So why don’t you adopt?
If I had to come up with one statement asked more than any other in my history with infertility, it would be, “Why didn’t you adopt?,” also phrased as, “You would have made the best parents, why didn’t you adopt?,” or “There’s plenty of children out there who need a home, why didn’t you adopt?”
These statements are similar to ones said to the person who has just lost her husband: “Maybe you will meet someone else, and remarry,” or the woman who miscarried: “There must have been something wrong, you will be able to have another baby.” or the parent who loses their child to cancer, or other disease: “It was God’s will that it happened…at least your child is no longer suffering.”
Just like all the things mentioned above, the decision to adopt is a very intimate and personal one. Adoption is something I highly support; many of my closest friends have either successfully adopted, or have been adopted themselves. It’s a wonderful gift from God that fulfills a need on both sides.
When my husband and I were still trying to have a child, adoption was something we seriously considered. We discussed it with friends, and at one point we knew a couple willing to help us with an international adoption.
Throughout all of this, I was working through the endless emotions that came with discovering I would never carry our child. I was also working on my relationship with God, a relationship that had suffered greatly over the years.
My breakthrough came when I started praying for God to remove my pain. Although He didn’t completely take it away, He did replace a lot of the longing I had for a child with something else. God filled my heart with the love of writing. He gave me a purpose, and in that moment He also gave me hope and a future.
So then, Why didn’t you adopt?
To be quite honest, I never felt called to. I believe God had/has a different purpose for my life, one that doesn’t currently include children of my own. He gave us a “happy ever after” that we didn’t ask for, but in doing so, we’re discovering more and more everyday that it’s the perfect happy for us.
The motto for National Infertility Awareness Week is “You are not alone.” As I’ve read over so many stories this week, I’ve discovered that a lot of the pain comes from feeling alone. The shame, embarrassment, and guilt we feel from not being able to have children sometimes worsens due to the often well-meaning statements and questions from others.
As humans, we have the innate ability to want to fix things. We want to offer solutions to problems, and give advice to our friends and loved ones. Sometime we do it because we really do care and want to help, but other times we do it because we don’t know what else to say.
I understand that, but if I could offer advice for someone who has a friend or loved one in pain, (it doesn’t have to only be infertility) the best thing you can give is your presence. Sometimes, the best thing to say is nothing at all.
*8 things not to say to your friend who is dealing with infertility.
- Don’t gossip about your friend’s condition.
- Don’t say you have plenty of time.
- Don’t push adoption or another solution.
- Don’t ask why they are not trying IVF.
- Don’t say they are not meant to be parents.
- Don’t say that there are worst things that can happen.
- Don’t minimize the problem.
- Don’t tell them to relax.
From *Resolve: the National Infertility Association #NIAW
Photo © Salina T Gibson
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