Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Adoption 101

This post has been a long time coming. There is a whole lot I have to say on the subject of adoption so I decided to break it up instead of overwhelm you all at once.
First of all, November is National Adoption Month...oh you didn't know? Well I didn't either until adoption became part of my world. I have always been open to adoption, even before my infertility issues, I thought that if we felt prompted, we would look into it. But in my mind it was always after we had like three or four biological children.
Of course we know that our plans aren't always in sync with God's plan. Adoption became part of my world because of infertility. Being infertile mom hates that word but there is no better word for me to describe it.  Go here to read  in more detail about my struggle.
"We are good people, we are good parents, we have a good marriage..."
"Aren't we supposed to "multiply and replenish the earth..."
"Why can a drug addicted teenage girl get pregnant and not me..."
"Maybe I can't handle more than two kids..."
These were some of the thoughts that polluted my mind during the years I struggled with infertility. There were many days that I felt like I was falling...falling into what, I'm not sure. All I know was that it was dark and I didn't like it. It was an everyday choice to not get swallowed up in the pain and frustration.
In case you might know someone who is struggling with infertility of any kind, (mine happened to be "secondary infertility"...I had my first two kids without any help but for some reason my body wouldn't make anymore) here are some helpful hints.

The DO-NOTS...
- DO NOT tell them that they need to relax.
Really....REALLY!!!!! So many people said this to me, it made me crazy!
- DO NOT tell them that as soon as they stop trying they will get pregnant.
Yes, we've all heard the stories of someone who was trying to get pregnant and then as soon as they stopped trying "voila!". Well great for them...but I didn't want to hear about it.
- DO NOT withhold your pregnancy from them.
Just because I couldn't get pregnant didn't mean I couldn't feel the joy for my loved ones who were pregnant.
- DO NOT avoid pregnancy talk.
I understood what it is like to have morning sickness, I know that in the end you feel fat, ugly and uncomfortable. I can relate, don't feel bad that you are venting...just don't complain all the time.
- DO NOT tell them "at least you were able to have two children...".
I know that this comment comes from a sweet place but it just made me feel guilty and bad for wanting another baby.
- DO NOT tell them all the tricks you used or someone else has used to get pregnant.
Here's the thing...if someone has been trying to get pregnant for more than a year, trust me they have heard every trick and tried everything.

The DO's
- DO ask them how things are going from time to time.
I so appreciated it when my friends would ask me how I was doing. Struggling with infertility for four years is a long time. It's nice to know that people haven't forgotten you are hurting.
- DO invite them to baby showers.
I won't lie, it did sting a little when I had 14 friends/family who were pregnant at one time...but I never forgot the miracle that it is to bring a baby into this world. If anything my infertility made me appreciate this even more. I hosted half a dozen showers during my infertility years and it actually brought me comfort.
- DO give them lots of unsolicited hugs.
Sometimes that is all I needed. No words needed to be said. It was just so nice to know that someone cared.
- DO pray for them, and let them know you are praying for them.
Seriously. You can NOT underestimate the power of prayer. Only Christ can take away that kind of pain and give the comfort that is needed.
-DO be sensitive, but don't treat them like they might breakdown at the sight of a stroller.
Don't get me wrong, there are days that I wanted to scream at every teenage pregnant girl I saw, but really, most days I just wanted to feel normal and do normal things.

I was so blessed to have wonderful friends and family who supported me during those difficult years. And if any of you did any of the "don'ts"....don't worry about it. I know it was coming from a loving place and I love you for it.
I am grateful that those years are behind me, but I learned so much from the long suffering.
  • I became closer to Christ and truly felt his arms around me.
  • I gained a strong testimony that God has a plan. His plan is the best plan, even if I don't understand, I have to trust in His wisdom.
  • I learned that God does, absolutely, love me. He knows me. He knows what is best for me.
  • My marriage was strengthened during those years. Even though we both had to deal with the infertility, we had two very different experiences. Aric was so loving and supportive.
  • I know with out a doubt that every birth is a miracle.
My heart goes out to every woman who is going through infertility. I wish I knew then what I know now, but with out the trial I wouldn't know what I know now...does that make sense? If you know anyone struggling with infertility you can send them to my blog or give them my email. I know how it feels to have your arms ache, and your knees weary because of such a righteous desire. I have my baby now but I will never forget what it felt like to feel like your prayers were falling on deaf ears.
Now, I realize this post is titled "Adoption 101"  and I haven't hardly even talked about adoption. But what a lot of people don't understand is that  infertility was just the beginning of our adoption it is for many couples. It is where our adoption story started. I think it's impossible to truly appreciate the adoption process until you understand the agony of infertility. So there you have it, now stayed tuned for the next installment.


calibosmom said...

I am sending a friend your way. I will be waiting for your Adoption 101 installment. Matthew and I talked about adopting before we even started making babies. Its something we have always thought we would do and its now or never time. I could use your wisdom. Hugs to you!!!

Cristy said...

Jess, I love this post so much because I'm one of the "infertile" woman in this huge world! I've never been able to have children of my own, but have an awesome step-son who brings me much joy. I feel the same way about a teenaged, drug addict able to have children, I've often wondered why can they get pregnant and not me? It's very frustrating when one is going through this trial, but God has a plan for each of our lives, and obviously he didn't think children of my own fit the "plan." Prayers to you girl!

Kevin and Steph said...

I'm glad you wrote sister-in-law was chosen by a birth mom, but the birth mom decided 2 days after the little girl was born to keep it. :( Now she is going through such a hard time- and here I am pregnant with a little girl, and I feel guilty for sharing my joy.
Thanks for writing these do's and don'ts :)
P.S.- you're invited to my baby shower :) An invite is coming.

Lauren in GA said...

This was so wonderfully written, Jessica.

I really needed to read the Do's and Do Nots. I found them very helpful and I really appreciate knowing ways that I can spare someone pain from saying the wrong thing (Like I tend to do).