Question 1: During your infertility journey if you were or are sharing info do you get support from family and friends?
As was expected, the results are all over the place. Some people didn’t really share the infertility journey, and others were either avoiding the question altogether, or spewing information left and right (that would be me). I think the common thread through most responses is that others just don’t get it or couldn’t relate, or something along those lines. My experience definitely falls into that category of “people not getting it”. But that’s old news, right? Unless you’ve been there, saying things like “relax and go on vacation” just seems like a joke, right?
Question 2: During an adoption journey do or did you get support in the form of “Hey, how are things going, any updates?” variety?
Of the responses from people who have started or completed an adoption journey, most felt like they got support, but maybe not what they were expecting. At least that’s what I read into most of the answers. In many cases, again, it seems to be a case of people not understanding or thinking about what they are asking. In fact, I think that for the most part, the “support” people think they are providing to a prospective adoptive parent is really fishing for information. Everyone seems to want to know about potential birthparents (how young they are, what drugs they take, etc) more than how the waiting adoptive parents are holding up under the wait. I personally started feeling like a broken record when answering the same questions over and over to the same people. Hardly questions about how difficult the process is, although those did come up and were validating, but the more negative ones stick in my head. Of course, that’s my personality so my perception is probably skewed.
Question 3: Do your family and or friends continue to comment on how lucky your child is to have parents like you?
Again, this is one more for adoptive parents. One respondent even makes the point that she’s never heard anyone say a kid is lucky to be in his birth family. The fact that we adopted was not out of any magnanimous gesture, but merely borne out of wanting to have a family. Most adoptive parents I meet say the same thing. However, no matter how many times we follow-up a “lucky comment”, my parents keep saying it. It’s irritating to say the least. “Lucky” is fast becoming my least favorite word.
I take that back, one respondent who didn’t adopt gets this all the time because her child has some difficulties at this point in his life. So, it’s more of a response to the “other”. The “not perceived as normal” type of family, I’m thinking. Whether it is developmental disabilities, permanent disabilities, adoption, etc…maybe this is just what people say when they can’t think for two seconds to come up with a more appropriate statement. (like not saying anything at all)
Question 4: Did you attempt to educate your family only to have them not respond? Like giving them a book to read which they never wanted to discuss...
I was surprised a little bit by the responses to this question. Then again, I’m a nerdy engineer with all the nerdy engineer qualities, and so educating is the name of the game for me. We attempted a lot of education for people around us. I ranted on F-B a couple of times on an infertility soapbox. That didn’t go over so well. When S and I told his parents we were having trouble getting pregnant, his dad’s response was that he was just happy we wanted to have kids. *WHAT?!* We also gave our parents a short book on adoption when we were going through the process. Supposedly they read it, but didn’t ever talk about it even when we wanted to engage them in conversation. Basically, it’s been a whole lot of deafening silence and I feel like I shout into the nothingness. Some friends are better, and this journey definitely has shown us who our friends truly are. We’ve lost some along the way, but forged stronger bonds with others who were quietly or vocally supportive and just let us be. Most of the time, all we want is to be listened to, without someone offering “advice”.
Anyway, it seems that others tend to not try to shove education down others' throats like I’m prone to do. :)
I alluded to the therapist’s couch as being the prompt for the poll. I'll admit, I'm obsessing over one thing that happened during that session.
She asked if we were getting support from people regarding our second adoption. My reply, was "sure, from my friends, but our families don't ask about it". The response I had started from a place of "meh, my parents don't get it, S's parents don't get it, we've resigned ourselves to that". She, on the other hand has a different take. One where we ask for support. One where we tell them that we like it when they ask how's it going? You know, how you would ask a pregnant woman and her partner.
But, I'm not pregnant and who knows when we're going to be matched? We've been through this before, we tried to educate our immediate families and the only people it took with was a couple of our siblings, not our parents. So, it was easy to write it off as a generational thing.
Therapist appears to think it's not a generational thing. In fact, her response to my "meh" response was "What's the big deal? It's not like adoption is such a radical idea. Why wouldn't they be supportive? I thought they were as supportive as they could be. She seems to think they aren't, or probably more correctly, she senses that I want more from them. I’ve felt sorely disappointed by the reactions of both sets of parents. We see them all the time, we talk to them all the time, they knew everything about our journey, yet the well-meaning platitudes just kept on coming and I found it infuriating. At one point, my mother tried to equate not knowing your exact pregnancy due date with waiting for a match. Now that Baby X is here, it’s better, but us announcing that we are adopting for the second time was met with much less fanfare. Maybe the second pregnancy is too, but this was annoying. Coupled with the fact that the process sucks only slightly less the second time around, and we are both grieving again, I just want someone to act like it’s so cool that we are adding to our family.
Happily, since I started this post, my mom did ask for an update unprompted and stated how excited they are for us to have another baby. I had started to think that all she cared about was my brother's imminent baby.