I’ll be the first to admit it took me awhile to come around to the idea of adoption.
I was first diagnosed with infertility when I single and still in my 20s, and for years I struggled with the grief. Grief that was so often placated by others with one flippant response seen as a solution to all my problems: “You can just adopt!”
How could I explain to people that I wanted “my own” baby without coming off like a jerk?
But it was true. I didn’t care about passing along my genes as much as I wanted to be the one to care for my baby from the start. I wanted to be the one carrying around that growing baby bump, protecting him or her, and experiencing all that goes along with pregnancy and early motherhood.
Like I said, it took me a long time to let go of this idea.
When I finally did, I was able to open my heart more fully to adoption. And once that happened, bringing my daughter into my life came about fairly quickly. She was, and is, the very best thing to ever happen to me. And even now, I can’t for the life of me remember why I truly cared so much about having one of “my own.” She is every bit “my own” as any baby ever could be.
The irony though, is now that she’s here — and now that I have fully embraced adoption as my personal path to motherhood — people won’t stop asking me if I’ll ever try for one of “my own” again.
The simple answer? No. Not ever.
The truth is, fertility treatments drained me mentally, physically, and financially. I don’t ever want to go back to that experience again. I felt this way long before I could hold my daughter in my arms, and adopting her has only intensified my conviction.
I especially wouldn’t pursue fertility treatments now because I would never want my daughter to think that having a biological baby is that important to me. I don’t ever want her to witness the hell that I would go through, and internalize that as meaning she isn’t enough.
It’s even much more than that, though.
Those within the adoption world recognize that there are certain challenges that can arise when building a family of both adopted and biological children. There can be jealousy and struggles with fitting in.
Recently, the show This is Us highlighted just how complicated some of these struggles can be. Thus far, the show has presented the most realistic and honest portrayal of transracial adoption, closed adoption, and adoptions within family of biological children that I’ve ever seen in a fictionalized form of media. It’s a storyline that I appreciate on a very personal level, because most people outside the adoption world don’t realize how complicated adoption can truly be.
It is beautiful, and life changing, and the BEST thing to ever happen to me, but … it’s complicated.
If I were, by some miracle, to get pregnant naturally, I would of course have that baby. It would be a dream come true. But I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t worry how to shape the dynamics of my family in a way that would be beneficial for my kids. I would need to ensure that my daughter never, ever, felt less than within a family where she would be the one without the biological connection.
No matter how much a parent reassures a child that the biological connection doesn’t matter, children of adoption still struggle with it. And it’s a struggle that can be even harder when there are other biological children within the family. Does that mean it’s an impossible situation to navigate? Absolutely not. There are families who do it, and who make it work beautifully.
But they don’t do so by ignoring the potential land mines that may exist.
Those who succeed in raising happy, healthy, confident children in these families do so by putting in a lot of work. If it happened to me, I would put in the work too. I would do everything in my power to ensure that all of my children knew just how equally loved and special they were.
But as a choice? As something I would actively work towards? No way. Fighting to be pregnant is nowhere on my radar.
My daughter is every bit “my own” and more, and I would never want to do anything that might make her question that.
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