Thursday, July 12, 2007

Infertility

Twice now in the past year, somebody has been pretty callous towards us about adopting.  Last year, the City of Philadelphia sent an inspector to our house because Jada's blood had high lead levels.  I explained to the woman that the high lead levels were on account of her 7 1/2 months in an orphanage in an industrial part of China, not because of anything about her new home.  But the woman insisted in ordering a full inspection.  As she left, she asked me, "Why did you adopt?  Why didn't you have your own kids?"

Earlier this week, Amy took Aaron to the doctor's for catch-up immunizations.  The nurse there was confused - why hadn't we brought him in sooner?  Amy explained that, like Jada, Aaron was adopted, so all we could do was to bring him in now and try to get him caught up.  That confused her even more - "So are you going to adopt all your kids?  Why don't you just have your own?"  Maybe I just run with a more enlightened crowd, but it still astounds me when people are ignorant about infertility.  That sort of callousness is quite hurtful. 

Don't get me wrong: I am super thankful to God for Jada and Aaron.  It is a profound reminder about God's overwhelming goodness that He would choose to withhold something precious from us, only to provide us in abundance with two gems in Jada and Aaron.  On one level, far from being empty I am overflowingly full when it comes to kids.

And yet in not being able to have biological kids, there is a deep, deep sense of loss.  I recall a doctor telling us that just as a parent losing a child is one of the most painful places of grief a human can bear, so we must grieve the loss of future children.  So on the one hand, we are missing nothing in our parenthood; but on the other hand, we have experienced a great loss that we must get through. 

Certainly, having kids like Jada and Aaron help with the healing.  And Amy and I are generally grateful people - for all we have in our lives, who wouldn't be?  And yet, there is still more healing to be had.  So it's disappointing and not a little hurtful when people are perplexed and even accusatory when it comes to the ways in which we've become parents.
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