Thursday, March 31, 2011

The book so far

I mentioned in my last post that I finally started reading the book Adopted for Life, and really struggled with a few paragraphs in the first chapter. Overall I was interested in what he had to say and appreciated where he was going, but when I got to those couple of chapters I felt my defenses go up.

In the first, he said something about only adopting if you are "called" to adopt, because no child wants to be adopted by a family who felt it was their duty they had to do. And, yes, I agree on some level - it is not a second-best solution. But I also cringed at the tone behind his description of being "called" because I feel different than how he described it. Perhaps I am just not there yet, I don't know. But I have been growing in my understanding of adoption and how it could be a part of our lives, and that God may "call" us by aligning our desires for a family with the fact that we may not have biological children - thus he is leading us to adopt. Maybe it just goes back to my motivation to adopt is different because I want to have a family first and foremost, not rescue an orphan. And I again questioned myself - is that wrong?

I kept reading, and came to a section where he told the reader who he was writing this book for: the couple looking to add to their family through adoption, the grandparents hoping to learn about the children's adoption plans, etc. Then he specifically emphasizes the husband who is facing infertility but is resiting because he wants children of "his own." And the wife who is anxiously waiting for two lines on the pregnancy test, but has a stack of adoption agency packets tucked away as a "last resort." And something about the tone of his writing made me feel judged. This led to the melt down on Sunday where I cried with my husband. Thankfully it led to a good conversation between us, and I do think I am insecure about the role adoption will play in our lives....so I am overly sensitive. I don't think the book, at this point, was saying anything I disagreed with or was trying to discourage me.

I picked up the book again last night and read more. The next chapter delved more deeply into the theology of adoption, what it means for God to call us his adopted children, and how this metaphor of adoption can be acted out through physical adoption. I had heard sermons and read a couple articles like this before, so none of this was particularly new to me, but I did thoroughly enjoy how seamlessly the spiritual metaphor connects to physical adoption - it is the Gospel lived out. It is beautiful.

However, the following chapter is for the infertile couple....and the friends, families, and pastors of infertile couples. Although I found it somewhat hard to believe, the author and his wife did experience infertility. Of course, every person and couple is different in how they grieve and the directions they move in, but, overall, I found his advice in this section to be very simplistic in addressing the complex emotions and grief of infertile couples. He says he disagrees with the philosophy that it is insensitive to ask these couples to consider adoption, or to point out the sin of "genetic idolatry" as couples wrestle with infertility. In fact, the chapter begins by him describing a couple who comes to him for pastoral counseling in regards to infertility treatments, and his first question is, "Why don't you consider adoption?"

I agree that there is much sin in each of our hearts...and that infertility is not an excuse to let sin reign in our hearts. I have, indeed, struggled with bitterness, jealousy, coveting, despair, and I'm sure many other sins within my infertility journey. And if one of these took hold of my heart and began to flourish there, I would want somebody to "call me out" and point me to the path of hope and joy that is forgiveness in Christ. But I also believe God has been faithful to continue revealing these things to me and moulding me, and often times those sinful thoughts, words, actions, or motivations are intricately linked to complex emotions. The author's advice here to the friends and family of infertile couples strikes me as overly simplistic and dangerous - that it will give license to them to look down on couples who do pursue fertility treatments rather than adopt, and to "call them out" on sin without showing enough compassion to their pain.

He then went on to state his opinion that infertility treatments - especially IVF - are wrong. Ok, maybe wrong is a strong word for what he says, but he certainly doesn't agree with them. Before pursuing fertility treatments, I specifically read four Christian books/ articles that addressed the topic, and came away with three differing opinions: they are wrong, they can be done in a conservative manner (the path we chose), or they fine (I obviously simplified all of these arguments). So I know not all Christians agree with our choices, and that is ok. It is one of those areas that we have to pray about, educate ourselves, and make our decisions - but, clearly, people come to different conclusions within that. And I am ok with this author making his own conclusions, but, honestly, I did not see why they needed to be in this book about adoption. I know this sections was for the infertile couple, so I guess he wanted to throw his lengthy opinion about treatments/ IVF in there to persuade them to adoption rather than treatments...but I didn't like it in here.

