How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I take counsel in my soul
and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy (fertiles) be exalted over me?
But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.
Psalm 13:1-2 & 5-6
I also want to link to my friend A's post that describes many of my own thoughts as I wait (not very patiently) on God.
Yesterday, I finally picked up the book Inconceivable by Shannon Woodward that I have been putting off reading, and read about 2/3 of it in one sitting . I sobbed as I read the first part, and how much her descriptions of the emotions that surround infertility mirrored my own. It is so much like reading an infertility blog, where somebody can often give words and a voice to feelings I have had but perhaps struggle to name or express myself. Woodward's journey is a heartbreaking one that moves to adoption soon after her infertility diagnosis, and includes many failed adoption attempts.
Her feelings throughout her first successful adoption described many of my own thoughts as I seek God about whether or not he would have us move forward with adoption. However, at this time I do not feel God's leading in that direction - or any direction for that matter - and I have so many conflicting thoughts, emotions, and doubts about adoption.
Woodward pursues domestic adoption, which is the form of adoption that I have thought the most about. As selfish as it sounds, I think it is my starting point because it is the one that most closely mimics birthing a biological child (outside of embryo adoption, which is currently not a consideration for us). In most domestic adoptions, it does seem like one is able to bring home a newborn (unlike international adoption), and the goal is for you to parent the baby for 18+ years (unlike foster to adopt where the goal is reunification with the birth parents).
I want to share some poignant passages from the book where Woodward shares her heart as she navigates through her first successful adoption. The emotions behind these quotes reflect my own fears and questions as I think about adoption:
Woodward is meeting with a birth mother who has chosen her and her husband to adopt the baby. Upon her arrival, the birth mother lights a cigarette and begins smoking, which understandably upsets Woodward as she thinks about how the cigarettes are effecting her unborn baby. She writes, "I watched her smoke and felt a sickening grip of frustration...I was a beggar, and beggars don't make demands. Beggars take whatever is handed to them, and smile and say thank you. She could do whatever she pleased between now and the moment she handed that child to me - and I had no right to stop her. It's the law of pander. You hold out your cup and you don't say a word." (69)
Later, Woodward and her husband arrive at the hospital just after their son is born. They enter the elevator full of joy and excitement to meet their son, and end up sharing the elevator with a janitor.
"'It's pretty late for a visit - but you folks look happy. Must be good news,' he prods.
'The best,' Dave says.
'We're adoptive parents; our baby has just been born,' I add.
His smile fades.... 'Now listen,' he begins his lecture, 'don't you two be runnin' in there all happy and such. This is a hard time for the mom. Be sensitive.'
His words are like liquid nitrogen. They surround me in a cloud of frigid accusation and harden every soft spot they touch. My heart is cold like ice when the door opens and we mechanically step out. I am an interloper, pretender, the insensitive stealer of babies. Why would anyone in her right mind let me even touch her child?" (81)
Throughout their time at the hospital, everybody from the nurses to the birth mother's sister treats the adoptive parents like they are baby stealers. Fortunately, they have a a strong relationship with the birth mother, but then on the day they arrive at the hospital to take their son home, she says, "If I hadn't grown to love [the adoptive parents], this baby would be home with me right now." (86)
I guess in the face of the birth mother's grief and so much opposition, I wonder if I could take the baby home. It's just such a cloudy and painful situation for everyone involved. I vividly remember Leah writing about the nature of loss in adoption on her blog - a birth mother loses her child, a child loses his birth mother, and an adoptive couple has, often times, already experienced much loss through infertility. When I start thinking about it, the heaviness and truth of those losses is heartbeaking to me.
And then I come back to this: why can't I just have the simple joy of pregnancy and childbirth, that is not linked to so much suffering?
See, I am back to square one: infertility treatments that don't work.
**Disclaimer: I know adoption is a hot topic. I welcome your opinions, but if anybody leaves a hateful comment it will not be published.**