Now You'll Get Pregnant
We've been hearing this from the moment we submitted our application for adoption to the day we brought Joci home. I'm sure it happens to a few couples. But it's not the norm. Infertility is a medical diagnosis that cannot be "cured" by adopting a baby. This is this most annoying thing I hear. And it's only a variation on a theme that I've been hearing for about five years - You Just Need to Relax and You'll Get Pregnant. None of the three infertility specialists I went to told me to "relax" or "adopt" to cure my problem, but countless friends and family have. I've never heard a well-intentioned person tell someone else with cancer, or appendicitis, that they'll be cured if they "just relax" or if they "just stop trying so hard." (Probably TMI, but we've tried for about 80 months straight. If we haven't been relaxed for at least one of those 80 months - despite the cruises, vacations, and whatnot - I suppose we never will be.)
On a different tangent, infertility is a major loss and there is a grieving process that goes with it. We grieve for the baby with Justin's eyes and my curly hair. But unlike those who've lost someone to death and they know that person is never coming back, our wound is reopened month after month. Don't you think the "maybe this month..." thoughts go through our mind? Month after month. That wound is reopened constantly. We are tortuously aware of that glimmer of hope. People pointing it out in this way just pours lemon juice and salt into that never healing wound.
Are You Afraid She'll Search for Her Real Mom?
No, I'm not afraid she'll search for her real mom because I am right here. I've changed her dirty diapers, cleaned the boogers out of her nose, comforted her when she cried, rocked her to sleep, paid for her clothing and medical appointments, etc. If you meant to ask me if I am afraid she'll search for her birth mother, the answer again is no. We have an open adoption. Joci will have a relationship with her birth parents. She already does.
She's Lucky to Have Two Parents
People assume that Jocelyn's birth mom is a teenage statistic. Her birth parents are actually married and supportive of each other. They made their adoption plan together knowing it would be best for their daughter. I honestly don't mind questions about our adoption - I love to talk about it! But I get tired of assumptions.
I Could Never Give Up My Baby
Just count your blessings that you've never been in a situation to even have it cross your mind. I know our birth parents didn't make this decision based on what was "best for them." It was what was best for Jocelyn. And I am so touched and proud of their courage to make such a painful choice. Sometimes I wonder if people who say they "could never do that" really don't have as much love and courage.
Why Didn't/Don't You Try IVF?
People say this as casually as "Why did you get a Honda instead of a Toyota?" These choices are a lot more complex and not interchangeable in the slightest. It's a very personal question as well. IVF is very expensive with low odds. One month treatment is extremely expensive - most people can only afford to try once, let alone multiple times to compensate for the low success odds. IVF is physically taxing. Daily injections of hormones that effect moods, self-esteem, and overall health in general (my hormone therapy weakened my bones and caused me to lose about 1/3 of my hair). IVF also raises muddy ethical issues like the chance of having to selectively abort fetuses (or refusing to - anyone hear of Nadya Suleman?) or what to do with "leftover" embryos.
The decisions we made on how to grow our family were private and personal. These decisions did not come easily. We did some soul searching for our own needs, desires, and tolerances, and ultimately we hit our knees and took our problems before God. By questioning why we didn't chose IVF or asking whether or not we'll try it in the future feels like it belittles Jocelyn's adoption miracle and the divine direction we received for our lives.
Aren't You Afraid the Birth Mom Will Come to Take Her Back?
I'm not. Know why? I ask her. I talk to her. It's one of the benefits of having an open adoption. She sees how happy Jocelyn is and she knows and feels that she made the right choice and that we are her parents. This knowledge and reassurance is just one of the fringe benefits of having an open adoption. Plus, there is no legal way that could happen. It's called kidnapping.
You Still Visit/Talk to the Birth Parents? or I Could Never Have an Open Adoption
These comments are usually said with a derisive tone. I can tell these people are uncomfortable with the idea of open adoptions. That's okay. It's not for everyone. But like all of this, it was not a decision we came to lightly, and it is the best decision for us. It was seven months ago when we took Jocelyn home and it still is today. It's not for everyone, and that's okay. If those people ever adopt, they can opt to have a closed adoption. But we are happy and secure in our decision and if you can't support it, keep your mouth shut.
Are You Afraid She'll Have Problems?
It irks me when people automatically assume that adoption causes severe emotional problems. I had someone close to me tell me while we were doing our paperwork that all adopted children have reactive attachment disorder (a very uncommon disorder where children don't emotionally bond properly). Sometimes I just want to ask annoying things back, like "You have three kids sharing a room? Are you afraid they'll have problems?" or "Remember how you snorted Smarties in seventh grade? Are you afraid your kid will have problems?" or "Your son likes to play dress up with his older sister? Are you afraid he'll have problems?"
We know things will come up and we actively learn all we can to handle those things as best we can. Research has proven that adopted children tend to do better in school, have higher self-esteem, and are less likely to do drugs. It's really offensive that people assume she'll have problems because she was adopted.
Okay, so that's my rant for today. I know I was very honest and maybe even bordered on rude. But seriously, these things are rude. And I've heard all of them - more than once. They're hurtful and disrespectful. We love our baby girl and the journey we went through to get her. It is no less than a miracle and we'd do all again - in the exact same way - in a heartbeat.