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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

fitting in

In case you missed it, yesterday's post about our adoption story was also posted on BlogHer. I am so excited that I was given the chance to share some of our story and what I learned while going through the process.

I have to admit that sometimes I feel weird discussing our adoption journey, especially as a member of the infertility community. Part of me feels like by talking about adoption, I'm distancing myself from the IF world. I've struggled with this lately - this feeling of isolation I get not only from not having gone through IVF, but also now being a parent. I feel like I don't fit. I'm not writing about parenting. I didn't go through IVF. I don't consider myself to be an adoption advocate.

In fact, I got this question from several friends, blog readers, and even family members after K's birth. Would I now focus my efforts on calling attention to adoption?

Four years of infertility taught me many lessons about life, about myself, and about others. It also taught me a great deal about this community. If I'm being honest, I've always felt ostracized for making the decision not to pursue IVF. However, just because we opted not to go down that road doesn't mean that I condemn anyone else for pursuing it. Both choices have their positive and negative aspects, and neither one is more difficult than the other. That said, it can sometimes be painful to read the negative comments about adoption that come from those who argue "for" IVF. Adoption was the best option for my family. I'm incredibly grateful for it.

I also know it's not the best option for everyone. I respect that. I respect that adoption has its "issues." But, if we are being honest, everything has issues. Every choice we make on this journey has problems - challenges we must overcome, both from the outside and from within. That's the beauty of fighting for this disease. We fight for - or we should fight for, rather - all of it: the good, the bad, and the ugly that come with it. Except that sometimes I don't feel like we do. I don't feel as though we fight equally for all of our options.

More on that some other time. I don't know if I have the right words to expand on it right now. What I do know is that I'm proud to say that I built my family through adoption. It's a personal choice that worked for us, and it was an honor to share that story with others outside of this community. I hope it helps them understand a little bit about what the adoption process is like. But I sometimes wish that the process was better understood within this community, too.


Rachel said...

Great post. In my personal life I have experienced the opposite. I've felt like I've had to justify our decision to try IVF before pursing adoption and I've become defensive about it as a result. It really is about what is right for you and your family. IVF isn't for everyone. Adoption isn't for everyone. And coming to a decision about either can take time. I hate that you feel that the IF community hasn't been supportive of you building your family through adoption. I am all for doing whatever works for you. And your little girl is absolutely precious!

Katie said...

I wouldn't say that I don't feel like the IF community has been supportive. I would say that I feel as though I "missed a step" in accordance with some unspoken order. I do sometimes get frustrated when the debate of IVF vs. adoption (to those outside of this community) turns into "here is everything that is wrong about adoption." Every path to a resolution has its challenges. And I'm with you - I'm a believer of resolving your infertility in whatever way works best for you . . . whether that be IVF, adoption, surrogacy, living child free, etc.

Audrey said...

I've been mulling this over off and on since we spoke about it the other day. I love your BlogHer post, and I'm still not sure quite where I fit in, but I'm starting to be more okay with that. I understand the struggles of many different groups (as do you) and I think there's a dire need in the world for people like us.

Becky said...

Isn't it interesting that so many feel a lack of support (in some form) from the IF/ALI community. I didn't find it until we had already stopped treatments, and become parents through our 1st adoption. I've never really felt like I fit in. I wonder if part of this has to do with all the uncertainty and questioning that seems to inherenty come with IF. We question our body's ability to do what it *should* do, and the decisions we make are so difficult, that we seem to desire others decisions to mirror our own in order to validate the hard decisions we had to make. Or some crap like that ;)

It Is What It Is said...

I am sorry that that has been your experience. I didn't realize there was a 'for IVF' group that would be anti-adoption. I have always ascribed to the fact that each person/couple has their own path to parenthood and when one is dealt the IF card the path is solely theirs to choose and may change at any time (take me, for example).

And, interestingly, I felt the least "support" (if we are measuring blog support in terms of visits/comments) when we were pursuing adoption. I always believed that was because we are not Christian and don't feel that adoption is a "calling" and so we didn't fit in with many who feel strongly that way.

It is all a matter of perspective.

Lori Lavender Luz said...

I wonder if I would have felt the same, had I been going through the decision-making process at the same time I was in the ALI community. For me, finding the community happened after resolution, so I can't say if I would have felt a pro-IVF push while in the midst of things.

To echo It Is What It Is, if we are going to fight, let's fight for the right for each person to choose their own path out of IF.

It makes me sad that you felt ostracized by some :-(

someday-soon said...

I think any path you take through IF feels lonely and awkward. We all grew up thinking having babies was so easy and it feels like the world gets turned around when we find out that isn't true. I've noticed many of our IF sisters have a very tough time finding their footing after having a baby, whether that be through adoption/IVF/IUI/natural conception. Maybe this isn't true but I think once you are at peace with your own journey you feel like you fit in. Maybe I'm oversimplifying though...

S.I.F. said...

You have no idea how close to home this hit Katie. I was one of those infertility members who recoiled at the mentions of adoption when I was at the height of my pain, but now... I honestly see all the pieces lining up and am so grateful for the way adoption is about to change my life. There is that guilt there also, in feeling like I am in some way turning my back on the infertility community right now. Which I don't believe will ever be true, but... like I said, this one hit home. So thank you.

dspence said...

I really enjoyed Monday's post and this one, too. Good for you for following the path you were/are most comfortable with.

missohkay said...

I skipped the "natural order" of things too - not that IVF would have been recommended for RPL, but I essentially decided to forgo any type of advanced tests or treatment. I'm not sorry for our choice, but I do think people don't always understand it.

Stefanie Blakely said...

I totally understand what you're saying about the "order" of things... I think some people have in their minds that you have to try every physical option to get pregnant to build a family, before deciding to adopt. But IVF is not right for everyone-- the price (financially and emotionally!) is so high. I know that you made the right decision for your family, and beautiful K is the only proof you'll ever need.

And as for feeling like you don't fit into the IF community anymore, I think most of us feel that way once we're PAIL. I know I certainly felt it when I had to pursue treatment to get pregnant with Liam, then had a surprise pregnancy with Jack. What we have in common is that we're all pursuing becoming parents... but the road we take to get there can be very different.

I think posts like this can really help people understand how best to support each other-- I hope you'll write about it again.

Sushigirl said...

Great post.

I was thinking - maybe one of the reasons adoption isn't well understood is there are so many different processes and rules? I've been really surprised to read about some adoption arrangements in other countries that would be completely forbidden here.

I think sometimes the IF community ends up being the IVF community, and it's not the same thing.