There’s been this kerfuffle in the adoption blog world, related to Julie’s post and the responses to it.Â We had ChicagoMama blowing up…Figlet chiming in with “it’s not about you“…AmFam talking about the difference between loving and raising biological and adopted children…Lorrie chiming in with some pretty laidback commentary…then Julie posted some clarifications…and ChicagoMama posted some more thoughts, to which I posted a rather long comment…to which ChicagoMama responded.
A lot of drama.
In a nutshell:Â Julie is thinking about adopting.Â She’s still recuperating from a boatload of IVFs and IF treatment.Â She’s still thinking about donor egg or surrogacy.Â She’s got a lot of stuff to think about.Â She felt that there was something wrong with her that she wasn’t feeling “joyful” or “joyous” about the prospect of adopting.Â Somewhere in there, she tossed in the word “settling”, which upset a bunch of adopters.Â Then the comments came along, and there were people telling stories of Adoptions Gone Bad, some folks saying they wondered if you could love an adopted child as much as a biological child, some folks saying they adopted joyously right from the start, some folks saying they, too, were ambivalent at first but that the ambivalence passed.
Of course, the “can you love an adopted child as much as you’d love a biological child” trope really got under the skin of many adopters, too.
I sort of sat on the sidelines, reading and commenting here and there.Â I didn’t get upset at Julie’s post, because…well, that was me six years ago.Â I didn’t get too upset at some of the comments because…well, I’ve been living, breathing, thinking adoption to death since we started the process.Â I have, as it were, a Ph.D. in adoption issues, as do many of my more favorite reads in Blogistan (ChicagoMama, Figlet, AmFam, Mrs. Figby, MortimersMom).Â We’re all drenched in research into the ins and outs of adoption, transracial families, attachment issues, it’s-for-the-children-not-for-you, blah-de-blah-de-blah.Â But if you had asked me six years ago, while I was still in the throes of IF “treatment”…I really wouldn’t have understood those things.Â Adoption wasn’t joyous to me.Â I was actively resisting it, and feeling very whiny, tantrummy, and miserable in general about my reproductive facilities (or lack thereof), my femininity, my role as a woman in human society.
It hurt.Â Damn, but it hurt.Â And I had been in that hurt for so many years that it had become a way of life.
Bitter, angry, jealous, hostile–that was me.
Of course it’s not a good outlook on the world.Â But even as you know you’re being self-absorbed to the max, you can’t break out of it.
Until somehow, somewhere, somewhen there’s an emotional straw that breaks the camel’s back.Â Something that makes you say:Â Stop.Â I’ve had it.Â I can’t take this any more.
Some people never reach that point–they stay mired in the misery, year after year after year, trying each new variation on infertility “treatments”, throwing good money after bad, trapped.
Some people reach that point early on–they do a round of Clomid or two, say “To hell with it!” and either decide to just live life without children or move on to adoption.
Some people move on to adoption even while they’re still trapped in the misery.
And when you start thinking about adoption, you realize that now, in addition to all the poking and prodding you’ve had medically, you’re going to be poked and prodded psychologically.Â Measured.Â Judged.Â But out there in the world there are shitloads of people who pop out babies left and right, and who don’t realize what a gift they’ve been given.Â Â So many of themÂ beat them.Â So many of them neglect them.Â And then there are the ones who sell them for a hit of whatever the latest drug is.Â None of them are being measured, or judged, until it’s too late.
So, yeah, you get angry andÂ bitter aboutÂ that, too.
Look.Â It’s not pretty, but it’s human.Â
And during the process…somewhere along the line, where you started thinking about adoption as a “maybe”…suddenly, it becomes a hopeful “maybe”.Â A little-itty-bitty-sliver-of-joy typeÂ ”maybe”.
And if you’re like me, you’ll start researching the hell out of stuff, and discover that there are real people on the other side of theÂ equation, and a real little person whose life is being shifted around without its control.
Some people never do that.Â They just decide to adopt, and wham bam thankyew ma’am end up with a child, get on with life, and get flummoxed when theÂ child has issues that they have to deal with.Â Or they ignore the issues.Â Or don’t even realize there are issues.
Some people don’t experience the joy.Â They keep mourning that biological tie.Â These people are the ones who should be kept out of adopting–but it doesn’t always happen.Â In general, though, folks who feel like that never make the step into adoption, which is good:Â if you feel like you can’t love an adopted child like a biological child, then you damn well shouldn’t be adopting.
Some people have a moment of clarity when suddenly that little-itty-bitty-sliver-of-joy turns into a deluge, an omigod-they’re-giving-me-a-baby! joy.Â I remember that time so well…it was such a blessed relief to be healing.
One of my earliest posts on this blog–my second, in fact–was about this transition from fear, misery, pain, into joy; it was prompted by one ofÂ Karen’s (Naked Ovary)Â posts at that time.Â At the time, she had not yet moved into the joy–she was still unsure, still pained by other people’s babies, still in the grips of that IF misery.Â ButÂ her viewpoint totally changedÂ as she got closer and closer to meeting her baby…and afterwards, she was as thrilled and absorbed as any new mother could possibly be.Â
The point is that there are people who start the adoption process with fear, trepidation, irritation with the process itself.Â Some of those people will pass through that stage, and move on, learn a great deal about adoption, and look back wondering what the big deal was about.Â Anyone who is thinking out loud about it the way that Julie is, as seriously and deeply as Julie is, is one of those people who, if they proceed onto adoption, will be that type of person.Â And if Julie decides, after thinking about it seriously and deeply, that adoption isn’t for them, that’s a Good Thing, too.
It’s the thinking that’s good.Â It’s certainly much better than just gaily deciding one day, “Oh, well, I guess we’ll ‘just adopt’!”, glossing over the personal emotional issues related to the transition from self-absorbed IF “treatment” to adopting parent, and ignoring all the possible ramifications.
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