Sunday, January 20, 2013

The One Where I Get Angry

And actually, I'm writing this many, many days after the initial insult, so I've cooled off quite a bit.

Even though I have less time than ever before, I do still find myself reading blogs. I'm just too connected to too many people via the interweb to stop.

And I read something recently that was insulting. I doubt the author meant it as insulting but that's the thing, this whole concept is sneaky. And subversive. It's a feeling that I think I am picking up on, time and time again, in many different ways.

Hell, someone could have thought I felt this way when I was pursuing so much damn treatment.

It's the idea that biology is better.

(a side note: anyone who knows me from way back when knows we always said we would 'have one adopt one' because we had this idea that if we adopted first and then had the biological child our adopted child would feel they weren't enough. And then for years we got sidetracked on the having one side of things.)

The sentence in a post that wrankled jumped off the screen and made my adoptive momma heart just ache a bit. Not for myself, but for my kids. For adopted kids everywhere.

I've mentioned before that of all my blogging buddies, of all my infertile peeps, there aren't too many that crossed over to adoption.

And while I get that--as it took me a long time to decide the 'having one' just wasn't going to happen for us--I still feel alone. I still feel like no one else is doing it because they might think it inferior in some way. The things we will put ourselves through to have a pregnancy, or a biological's mind blowing, even from the inside. Remember: I am an insider. I know the drill. I know how damn hard all of it is. And I put myself through a lot. And to a previous post commenter about my shame, of course I know it's all a process. But I also know that sometimes we can get so overfocused on a goal (pregnancy, biological baby, etc) that we stop thinking about living, and all that it means to be alive, and that we're all part of a bigger picture than just our own pursuits.

But that sentence, it really got to me. It was from someone I've followed for a long time. I've supported through lots and lots. But there it was and it felt like I was overhearing someone talking behind my back.

I have a feeling it's like what being the victim of racism feels like. It's subtle and many would never say it to your face, but it's still there, the attitude.


So I was angry angry angry for a while. Hot under the collar, hoppin' mad. All those things and maybe even more.

Now I'm just sad.

Biology isn't better and you'll never convince me otherwise. Most of the people I love most in my life don't share a single gene with me and I love them with my heart and soul and would do anything for them.

I realize I'll probably make some people angry when they read this post. That's certainly not the point. The point is that we should all check ourselves sometimes and examine what is in our true hearts. I guess if you really think biology is better in your true heart of hearts then that's your right. But just know that is hurts some of us, and that your attitude--no matter how well concealed you may think it is--is bound to crop up here and there in ways that others notice.

OK I'm done.
Writing makes it all better, huh?


  1. First of all, I read that whole thing hoping it wasn't me! But then I knew it probs wasn't because I almost never post anymore. :/
    Your post didn't make me angry at all, except that I feel so angry anyone would or could make you feel like that!!

    As for me+adoption. I want to do it. I never wanted to before IF, but when IF hit us we thought, yes for sure we want to. But I wanted a bio child first, and for me it was because I wanted the experience of bringing home a tiny new baby to my empty home. (So it wasn't the bio baby itself but the situation/experience it allowed. Granted, I did want to see what the combo if H+me would be, but that was very secondary.)

    Fast forward to today, we now have our FET baby, and I am not sure whether we will adopt. We have a few more FETs to do first. And I am not sure how many kids I want. (I am not a "kid" person. I always thought I wanted 3, but now I wonder if one would be enough!)

    But the main thing for us with the adoption question is how much of a hassle it is. And from what I have read, "hassle" is an understatement. And it's not that I'm not willing to deal with a hassle. It's that I'm not sure I have the emotional fortitude to handle it after the intense struggle of IF. I would be more likely to adopt if I didn't think it would tear me apart and then maybe not even get a child.

    But back to you--- I showed DH your video. He cried, just as I had cried. It made us both want to go straight to Ethiopia and open our lives up to adoption. I adore your family and I strongly detest the idea that any way of bringing a child into a family is superior.

  2. Edit to my above post regarding "hassle"--- agh, that is not the right word. It sounds selfish. But what I really mean is that adoption is extremely demanding, all the red tape is intimidating, and I'm not sure where I would pull the emotional energy from.

  3. I agree! I don't understand those who keep on and keep on to "have their own"... when do they get to the point when they realize that it's not meant to happen?? Like you, I am infertile and ache to experience pregnancy and see my husband and myself in my child but that's just my own selfishness. It's our nature to want what we can't have, right?
    Yes, adoption is challenging and the paperwork and red tape can be a "hassle", but you know what? There are a lot of things in parenthood that's a hassle! When you have to work to get something it makes you appreciate it that much more. Adoption is a beautiful thing!

