Sunday, January 03, 2010

The other side of the excitement

Editors note: This post is edited from it's original version to take out any information that could have been identifying as the purpose of this post was not to "share anyone's sin" but merely to show the negative ways I've reacted in this process. Also, it's an attempt to extend an olive branch and show that in all honesty I have no resentment toward any person and I believe that none of the things mentioned in this blog were intentional. I hope that you will all join me in this celebration of what God can do as our story continues to unfold and we see how He took me from what I was here in this blog to what I will be in the future. I'm hoping as well that the relationships I refer to are restored through God's grace and plan and beauty really is achieved from ashes.

I really hestitate to write this. But I have to.

Moving forward with the adoption process hasn't been easy. Actually, it has been easier than the whole infertility thing, but since adoption was the thing we chose to move forward with that's the thing that has the potential for not being easy as to move forward.

I'm so grateful for everyone who've supported us through this. I can't say this enough. I know that we have all of the support that we need for this journey ahead, and there is nothing that can replace that. I am forever grateful and excited to share the future with all of you.

I'm coming to understand that not everyone is a fan of adoption. I've already fully learned that not everyone is knowledgeable or cares to be knoweldgeable about infertility. So, the fact that we are going through some of that with people in our life is really, really, painful.

There are certain people who are totally excited and showing the right amount of interest in the process and what we've gone through. My mom, for example, bought me two new photo albums with family themes which, although I haven't asked her, I believe has full intention of showing just a bit more support for what we have in store. In fact, when I told her about our situation and, more specifically when I told her that we were going to be pursuing sibling adoption from CPS, she said "Great! Any way I can get more grandchildren I'll take it". So sweet. Others, on the other hand, not so much.

When we found out about our situation, we called some people that we have that type of relationship with (my family really, since I could talk about the most intimate details with them). I wasn't, however, as comfortable calling others to share the details of our situation, which of course is MFI...nothing like calling guys and telling them that info you know? So, instead we sent out an email that said the basics with directions to our blog if they were interested. At that point we said we were considering adoption but hadn't decided for sure. We asked for their prayers and support editors note...after re-reading the email...we didn't actually ask for this...we specifically said we weren't asking for anything but the intention was to put ourselves on the hearts of others. The only "caution" we offered was to please not tell us to have faith, because we didn't and don't believe this is a faith issue in that if we have more faith we will get pregnant or if we stay faithful we'll just magically get pregnant or worse, if we were faithful enough God would grant our wish and give us another pregnancy therefore we're currently infertile because we aren't faithful enough for us. We emphasized that we believe God can and would give us a pregnancy if he'd like but at this point we're just learning the reality of our physical situation...not that God couldn't change it if he wanted to...and that our "dream" of the way we'd have kids would not come true. Again, not that God wouldn't have something better for us, because he must/will, but nevertheless first we had to say goodbye to what we thought life would be. I said this in a sentence or two, because I felt it needed to be said.

From the approximately 10 people I sent the email to, one sent a wonderful supportive email. I received two other emails regarding the medical condition we faced and how to get medical records with one promise to talk to us about it later. NO OTHER RESPONSES. No "I'm praying for you". No "I'm thinking of you", no "sucks to be you", no "wow, sorry to hear that", no "hahahahah...that's what you get." I want to make it clear that I did not, in my mind, throw "pearls before swine" so to speak and unwisely provide this information to people who I'd expect to trample on our hearts. Rather, the people I chose were all people I know have a strong faith and have expressed their desire to have a good relationship with us and although I didn't expect anything in particular I did trust that they would take the information and be a part of our support system in the future. I also believed they had a desire to know what was going on in our life.


Perfect silence.

That was in June 2009.

When we finalized our plan to pursue sibling adoption from CPS in July, we decided that we'd probably not be extremely open with these folks while we went through the process. Not that we'd keep things from them intentionally, but that we wouldn't be providing the play-by-play as we went through the process. We'd tell them as we needed to. We'd update them at least by the time we finalized the adoption ;). No but seriously we just couldn't take a repeat of the infertility announcement time after time, over and over again, not at that point anyway. We were too sensitive at the time to risk sharing that information with anyone who we thought might not be able to support us as we needed, for whatever reason. And, as we didn't hear anything from the people who received the email we figured that they chose to keep out of the process because they were unable to participate for some reason...they didn't know what to say, they were too busy, they thought we were crazy, etc. To us the reason didn't matter, all we knew is that while we were in the most sensitive time of infertility those who were able to support us did and they had demonstrated their ability to be trustworthy with our fragile beings at the time. The adoption process is an emotional roller coaster as it is and we didn't need anything to add to it. Intentionally or not. It was an act of self-preservation.

