I’m going to go off the rails a bit here Little One. Just try to follow along.
Last night, RB and I watched one of our favorite shows, Modern Family. The show centers around a, well, Modern Family that includes a patriarch (Ed O’Neil) married to a much younger woman from Columbia (Sofia Vergara), and raising his ten year old step son. Of his two grown children, one is a gay male living with his partner and their adopted daughter from Vietnam, Lilly. The other grown child is married with three kids of her own.
This particular episode centered around Cam and Mitchell (the gay couple) going through jealousy of their two male gay friends going through a surrogate to conceive a child using a “swirl” method (wherein they “swirl” their sperm in the lab so they don’t know which one is the biological father – though one is latino and the other was white, and their infant son was obviously latino). Cam and Mitchell had previously though of adopting again, but once they saw how happy their friends were in their surrogate decision they grew jealous of the baby having a genetic link.
At dinner that night with Cam and Mitchell, along with Mitchells sister Claire and her husband Phil, all get drunk and start talking about children. Claire expresses how beautiful it is to see her and Phils traits come across in her kids, and Mitchell and Cam want that genetic link but cannot physically have it. Claires drunken solution is to use her egg (which would share the genetics of Mitchell) and Cams spern to make a baby using both families.
Of course, the next day when they were all sobering it was awkward and everyone backed out.
The episode ended with Lilly wearing a crazy outfit like Cam would) organizing her toys just-so (like Mitchell would) and they say something along the lines of, “She’s not genetic, but she has the best of both of us.”
Of course, RB and I look at each other and share a knowing smile.
But this episode exploreda lotof issues surrounding family building. And it got me thinking:
Why does it always seem like theres a war between IVF (in-vitro fertilization) /ART (assisted reproductive technology) and adoption?
Cam and Mitchell were so jealous of their friends who used ART, and their friends were so jealous of them using adoption. And art imitates life in this instance- because I’ve seen it firsthand plenty of times. We’re all working towards the same goal here: a family. But it always seems like in the media, blogs, infertility groups, etc- that theres this great divide. On the ART side, it seems a lot of the views on adoption conjure up debates like Thats just a last resort, don’t you want your genetics to live on? Are you not strong enough for IVF? Isn’t that too hard? Do you really want people delving into your life that much? Don’t you want to feel a baby kick in your body? Don’t you want to experience giving birth?
On the other side of the coin is the Adoptees Vs. Arts, and they think things like Why are you so selfish? Adoption costs far less than IVF. There are plenty of needy children out there! Why waste your money on something that might not produce a family? Why do you feel the need to give birth to be a mother?
It drives me insane. Why the hate, everyone? Why the jealousy? Why the great divide?
And I’ve been thinking a lot lately about why I feel so strongly that adoption is right for us. For us, there are a lot of reasons pointing us in this direction. There are the practical reasons, like having had the scleroderma as a child and all the medical things I’ve been through as an adult, I am just plain sick of being poked and prodded medically. I don’t think I could physically handle an IVF cycle, let alone several. I don’t think I’d ever be able to handle a miscarriage, which is very prevelant in people with PCOS. I think I’d break down. Losing an adoption is no small feat emotionally either, but I think I could deal better with a loss outside of my own flesh and bone, without the very physical reminder for several days or weeks afterwards. We don’t have any infertility insurance, so everything we pay for would be out of pocket anyway- and we would rather put our eggs into a basket more likely to hatch versus one that for the past four years has yielded absolutely no results.
But then there is this other voice that cannot be logically explained away. It’s not a whisper, like practicallity. When things are logical, you’re heart still speaks louder than the small voice of reason.And my heart is not whispering in this instance: its downright roaring. I have this feeling from my heart to my bones that extends out of my hair and fingertips and toes and shines on forever that says this is what you’re destined to do in life. It’s screaming at me from the inside out that this is the path we’re being lead down for a reason. I never once had this feeling when trying for a “natural” child. I have always felt like that would never happen, and not in an “aw don’t be so negative, you’re so young! It will happen one day I just know it!” that everyone would always say to me. I knew, in my heart, whenver someone said that they “just knew” it would happen for us that it was a big fat lie to make me feel better.
I know what my body is capable of and not capable of. I’ve known from a very early age, a lot earlier than many that my body can only be pushed to a certain limit before it will inevitably fail me again. My mind however…that is something that has never given up on me. My mind has never turned against me the way my own body has. Thats what an autoimmune disease is at its very core- your body attacking itself. There was a civil war going on in the confines of my flesh for over eight years of my tiny precious life, and while it nearly killed me I conquered it. But I didn’t overcome it with physical strength, I overcame it with a positive attitude and unbreakable spirit.
I just can’t do that with infertility.
But I can with adoption. Mind over matter: and my matter doesn’t matter, my mind most certainly does.
As for me, I don’t see any problems with how anyone choose to grow their family. I will always advocate for IVF, ART, infertility insurance coverage, adoption assistance, adoption rights, anything I can. We’re all in this together, and starting a civil war in our community is only going to do hurt, not help. We need to stick together and stand united-one united nation of infertiles.
Like I said, Little One, this post was kind of off the rails a wee bit self indulgent on my part. But it all needed to be said.
And for the record, Mitchell and Cam were right. Genetics don’t make you who you are, and neither do the traces of your genetic code. Your beautiful personality and dazzling soul make you who you are. And who you are is amazing, I already know it.