Honestly, this whole part of the book really upset me. Of course, I wonder if I am defensive because I am wrong - isn't being defensive often because I am justifying myself and unwilling to see my sin? Am I here? Am I committing "genetic idolatry?" Perhaps one day I will look back and see that the author is more right in this section than I give him credit for, and that I was more wrong than I think....but, today, I just felt angry at his words. And I know so many people who have read this book. I think it is quite a popular book in Christian circles right now, and I hate that this is the ONE view of fertility treatments that most of them will ever read - because they wanted to read a book about adoption, they also got an opinion on fertility treatments thrown at them. And the ONE view of how to talk to an infertile couple about adoption. I feel like I can look back on conversations with people who I know have read the book, and as we talked about my infertility they were probably hearing me through the lens of this book...which makes me embarrassed. My best friend from across the country is literally leaving in a couple weeks to get her adopted son from R.wanda, and she and her husband just read this book....and, honestly, I felt like the way she listened and talked to me two weeks ago was different than before. This was before I had read it, but I had a conscious thought after our conversation that I felt more unsettled rather than encouraged after talking to her. Maybe it was just an off conversation, but I can't help but think she was influenced by this chapter. Now I feel scared to talk to anybody who has read this book, that they are all looking for ways to point me down the right path of adoption.

Again, maybe I am wrong. Maybe my heart is hard. Maybe I will look back and feel "shame" at my thoughts and decisions in this season of life like the author does about himself while they were struggling with infertility. But I know and trust God will be faithful to continue the work he has begin in me - in my salvation and in the area of adoption.

My husband and I have had a few good conversations come out of my riled up rants, and I am thankful that we are on the same page. He wisely pointed out that, based on what I described, the author seems to be trying to put infertility and adoption in a "one size fits all" box that just doesn't work. He also reminded me about when we were engaged and started reading the book As For Me and My House. Like Adopted for Life, this one was very highly rated and popular. However, as we read it, we felt like it just didn't sit right with us at it described the difficulties ahead in marriage. We agreed with the ideas expressed, but the way they were written seemed to take away our joy and excitement of being engaged and replaced it with a little fear and trepidation about what was to come in marriage. We got about a quarter through the book when DH announced rather abruptly that he didn't think we should read it anymore. It wasn't that we didn't like the book or disagreed with it (which is a little different than Adopted for Life for me at this point...), but it just didn't suit us where we were at. We agreed that there will be rough times in our marriage ahead, and that we would remember the book so that we could turn to it as a resource. So we we stopped. This morning DH asked me if maybe this book was like that, and if I should stop reading it right now? I think I am going to keep going, though. This is THE adoption book among Christians, and I think I need to know what is says. And just because one chapter doesn't sit right with me, I think I can still learn and grow from the others. As one commenter wisely suggested, I will try to keep reading it with a grain of salt.

Oh, and I'm also not going to read it before bed anymore because it made me too upset to be able to fall asleep afterwards. Bah. Sorry this is so long - it's proof of how riled up it made me!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Snippets

  • We finished our antibiotics today!!! YAY! I only had the one barfing experience, but that was enough to make me hate every single one I had to take. This morning I did a little jig as I swallowed the last one. :)
  • My lining and estrogen look good. I go back next week for another check, and then we will schedule the ET for the week after that. I am nervous but I want to get this over with. I want to just know, one way or another, what direction my life is going.
  • I finally started reading Adopted for Life on Sunday. I only read the intro and the first chapter, but I have to admit I felt judged while reading it. This probably deserves its own post, so I'll stop there, but I will say I had a big melt down on Sunday after reading this. However, I do think it is probably more me than the book (it's not me, it's you! ha), and it is too early for me to really give a review of it.
  • In light of the above, DH said I am over thinking everything related to adoption. He thinks every adoption story is unique and I can't plan it all out. However, I think all of these things I am trying to think through will inform a lot of decisions, and DH wants to take the "easy" way by not thinking about it. It was a really great conversation and I think we did what God intended us to do: we balanced each other out.
  • It was my friend's birthday today, and we spend a lovely and relaxing afternoon together. I took her to lunch, and then we got manicures/ pedicures. I love doing this but usually only end up going once a year (if that), so it was quite a treat! We both got a dark purple color for our fingernails that we thought was pretty trendy, but it looks black and I kinda like it. :) Who would have thought?





