Choosing adoption – What are common fears and myths?

Honeymoon couple romantic in love holding hands at beach sunset.

Friend: “Are you sure you want to adopt? Aren’t those kids always trouble maker as teenagers? At least when you have your own, you know the genes..”! Me:…with a pounding heart holding back my own fears. No child deserves that. If everybody would think like that nobody would adopt. It took me a while to answer those questions with belief: “…So that means that all teenager out there who make trouble are adopted?” Friend: “???…No…but isn’t that what you hear…?” Me: “Don’t you think it is more about being a teenagers rather than being adopted?”

Friend: Yes, but still aren’t you afraid about the unknowns during the pregnancy?” Again hearing my own fear whispering. She is right, this is scary and crazy, you won’t be in control! I spoke with the confidence I had left: “Yes I am afraid that I won’t be in control, but I also strongly believe that love and attention have a big impact on a child on who he/she becomes.”

I could go on and on with stressful conversations we had. Sometimes you feel in defending mode and sometimes it is very helpful and comforting sharing thoughts with your friends. However my fertility coach always said, hurtful questions are “shity gifts”. They make us think and we need to figure out how WE feel about it…And that was true, we did find our own clarity and confidence along the way, but it took a couple strange conversations.

Anyhow everybody is different, some people know it from the very beginning and don’t fear anything and for others like me it takes a while to find comfort despite the fact that there are unknowns. So take the time you need and just remember, all answers won’t be answered and that is OK. Let it be. You will see it won’t even matter in the end anymore.

What I had a hard time with during our fertility journey was when “parenting options” were just thrown at us.  For example when we did IVF (in vitro) the nurse explained to us the whole procedure, which can be frightening when you learn everything about it, especially that one attempt contains about 40 shots…I sat there with my husband and I was confused and afraid of this medical journey. The nurse said to me while she was writing in her chart: “Oh, if this doesn’t work, you can still adopt” All I felt hearing was…Oh if you don’t like this car just take another one…I looked at her puzzled and it screamed inside of me: “I am about to punch about 200 shots into my body within the next couples months and all you can say to me is: “You can still adopt”?  How about: “I totally understand Birgit that this overwhelming, this procedure sounds frightening and yes the success rate is low. However look at the women who got pregnant through IVF. It works. I hope for you you will be one of them. Stay positive we are here for you – you are not alone!”

Each journey whether naturally, via medical support or adoption is a journey on its own and it deserves acknowledgment and support at a time.

I don’t want to generalize, I am sure there are many empathetic nurses out there and others have made much better experiences. Nevertheless IVF did not work for us and I don’t blame any of this ‘missing empathy’ to our outcome. I believe, if it is meant to be it will happen. However it would have made this experience much more human and from an emotional point of view healthier, because I also believe that emotional hurtful experiences can be very damaging to our system, if we don’t process and heal them one way or the other.

It took us a few months to digest our failed IVF attempts, before we could wrap our thoughts and brain around adoption. I reflected during this time many experiences I had with kids throughout my life. I did once volunteer work, it was after-care at a school and the kids I watched were 3-4 years old. I felt so close to them during this time that I could have taken all of them home with me. Remembering this caring feeling comforted me, because one of my biggest fears was. What if I don’t bond with the child, because it isn’t my own flesh and blood? I opened up to a friend about this and she said: “Birgit, look how people love their pets, they would do anything for them and animals don’t even look like humans…That really resonated with me. I know a lot of people who would do anything for their pets and it really helped me to calm my fear in that matter.

Another burden came up for me when we started to fill out the adoption paper work, we were asked for references from friends and family. For whatever reason it frustrated me…Why do we need the input of our family and friends in order to build our family…Our friends and family don’t need to consult us either before they decide to have another baby….My husband on the other hand loved the idea that they are involved. I admired him for that perspective. I did not like how I felt about it. I guess I wished for more privacy. However what had helped me change my perspective was hearing that the agency needed this information, because it had helped them in the past to catch people who signed up for adoption for the wrong reasons, such as kids traffic etc. When I heard this it absolutely diminished my own “privacy concern”. If this procedure prevents that the wrong people adopt then they can ask us anything. I will be open like a book.

So there were many burdens to overcome in the beginning; the questions of others and their concerns, common myths and our own fears let alone the paper work, FBI screenings etc. before we even started being in the adoptive parents pool.

It is a huge decision to take. It at least seems like it in the beginning. The day you will hold your baby in your arms all your fears and questions will fade and normal parenting questions will come up instead. Questions every new parent goes through. It just feels very natural.