  4. I hope it wasn't me, I had commented on another person's blog about an Elizabeth Banks radion interview because I was steaming mad too. She talks about infertility which I appreciate but then she goes on to say that adoption was always secondary to her because she wanted her own child (gulp this made steam literally come out of my ears). My boys are through egg donor and they are my "real" children. I don't refer to any other journey to parenthood as better or worse. I get that she meant she preferred a biological child but man who the heck says that......gross!!!

    1. As I was reading A's post I thinking about the Banks interview, too, which I just listened to today. I was SUPER turned off but also: what can you do? Some people just feel bio is better. As A says, it's their prerogative - but they should know - a CELEB should especially know - that their words can sound insenstivie and actually super ignorant.

  5. Oh, so many thoughts about this post. Most people who rub me the wrong way are fertile, but once in a while it's an IF sista! There's my cousin who, at her wedding shower, went on and on and on about why they were only going to adopt. Then they planned a pregnancy, had a baby and are now super frustrated that TTC for #2 isn't easy like it was for #1. Hmmm. Or the acquaintance at church who after a year of IF treatments decided that it was selfish of anyone to continue IF treatments after a year when there are so many children needing homes. She went on to say that $ spent on IF was cheating your future child of resources. I felt like here she was in a similar position to me, judging me and calling me selfish. Whaaa? Since I was a tad irritated and they are seeking a newborn domestic adoption only, I wanted to point out to her that the children really needing homes were through the foster system or int'l. adoption and that domestic newborn adoption can be quite competitive, but I refrained. I'm sure if she knew my story, she might think twice about what she wrote on her adoption website.

    We all have different paths. Some of us are stubborn, some of our spouses aren't on the same page, etc. It sure took us a long time to come around to donated embryos, but we embrace it now. We feel very lucky to have this opportunity and we joke about how at least our kids won't share genes with my in-laws (sorry if that's offensive, but it is so true!) That's not to say I don't feel at times like we missed something that so many others gets to experience. Genetic children are just fascinating, otherwise people wouldn't make a big deal about which side of the family the baby got their nose, red hair and so on. Or why so many times I see someone post a pic of their baby and them of themselves at the same age. I just have to believe that once we end of with a child that we get to love and spoil, it won't matter whose nose they have ;)

  6. Ouch. That comment would hurt me too. I guess not everybody does think the way I, or you, do. I suppose for some people biology is it. But those are the ones that would never consider adoption and perhaps would choose to live child-free if infertility treatments don't work. To each his own...

  7. Yeah, that stings. I think for some people, they really just feel that a lack of biological connection is a loss. While other people (like me) just don't find it all that important. I jumped to donor eggs is about two seconds without caring. Yet, adoption still scares the sh*t out of me because I'm afraid of my heart being broken. I'm sorry that it hit you like that. Loves.

  8. I'm a donor egg mum and I could not agree with you more that when it comes to love, genetics are irrelevant. When I think of the number of children conceived accidentally, unwanted, mistreated by their biological parents I can't think anything else. There are also men across the planet parenting children that they do not know are not their own and no little light comes on to warn them that their genes are not present - and they love their children. I cannot fathom the the thinking behind those that think that "biology is best" - I love my little boy beyond everything. I'm sorry you have been hurt by that post.

  9. The question I would have is....does that person have both? If not, I'd consider their opinion irrelevant. Not that it doesn't hurt deep down, not to make light of what you feel. But, I know someone who had a son then couldn't get pregnant for a long time and adopted a girl from China. When I was in the beginning stages of IF, when it was hurting the most, she told me, "The love is the same". I truly believe that. Now, would she say (and mean) the same thing if she had an adopted child and not a bio child or if she had a bio child and not an adopted child...maybe not...but it certainly wouldn't be coming from someone with the ability to have a unbiased view.

    After I had my son, many people asked me if I was still going to pursue adoption, especially my Mom. I'd try to surround myself with people like that, that share your views that adoption is a great way to build a family. Those people with the other view have never held, taken care of, loved an adopted child.

    I'm not saying that there isn't another side of it, a loss, especially if someone longed to carry a child. That is totally separate from what is "better".

    I'm sorry you are feeling hurt. I think very highly of you and through your writings feel that you are a very special person and a great mom! You have so much to give. Those babies are very lucky to have you and you them.