Thursday, March 24, 2011

I barfed. In public.

This morning I went to meet a friend for our weekly coffee-shop-before-work visit. I took an antibiotic for our FEggT just before leaving the house so I wouldn't have to remember when I got to the coffee shop. Normally I just get coffee or tea there, but this morning I knew I needed to eat something so this nasty blue pill wouldn't be sitting in my empty stomach, so I ordered a little muffin to go with my tea, which I thought would be enough.

Within a half hour, waves of nausea started washing over me. At first I tried to ignore it and kept talking, but pretty soon I was so uncomfortable that I had to tell my friend. She asked if I needed anything, and I looked over at the food counter to see if I should order something else, but I was already to the point where nothing looked good. I asked if we could walk a few stores down to a grocery store so I could get something more substantial than the sweet pastries there.

We stepped outside and I was feeling terrible. I have had antibiotic induced nausea before, but it was never this bad. We walked a few feet down, and I realized that I was actually fighting back the urge to vomit. I rarely vomit, and when I have done so it has always been due to a stomach flu or food poisoning...never over a tiny blue pill.

But there I was. On the sidewalk next to Ki.nkos/ Fe.d Ex and facing Tr.ader Joe's. I realized almost too late what was going to happen, but (thankfully) there was a public trashcan there on the sidewalk.

And I barfed. And before you think this was one, "Bleh," let me set you straight. No, this was repeated, "Blehs" into the dirty trash can.

People were walking by.

My friend was standing next to me.

I started crying.

I hate those antibiotics. I think I am going to gain some weight, because I have to take them 2x/ day for five more days, and I am going to make sure I have a very full stomach from now on.

I couldn't help but wonder if that was what morning sickness is like... and if the closest I will ever be to experiencing it is from taking medication trying to get pregnant.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Seeking hope for today

First things first, I got the green light for the cycle to begin. My estrogen was high-ish like always (73), but that is below their cut-off of 80...so I started the Delestrogen last night.

It was pretty difficult being at the RE's office yesterday. So much hope, time, and money have passed through there over the last year and a half, but I realized just how little hope I have in treatments working. I don't mean that in a doubtful sort of way - I know God could indeed give us a miracle pregnancy! - but I just feel done with treatments. I think God is blessing me with confirmation in the decision to stop treatments after this cycle.

While talking with the RE, he made an off-handed comment about "if this doesn't work, we may need to talk about a laparatomy surgery to make sure there is nothing in the uterine cavity causing these good looking embryos to not implant..." And, for a moment, I wanted to go there with him. If he thinks we could keep going, maybe we should?! I wanted to hope. But as the appointment progressed, everything about it pushed me further away. The thought of another surgery, the thought of spending another penny there, the thought of another negative result...

I just knew in my heart we were done.

I am thankful for that, because needing to make that decision about when we would stop treatments was always a fear of mine. Would I ever be ready? How would we know what the Lord was leading? How could I actually stop treatments when the thought of never getting pregnant and having a child is so very painful? But yesterday, I felt peace about this decision. Thank you, God.

In the midst of the peace, there is still a lot of pain. I cried off and on yesterday. I feel thankful that we have this one more chance, but I can't help but gloss over it and look ahead to beyond it as though it was already a negative. DH has been really great about praying for this cycle on my behalf, since it is so difficult for me to offer any hopeful prayers about pregnancy. I feel hopeful in the spiritual sense, but not hopeful that God will answer this prayer with a yes, if that makes sense.

