Friday, June 5, 2009

A Friday Rant: Giving Birth After Adopting.

Yesterday, it happened again. I got the 'adoption comment' that I hate more than any other. It isn't something that is personal, or inappropriate to say in front of the kids (I get a lot of those too, but they don't bug me). This comment/story annoys me to no end, because there is nothing I can say as a response. There is no good way to answer the person commenting.

"I know so and so who adopted, and then they got Pregnant!" This is always said with a mix of amazement, encouragement, and expectation. There are variations of this, for example simply saying "As soon as you adopt, you will get pregnant".

The person speaking always has this look on their face as if 1) they are the first person in the world to tell me that this is a possibility, and 2) I am going to have some sort of incredible reaction that they don't want to miss. They expect me to react. But what exactly do they want me to say?

If I say "I hope that doesn't happen", it sounds as if I do not want to be pregnant, and do not want more children. The person then looks at me with a mix of disapointment and shock, and I feel like I have offended them.

If I say "I hope that does happen", it sounds as if I am using adoption as a treatment for infertility, and the only reason I'm adopting is to try and get pregnant. The person again looks at me with a mix of disappointment and shock, and once again, I feel guilty.

The truth of the matter is that I am just fine having never been pregnant. It is not something I long for, or hope for, or feel like I missed out on. I am so over-the-moon happy with my kids, and there is nothing more I would want. I am happy and content with the size of our family, and I am not seeking to add more to our mix.

At the same time, I would welcome a pregnancy. (Yes, it is medically possible, it just hasn't happened in our 12 years of marriage). It would be cool to experience pregnancy, and have a little mini-Kydon running around. I would be happy to have one more child, and it would be fun to have someone to spoil as my 'baby'.

So, in response to the comment, neither of the answers are true. I truly don't care either way. If I get pregnant- cool. If I don't- cool.

But why in the world do people feel the obsessive urge to keep saying this?? Even though we all "know someone" (yes, I know someone too), the number of people who conceive after adopting is statistically almost insignificant- somewhere around 2%, although the exact statistics are difficult to find because there are countless variables that come into play.

When I was actively dealing with infertility and trying to adopt, I would sometimes have the 'verbal vomit' response- I would just spew all kinds of inappropriate personal information about our fertility status to complete strangers. Now I usually just look at them and say "Oh, really". The person then just looks at me, and I just look at them, and we all enjoy the awkwardness.

If you are someone who has told infertile/adoptive parents this, first of all - stop it! And second of all, what do you want us to say? What is it you are looking for? What response are you hoping to get?

If you are someone who has experienced my end of this, what do you say? I know you get it too and it probably bugs you too- how do you respond?

If you don't fit in either of the above categories, but have a good idea for how I can respond, please share!

Thanks for reading. Rant over.

18 comments:

Opp Family said...

Grrrr..... I totally hear you! When it is said to me, I remind them that I've had an additional miscarriage since I've adopted and we just take what will come from Heaven on how to expand our family. I also use this response if people ask us if were are going to adopt again. I just say, we'll take whatever the stork will bring.

Sue @ My Party of 6 said...

People can be stupid. Although I guess this one also goes in the category, if you haven't been there, you don't realize how offensive you are :-) My favorite way of getting out of conversations is to look over the person's shoulder and yell to one of my kids... wherever they might be and then say "Gotta run! She's tearing the place up."

Rebecca said...

I can see how that would be frustrating. Kind of like when people ask me if I had my kids so close together "on purpose" or if we are going to "try for a girl." HUGS!

Lisa said...

Oh man, I hear you! In fact, I posted on my blog about this not too long ago.

When people say this to me, I just politely tell the the truth. I say something like, "Well, actually pregnancy after adoption is extremely uncommon." Then I tell them the statistics. And tell them that it seems more common because the stories get passed around. Nobody goes around saying, "Hey, do you know so-and-so? Well, guess what? They adopted, and they didn't get pregnant."

Marchet Butler said...

I have the same trouble explaining my son's disease, cystic fibrosis. While I do hope there will be a cure sometime in his life, having people say, "Oh, there will be a cure," or "At least he'll live to be an adult" is really insensitive. I think people say these things because they are just trying to put a happy face on a situation that is painful.

As to the pregnancy-after/during-adoption story, I think being truthful about the reality of the situation might be the best. Saying something like, "Well that is really rare, and it certainly didn't happen in our case. But no complaints here. I have 3 great kids thanks to adoption!"

Now help me think of something to say when people comment about my son's CF . . .

Merilee said...

I don't think I have ever said anything like that...at least I hope I wouldn't be that rude! Why can't people just comment on how cute your kids are, and how lucky they are to have you as a mom? Sometimes people just have diarrhea mouth (as my dad calls it) and they just can't stop talking!

I say next time you just smack 'em...there could be some awkwardness there, and you both could enjoy it as well :)! Just kidding on the smacking part...but really!?!?!

Chase, James, Mandy and Joe said...

Oh I usually just say--" I've heard that before" and then say nothing else--and we all sit in awkwardness--like you said! I haven't come up with a good response either! I get a lot of "aren't you ready to adopt again, don't you want to experience a new baby? Cause that's REALLY a lot of work." I guess since my boys were older when I adopted them I don't know what "a lot of work" is!
Being an adoptive parent or just a parent in general has really made me a lot more aware of the things I say to people--because we don't know everyone's situations and heartaches. If all of this wasn't so personal maybe we could come up with better responses!