  10. I am so proud of you!!! family is family is family.

  11. Ahhhh the things people say when they turn the filter off. I had a couple of those incidents recently that left me feeling puzzled, like, did they just imply what I think they implied?

  12. my word, did they actually come out and say 'biology is better'?.

    i have not adopted. so i don't know... but i am going to guess that, like many other experiences that are not the norm, most people- including people who you would think would know better- do not understand, or have the capacity to see the whole picture, like *you* do, the person who has seen and walked around the whole magilla and know it inside and out.

    and even then, like you said, for people who really feel deep down inside that biology is the only way *for them*, well, that just has to be that.

    i know a woman who lost her baby as an infant. she is mid-40's, AMA, and has given up TTC... she is totally closed to the idea of adoption, or donor egg/embryo, because in her words, she held her daughter and her daughter was the spitting image of herself, and this element was a huge part of the connection and experience of her being a mom. so, she only feels like that will do- the biology has to be there for her. it blows my mind that she is willing to give up the dream of parenting for this connection. but she is adament, and there is no convincing her- this is her reality, her belief.

    so, we may think we know a different (and awesome!) path, for some people, their path ends abruptly at genetics.

    the key is to not let this stuff hurt you. let your truth be strong. you know what worked for you, and the rest is just someone else's troubles- try not to allow it to get under your skin.

  13. Holy crap!! I have no words. To assume that biological children are somehow better than adopted children just blows my mind. It implies such liminal thinking and capacity to love. Does this mean that the author believes that only people who look like him/her are better too? Because we've been down that road as a species too and it's never ended well.

    I firmly believe that love is blind to so many trivial things. Yes, infertility and loss are painful, horrible things. But adoption is such a beautiful and amazing thing. These children are no less or second. There is no better or preferible.

    Your children are your children. I see that with each picture and video (thank you for these, btw). Anyone who fails to see that has a lot of growing to do as a human being.

  14. I don't have much more to contribute beyond what your posters have already done so well. I'm sorry you had to live with that anger for days and I hope posting took some of the load off. As much as that Elizabeth Banks interview pissed me off, it got me thinking (we listen to wtf podcasts in the car - the best place to think) about my own feelings about IF and loss which I haven't revisited lately so I have to give her credit for that. This bio vs. adopted thing is so simple (there is no 'better') and yet so complex (is your family comprised of both adopted and bio kids? do you/did you have IF? etc etc). Sure, I always knew I wanted to adopt, but somehow having the cloud of IF hanging over my family means I'll never really know how bio and adopted are different (even if neither is better, we can agree they're different). 'Well, who cares how they're different?' some might say. But I guess I do. And that's totally my cross to bear.

    I'm with you on the close relationships. The people I feel most protected, understood and supported by are not blood.

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  16. As a mom of one by adoption and one by birth, this post made me think (and write a response an delete it and think some more). I'm sorry you felt bad. I hope you're able to find like minded families to just be yourselves with. And adoption is far more complicated than I ever imagined it would be, but I'd never paint in such broad strokes as *better* or *worse* than another way to build your family. Hope you are feeling better.

  17. Yikes. I have definitely had people say similar things to me and its always a strange and awkward thing. I'm sorry it happened --those types of comments affect me differently on different days. I hope you're feeling a little better. It's so, so complicated.

  18. I have lots of catching up to do, but have to start somewhere, right? (-; Boy I have missed you my egg twin!

    It's hard to hear things from people not closely tied to the ALI world, but I find I often give them a slide by (and a lesson) a time or 2 before creating some distance between us. I struggle much harder with the subtleties that come from fellow IF's who I feel should just know better, especially if we have followed one another for some time. Sometimes I have to check myself to make sure it is not my issue (because let's face it, I do have some issues - LOL).

    I struggle hardcore with IF successes who AGONIZE over supplementing formula or stopping breastfeeding to use formula. The underlying message is always that breast is best and I don't want to feed MY baby that comparable to McDonald's formula least this is what I hear in my head. Mostly this is my issue, but I tend to also think that if you know you have adoptive mamas who used formula from day 1 for their babies, you could curb your verbiage a bit...says the mama with a 10-month-old-formula-fed-never-been-sick-a-day-in-her-life-(knock on wood)-and-killing-milestones-like-a-bad-ass. (-;

    I not too long ago saw a multiple IVF vet friend, now twin mama re-pin a "funny" on Pinterest that shows twin babies. One is laughing and one is crying and the caption reads "DUDE. I'm JOKING you are NOT adopted!!!)". My head wanted to explode and I think my left eye is still twitching just a bit.