But I do have one opportunity left. God gave us these frozen eggs and an RE that is optimistic about working with us still. I don't want to wallow this opportunity away in fear and doubt. So I am praying that God would help me to focus on today and on this cycle - tomorrow will bring what it may.

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? 28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:25-34, New International Version, ©2011)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Um, cycle day 1

Yeah. It's here. I'm going to see the RE tomorrow.

I haven't set foot in there to start a treatment cycle in five months. And whether or not this cycle is another negative, this will be the last "cycle day 1."

That feels so large and heavy tonight.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The adoption seminar

We attended about half of an adoption seminar at our church on Saturday morning. I had written about feeling some anxiety about attending, but, thankfully, I was cool as a cucumber while there. No tears. No threats of tears. I felt like a pretty normal person attending a seminar - not the heart broken and confused one I am on many other days. Including the day before. (Which, by the way, I ended up watching a TV episode on Hulu after writing that post to just get my mind to hit the reset button and stop freaking out on me. It worked.)

Overall, the seminar was great. I enjoyed the speakers, but I confess I did feel like an outside observer. I wasn't really engaged as I listened. Also, I did feel different than most of the people attending. I only knew about 25 of the (75?) people there...and of those, only one may be considering adopting because she has been unable to have children. Maybe.

Anyway, I didn't feel out of place in the awkward sort of way, but I felt like our main goal was very different than everyone else. The speakers' messages, and the choices of which break out sessions people attended, pointed to the goal of orphan care, which is sometimes done through adoption. These people want to respond to God's directive to care for the fatherless and the widow.

Me? Well, I just want to have a family. If I end up loving and caring for an orphan in the process, that seems like a bonus that God orchestrated.

There were break out sessions offered - a foster care panel with foster agencies speaking and answering questions, how to care for orphans without adopting, international adoption, etc. There was also one on private domestic adoption led by an adoption lawyer who attends our church, and this is the one that DH & I chose to attend.

We were the only ones there, which was fine. Because if you want to meet a need out there in the world, jumping into the pool of hopeful adoptive parents who are waiting for a newborn is not meeting as much of a need - especially if there are 40 adoptive couples waiting for each newborn placed (a statistic the lawyer said at one point)). But if you simply want to have a family, and experience as much of motherhood as you can....well, this is where we landed. Me & DH.

Well, actually, there was one more person, and it's a pretty hilarious story. As I mentioned, this overall seminar was not only about adoption, and they advertised it to also include people who wanted to learn about other ways to care for orphans. There was one single, late twenties guy there that we know, and I thought it was awesome that he attended. Seriously, I wanted to try to set him up with one of my single friends right then and there! He was there to learn and see what he can do.

Apparently there was another single, twenty-something guy in attendance (whom we had never met before), because as we were getting started in our private domestic adoption session, this guy walked by in the hall looking a little lost. The lawyer asked him innocently if he was coming "in here" to the private domestic adoption seminar, and the guy, who still looked pretty confused, shrugged his shoulders and said, "Sure." The lawyer then started going through his material, and a few minutes into it asked the guy if he was married (kind of assuming that most people who adopt privately are married), and the guy just answered a surprised, "No."

"Are you thinking about adopting?" the lawyer asked, confused.

"No," answered the single twenty-something.

"Oh," responded the lawyer, even more confused. "So...are you just trying to get information?"

"Yeah," said single guy.

Needless to say, the lawyer pretty much directed the rest of his presentation to us. It was comically awkward to have single twenty-something guy there, because he was clearly in the wrong room. Unfortunately for all of us, DH & I had to leave about half way through this session because we had a youth ministry commitment, so we had to leave before we got to hear most of the information. And while this was unfortunate for us to miss, it seemed even more unfortunate to leave the lawyer and single twenty-something alone. Ha ha!