I often forget that we adopted. I was recently at the pediatrician office to get our son’s eyes checked and they asked me, if my husband and I wear glasses and I answered with a straight: “No I don’t, but my husband does”. When the nurse kept asking further questions a voice inside of me popped up and said: “Do you really think it is relevant here, whether you or Andy are wearing glasses??”….I paused and thought…Oh boy of course not…and I said to the nurse. “If you need any medical background I can get it for you, I would just need to talk to Luca’s birth mom.” I left the office with a smile on my face, not one bit of my fear him not being my flesh and blood turned out to be true. Not in my deepest dreams would I have thought that it felt so naturally being his mother.

A holistic doctor said to me once. “We all are moms and dads from the day we are born.” Today being an adoptive mom, I not only understand what he meant, I also feel it!

If you have any questions, please reach out. I know how stressful an adoption journey can be.

Have a great week!

 

How to be a loving support to a woman who is on a fertility journey…

Coffee Cup At Sunset Or Sunrise Beach In The With Lens Flare. WaI would like to give a little shout out about how to act around women who are struggling with fertility…I hope it doesn’t come across like a preach with a pointing finger. That is not my intention. I see it as a loving and caring guideline for both sides, the women who struggle and the friends and families who like to know how to support their loved ones.

I know it is not easy to always find the right words when being with a friend who struggles to become pregnant, because to many people this pain is hard to comprehend. It is also uncomfortable listening to someone else’s pain. We always tend to leave this uncomfortable zone a.s.a.p. by using platitudes such as; all will be fine, it will happen etc. However the best way to support your friend that struggles is to confirm that this must be a hard journey and that it is indeed unfair and you wished you had any power to do something about it. Offering to be there when she needs you and listening is the biggest gift you can make. Continue reading

When feelings from the past overwhelm us, how can we handle them and even turn them into a healing experience?

IMG_3253I was at a fertility yoga workshop last week and the teacher asked me to join this workshop in order to share my fertility story. I was happy to do this. What I did not think about or see coming was that I was sitting in the same room where I had been before for an exceptional painful session with my fertility coach. I could feel how pictures and feelings came back, it felt like a big wave of the past was trying to find its way through my body…I remembered, we were on our adoption journey and the birth mom who selected us went into labor. She called us in the morning when her contractions had started and told us, it’s time to meet at the hospital. Andy and I we were so excited we dropped everything and headed to the hospital. We had met our birth mom Jane* and her husband Jim* about 8 weeks before and we built a beautiful relationship over this time. We could absolutely imagine having an open adoption together and staying connected through life. When we arrived at the hospital we found Jane and Jim in tears. I immediately thought they might have had a change of heart, which means they decided to keep the baby and need to tell us this now. We were prepared for that moment…but we weren’t prepared for the moment that was about to come…Jane looked at us and spoke with a broken voice.. she could hardly speak…all I heard was…no heartbeat anymore…there is no heartbeat anymore…it kept echoing in my head…I became numb…I did not feel anything…all I did was starring at her tummy… and I could not believe that this little baby was dead…how..she hadn’t even been born yet…all monitors around us showed the heartbeat of the other babies in labor – only ours was just a still line…We staid the whole day with Jane and Jim in the hospital room…we had gotten so close over the 8 weeks…a little baby girl had connected us it was so hard to part at this point. It felt only natural to stay and talk, holding each other and crying together in order to understand the unbearable that just had happened. We sat together for 8 hours until Jane’s body was ready to deliver the baby. When Andy and I left in the late evening we carried home an empty car seat. It was the most brutal experience in our lives, expecting birth and dealing with death instead…the following night my whole body ached, it felt like I had lost the baby, too. Continue reading

Introduction

cropped-bigstock-coffee-cup-on-wood-table-at-su-933889911.jpgDear Reader,

This blog is about my fertility and adoption journey. It was a period of 7 years and is was the hardest time I have been through in my life.

My fertility coach became my greatest support all along our journey and even beyond. Through her I learned about the healing method called IFS (Internal Family System), which I will write about in this blog, too. It was my life changer.

I will share with you my experiences and what has helped me along the way. I hope it will be helpful and supportive to you as well as to your family and friends, because unfortunately they often don’t know how to be the right support during this time.

You will find all different kind of topics throughout the blog, such as Family, Friends, IVF, Grieving, Collateral Beauty, Society, Confidence, Adoption, Feelings, IFS (Internal Family System) and I am sure many more along the way.

Enjoy reading and don’t forget you are not alone in this!