Friday, September 6, 2013

Thoughts on adoption, part 2: being different

For the "processing thoughts by writing" file.

I wrote on Monday that one of my reasons for wanting to adopt an infant is to get the attention that's given to the mom of an infant, and how I think that's something that needs purified in me. I certainly didn't mean to suggest that adopting an infant is somehow wrong or selfish (not that I think anyone thought that). In my heart of hearts I would love to experience all the sweet infant moments with a child, whether biological or adopted. Who knows if I'll get the chance to do that?

Here's another way that I think adoption would purify me: it would free me from the need to be/seem the same as everyone else. What I mean is, the normal course for a married couple is to have children of their own. It's expected, it's common, it's natural, it's what happens to most people. In fact, it happens more than once to quite a lot of people. (That seems like such a magical "other world" to me - having not only one child, but more than one? Unfathomable.)

Adopting is not the normal course of events. It's different. It's rarer, more unusual. Not counting the adoptive moms I know online (who I am very grateful for!) I don't know any peers in real life who've adopted or are in the process of adopting. Mr. M's brother and SIL adopted (and then had quadruplets - they have seven kids now, crazy!) and I want to talk with my SIL next time we're visiting. And I have an aunt or uncle who adopted my cousin (and then had a biological child). But I don't know anyone at church, work, or in my immediate network of friends who's adopted, who's thinking about adopting, or who's in the process of adopting.

That makes the whole thing feel even more daunting. And it makes me feel like if we go down that path, we're going to stick out like a sore thumb. One day I'm not pregnant and the next, bam! we have a child. And maybe a child who looks nothing like us, or an older child.

I'll admit it - I'm scared of being different. On the one hand, I feel like I've grown a lot in being comfortable being different by having fertility issues. I've kind of grown into that, I guess, over the past two years, and I feel like I can be myself and not worry about what others are thinking re: our family size. On the other hand, I still keep our IF struggles quite hidden. Most of our close friends know, plus our immediate families, but lots of others don't, or at best, have guessed. Starting the adoption process, and getting to the point where we'll ask for help and/or give people a heads up that a child might appear in our home without me ever being pregnant - that's scary to me. It's scary to be different, to grow our family in a less usual way.

Sometimes I beg God just to be normal. Just to have the normal life of getting married and getting pregnant. Of having the mom struggles of sleepless nights and teething babies, instead of having anxiety over treatment options and a sense of failure at my body.

To be normal. I guess that's a pretty common desire, right?

But I know that's something that needs to be purified too. Last time I checked, Christ calls us to be saints, not to be "normal," whatever we take that to mean! I'm pretty sure by now that this IF journey - however long it lasts, and may it please be over soon - is part of my growth in holiness. How could it not be? At the least, I don't want to squander all these trials!

I'm probably worrying over nothing. If we do move toward adoption, we'd tell people slowly, and they'd get used to it, and probably would overwhelm us with their love and generosity. (Already two of our best friends offered to donate to our adoption fund.) And "being different" would probably start to feel normal, just as "being different," i.e. fertility challenged, has become its own normal, which is good and bad, I guess. (Bad because at the end of the day, it's not normal to not be able to conceive. Good because it brings a sense of peace and acceptance.)

I want to have this attitude: If my path is different, if my life looks really different than the others around me, so be it. I trust you, God, that you can make my life beautiful. Please help me not to idolize being normal and fitting in. Help me be brave to follow You, even if that is into a place where we feel alone.

Jesus, I trust in you.



  1. Beautiful! I can completely relate to this post - every bit of it! You are not alone. Wanting to be normal is something I think I've desired my whole life, but God has always thrown a curve ball my way to make me stand out. You are right. We are called to be saints and not normal. IF really is a unique and special experience (even though it is extremely painful at times). I will continue to pray for you as you make your way through these decisions!

  2. I love this post! I almost have tears in my eyes. God has just started moving my heart towards adoption and to hear more about your journey is very... touching. Thank you so much for sharing and challenging us all to be interiorly honest. (Is interiorly a word? LOL)

  3. :-) I understand your desire to feel "normal". Absolutely. Adoption is more complicated than just hopping into bed with your DH and having a surprise baby (how did that happen?) like my BIL/SIL seem to keep doing. Urg. I so understand the desire to be normal there.
    But in the midst of parenting a child we adopted, it is very normal ... so you do get some normal. :). It just takes more effort to get that baby/child home to you.
    And I LOVE how you state that Jesus calls us to be saints, NOT normal. I need to have that cross stitched and smack myself upside the head when I have "woe-is-me" moments about how easy some people build their families.
    I'm blessed to be able to "watch" your family grow and all that comes with it. :)

  4. Agreed, we are not called to normal, but to "Him." That is something to keep in mind for whatever trial comes our way.