All in all, I am glad we went. But I didn't feel like it was an "a-ha!" moment for DH & I, either.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Mental chaos

I got sucked into the internet today. Sort of like when you're in the early stages of infertility and you go to Dr. Google and read all sorts of scary stuff and get freaked out....remember those days?

Yeah, I got sucked into the adoption blog land.

I don't even really know what to say about it all, but my mind is racing and I feel incredibly unsettled.

In an ideal world (and the way I believe God originally created the world), adoption wouldn't exist, right? Mothers would not get pregnant in difficult circumstances and would be able to raise their children. They would have the support and resources they need. In an ideal world, children wouldn't lose their first parents and have to experience that pain. In an ideal world, couples would be able to have children biologically.

But we live in a broken and sinful world. Because in an ideal world, there also wouldn't be death, disease, poverty, hunger, abuse, lying, broken relationships, anger, etc, etc, etc. And in this broken world there ARE women who cannot care for the children, there ARE children who lose their parents through adoption, and there ARE couples who cannot conceive. What do we do in this world? There are people who are completely anti-adoption who think there just needs to be more "support" out there for women in difficult situations....but I just think that is too idealized and impossible. But I also wonder if there are too many women out there who do make an adoption plan for their child when perhaps they could parent...but are facing some kind of societal/family/situational pressures not to? There are adult ad.optees out there who said they would have rather been aborted than adopted...my heart breaks.

How does one build their family through others' loss? And as one blogger I read pointed out, all forms of adoption are this, even if you do not have to have to face the birth mother's grief directly (ie international adoption). And the child. There is always this "better for the child" mentality in adoption, but when is it really better for the child? When the county decides it is unsafe? When a woman feels she cannot parent? When she thinks a two-parent home is better? How can we even answer these questions? I do think adoption can be better for the child, but I just think the actual deciding factors can be quite nebulous.

I know many people don't understand how God can be in control in a world where there is so much suffering....and I have tried to wrestle with this and express my thoughts on it through the lens of infertility. I do believe God can do amazing things through in this broken world, including through adoption. But I also wonder if we Christians can over-simplify things to not acknowledge all that is going on in adoption...I know I am very tempted to. On the flip side, I think the general population out there may not have HOPE in the God who does work all things for his glory and for good....even within the complexities of adoption.

I want to be informed, empathetic, and realistic. But right now I want to stick my head in the sand and ignore this broken world around me. And I am freaked out at the idea of ever being an adoptive mom.

*I know this post is all over the place. I know I just need to STOP reading things for a little while and take a step back so I gain some perspective. I almost don't want to publish it, but I decided I want this to be an honest place. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has freaked out over the pain associated with all three sides of adoption.

**I also know I am NO expert on anything to do with adoption. These are rather uniformed reactions to some stuff I read over the last couple days.

***Through reading the adoption blogs I know there are people out there with really strong (and sometimes hateful) opinions about these topics. If you post a comment that for whatever reason I don't feel comfortable with, I will not publish it. This is my space and not an open web forum.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Action in the Land of In Between

As I mentioned a few days ago, we are emotionally in-between fertility treatments and adoption. It is an unusual place because I feel utter grief AND hope at the same time - how those two emotions can sit side-by-side I do not know, but they do. I think since we are still in the super early stages of thinking about adoption (and I mean early), so the grief outweighs the hope most days. But the hope is trickling in, and we are moving forward in both worlds (finally).

The Land of Fertility Treatments:


My Frozen Egg Cycle should be starting very soon. We have 3 mature eggs frozen, and 6 immature eggs that the embryologist thinks could result in 2 out of 6 matured in the lab - so a potential total of 5 eggs. DH & I have yet to discuss and decide if we will fertilize all 5. We have fertilized 3 in the past, but had decided to do 4 in our last fresh cycle. However, that cycle they only retrieved 3 mature eggs so it ended up being 3 again. I think DH was actually relieved by this, so I don't know if he will be on board about fertilizing 5....but I am hoping to. We'll see.

