Thursday, March 15, 2007

All in this together

Generally speaking, there are three kinds of adoptive parents: those who cannot have biological children, for whatever reason; those who already have biological children; and singles who aren't waiting around for a partner to become a parent.

None of these is better or worse than the other. There is no heirarchy of eligibility, and none of these are more 'deserving' of children than the other. We all arrive at adoption from different pathways. How we get here is important, but also kind of irrelevant. We all need to support each other, regardless of the reasons for arriving at adoption.

Having said that, it is also important to connect with others that have journeyed a similar pathway. There's something special about the 'understanding' that can only come through shared experience. You can say, "I know how you're feeling / I know what you're going through", because you really do.

The value of this connection has been heightened for me this week, after reading multiple email posts to our local support group discussion list. There's a stronger link and greater empathy when you have walked a similar path to someone.

This is where we feel out of place. We don't have that connection with others like us. Is there anyone out there? A couple who don't know if you can have bio kids cos you've never tried to become pregnant? The truth is, people don't understand us. They simply can't. It is so beyond the realm of what is normal for so many people we come across. This is clear whenever someone finds out we're hoping to adopt. "oh, can't you have kids?" "don't know, we're choosing to adopt" *blank stare* *blank stare back*

We cherish relationships with all adoptive and prospective adoptive families and know that in the end the pathway is just a detail, yet we would still love to connect with others like us. Anyone?


LaLa said...

Well, we sort of feel what you feel. We did the fertility tests and we did have some issues...unlike most though we never tried any treatments. We just thought no big deal b/c we always planned to adopt our second child anyway. Of course now I am so glad we did have issues b/c I have my beautiful daughter from China and we are currently awaiting our referral from Vietnam for her little sister. The truth is that it doesn't matter how you become a parent...the child is a joy!

David said...

Sorry...we got here after years of infertility treatments. I will let you know if I hear of any though. (Don't think I have, yet!)

Will work on the photo thing later...thanks for the info because I couldn't figure it out!

leisa said...

Hi Emma
I love this post, we are all in it together but it is wonderful to travel this journey with families the same as your own. We are out with friends just like you tonight, I will give her your blog details.
Another thing I was at the paper craft fair today and a lady had some wonderful paper and embellishments with Chinese themes. The contact is
They were so beautiful that when I saw them I thought of you.

Anonymous said...

I always wanted to foster. I wanted more children after mine were born, but my body was not going to be a willing participant. Yet I knew there was more, and there was,my three children conceived and born from my heart and prayers if not from my body. People give me the look and have no idea why we as a family have chosen to be the size we are, or understand when we are not unhappy if more come along. In that respect we live in a different world from most others as well. SOme times a difficult, lonely world, yet a world I would never leave, and thank my God that he placed me and my family in this world. Regardless of how the egg and sperm created a child and where, it is the connection of the heart, the nurturing, the unconditional and uncompromising love that makes one a parent, not the end result of intimacy in body.
We,through adoption or fostering, have been chosen to participate in something amazing never to be understood by rational minds, only by those with hearts and a passion to love beyond themselves Kerry Lee

Liz said...

That was so beautifully written Kerry-Lee.
Emmy, there are actually four types of people who adopt and you and Aaron are in the fourth category.
Because you have chosen to not have a biological child, you don't know what your fertility status is.
Your decision to adopt has no bearing on or relevance to your fertility status.

Lisa and Doug said...

I think it is wonderful that you are choosing to adopt to create your family. You will make great parents!

Lisa & Oliver said...

I know of a couple of others who chose your path. One through a family connection to adoption, another for health reasons ... I am quite sure that you are not alone.

Mommy Spice said...

Excellent post. We always talked about adoption, so after infertility, we moved forward with it. I do wish that infertility was not the reason to move forward. I hope my daughter never feels like a second choice. However, when fertility treatments were suggested, we passed. We wanted to go ahead with adoption.

dublin said...

I hope you do come across others who have arrived at this journey on a path similar to your own. I know they are out is just a matter of finding them.

It is so sad that the PROCESS is so very long. I kind of suspect that once you have your child in your arms, maybe the need to know of others who began the adoption journey from a background similar to your own, won't be as important to you, any longer....maybe...


Anonymous said...

You and Aaron are not the odd ones out.. Your not the only ones. You ARE just like everyone else.

I don’t think it matters what your family looks like, comes from, how big or how small. If it is like someone else’s they can go with that.. if not.. they do that dreaded blank face.

We have one child. I get the blank face A LOT.. because most people have more than one.. or they have one and think they might have another. We know we won’t. I have people scold me, tell me I am cruel, spend ages trying to talk me into a second whilst in a supermarket line, I have people pity me, look down on me and judge me. I have even had people say.. oh but what if he died.. like - they really got me there.. clearly if Lochie died we would be racing off to have another and correct our mistake.. HUH?

So… every now and again.. I take a deep breath and say.. he was my ninth pregnancy. I am lucky to have one child. I treasure him daily. I have had 3 miscarriages since he was born. I won’t be having more children. Some believe I have suffered enough.. others go on to tell me I should try again.. you never know.

So… adopting.. ‘when you don’t neeed to’ (love that definition..:( ) would almost certainly draw scorn. I imagine you would get rejected by some couples who are unable to have biological children who feel they should be ahead of you. I imagine you get a lot of flack. Our own experiences colour our view. Not really sure now .. as I try to remember but I think I probably (incorrectly.. sorry!) assumed you couldn’t have children. But I remember you saying you hoped to have a mix some day .. I was so pleased for you.. not about how your family comes to be.. that isn’t my business.. but of how you said it. You were calm .. straight forward and said it. And I was just so pleased you knew it and had reached a place you could say it… and say it like a response from someone didn’t matter.. although I am sure it did!

Friends with 3 get the blank stare if they say they want a 4th. Friends with 2 who think a third MIGHT be Ok.. they get the stare.. a friend with 8 gets a lot of looks in general. LOL

I wish you both so much luck in your search for a family. The patience, the waiting, the thought.. the effort.. the time and the trials will just make you stronger - better partners, better parents.. and what a lucky child to come into such a wonderful home.. however they get there!

Good Luck


Anonymous said...

you have found someone like you! my husband and i are in the same boat of having chosen to adopt and not even knowing if we can get pregnant or not. i have felt drawn to adoption since my early 20's and i do find that people are a bit taken aback when we haven't had fertility issues. i think there is just an assumption, and it doesn't bother me, but i agree that it is nice to find someone else who is in the same situation. do you also find that there isn't much reading material out there for our circumstances?

we are currently living and working in shanghai and just got our referral 48 hours ago! Yippee! She is from Kunming and is almost 7months old. if you want to check out our story. :)

sylvia eng said...

Me too! I recently found your blog via the china adoption facebook group. We are awaiting our 30th birthdays as well with much anticipation. We have never tried to get pregnant, I have never wanted to try. I have known this is what I wanted since I was 12 years old and heard about the girls on the news. It has been a very long wait indeed. The hardest time was when we were in china last fall and saw 200 happy new families waiting in our hotel lobby to finalize their adoption papers. I wanted to pinch and cuddle all of them.
I also felt that we were odd in some way, and I worry that I would feel more so as the time draws nearer. This journey will be special for us in a different way but still in a dream filing way.