Saturday, February 12, 2011

The other side

This post is not about getting to the other side.

No. This post is just about the other side of adoption. The loss side.

How I wish that adoption was all positive and happy and light for everyone involved. But anyone who thinks that way is fooling themselves. Because can anyone come up with any good and happy reason a child winds up in an orphanage?

I was talking with Mr. MTL the other day and saying that maybe our infertility will help us uniquely understand some of the loss that goes with adoption from the adoptee's side. Because what is infertility if not a giant loss?

We have lost a genetic connection to our future.
Our babies have lost a genetic connection to their past.

True, I do not think it will help much (to them anyway) during the angsty teenage years when they (as most teenagers) struggle with identity issues and wonder (probably--likely much much more profoundly) "Who am I?" Because when you're a teenager it's your job to only see things from the myopic perspective you have, and that's perfectly acceptable. But one day, probably when they have children (genetic) they will see that maybe dear old Mom and Dad had an inkling of the sadness that goes with the forced loss of genetics.

Am I saying that genetic connections are the most important things? Well, no, not at all. But to minimize them is foolish. It's disrespectful. Just like I didn't like it when people told us we could 'just adopt' I would never want someone to act like my children should be grateful for being adopted and try to gloss over the fact that their adoption started with a loss so great I cannot even comprehend it...because it's the opposite loss of my own.

I am profoundly sad for my babies' birth mothers. And their birth fathers. And any genetic siblings they may have. And aunts and uncles and cousins and second cousins and grandparents. Because due to circumstances beyond their control they have lost them and they didn't choose that. I will not ever go into details of my babies' circumstances because it is no one's business but their own, but like I said at the beginning of the post--is there ever a happy reason a child is in an orphanage?

Babies, I know one day you will ache with loss. And that sense of loss is painful beyond words, for I have felt it, too, in my own way. But luckily I am on the recovering side of the loss because I have you.  I was told this week by a fellow adoptive mother that a family is made when you can put your arms around someone physically.

Well babies--be ready! We plan to wrap our arms around you so tightly and love you so much and make a family that will help you in any way we possibly can as you understand your past.

It will be a goofy family (sorry for that!) but it will be our family.


  1. this is a great usual.:) i think that is what makes us uniquely armed to address loss issues when it comes to family building. i can envision a time where your son or daughter is having a hard time understanding and you hold each other, both of you thinking of your loss and also feeling empathy for each other's loss. what a bond you will form!

    it's weird because i just told this to my friend the other day...i said, if we adopt, that won't clear all the baggage that not having a bio child creates. they are totally separate. she got it. i think a lot of people don't get that.

    btw - i have never been the first poster on a blog! this is pretty cool.

  2. This post brought tears to my eyes. I was going to write what hoping4family did about the shared empathy you and your children will have. The fact that you can articulate this so precisely does, I think, mean you will be able to help your children deal with whatever loss they feel.

  3. thank you for making the point about the past/future genetic loss. it can't be said enough. also wanted to say I was thinking about your post from this fall on your LC blog about giving up - shutting it down - feeling so low. I panicked when I read that post - I felt for you, yes, but I panicked because blogs like yours are my virtual support groups. I really really (selfishly) didn't want you to leave. And now with this new blog, with how much that's changed in so short a time - it goes without saying that I'm thrilled you didn't stop blogging. More than ever, you're showing the rest of us there is another side. Infertility isn't a road that ends, but it's one that widens to include some beautiful unexpected things.

  4. "We have lost a genetic connection to our future.
    Our babies have lost a genetic connection to their past." I love this! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Gosh, such a lovely post. I am just so excited for you to wrap your arms around those little ones, they might not have been fortunate to end up in an orphanage, but they are beyond lucky to have found both of you. They will know so much love. And goofiness, which is also very important. :)

  6. This is such a beautiful post... I'm almost in tears.

  7. Oh this post... how beautiful and insightful, raw and honest. It's what is real about all of this - infertility, adoption, family, pain, loss and LOVE, true, pure LOVE.

    Those babies are so lucky, as are are the truest meaning (and example) of compassion, love and grace.

    LOVE this post... LOVE IT!

  8. This was beautiful! Your babies are so lucky to have such an empathetic mom!!

  9. Great post. All things I have spent countless hours pondering...

  10. You have such a wonderful attitude...

  11. It makes me smile to think about your big goofy family together.

  12. I just adopted a 5 year old girl, and I agree with you completely. We have that loss in common, so I hope that makes me empathetic to her situation!

  13. That was a beautiful post and I loved it!! Those lil babies have no idea how loved they already are by their mom and dad :) I can't wait to see a 'goofy' family picture!

  14. Another lovely post. These babies are so lucky to have such a wonderful mom (and dad) to come home too soon.

  15. You never may be all happy and light. Not that I think you'll avoid the teenage angst- that's something we'll all have to figure out- but I do know of more than a handful of adoptees (none international though as they're all 35+) who never had those feelings. They did "hate" their parents for their curfew, rules, etc. but never for adopting them. Perhaps it depends on the relationship you have with them. In that case, I think you & Mr. TL will excel at loving them for who they are and them knowing they are loved regardless of what faults they have or mistakes they make. Having gone through something challenging like IF, I have no doubt of your capacity to navigate what lies ahead.

  16. Great post...

    My family tree has many adoptive branches and this post really spoke to my heart.

    This is truly a post I will reread over and over again.

  17. That made me cry! What a lovely post. I have chills.