Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Small talk

I spent a fair bit of time at a Christmas cocktail party on Saturday explaining to someone I don't know all that well why we're not pursuing adoption.

It was surreal. As other people's children milled about and groups of people chatted and laughed, I stood by the crab dip trying to make him understand.

Because he asked. And I'm sure when the answer he wasn't expecting met his ears he was instantly sorry that he did. I saw him recoil, just a tiny bit, as his eyes widened in horror.

Not, I don't think, because my answer was, "No, we're not adopting", but because he suddenly realized he'd put me in a position that would require me to justify a childless existence. Because most people don't live that way. Clearly. All you had to do was look around the room.

It's so unfathomable to people. They want us to have children. They want us to be parents to a living child, and they think that if the answer doesn't lie in my uterus, it must lie somewhere else. And I get that, I do, but unfortunately, it's just not that easy. Not for us, for reasons I'm sure we could never properly articulate to anyone's satisfaction if we tried.

Maybe we're wrong. Maybe we're absolutely totally wrong to have made this decision. And maybe we'll change our minds one fine day. But for right now, this is what is right for us, no matter what you think.

No matter what the man beside the crab dip thinks either.


Ann Smith said...

I'm so glad you're posting again. I'm so glad you posted this.
We're a couple who can't adequately explain why we're choosing to live a childless existence either. In my case, a friend, who's in the process of adopting from Ethiopia, e-mailed me from there to suggest that I get going!! I've described her as an inspiration to me, but that doesn't mean I want to do exactly as she is doing. I know she doesn't understand my inaction.
Maybe this will change. Maybe not. I'm still trying to wrap my head around it and all its ramifications.

Rachel said...

I think your words are exactly on point - we want you to be parents to a living child, we want a happy ending. My sister never got pregnant through 4 years of fertility treatments and it is no longer possible (she had a cancer scare and had some key parts removed). As someone who loves her, I -want- the happy ending, I want things to work out in the end. But what matters is what you want and how you envision your future.

niobe said...

I think that, often, whatever choice you make, people feel free to second guess it. Because they would (or did) make a different choice. Which is why I've stopped trying to explain myself.

erica said...

I'm still surprised by how much people (some of whom I barely know) want me to be happy, and by some of the pressure this brings. I hope the crab dip was excellent.

loribeth said...

Isn't it funny (or maybe not) how often we wind up trying to explain ourselves to strangers? (And also how they're the ones who actually bring up taboo subjects?) And how often we wind up trying to justify our decisions, even though we know in our hearts that we really don't have to justify ourselves to anyone?

I too hope the crab dip was good, at least.

RollerCoaster said...

I think people perceive your happiness as dependent on being parents to a living child. I don't necessarily knwo why that perception is there, but maybe it is. If you are happy living a childless existence, than that is wonderful and perfectly fine.

It really is your decision. As someone who cares about you I want things to work out the best for you and your beloved - whatever that may be. And what matters is what you want.

Alex said...

I have't struggled through infertility and found your blog several years ago through a friend of a friend etc. I am also adopted. And have 3 children who were conceived naturally.

When I hear about someone who obviously wants children, and longs for them, mourns their loss so strongly I guess I can't help but wonder why adoption isn't for you as well. As an adoptee I feel DNA isn't the end all be all to making a family. But, again I also have my own genetic children...so because I am not in your shoes...my perspective is different. If I'd walked even a portion or your journey I suppose I might feel differently. That said...to me if you want children so much I suppose I don't understand why you wouldn't do anything to have one. You don't sound like you "want"(for lack of a better word) to go childfree espcially with your latest blog post. So when its so plain to see that you want a living child, I guess its hard to comprehend why you wouldn't choose adoption or surragacy. Maybe financially those options aren't viable. Maybe morally they aren't what you see as appropriate. Maybe...*sigh* there are a million maybes. Ultimately its your business of course. But it makes me, as an outside observer confused and saddened. I so wish you were able to have your dreams come true.

Adoption is always something that I feel strongly about and I have a friend right now going through the process of achieving her 2nd child through adoption and I see how excited and hopeful she is and I am so happy for her. She has known since she was a pre-teen that she wouldn't be able to concieve so she's had many years to make peace with her choices. She never had anything torn from her arms and heart. So again...its a different story from yours. And she is a different person. I come from a successful adoption, and have friends and family members with successful adoptions...so to be its a good thing. So forgive my(and many others that feel like me) for not understanding the path you've chosen. I don't think you're wrong for choosing it. Just as I don't think my friend's choice of adopting is the only right one either. Its just so obvious you want a child, and would be a great mom. I don't say that to hurt you...just to explain why many people are confused.

I hope 2010 brings you peace and happiness.

Jaded Girl said...

...and it's no one's business anyway.

it's so nice to see you back.

Happy New Year.