At some point we did have to bring one of those people up to speed because we needed an additional person who had spent time in our home to be a reference, and one of those people matched that criteria. So, we did.

It took this person 10 weeks to provide the reference, and that only because the CPS worker made a personal phone call. We called, reminded, asked this person to fill out the form (there's debate over whether or not it was received and that may have held up the process) reminded this person more and more that there was a deadline and this was the only thing holding us up in the process. After all of what we felt like ages (and in total 5 months) of informing this person about our decision and plans, we heard "I didn't know you were that far in the process".

ARGH. As a result our process was put on hold for 2 months.

At the same time, maybe even the same week, another person talked with my husband after hearing the news. Now, granted, what I heard came from my husband, and I have no knoweldge of the connotation of the message, but the words were this "You need to tell people about these things so we can pray for wisdom for you as you go through this and these kinds of decisions".

Now, I'll give you this...true...absolutely, we appreciate your prayers. No harm in that.

Except...first, WE DID SAY SOMETHING....6 MONTHS AGO! WHEN WE NEEDED YOU!!! WHEN WE NEEDED YOUR SUPPORT. When we really needed your prayers. No one (from the email...) reached out to show they cared then. That was the darkest time in our life.

and seriously...who, when planning to try naturally, asks anyone to pray for them...I know it happens, but have you ever had someone say "Hey...we are thinking of starting to try to get pregnant...can you pray for us so that we can have wisdom to know if this is the right decision?" Most people don't even tell people they are trying. Why? Because it is a private issue that people usually contain within a marriage. And typically, that's acceptable. It's hard to understand, in the fragile state that infertility breaks you into, why you would need prayer for wisdom in that decision making process to become adoptive people who are undoubtedly "broken" because they can't conceive "normally" (or in our all naturally), there is a desperate desire to make things "normal" in the rest of the process as much as possible.

From our broken state, this question, no matter how it was intended cut right to the core to show us that we were not only inept in the ability to have a child of our own naturally (again) but that we were also inept in making the decision on how to grow our family...something that fertile people don't often (ever) think about. Not to mention the fact that we know people who can sometimes hurt their babies and THEY'RE allowed to have babies...why not us? Is there something wrong with us in the core that makes us not capable of making the decision to expand our family? Now, from what I know (I thought I was a fertile once too!) this seems ridiculous...that conclusion is absurd...but infertility robs you and leaves you in such a state that this is the type of things you have to work through to regain your understanding of who you are. And I feel bad for friends and family of infertiles...they have a tough job. Editor's note: there are several articles written more recently that give advice to friends and family on how to help and good things to say or not to say...but a basic thought is...if you wouldn't say it to someone who was just diagnosed with cancer or you wouldn't say it to someone who's spouse just probably should be cautious in saying it.

So, people ask me how our vacation in November went. My answer is "okay". Primarily because knowing all of the above I hoped that now that our "secret" (which never really was a secret) was out in the open (?) we'd have the opportunity to talk about it with them. Maybe? We were there for 10 days. Maybe we'd have the chance to sit down and talk about what's going on in our life? Maybe? With someone? At least once?

And so it never was... There were a couple times that appointments (yes, appts) were made for dinner and there were lots of "maybe we can get together...I'm so excited to see you guys"...but nothing came of it. And, in the few times we were together we might as well not have been. It was as if we didn't exist, or, at least that we weren't facing what we faced. I don't know how else to describe it. (By the way, I am overgeneralizing...very slightly). Nevertheless I was devastated after crushed me. I was really hoping I'd be able to find that all along people didn't know or that they didn't want to talk about it on the phone or email but would in person, or that although they didn't know what to say about infertility they'd be excited about the adoption (and they'd show some excitement, or even interest). I will say that I had one person who asked a couple questions and it was like drops of rain in parched soil...I soaked it up. But no more. I was SO excited to come home. I was so grateful for the people in my life that have reached out to show they care. And I was so happy to be here, at home, in Texas. Away from them. And I also hated that about myself...I swear.

Now, I will say there was a TON going on in for those folks in the last 6 months from several severe injuries, family member deaths, busy-ness at work, surgeries, you name it these folks experienced it and I imagine by the time November/December came around they were struggling to breathe as I was. There was work and stress on so many levels. And I tried to reach out and help as best as I could from here and send encouragement. And be patient and not bitter knowing what was going on in their lives. And, on top of that, I don't believe that they could possibly understand what we've faced over the past way. None of them have faced it and, even if they have none of them knew what we'd specifically gone through because we'd never talked about it. All to say that I don't have any hard feelings or bitterness toward anyone who hasn't supported us as we needed. I really don't have the desire to blame them at all. But I also struggled to see how much effort was being shown in their lives to lift up and support each other through that time while it felt we were left here alone to go through it on our own.

