I remember when I started talking to friends about our infertility struggles, and worrying whether we’d ever have a child. After talking for a while, my friends would eventually touch on the subject of adoption. I know many of my internet compadres on infertility boards hate (and would often be offended by) the usual question of, “well, are you open to adoption?” as a solution to infertility. And, in some ways, I completely understand that.
But, the truth of the matter is, in many ways I didn’t always understand the annoyance with asking about whether adoption was a viable option for growing a family. When I was five, my mother told me that I was special from other kids. She shared that I was adopted as a baby, and that I had two mothers and two fathers. And my adoption, like any other life experience, that has skewed my perceptions on a great many things throughout my life.
Now, my adoption was a bit different than the road we are going down. I was adopted through a kinship adoption, or inter-family adoption. My birth mother was a teenager who got pregnant during high school, and who had no desire to raise a child or be a mother. I can definitely understand that sentiment…looking back at myself at 17, I was nowhere near the age of wanting to (or knowing how to) parent a child. Her parents (my maternal grandparents), told my birth mother that they would adopt the child from birth, and raise the child as their own. So, as a young kid, I believed that my birth mother and her two siblings were my siblings as well. It wasn’t until I was a little older, around five or six, that I was told I was adopted and that “T” was the woman who gave birth to me. Granted, there’s a lot a five year old understands, but the inter-family politics and nuances of small-town life aren’t one of them. It was explained in simple terms…I had two moms and two dads. And with that, I skipped off to go play in dirt or something equally childlike, and didn’t really worry about it.
And honestly, as I got older, I understood better what all that meant, but it was never anything that I viewed negatively. I had a relationship with my birth mom, but it was more of a much older sibling/aunt than anything. It was never motherly, and that was completely ok, because I had my own mom for that. I never met my birth father, and while it was probably something that would have been possible (after all, not much is hidden in a small midwestern town), it wasn’t anything that ever really seemed worth it, and so I never bothered pursuing that path.
So…people ask me occasionally (now that we’ve decided on adoption) how we made the decision to adopt. I honestly tell them that, for me, adoption has always seemed second nature. I have always wanted to grow my family through adoption, because it is at the base of my roots as well…I just never thought that would be the ONLY way we’d grow our family. Nonetheless, I don’t have any sort of negative feelings on not being able to carry our own biological child. You would think that, after years of infertility treatments and the like, I would still grieve the loss of being able to carry a child in my body. There were moments where I was worried that I would feel that way, and I can completely understand how women would grieve that loss. It’s heartbreaking to want something so badly and feel like it’s just slightly outside your grasp. For me (personally), I’ve always been more interested in being a mother, not so much in being pregnant…so that is something that I can accomplish through adoption, and therefore I am perfectly ok with it. It’s exciting and full of hope, and I feel like it’s my path in life!
I’m happy to answer any questions from an adopted child’s perspective, if anyone wants to ask. If you want to send me questions, or comment on the post, I can do a Q&A for my next post. I’ve always been open about my adoption and talking about it, and love to share my experiences with others, so please don’t be shy!