When it rains, it pours. Maybe it is because I’ve been around relatives a lot lately, or it could be the alignment of the stars, but I have recently been confronted, yet again, by another pervasive adoption myth.
One of my favorite relatives shared with me that her grandson might not be able to have children of his own since the woman he loves recently had a hysterectomy. I suspect she hesitated after she started because she realized too late that it might not be exactly PC to say this to a mother through adoption.
Life is too short to take offense when none was intended, and I have learned, most of the time, to listen to the meaning of what is being said and not focus on the words. I think many of us adoptive parents take offense way too easily, causing the rest of the world to talk on eggshells around us. My aunt is a loving grandmother and mother who worries for her grandson and daughter. She knows that their youthful protestations that “kids aren’t all that important” are probably just youth talking. She’s watched this young man grow up and knows he would be a wonderful father. She’s also worried for her daughter, who longs for a grandchild from her only child someday.
And she is grieving, perhaps just a little, but grieving nonetheless. She’s thinking about the biological great-grandchild that may not be—that recreation of the beautiful, kind, fun-loving little boy that we all loved. (Never mind that the child may not be anything like his dad.) She longs for the great-grandchild that would be the receptacle of all the brilliant genetic material from the previous generations. (Never mind that there is a lot of genetic material in our family that would best be phased out.)
Listening for the Meaning
I listened and tried to hear the meaning behind the words, and I grieved with her because I really do understand. I feel blessed to have had kids both ways, and don’t pretend to understand fully the pain of those who don’t have the option of giving birth. I pointed out the amazing advances in infertility treatment and the availability of surrogacy. And then, at the end of our conversation, I said, “Whatever way they decide to have a child if they do, that child will 100% be their own — and your own. This much I can promise you.” That really is the beauty of adoption.Image credit: (davide)