I will say that my flesh wanted to cut ties. well, not completely, but to stop trying to repair things. Accept them as they are and move on. But to me that would mean absolutely not trying to bring them along in this process. At all. Until things are stable and/or they have reached out to show that they want to be a part of it. Part of that would be for me and to protect and heal my heart, yes, no doubt. But in my mind although my husband and I can't take much more of that pain we feel when we put our hearts on the line with what feels like a disconnected call, the more important thing is introducing our new family into those relationships. No way. Our job will be to protect them to some degree from the kind of pain and rejection that we've experienced through this process. At least at first anyway. Once they are established in our family and us in theirs and once they know devoted love from those who show they care with actions, then of course we would want to teach them that to love others as they are. I'm not saying we shouldn't have a relationship with them, but that it should be really, really guarded.

I hate that though because I'm someone who wants to fix the problem. On one hand (one side of my flesh) wants to say "no more"...I can't take any more!, but on the other side of my flesh I believe that it can be fixed and that I/we/our future children deserve relationships in which active love is shown. In my spirit and through faith I know that it can be improved, that there is hope and that if I keep that hope alive and keep trying (no matter the response) that someday the relationships will be "perfect"...if not on Earth certainly in heaven. So I don't want to stop trying. I don't. I want to have a great relationship with them, with or without future children. But at the same time I just don't see that happening. And it's a struggle for me to put my flesh aside and keep trying.

Do they know that we are potentially oh...60 days or so from having our family? I know that's optimistic, but still...we could be that close to having our kids...and they haven't even acknowledged it at all. I mean...if I were pregnant (or, better yet, if one of them were pregnant as I fully expect in the next few months which would be PERFECT wouldn't it? Editors note: I left this in here because I really do mean that would be perfect...that we would be adding to our families at the same time and that would be totally awesome) surely 60 days from the due date they'd acknowledge what we'd be facing right? Surely there would be some excitement about the future children in our lives, our journey, my pregnancy, right? I mean, right?


THankfully, what I do know is that I can focus on those relationships that have been supportive and engaged and loving and encouraging. I'm not talking about "stupid encouragement"...I want to surround us with wise people...people who on one hand encourage and support and on the other hand making sure we're thinking through everything. We want that for sure. And we have that. Mostly with those of you who read this blog. And, although I spent a good deal of time thinking through a lot of this in late November/early December, I really don't think about it anymore. But I did want to get it out so its down on paper and I can move on.

SO thank you. I appreciate all of you for caring and loving us and sticking with us through this time. I hope, through my honest struggle, you can see a little glimpse into the hell of going through infertility and what a wretched mess it leaves you in...if you stop...but we didn't stop and haven't stopped...please see the two previous posts before this one to see where we are now.


Monkey Momma said...

Oh M. *sigh* I SO GET THIS. Maybe not on the adoption front so much, but for IF yes. I had to learn to be very careful with whom I shared what. Some people get it. Some don't, but want to. And like you said, some don't even want to care. Sad state in our Christian circle, but that is the reality.

I also realized my expectations were too high. I expected people to be God in skin instead of looking to God. Find your "safe" people, stick with them.

What I've realized about anyone else that can't be empathetic or loving: they probably have more on their plate than we could even begin to realize, thus not able to meet your needs if they wanted to. Rarely is it because they don't care. Sometimes their life is more overwhelming than our pain. Hang in there. Just focus on those new kiddos. SOOO excited for you!


Mandi said...

I'm sorry you're having to deal with all of this amidst the excitement of adding to your family. But I am beyond THRILLED to know its possibly that soon - I had no idea!! YAY!! :)

Chris said...

I am sorry you feel this way. We do support you guys, and love you, Jason, Logan and look forward to the new family joining us soon.

Anonymous said...

If you have no Faith then there is nothing.
If I was 7 months pregnant, the only thing I would expect from family would be "wow, your getting fat".

Mie said...

What did I tell ya friends? Since I moderate my posts only to remove posts that are spam or overly vulgar, I approved "anonymous's" comments.

It's a shame this person, in an attempt to show me how ridiculous I am for feeling the way I do (or, for posting it on a blog), only proved my point more.

If I was told I was getting fat that would be at least an acknowledgement wouldn't it? Oh well.

What would you expect from your family when you told them you wouldn't be able to have children?

