You are hurtful.
When I told you we were adopting, I thought you would be excited. I thought we would finally experience that same reaction couples get when they tell others they are pregnant and expecting their first child. I thought I would have your unconditional love and support of everyone. Instead, it all feels the same.
I thought that people would stop saying stupid things or asking stupid questions, but that still happens, too. They are just different from the ones experienced by my infertile "sisters" who are going through fertility treatments or who are pregnant after long battles. They have to deal with issues involving embryos and ethics, ignorance involving the baby's biology, and remarks about lightening up and not taking their pregnancies so seriously. Meanwhile, I'm fielding questions about whether I plan to adopt a crack baby or if I'm going to be pissed when the birth mother changes her mind, because, "you know that always happens." (For the record: no and no. I also have no current plans to adopt a black teenager. Maybe in a few years.)
But, even with all of this, I must admit - the dumb questions are better than your approach of none at all. I'll take 10, "Are you going to adopt a kid with one leg?" inquiries over your complete non-interest. I felt the exact same way going through infertility treatments. The lack of phone calls, text messages, and emails hurt far worse than the stupidity. Silence, in my heart, equals not caring. Deep in my mind, I know this isn't true. I know you might just not know what to say. So you assume it's better to say nothing at all.
You're wrong. If I'm having a bad day, and I don't feel like talking about our journey or next steps, I'll tell you. But I'd rather have you ask and me defer than have you not say anything at all.
National Infertility Awareness Week is coming up next month. RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association, is asking us to focus on busting infertility myths and, of course, breaking the silence. I think both of those are wonderful topics to discuss, but I want to focus on YOU. I want to encourage you on breaking YOUR silence. I've been more than open about our journey with infertility and now adoption, but I can't force you to bring up the subject. I can't force you to ask questions. I can't force you to sympathize with I'm going through. But if you love me, if you care about me as a friend or family member - which I hope that you do - I sincerely hope that you understand how your actions have affected me. More importantly, I hope you understand that I am not the only infertile person on this planet. Infertility affects 1 in 8 couples. Odds are, you know someone else who is suffering.
Don't let them suffer in silence. They deserve better.
We all do.
Aren't sure where to begin? Start here and here.