Shanna said...

Lisa- I think you just gave me my new answer! "Oh, really? My friend so and so adopted and they didn't get pregnant". hee hee. Either that or Merilee's idea. That would be nice too! :)

Marchet, I am speechless. I know that people *will* say the most stupid things, but really, I am speechless.

Ugh. Why are people so dumb??

Christine said...

I am one of the statistics, and I still get insesitive comments, and for some reason I am still really sensative about infertility, even though I just had a baby.
We just moved and our new RS presidency came over to visit. The counselor said "Oh, your daughters look exactly alike" (which they don't...) and I said, "that's funny, because B was adopted" The secretary then says "Doesn't it ALWAYS happen that way?!?"

My jaw almost dropped to the floor! I said, "No, actually, it hardly ever happens that way" and she still didn't get it "Well I know so-and-so who it happened to" and I said "Well, the percentage is actually really low, like 3% or something"

I think it's true, you don't hear about every single couple who adopts and DOESN'T get pregnant, you only hear the same stories of the few who do, they get passed around, we're all probably hearing about the same 4 couples or something!

I'm sorry this happened to you... I've had a lot of uncomfortable experiences here about infertility and can't wait to move away!

Melinda and Matt said...

sorry Shanna--I hope I've never said anything like that....I wish people would not offer advice about things they don't know about. It was like the person who told me that Rees wasn't stillborn, he was a miscarriage because he had to be 500 grams to be considered stillborn and he was only 480. I wanted to choke her--first because who was she to be the expert on stillbirth and second why on earth would you tell a grieving mother that the baby she held in her arms was not actually born??? Even 4 years later I still get so mad at her--if you think things like that then fine, but keep your mouth shut.

oh sorry--this was about you not me...oops

Adam and Lisa said...

Its funny that you say this because I was at a baby shower recently and they were talking about adoption (not sure what started it). I mentioned that my sister had adopted 3 kids after trying for a while and how happy you guys are with your family, etc. And one of the girls said "Oh, I just bet she'll get pregnant now that she has adopted. That is what always happens." I didn't really know what to say, I just said, "No she didn't get pregnant. All of her kids are adopted." To which she responded, "Well, just wait, she will once her kids are older." I told her your kids ages (because she was acting like when they turn 1 or something, that is the magic pill). And she just looked at me like, well she'll get pregnant just wait. I wanted to smack her too. It just bugged me that she was acting like what you said - adoption was a treatment for infertility. Take this pill 2x a day, then adopt a baby. I did tell her that I have known a few people that adopted and not one of them got pregnant. She still acted like she knew better. It just bugged me really bad, even though it wasn't about me. And I don't like this girl to begin with anyway, so that didn't help. :)

Jennifer said...

I would suggest some discomfort. If you have a nice polite response the person making the rude/ insensitive comment about adoption, still births, cystic fibrosis, etc. may not pick up on the offensiveness of their comment. I suggest going for honesty- something like wow that's hurtful/ insensitive to say that. Then let them feel awkward and uncomfortable. They might think next time they want to make such a comment.

Brenda said...

I get this alot too...I always just say "ya that happens once in a while". And I just leave it at that. It is frustrating...I think people think we are all just hoping and praying for that pgcy. Kind of makes me laugh. lol

Kydon said...

I think Jennifer had the best idea. These people are certainly not thinking about what they are saying. They just hear adoption and have a pre programmed trigger response. I say break the trigger. They will just keep on firing away to every adoptive person they meet until someone points out that what they are saying is insensitive and hurtful. When correcting them, you don’t have to be rude, just forceful enough to make them think. I wish I could think of some story we could use to replace the “she got pregnant story” We need some new story that will reprogram these people to be more sensitive… or we could just send them all to Michael Scott sensitivity training!

mandamike said...

Living in probably the MOST fertile city in the world (PROVO) I get *that* comment a lot. I pretty much tell them that we are trying to adopt again, but we would gladly accept a biological baby into our family too. Then I go on to do a little adoption Marketing and let the offender know that if they know someone who is thinking about adoption to give them my information :) That pretty much closes the deal :)

Jennifer Ricker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jennifer Ricker said...

people always said stuff like that to me when we were going through infertility treatments, "you should adopt and then you'll get pg" or "just stop thinking about it and it will happen" and "oh, you'll get pg now because your body knows what to do". These are the people who get pg without even trying:-) If it's a friend, I say "adoption isn't a consolation prize, it's choosing a different path to make a family" or "that's like saying, "Quick, don't think about purple elephants!!!". I love that infertility and adoption make friends out of strangers and cause a bond of people who have been through the toughest times and have the most wonderful outcomes. I don't think I could ever translate the emotion and heartbreak of infertility to a stranger, or that I would want to. They think they are helping and like ya'll said, it's just a programmed responce for polite conversation.
BTW - my parents adopted me at birth. I am 34 and I still waiting for my parents to give me a little brother or sister:-) good luck! we are there with you!!

Jennifer Ricker said...

is it off topic to rant about adopted kids' "real parents"?? people ask me if I want to find my "real parents". I tell them my real parents raised me for 34 years, live in pine mountain and are alan and vickie - that's as real as it gets!