    It's out there and I know I will not be able to shield my daughter from it all, BUT I will surround her with as many people as I can who just "get it" while leaving those who won't try (or stop trying) behind. I already discuss random stupid people crap with her that I know she doesn't yet understand. It's more for my practice because I know these conversations will become very real one day and I want to have some practice just hearing the words flow from my mouth.

    Hang in there mama. I hope writing it all out helped release some of the anger. If this friend doesn't step up and own/explain, it might be time to find someone new to surround yourself with. Life is just too short. xoxo

  19. As the mom of children by both--birth and adoption--I can say with absolute certainty that biology is not *better*. There is no "better" or "best" when it come to parenting our children. Our children each present their own unique challenges, and bring their own joys to the family. Some days my children born to me are "harder" and some days my child joined to me through adoption is "harder". The love I have for each of them is different, profound, and intense. Anyone who makes such a broad statement is speaking from ignorance.

  20. Seriously?!? Isn't love, love?

    Some of the people I love most are not related to me. And I didn't know their parents, medical history, how their mother's diet was when they were pregnant, etc. when I fell in love with them. Because I fell in love with... them. And I think what disgusts me most is that we're talking about a person, a soul, a child. Love is love.


  21. Ugh, I know what you mean. After adopting V, I wondered how we could have even tried as long to try and get pregnant. We were stuck in a rut and kept trying and trying and trying... And not because I believed genetics were important, I Was just afraid of the unknown frankly. V was the best decision we ever made. I don't know what it's like to love a bio child but I Can assure you I am head over heels. And it is insulting in a backwards way, what if my daughter is exposed to such a message? Mama bear outrage! Smash!

    Spinning this in a positive way- if this person truly believes that, than it's best if he/ she does not pursue adoption. Case closed.

  22. Hmmm. I'm sorry you were offended by whatever you read. However, some of the comments seem to be conflating trying via ivf with OE as saying biology is best and therefore adoption ( DE, etc) is somehow second rate. I don't think that's fair. It's natural to want to have biological children. Comments like "I don't get these people who try and try again" sound like ignorant fertile commenters to articles about ivf etc. as someone said, to each their own. For some of us DE is not an option or we find adoption too fraught with pitfalls. For others ivf is too much. But people who choose ART shouldn't be demonized. You can carry the guilt argument further. You can criticize people for spending $ on ivf when there are orphans out there. Well, you can also point out that there are m at more older children waiting for adoption, so adopting babies is less worthy. Or maybe children in country X have it worse off etc. the point is we each have our own path and just because someone chose a different one than our own doesn't make it less worthy.

  23. I got off the quest for a child a few years back. After three failed IVF's, we considered adoption but at the time we wanted to pursue other areas of our lives. We have been building our dream home. My husband is a builder, and he is so talented. I am a CPA, and I have been furthering my career, and we are overjoyed with our lives at the moment. We may never be parents, but we have both come to accept that. In reading your post, the one thing that touched me is the part that some of the most important people in your life are not biologically related to you which is so true. My husband is my very best friend. We have been married for sixteen years. We aren't biologically related (LOL). I have so many close friends that mean more to me and would do more for me than alot of my family. I just wanted to say that I totally agree with you on the biology issue. You have two beautiful children. Julie

  24. Please just remember that you KNOW that this is best for you and your family. It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. It sucks when they say it without even thinking of your feelings, and it would super-exra-suck if your kids heard. But I think that most people (okay, maybe I am being optimistic) believe that family is more about HOW you are together than anything else.

    For us, adoption was almost never an option. My husband was opposed to the intrusiveness of the process. I've said before that if we hadn't had one child it would have been different. Secondary infertility is a weird subcategory. If both parents aren't on the same page it always comes back to being glad you have the one you have.

    I wonder if it's kind of like the working parent, stay-at-home parent thing. People say incredibly backhanded judgmental things all the time and it's not like it will ever be resolved. And most of the things people say aren't really thought-through. Like, people backpedal all the time once they realize I work. They do understand, but they are so used to reinforcing their own choices that they don't necessarily remember to consider other people's possibilites, too.

    I always thought infertility would make people more sensitive to other private hardships, but it does seem to bring out a lot of judgmenty issues. It's hard to be open and accepting when things are so uncertain and all the odds and risks and money and fear just pile up.

    Most of us think that finding your way out of the crazy maze of infertility is a tremendous success in and of itself. You have become such a beautiful family through adoption. I think if you ever need a reason to keep writing, maybe it's just to give someone who might be unsure a glimpse into the sweetness of the life you have found.

