I couldn't think of a good word for the inability to adopt, so I made up my own:
In-Adoption.* (Think In-Fertility.)
It's a topic I don't often write about here on my blog, because it is very painful.
But there have been a LOT (I mean, a TON) of posts lately about adoption in blogworld, so I thought I'd jump on the wagon.
First, it has been very difficult for me to understand why God has given me this cross on top of the cross of infertility. It is so painful for me to hear and read comments associated with adoption and home studies that take for granted the fact that there are people in the world (though sometimes I feel like the only one) who, through no fault of their own, cannot adopt. I could compare it to an infertile woman hearing people talk about their fertility.
For example, when we hear women say, "Every time my husband looks at me I get pregnant!" it reminds us just how infertile we are, standing on our heads after 5 straight days of intercourse, pre-seed in one hand, OPKs in the other. When another women talks about how they plan to avoid pregnancy with contraception for a specific amount of time, and then come off and BAM they're pregnant, it grates on our nerves to know that the privilege of being able to plan OUR families has been robbed of us. And when fertile people give you that bewildered look- you know that look- when they find out you have infertility, like it never occurred to them that there may be people who just cannot get pregnant, while here they are with 2 kids 10 months apart, 1 previous abortion, and an IUD in place they are PRAYING continues to work.
It is very similar for me in my current state of "in-adoption."
When I hear others discussing how "quickly" their adoption happened, how they "didn't even plan on adopting" and suddenly 428 calls are coming in of birthmothers dying to make an adoption plan with them, or how they are able to discuss plans for the next adoption, it strikes at my very core. And then there's the look- the look of fertiles and infertiles alike, who, upon hearing that I cannot become Home Study approved, know not what to say or do. It just never occurred to them that there are people who cannot adopt.
This doesn't make adoptive parents who make these comments or do these things bad people. Just like it doesn't make a woman blessed with fertility a bad person for saying or doing anything that could offend an infertile (unless, of course, it is done to intentionally cause harm).
But it does make it much more difficult for me to open up about my infertility when I also have in-adoption.
I noticed that I was VERY open with people I hadn't seen in years when we were about 6 months into the adoption process (right before the first "snafu.") At my High School Reunion last June, I told my entire table and my first boyfriend from 6th grade and his girlfriend that I was having trouble getting pregnant and that we were going to be adopting. I was just SO excited about it, and I wanted everyone to know what joy adoption was already bringing into my life.
Even with fellow infertiles and subfertiles, I was much more willing to open up and share about my struggles with infertility when I could close by saying, "But we have been called to adopt and feel that our infertility served (or will serve) a tremendous purpose in bringing us to our first child." Now I tend to not be so open anymore, because I dread the comments, the assumptions, and "the look." (The assumptions being that there must be some good reason why we've been denied, and we must not be good prospective parents. Or that we're dirt poor and have no pot to piss in... which is not an assumption any adoptive parent would have, but those not familiar with adoption assume it's ALWAYS about money.)
The thing is, these comments, assumptions, looks, and implications make me feel 100 times worse than anything I've ever felt about my infertility, because I know my infertility intimately. Let me explain- I fully comprehend the beauty, the purpose, the gift, and the meaning of my infertility. Through the years, it has grown even more beautiful, more purposeful, become an even greater gift and developed greater meaning than ever. Furthermore, I know my infertility is from God.
But I do NOT understand my in-adoption. I see no beauty in being called to the beautiful act of adoption and not being able to fulfill it. I see no purpose in my hands being tied as I watch others achieve their dreams of parenthood through adoption. I do not see in-adoption as a gift that is displaying itself in other ways in my life, or leading me to anything good. And I do not see the meaning in my being denied the ONLY other route to motherhood that is safe and legal (because I suppose I could always become a baby-burglar).
Finally, I do not view my in-adoption as being from God. Rather, it was an objective decision made by strangers who do not know me or my husband. (God's decision to give me the gift of infertility was FAR from objective. At least in my eyes.) And no matter who the strangers are (agency, lawyers, etc.) they would all add 2+2 to get 4, i.e. no matter HOW adoption were put on the table in front of us, OTHER PEOPLE would always come to the same conclusion: we are unfit parents.
There's no way around the fact that that HURTS. God giving me infertility is not Him telling me I am not a fit mother. It is not Him saving the world from any children I may raise, heaven-forbid.
But human beings giving me in-adoption is doing just that. It is telling me, and everyone around me, that I am an unfit mother. It is "saving the world" and all of the birthmothers from the danger of my parenthood.
But just because I cannot make sense of my in-adoption does not mean (I've decided) that I cannot make something of it.
For some reason God has allowed this additional suffering to come into my life at this time. It has lasted 11 months already. One thing I am sure about is that I was meant to suffer this cross at this time. Otherwise I would not have received such a CLEAR call to begin the adoption process when I did, and I would not have adoption placed so firmly on my heart. I would like to think that this cross, as heavy as it is, has been able to lift the burden for others. I've always felt that the suffering involved with infertility has redemptive qualities, so why not the suffering of in-adoption? Why can't I offer up my inability to adopt right now for those birthmothers struggling with whether to make an adoption plan or to abort? Or for other infertile couples hoping to adopt? Or even for those suffering from crosses they, too, do not understand (a child dying from leukemia, a man called to the priesthood but unable to fulfill that call).
Please note: I do not mean to put those two examples side-by-side to imply that those two circumstances are as BAD as the other. Rather, they are examples of situations that don't seem to make any sense no matter how hard you try to make sense of them.
Our counselor, whom we've seen for two sessions already, has recommended that I pray daily and fervently to God to remove any suffering that is NOT redemptive from my life IMMEDIATELY. And what suffering He allows to remain, for it to be as redemptive as possible. I have been praying this for weeks now. I have to believe the suffering that remains is doing some good. Maybe a lot of good.
* For this blog post, the term "in-adoption" shall refer to the inability to adopt OR foster. "In-foster" just didn't sound as good.