Adoption has been on my mind. In regards to my whole feeling of natural is nice. In regards to laying out a possible path in family building. I have been reading adoption blogs and talking about adoption and scouring the Internet for information. I have been making a list of books to read. I have been trying to be active without actually being active.
If we're supposed to believe that natural-born babies are the designer purses and A.R.T. babies are the knockoffs, then what are adoption and third-party reproduction: stealing the pocketbook off the back of the truck?
And this is what bothers me: don't you want your own child? And those words echo inside my head every time I click on an adoption information web site because I know that's what other people are going to be thinking about my decision. And on one hand, I don't care. And on the other hand, I care very much but I'm pretending I don't care. And on one hand I believe that their feelings are small and insignificant and on the other hand, even if I know that their beliefs are wrong, I can't wave them away and pretend they don't exist. If you're keeping count, I currently have four hands. And we're not even delving beneath the surface yet.
Because this is how I view adoption. Adoption is a gift, possibly the largest gift that one can give and much much more meaningful than a multimillion dollar endowment. It is a designer purse that goes from your hands to mine. I'm not borrowing it. I'm not watching it for you. It's now mine. It's my Prada purse and I promise that I will always recognize its worth and never leave it under a table at a restaurant. And when you give me a gift, that object becomes mine. And when you give me a child, that child becomes mine. It is my own child. No less a part of me than a biological child. Just as a baby created out of third-party reproduction is no less a part of me. Once that child becomes mine, it enters my heart and becomes part of my blood just as much as a child that is entirely genetically mine that has grown inside my womb. And those are my feelings.
But I know that there are others who will never see my purse analogy--either because they don't understand women's fashion or they're small-minded and have strong feelings about things that don't affect them. And what do you do about the people who will never understand that becoming a parent is more than just genetics and biology. It is an emotional process. Giving birth doesn't make you a mother. Being able to procreate doesn't make you a mother. Loving and raising a child makes you a mother.
I am bothered by the "you can always adopt" comment that people flippantly offer when you talk about infertility because it's not true. You can't always adopt and this is something I am realizing as of late and blogging about in regards to Domar's message of hope. Because even if you get past all of the steps, even if they judge you to be a fit parent, there is always the financial aspect biting you in the ass. At the end of the day, we're not sure we can afford adoption and still live the life we're living. And that's partly the effects of secondary IF. If this was primary IF, we would probably be making different decisions. But as much as we say, "we'll make it work," I also know that we can't afford to take out an adoption loan because we can't afford to pay it back. In the same way that I'm realistic enough to know that we can't afford a new car right now and we can't afford to move houses.
At the beach, my husband and I engaged in one of our favourite games: which country. As in, which country do we want to choose for adoption. We haven't outruled domestic adoption, but for a host of reasons, we're leaning toward international adoption. I think it's important to chart a path--you wouldn't start driving without knowing directions to your destination, and I think it's important to view compromised fertility in the same way. I like to know the next few steps--to know they're in place even if we never use them. So we spend the evening throwing out countries and stating why we like the idea of the place or not. And this is based on the idea that when you adopt a child, you are forever tied to that country of origin. And we want to make sure that we are tied to a country that holds our interest so that we can do it justice when we teach our child about his/her roots.
As we drove home from the beach, I started thinking about this game and why we play it. Because it's emotional preparation. Because it's fun to daydream about a future child. Because it doesn't cost anything to talk about it. Because we have the utmost respect for the adoption process (both the birth parents and the adoptive parents) and talking about it makes us feel like we may one day get there ourselves. But is it healthy? It's not like how we talk about buying a beach house one day. If I never own a beach house, I will still be a complete person. My emotions are not tied up in owning property. But my emotions are extremely tied up in family building. And if it's never going to be a possibility for us, I don't want to talk about it like it will be. And maybe that's the point of the game. To realize our own feelings about adoption and how badly we want another child. How much we would be willing to sacrifice. How much we would be willing to take an alternative path.
We are so ingrained to hold onto the idea of "natural means better" (breast is best) that some ignore the possibility that there is much good to be found on a different path. And that path isn't a lesser path, it is just a different path.
Natural born children are the Prada purses. A.R.T. children are the Kate Spades. Adoptive and third-party reproduction children are the Gucci. All purses. None above the other in quality with the idea being that you end up with one within your means. With the understanding that a purse is a purse and it's meant to hold items. And a parent-child relationship is a parent-child relationship (with all its joy and pain) regardless of family building methods.