It has been awhile since I posted the best of what I’ve seen lately on the net in adoption and infertility. It’s always hard to narrow it down to four items , but here’s my stab for this week. Enjoy. Please feel free to add your own top picks as a comment.
- Before Adoption, 79 Lost Days was a beautiful essay in the Motherlode column in the New York Times by adult adoptee Chris Otto. As he cuddles, soothes, and bonds with his newborn son, he wonders about himself at that age. He was in foster care the first 79 days of his life before being placed with his adoptive family. I have heard from many adult adoptees that the birth of a child stirs up such emotions–both positive and negative (or perhaps a better word would be “uncomfortable”).
“My birth parents weren’t married. Not to each other anyway. My birth mother never saw me after giving birth, and I spent my first two and a half months in a foster home before I was placed for adoption. I never gave those weeks much thought. Until I walked with my son.
I looked at this little person who had become the center of my universe, and wondered where I was when I was 3 weeks old. Who celebrated my 2-month birthday? Who sang to me? Of whose universe was I at the center?
Questions about my foster parents led to bigger questions about an infant’s awareness of the people in his life. I’d read the studies of mother and child bonding during those first months. What about the child given up for adoption? What was the effect on me?
I grew accustomed to the in utero vibrations of a mother’s voice. After birth I adapted to the completely different voice of a foster mother. Weeks or months later, a third female’s voice came into my life. How does a baby’s mind reconcile these changes?
I have to wonder, does it affect me now? Did this early merry-go-round of faces and voices make it difficult for me to form close relationships? Or did it create a stronger need for approval and affection? Or both? How does it color my relationships with the people in my life today?”
- Cindy, over at My IVF Journey: Confessions of an Infertile blogged about 16 Things You Should Never Say To A Woman Who Is Childless But Not By Choice This post will have you shaking your head in agreement and chuckling with that laugh of recognition. For example:
2. “You must have some psychological block that is preventing you from getting pregnant.” I am guessing that means Jamie and Britney Spears are totally free and clear of psychological issues. Good to know.
5. “God has another plan for you. God doesn’t want you to be pregnant,” or, my personal non-favorite, “God wants you to be in service and if you had a child you couldn’t do God’s will.” Please, please, I beg you, unless God has phoned you up or shown up in your living room with choirs of angels, would you please do me a favor and not be a spokes person for any deity on my behalf. Oh, and if God has visited you and given you an inside scoop to my life purpose, I would suggest you find your way to the nearest psychiatric hospital.
12. “You can be a mother to your friends kids.” I know people mean well by this. But, to those of you who say such things, let me tell you that babysitting for your kids is not the same thing as being a parent. It just isn’t.
16. “Don’t ever give up. Keep trying. You can’t stop now. Maybe just one more IVF and you will get pregnant.” This is one that really gets to me. I once asked a friend of mine who has worked with the terminally ill if when people in the late stages of cancer decide they can’t bare any more treatment if they are met with this same kind of attitude. She assured me that they aren’t. With cancer and other terminal diseases there seems to be a collective understanding that at some point that the compassionate thing to do is give up and die with dignity. The same kind of understanding does not seem to be there for us infertiles. I suppose that it seems to an outsider that there is always something more you can do and that if you “really wanted a baby you would do it.” We did IUI, IVF, and ICSI. That is as much as we could do. We could not do egg donor or hire a surrogate or attempt another adoption. There was a time when we could do no more. There was a point when trying to have a baby started to feel like it was killing my spirit, damaging my relationships and draining our finances. However, since there are more things we could have tried, I often get the sense from others that I don’t deserve to grieve over our childlessness, that we should keep going, and only when we have exhausted every option do we then deserve to grieve.
- An Olympian encourages others to adopt. Bronze medal winning shot putter, Reese Hoffa, was adopted from foster care at age five. So often it seems like we are inundated with the bad stories of kids adopted at older ages who struggle forever and never quite seem to find their way. In honor of the Olympics, I thought we could all use a story of success. He says:
“I’m standing here not only as a three-time Olympian, but a graduate of the University of Georgia and hopefully a good person. I’m a very lucky guy; it could have gone the other way. …
I think that’s very important to me, to show a lot of parents out there looking to give kids homes, that we are great people that we want to do great things but we just need a home to do that in. If you’re a loving, caring mother or father, looking for a child, adoption is an incredible option. I’m definitely testament to that. There’s going to be a few bad adoptions, but I have to believe most of them are great and these kids swill turn out to be phenomenal people and very productive people in society.”
- This YouTube video from the Off-Broadway musical Infertility, the Musical That’s Hard to Conceive of a song titled “I’ve Got Sperm in my Pocket“. OK, this is not for everyone, but it made me giggle. The whole sperm collection process is something that is seldom talked about and universally dreaded by almost all guys. It helps to laugh, and this video made me laugh. Share it with the guy in your life. He’ll appreciate it.
Image credit: amberlynnlane