If you would have told me at the beginning of our adoption journey that we would be foster parents who are taking in an eight year-old girl, I would have laughed and told you there is NO way that was going to happen. So how did I, a girl that had always dreamed of having my own baby with freckles and blue eyes like me, come to LOVE Adoption and Foster Care?
I remember a very “passionate” conversation Doug and I had about what we were going to do next after infertility. After a lot of tears, we both realized we were ready to move on to considering adoption.
It was only a few months after announcing that we were pursuing adoption that we met the little boy who is now our son. It was 9 days after seeing a picture of him and his sweet little face wearing a Mickey Mouse tee shirt, that he moved into our home. I always tell people, “some women have 9 months, I had 9 days.”
Our son was 18 months old and probably the most adorable little human I have ever seen in my life. He is a beautiful soul and the people who had loved and cared for him throughout his life up to that time are wonderful loving people who cared deeply for him. His adoption process took a long time, two and half years, during that time we grew as parents and learned a lot about adoption. When we decided to adopt again we thought that the process would be similar… Right?
Boy. Were. We. Wrong.
We quickly learned that no two adoptions are the same. We also began to realize that we were bringing a lot of our infertility fears and wounds with us into this next adoption.
We made a lot of mistakes…
Let me explain.
Clearly, we had been wounded by the infertility process. This is normal and understandable. We were aware of some and unaware of many others. In hindsight, we were desperate for adoption to heal some of these unknown wounds. One of the many wounds that I was still holding onto was the dream of having a newborn. I had tunnel vision about this and didn’t even know it.
I will never forget a friend of mine asking why this next adoption MUST be an infant. At that moment, I realized that I was still unconsciously holding onto wanting a newborn.
I would tell Doug I have grieved and let go of so many things but I’m not letting go of this one, I needed a baby. As I held on to this issue, I realized I was making adoption more about what it could do for me, and less about the child I was adopting. It took a lot of hard and painful conversations with my community and therapist to realize that adoption can’t solve my infertility wounds. It is perfectly fine to want to adopt a newborn baby, but for me I was thinking a newborn baby would magically take away my infertility.
It took a LONG TIME to process this.
This long difficult process of grieving and letting go of so many of my own desires has had the unexpected and miraculous result of me falling madly in love with adoption. Adoption for its own sake, not for what I need or can get out of it. I now see adoption as a wonderful and life giving process for someone else. Instead of looking at adoption to serve me, I have learned to look at it as a way to serve someone else. This journey, though long and at times very hard and painful has made me a better Mom.
So here are three things I want you to know if you are thinking about adopting after infertility.
- Become aware of your infertility wounds. These are normal and understandable. You have been through some serious trauma. Some wounds are going to be obvious, while others might be deeper issues and will be harder to recognize.
- If possible, share the burden of your wounds. My friends and therapist helped me see my wounds from infertility more clearly, and helped me separate them from the adoption process.
One of the ways I was able to do this was to give my unborn biological child a name. This way, I was better able to grieve that child. This might feel counterintuitive, but it helped me separate the fantasy birth-child from my real adopted child.
- Realize that no amount of children can heal the wounds caused by infertility. Those wounds need to be processed with your community. They need time and space, AWAY and separate from your adoption process.
Adoption is not about solving infertility. It’s about falling in love with adoption.