  25. I don't think that "biology is better," at least not for me. But at the same time, different people are seeking to achieve different goals, or meet different needs, through parenthood. For some of those people, perhaps they truly wouldn't find parenting a child who is not related to them by blood and genetics as fulfilling. . . just as some people don't want to parent any child at all.

    I say, to each his/her own. I can certainly see why a statement like that would sting an adoptive mother, and I am sorry you read it and were upset. I see it as coming from a place of ignorance vs. a place of judgment.

  26. Biology is crap. It is being there for those babies that makes you a mom. I don't know the story...I've been Mia forever and I am sorry, but in my experience as well, genes mean nothing at all.

  27. That comment was insensitive. That being said, I don't disagree with it. I think Biology is very important. It's who were inherently are, it's where we are from and it's where ur genetic history is headed. I'm adopted and I love my parents but I also felt something I never have when I met my birthparents. Adoption is not ideal, it is a replacement when biology can't happen because of life circumstances. I love my parents so much so it hurts to say this but... bilogy is best

  28. Biology does matter. As an adoptee taken from her culture and homeland, take it from us.

  29. I'm sorry I have not commented on this until now. I read it when you first posted it, and I went back through my recent posts (not that there have been many of them) worried that maybe it was something I had written. I certainly hope not, but if so, it definitely wasn't intentional. Whatever it was, I'm sorry it caused you pain.

    Also, thank you for suggesting the possibility of inguinal hernia. I had considered that (or an incisional hernial, given its proximity to my scar), but all the pictures I found were of really obvious protrusions and mine is one of those things where someone would probably look at it and say "Eh, your body is just storing a little bit more fat above that side of the scar." But the pressure feeling does go away when I lay down, so maybe it is. I'll ask about that if nothing shows up on the tests, because from what I've read, it can be very difficult to detect hernias on tests. If you don't mind my asking, was the protrusion you had really obvious?

  30. The anti-inflammatory diet the doctor recommended is Dr. Andrew Weil's diet: The only change she made to it was where it says 1-2 glasses of red wine per day, she changed it to per week. She also said cheese and yogurt is okay (it's on the pyramid), but no milk. That's going to be tough for me, because pretty much all I drink is water and skim milk - I'm not a coffee or tea person, and I try to stay away from juice.

  31. i feel like biology does matter. i was adopted, and although i love my parents, i always felt like i didn't really belong. parents who adopt can say that it doesn't matter, like my a mom does, but to me, as an adopted child, it does matter. sorry that your feelings were hurt, but thats how i feel about biology.

  32. Our son was conceived via IVF. We had made the decision (right before the embryo transfer) that we would do this once, and that was it. The emotional and physical toll were too great. We didn't consider adoption, no because we believe that bio is better, but for selfish reasons I suppose. I had already had a miscarriage and had experienced what a loss was. I didn't want to go through all of the adoption red tape only to risk losing another child. I know that I would love any child as much as my bio child, but adoption just isn't for everyone - for many reasons.

  33. I am thinking hard about this post. And comparing and contrasting your thoughts with my own. And trying to put into a words a feeling that I have. It's been a long time since I psycho-analyzed my own IVF motivations. You may remember that The Man had veto'ed adoption and in any case, I wasn't sure I was on board. So. Clearly we were driven by the biology. And just like so many things we humans do, we make the choices because that is what we feel is right for us. Otherwise we would do something different. But what does that really mean? The lady two offices down from me spends a HUGE portion of her "family time" shuttling her kids back and forth from their sporting events - her son often has 4-6 games in ONE weekend. I think she's effing crazy. But that's what she thinks is best. But so what? What does that really mean for me and my life? Nothing.

    If I was willing to go to the length of multiple IVFs to have a child, but not willing to adopt, then on some level, I certainly must think biology is "best". But so what? What does that mean?

    Do I think that I'm a better parent becuase I am genetically related to my offspring? No.

    Do I think my offspring are better becuase they are genetically related to me? No.

    So what is "better"?

    I guess I think that, for me, PARENTING, is better becuase I am genetically related to my offspring. But, if anything, that is more a reflection of my own genetic ego-centrism than anything else. And certainly bears no negative thoughts or feelings about adoptive parents or children. If anything, I admire those individuals for being so full of love that they can open their hearts so completely even to someone not genetically related.

    I dunno. I will continue to think on this. I have not been around the blogosphere so much lately but it seems so many of "us" are not. It is good to hear from you though. Much love and support.


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