My RE mentioned the possibility of doing a 'natural' FEggT in which I track for ovulation and come in for the transfer at that time, instead of using estrogen to suppress my cycle and then adding progesterone to artificially mimic ovulation. We haven't fully discussed it, but what do you think? Are there benefits to doing it 'naturally'? I do have 'regular' cycles in terms of ovulation, and my only concern in my 'natural cycles' is low progesterone during the Luteal Phase - but I am sure I could be on PIO at that point even if we did it 'naturally.' However, despite my 'regularity' I just don't trust my body anymore, and I am scared that going natural and tracking my own ovulation via OPKs would be really stressful - and what if I got it wrong?! So unless there is a benefit, I am leaning towards using the meds. Suggestions?

The Land of Adoption:


Some of you have suggested starting the process of applying to an agency while doing the frozen cycle, so that if it is negative we can move forward right away. I am all for this idea, and I think we would feel like jumping ahead as soon as possible. However, this logistically doesn't work because we have not done enough research and reading to decide what type of adoption we want to do and what agency/ facilitator/ lawyer we would apply with. I want to prayerfully research that a TON. Maybe we could come to that decision fairly quickly - perhaps during the FEggT? - but at this point I still feel pretty clueless.

One huge step that we are taking in this area is to go to an adoption seminar that my church is hosting this Saturday. I am both looking forward to going and learning more, but I also feel some anxiety about being there. This will be the first time we are publicly showing that we are considering adoption, and this may open the flood gates of people asking questions. Also, most people who I know who will be there have children biologically and are considering adoption to add to their families...and I just don't feel like I fit in with them, you know? Like they are "Yay adoption!" and I am more like, "Yay adoption! But I also need to go weep in a corner!"...

Unfortunately we can't stay for the who thing since we have a youth event we are helping to lead the same day, but we signed up to go to a panel on Foster-Adopt and hear a lawyer speak about private domestic adoption...which are the two paths we are leaning towards. I hope we get to hear at least some of both.

One thing DH and I are certain about is that adoption will be a part of our lives, so anything we do now will not be "wasted" if I did, miraculously, conceive as a result of the FEggT. We do not feel like we could or would ever want to fertility treatments again, so whether we adopt all of our children or some of our children... we will adopt at some point. Which is pretty exciting.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Plan A

This is a quote from John Piper that I read yesterday. It made me cry (of course), and definitely put words to the complex emotions I am feeling about having children biologically vs. through adoption.

“Now I know it is sweet and uniquely precious to have children by birth, and that if you can’t, you look sometimes to adoption, so then it can feel like this is Plan B. God did not save you that way. He didn’t say, ‘Now, Plan A is to have lots of kids this way. But they blew that in the garden. So, Plan B, I’ll have to save them from slavery by adoption.’ That’s exactly not what happened. … His Plan A was, ‘I will save them at the cost of my Son that they might understand how much I love them.’ Which means, for our own experience, that we should think in terms of two uniquely precious realities. One is having children by birth. It’s unique; nothing is like it. And having children by adoption is unique; nothing is like it. You don’t need to weigh these off against each other as though one is better or worse. There are unique things that are precious and beautiful about [each]. God uses both terminology to describe how we become his children. We can think of both. And if we are moving toward adoption as our first choice or our second choice, they don’t need to be ranked like one is better or one is worse than the other. God is able to give you the grace to embrace adoption as equal to Plan A. Even if it wasn’t sequentially Plan A, it can now rank as a Plan A, equal to Plan A.” (my emphasis added)

My thoughts:

1. I started crying when I read the first highlighted part - that having children biologically are "two uniquely precious realities." Honestly, my emotions at first stemmed from the fact that I may very well never know one of those two precious realities, have the choice to know one of them, or the option to experience both of them. I feel like a two year who wants to yell, scream, stomp my foot, and say, "I want to know both! I really, really want that, Lord!"

