone else has gone through. That's why I love these blogs...to find people I can relate to easily and openly share my feelings!

Jamie said...

Hi ~ I think I have reacted the same way you are here in the past. I think it's because it has taken us so long to get to the point where we decide to give up on having a bio child and getting pg that our decision to adopt is not taken lightly and it is not taken for granted. We have worked our butts off to afford that $25,000 pass to parenthood and when someone comes along who throws out "oh, ya I've always wanted to adopt too" ~ it feels like it diminishes what we have gone through to get to this point and that fact that we've had to possibly change our lifestyles in order to achieve that. And that ultimately (in my case ~ even though I've come to be happy about this direction) it wasn't my first choice as to how I wanted to build my family and it took me 7 years for my heart to be in the place in needed to be to let go of a dream. So, yes...many people have said that to me...but I want to warn them that it is NOT for the faint of heart and it is NOT the easy way out and it is NOT the least expensive direction to parenthood. It takes an extremely strong person to go down this road. Plus, raising an adopted child is a whole other issue....one that I don't take lightly either. I have educated myself and my family about the road that may be before us. So....after someone has done their research and saved their money and waited their whole life to become a mother....then they can say that to me.
Wow....I'll get off my soapbox now. :)Can you tell it's been a rough week?! :)

Karen said...

I agree with the previous posters; people have said this to me, too, and I think they often "want to adopt" the way they "would give lots of money to charity if they were rich"...it feels like a cool/wonderful/generous thing to do. I think most of the time they mean from China or from foster care, a kid who desperately needs a home, and not a domestic infant. That's my take on it.

Becky said...

You will ALWAYS be educating!! For the entire life of your child/ren!!! Keep it up!!

kouji haiku said...

i really like this post. it's honest.

Tori said...

Yes, there are those of us who said that and really meant it. I agree with the one comment that said to take it as a compliment from the person that what you are choosing to do it GREAT. And the other commenter who said to encourage and continue to educate those in your sphere of influence that they may one day follow through on that desire. There are millions of children worldwide that need families, and they are not all babies. Maybe someone you know in your life now might adopt a teenager once they retire, or raise their current children to adulthood. ALWAYS encourage and respond positively.

FYI - I knew I would adopt even when I was a teenager. My father, aunt, and several cousins were all adopted. Before my husband and I married we discussed the subject as we both knew we would adopt "someday" and wanted to make sure we were both on the same page. Well 5 1/2 years into marriage we are starting our adoption classes next week.

Blessings to you and your family.

Tori said...

Hey Melba,

Thanks for the nice comment on my blog. I terribly need to update it. And yes, blogging is fun as we can all learn from each other and gain deeper perspectives on things. Blessing to you on your journey of adoption!

Denver Jen said...

I loved this post. I get this all the time. Strangely, I always felt compelled to adopt prior to infertility. When I look back on what I thought, it was a scenario such as foster care and "doing good in the world". This worries me- I think it sets up a really unhealthy relationship if you fee like you are "saving" another human. I now want to adopt for purely selfish reasons- so that I can be a mom - and I'm totally fine with that.