Would you expose your newly adopted children to people who would tell a pregnant woman she was fat? Something to think about. The beauty is, you probably don't have to think about it as a real situation that we face. I'm grateful for that.

Anonymous said...

the sad thing is we all know "annonymous" is supposed to be a Christiana and relative. The family that cares is not here for appearances, in fact, we show each other the worst of ourselves. We can't stand each other and love each other. We spank each others kids even when Logan doesn't like me:) But we really care. The more people in our family the better. We show that not just in self serving words but in action.

Aunti K
Oh - and very proud of you for speaking your mind. The truth hurts.

Anonymous said...

Its me this same ridiculous conversation...not a family member. Just an anonymous person who happened to come across your blog after struggling with my own fertility for 4 years. Yes, 4 years with 5 failed IUI's. If you use this blog as your journal, for private posts let me suggest you make those private. Obviously you are having issues with your family, by me posting last time and you calling me family I can see that. Let me assure you again, I am not family. I read your post and was frankly shocked to see how much you would family bash. In fact it even said something to the fact of their poor timing in announcing pregnancy when you were having marital difficulties, WOW shame on others for getting pregnant in your hard time, are they not suppose to be excited in this time? People should be more sympathetic and separate when you do, just to feel your pain? When this person did give you their news, did they post it on a blog or at least have the common sense to give a phone call to "family" before announcing to the world on a public blog.
for someone who says they like to fix problems...I hope family bashing worked for you.
And yes, I am a Christian. A Christian who struggled with infertility just like you, and while family did not always know 100% of what was going on at all times, you can be rest assured they knew what they needed to to before making it public on a blog. A blog that anyone can read, even anonymous people like me.

Mie said...

Dear anonymous-
I never said you were family. I do however know who you are both from IP address tracking were ratted out. But, I'll let you be anonymous.

I'm not going to convince you of my position here...that's ok. I know why you are angry and I understand it. As for the comment about the pregnancy announcement. Personally, I was never told...ever. It was never discussed with me. (and...who said I was talking about family in this post anyway?...) But, that wasn't my point. And I have a post on that somewhere too...all positive. I would never wish infertility on anyone. I am excited for my family when they get pregnant. My point was not was the analogy between how pregnancy is handled and how adoption is handled...when it comes to adoption parents are stupid for not asking for prayer but the standard is different when it comes to getting pregnant. Getting pregnant is usually a private thing...something a mom and dad usually don't shout to the world when they are trying and certainly not something someone would say "but you should have asked us to pray for you in making that decision!" That's all. And it wasn't about their timing in announcing it either...personally...the timing sucked, yes and it was something my husband and I dealt with in how it hurt us...not of their fault at all. In any case that is between us and them and my point remains.

Also, as I suspected due to the influx of emails and kind notes I've received, you only have a small piece of the information. For example, this wasn't, by any means, announced to the world in a blog. To these people, to my friends, to my anyone...there were lots of other pieces of communication around this 7 months ago and since.

I have a feeling that I won't convince you to see my side of things...and that's ok. I'm not trying to set up a me vs. them thing. All I did was post what some people did and how it made me feel. I even gave them the benefit of the doubt, as I still do, that they didn't intend to do anything to hurt me or my husband. I'm sorry that you have taken it differently.

I'm also sorry that you had to go through the struggle of infertility. It sucks.

Melissa said...

To begin with, I am not family, I have dealt with infertility and miscarriages throughout the course of 8 years! I too, have made the comments about my sisters, who at the time were pregnant, and they let me say things that hurt them b/c I had lost so many and they were still having without complications. Anytime you feel a loss you want support and love. Just to feel that is all I needed and everyone needs different things, so when things are specifically asked for, shouldn't it be given? ESPECIALLY in sorrow! Now, I think that the whole family bashing thing is silly, b/c as she has stated this is HER blog! She has explained from the beginning of it that she uses this as her rant and raving for herself. If you don't want to read it, DON'T! I personally think all of this is just a tit for tat for this annonymous person who is writing. You made me feel bad so BAM! I am gonna make sure you feel it worse! How horrible of an example to a lost person! Why aren't we all saying to each other, you are right, I could be more supportive and want too, show me how? The Five Love Languages?!!! That I know is what Christ would do for us! I mess up all the time and Christ still continues to show His unconditional love to me and it is His example that I think all of us should be trying to follow! I don't care how hard it is for any of us, but especially with family, because we can be the hardest on each other! In the end all you can do is continue to love the other person as Christ loves you and gave HIS life for you and you will be making God happy which is the most important anyway! I am VERY excited about the adoption process and can't wait to have playdates with all of the children God has blessed you with!