Friday, October 12, 2012

Journey synopsis, part 1 (adoption)

Immediately after our diagnosis of azoospermia, we were told that our option was to adopt or try IVF.  At that time, I was vehemently opposed to IVF, on moral grounds, as I would call it.  I hadn’t been seasoned yet by the pain of infertility, so I could afford to judge all options on a strictly idealistic basis.  To me, IVF was “playing God”, and I wanted no part of it.  I had wanted to adopt even before we got our diagnosis, so it was a logical step for us to go immediately into adoption.  Surely, adoption is ordained by God, a holy thing to do, and clearly God is calling us to it since we were found to be infertile.  Right?

But after a year or two of trying to adopt unsuccessfully, after constantly reexamining our “criteria” to be as open as possible to the “type” of child we’d be willing to open our homes and hearts to, I started to wonder if it would ever happen.  I had this picture-perfect view of adoption – making lemonade out of lemons.  

I had no idea that to adopt, one would have to make such unnatural decisions as the age, sex, and race of the child, what sort of medical conditions we could handle, or even how many children we could reasonably accommodate in the case of sibling groups being placed for adoption together.   

In theory, we could have said that we’re open to “any child”, but in reality, different agencies specialized in placing different “types” of children. The homestudy would have to be geared towards a specific “type” of situation.  If we’d accept a child of a different race or with medical needs, there’d be special training to go with that.  (Interestingly enough, when mixed-race couples have biological children and the couple splits up, no one thinks about having the single parent take classes on how to raise their child. And when a special-needs child is born to a family, they make due by learning about that particular need at that time.)  

And often times, these “difficult to place” children (namely, non-Caucasian/Hispanic, older, with medical issues, etc.) were placed via specialized programs with frequently less expensive program fees.  (While I understand that this is done to encourage people to adopt children they may not otherwise consider adopting, doesn’t that still sound wrong?) Therefore, every choice was either for or against a certain “type” of child.

Nothing about the adoption process was natural.  Having to make decisions about our future children was unnatural.  But being judged by perfect strangers as good or bad parenting material on abstract criteria was equally unnatural.  Somehow, where we lived, where we worked, how much money we had, how good our health was, what we did in our free time, and what others thought of us suddenly carried weight that no biological parent ever has to worry about.  We walked on pins and needles hoping we’d be able to prove that we would make good parents.  How do you prove that, by the way, if not by hands-on experience?

In the end, for reasons completely unrelated to any of this, the Lord gave us a cross to carry that would solidify once and for all what I had started to suspect: namely, that He did not want us to adopt after all.  It is difficult to explain to people who innocently suggest "just adopt" that there are factors that come into play that simply make adoption impossible for some people. We do not owe anyone an explanation.  Suffice it to say that after over 4 years, our adoption journey is over.

Romans 8:15-16

For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God.

1 comment:

  1. I found your blog through CAF. While I have been married for shorter time than you, your story sounds similar to mine. I know exactly what you mean by the difficulties of explaining how inappropriate "just adopt" is. Many people see the infertility as a very simple problem. You either undergo fertility treatments or adopt and fix the problem you have. I think the bottom line is that children - whether biological or adopted - are a gift from God. Being a parent is a calling. For whatever reason, at this point of my life God does not call me to be a parent. I might not understand it, but I am sure one day I will. Perhaps even infertility is a gift that allows us to look to God more that we would otherwise. I wish you the best, Karolina.