2. I have had many adoption after infertility people say things like, "Adoption isn't Plan B or second best, it was just a different path God took us on." On a theoretically level, I got it. Yes, adoption is a beautiful gift! But in my heart, I just didn't know how it worked. So in this quote, I love the distinction that "sequentially first" doesn't mean that the "sequentially second" is a lesser option - it is more of a timing and circumstances situation.

3. I love how he says that God uses both terms to describe how we are part of his family. Love that.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The land of in-between

Thank you for all of your comments and emails about my analogy last week! I feel like that was a huge turning point for me in my own thinking about loss/grief/adoption/hope and how they can be linked, and I am thankful many of you found it helpful as well.

I think because I felt so much sadness and pain at our inability to conceive, I felt unworthy to adopt. This has been an on-going issue in my heart that I have posted about before, but I think that analogy lifted that burden a little....which has led me to think more about adoption. And, honestly, I felt a small glimmer of hope. Hope that we will have a family. But right alongside that hope came yet another wave of grief seeking to knock me down. It is so difficult to take any steps forward when it just hurts to much.

And then there is the frozen cycle right around the corner. I stopped paying attention to where I am in my cycle, but I would guess that my period will be here in about a week. One week?!?! One week until the madness begins again? One week until we begin the last cycle we will (most likely) ever do? And that's about four-six weeks until our fate is sealed.

On the one hand, just thinking about cycling, another two week wait, and the finality of it all already fills me with anxiety. I feel like I need to do it for closure, but I also confess that I do not have much hope that it will work. I am expecting a negative. As one sweet friend told me, she is praying for a miracle for us when we just don't have the hope to pray for that anymore. And I confess that I do not.

Perhaps because of this lack of hope...or because I want a "next step" to move forward....or because I have made some progress in my own healing to think with a glimmer of hope about adoption....but I think I am already "moving on" towards adoption. I have read a little online, and I am *this close* to reading an adoption book. And this weekend I felt relatively good about it. This morning, not so much.

See, it's really difficult to make any progress with that grief monster that I mentioned earlier lurking.

I feel like I am in the strangest land of in-between hopes, dreams, and expectations. We are about to embark on our last fertility treatments while simultaneously starting to think more seriously - and hopefully - about adoption. At least I will be a tiny bit more prepared for whatever the outcome is of our frozen cycle.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

An analogy

We've all heard it. "You can't get pregnant - well, just adopt!" The "easy" solution offered to us by fertiles that is meant to be helpful but always makes me feel angry and frustrated. My immediate thoughts center on just how NOT easy adoption is: the money, the paperwork, the waiting, the potential failed adoptions, and the uncertainties are just some of the things that I want to scream back at them, but instead I calmly smile and say something benign like, "Well, adoption is not that easy...."

However, when I look more closely at my reaction, I don't think my frustration stems as much from the fact that adoption can be difficult, but that it feels entirely inappropriate to tell me that when I am hurting and grieving.

I was talking to a friend last week, and that's when the analogy came to me. She didn't say, "Just adopt," but I was trying to explain to her that we can see ourselves moving towards adoption in the future, but it's not so simple to get there from this place of grief that I am in.

I told her that it is a little like somebody losing a spouse. In the initial grieving period, one would never say, "Oh don't worry - you can remarry!" And, I imagine, the widow would generally not think about remarriage, but would perhaps have moments where the thought would cross her mind and she would wonder if, indeed, she would ever find love again. And at some point in the grieving process there may even be some hope in that, but it would be difficult to feel that hope.

But then, down the road, perhaps she does find love again and marry. And everyone would rejoice with her, perhaps more than they do for a first time marriage because it is a beautiful gift that has come after so much suffering. That marriage would in no way be "second-best" - it is something different, joyful, amazing, and separate from the first marriage, but also inexplicably linked. Because how could she have not met her second husband if the first had never died?

And this made-up story sounds so similar to my own thoughts on this infertility journey. Replace "death" with "barren," and "remarriage" with "adoption"....and it feels like what my story may be. This analogy has helped me so much this last week. First of all, it helped me explain to a friend where I am at. Because I don't think the "just adopt" people are trying to be insensitive, but I think the world simply does not recognize infertility for the loss that it is. If they could see it in comparison to a loss that is more universally recognized - like the death of a spouse - then perhaps they will understand the grief process we go through.

