I logged into Facebook this morning to see a post about being in the middle of adopting a child, yet still wanting a child of "my own." I'm not going to go into details about where this post was made. I'm sure many of you saw it or have seen it, and I also don't want to rail on the organization that posted it because it is one that supported me throughout my journey with infertility.
At the same time, I cannot ignore the post, the intervention on it that was possible from the hosting organization, or the conversations that took place because of it. It frustrated me. It angered me. Perhaps more than it should have, but perhaps rightfully so. Regardless, it made me think about many things, some of which have already been stewing in my brain for several months. And, as a result of this thinking, I've reached a conclusion:
I'm done. This is good-bye.
From this point forward, I will no longer be using this blog for infertility or adoption-related advocacy work. It will remain open, but I am moving on from this space.
The truth is that this has been a long time coming.
I think we can all agree that it is not and never will be okay to attach certain wordings and stigmas to those who are infertile and who seek certain medical interventions. I have fought these for years, even after I chose an alternate path to building my family. We have all fought for this. Word choice is as important, if not more so, than the intent behind it. We ask others to avoid saying certain words and phrases associated with infertility because they are hurtful and ignorant. Because they don't have truth or understanding behind them.
However, I have also stood back and watched as my path, and the other, alternate paths of my peers, have not been supported and/or advocated for with the same passion and intensity. I have watched as some of these same individuals who I've fought alongside to try and change the conversation about infertility have not fought to change the conversation about adoption. In fact, they have participated in these inappropriate dialogues and/or defended others who have, as well.
Today's Facebook post was a prime example of this. It pushed me over the edge that I was already standing on, that being: I cannot continue to advocate for a group of individuals and their decisions when, in many cases, those same individuals do not advocate for me and MY decisions. How am I supposed to reconcile fighting against stigmas associated with my path to family building with "outsiders" (non-ALI community members) when I can't even reconcile it with people in my own community or peer group?
The answer is that I can't.
I cannot change the conversation about adopting after infertility when there are people in my own support system who can't or aren't willing to change the conversation alongside of me. It makes any sort of progress next to impossible. And frankly, it makes me feel completely defeated. I feel, and have felt, defeated for quite some time now, and it's led to this choice. A choice I didn't make lightly. This decision to abandon my work and my blog hurts. It hurts to leave behind this space and everything that happened here, but it hurts far worse to stand for something and not have that something stand behind you, too.
I don't know what's next for me. As I said, I'd love to continue writing in some capacity. Blogging has been such an integral part of my life now for the last 5.5 years, and letting it go will be difficult. Yet, I also think a break is wise. If I do decide to continue writing in another space, I will post that information here.
The last thing I want to do is end this on a sad note or a note that implies that stopping is anyone's decision other than my own.
So, instead, I will end with "thank you." To those of you who have stood behind me all of these years... I love you and I cannot accurately express how much your support has meant to me. You were there for me when I felt completely alone in the world and didn't know if I would ever become a parent -- something that even some of our family members and closest friends weren't able to to. Thank you for believing in me. Thank you for encouraging me to move forward for as long as I did, not only toward having a child but toward self advocacy and changes in the way our disease is treated. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your journeys.
Most importantly, thank you for your friendship and for your courage. I have never met a more inspiring group of men and women than the friends I've met in this community. Keep fighting for as long as you can, and I don't mean that in a "keep fighting for kids" way. I mean that in a "keep fighting for yourselves" way. You are all powerful people. Your stories are important. Don't lose sight of this, regardless of where your journey takes you.