Secondly, this has given me a little more breathing room in my own grief. I constantly struggle with guilt that I am not "ready" to adopt, which must mean I am selfish - so am I ever qualified to adopt? But with this comparison in mind, I can give myself the freedom to grieve AND still pursue adoption and the joy that comes with it in the future. And that adoption is not "second best," but it is linked to grief - and that is ok.

And third, it helped me to understand the deeper reason behind my anger and frustration when people say, "Just adopt." It is not really because adoption is actually quite difficult, but it is more because I feel like my grief is completely unacknowledged and unimportant.

I have to add that like many analogies, this one is not perfect. There are similarities to death and infertility that I am attempting to point out, but if you examine closely there will certainly be aspects of each that are very different. Please know I am using this as a (hopefully) helpful comparison, but I am not saying they are equal or the same - they just have some similarities. And I am in no way saying infertility is as difficult as losing a spouse - in fact, I would think it would be much, much more painful. If you are reading this and you have lost a spouse, I hope my analogy did not hurt you in any way. I think we share the bond of a suffering a loss, but I know our losses are not the same. My heart goes out to you.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A firm foundation

"I have experienced much unanswered prayer in life, but I always come to realize that God is far better than whatever it is I was praying for."

This was a quote I heard in a sermon on Sunday.

Wow.

I think this succinctly says what I have been trying to communicate at various times on this blog about my faith. As I hurt and grieve over God potentially saying "no" to our prayer for a pregnancy, this is the conclusion I keep coming back to.

I don't need a miracle. I don't need the miracle of God answering our prayers and letting me get pregnant. And I am thankful God has brought me to this understanding, this solid ground and firm foundation of faith. I will not be shaken. Yes, I will grieve and suffer if the answer is indeed a "no," but my hope and peace extend beyond these momentary sufferings. I am thankful.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Crying together

Today, my friend S is arriving in Africa to pick up her children after an 18 month journey to adopt. 18 months of uncertainty, waiting, and many difficulties along the way....but soon she will have her two children in her arms. I am overflowing with happiness for her and her family.

When S began her adoption journey, I told her about our infertility one. She is not adopting because she is infertile - in fact, she has one biological son - but I immediately could sense how much overlap there would be in our two stories of building our families. In fact, I think our initial connection was over the fact that we have "internet friends" who really "get it." :) S is one of the few people in my real life who know about this blog here.

Last week she was frantically preparing to travel to Africa with her husband and son. I stopped by her house on Friday to drop something off for her, but I was not expecting her to be home because I knew she had quite a list of errands to run on the last business day before traveling. Or, if she were home, I intended to give her a quick hello and a hug before leaving.

However, S and her son were home....and she invited me in. She showed me pictures of her kids she is about to meet in person. I told her I should leave so she could get things done, but she said she had a moment. We talked more. I again offered to leave, but stayed. The conversation shifted to me and infertility treatments. I shared with her.

We moved outside and watched her son play and continued to talk. She shared with me her pain that she has experienced in these last 18 months, and the losses she has grieved. I shared my own loss and grief, and soon we were both crying. Crying together. She was not simply crying for me in empathy, but she was crying for herself and her children, too. And I was crying for all of those things as well. Crying together. Both of us knowing each others pain, not completely, not perfectly, but feeling it together. And both of us trusting God together, knowing that it is all worth it. A life of love.

I don't think I have ever had an experience quite like that before, and it felt soothing to my aching soul. Although I am certain I stayed longer than either of us had hoped or even expected, and that it made the rest of her day more stressful, S assured me as I was leaving that "people are more important." Thank you, S. I doubt you will be reading my blog in Africa, but if you ever come across this, thank you for your love, prayers, and tears. Thank you for sharing your heart with me. I can't wait to meet your precious children and praise God with you.