Adoption – So Misunderstood

I’ve been the mother of our miracle adoption angel for just shy of 10 months now. And I suppose the one thing that has surprised me the most, is people’s ignorance towards our circumstances.

I guess because I grew up with two adopted cousins, perhaps I’m more open to the situation, or had a better understanding of it. But its been my experience over the past few months that the vast majority of people out there simply don’t get it!

We did not adopt in an attempt to care for a child until our “own” child came along. We did not adopt as a temporary solution to a problem. We did not adopt so that we could raise someone elses child. There is this massive misconception out there that I still yearn for a child of my “own”. That I still yearn for the pregnancy experience.

It really irritates & insults me when people feel the need to encourage me or pity me because I don’t have a child of my “own”. I hate the sentiment of “don’t give up, it will happen!” WTF!! It already DID happen!

Ava is my own. She is my child! I am her mother! Walter is her father! She couldn’t have been any more my child if I’d birthed her myself. I don’t look longingly at other women’s pregnant bellies. I feel no desire or yearning for that at all. I don’t for one second feel I missed out on something. For me pregnancy brings up only negative emotions  = FEAR! ANXIETY! I did not embark on this 7 year journey to pregnancy, I embarked on a 7 year journey to motherhood!

I am completley at peace with the way our situation played out in the end. I am a mother, Walter is a father, we have a baby, we are raising a child.

Sometimes I feel people place FAR too much emphasis on pregnancy, while I get that it can be a wonderful experience for some women, it does not qualify one as a mother, it is a short term condition to a long term relationship. What matters is what happens after the pregnancy. That is where the life long miracle will occur. That is where the most beautiful and powerful love will develop, that is where the joy and the laughter that last a lifetime come from.

Pregnancy is 9 months, motherhood is forever.

I also wish people would realize what an insult it is to Ava when they “encourage” me.

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  • Reply ilsek1

    I totally agree. There is nothing harder or more fulfilling than being a mom. Pregnancy is something that happens along the way.

    October 1, 2010 at 10:19 am
  • Reply adeleida

    Pregnancy is but one means to become a mom, but I doubt (as with fertility treatments) that those that haven’t been close to someone that has gone through any alternative way, would understand that a mother’s instinct has little to do with DNA. Just look at the animal world: if that mommy dog finds that abandoned kitten, it will nurse and love and it will become its own.

    October 1, 2010 at 11:01 am
  • Reply Me

    Pregnancy is how SOME women become mothers. Adoption is how some others become mothers and there are still more ways to become a mother.

    The journey to motherhood ISN’T important [in fact lets face it, alot of people if they’ve had trouble getting there, would probably prefer to forget the journey to a certain extent] it’s what happens at the end of that journey. How you handle motherhood, how you bring your child up.

    I get it, it’s sad that others don’t.


    October 1, 2010 at 11:01 am
  • Reply thebsdiaries

    hear hear Sharon. pregnancy is entirely overrated. you didn’t hear that from me 😉

    October 1, 2010 at 11:02 am
  • Reply wiseguyomoshiroi

    Ava is indeed your child. And you and Walter ARE her parents. There is no doubt about it.

    Yup, pregnancy gets over in 9 months, but motherhood is forever.

    I will not say that pregnancy is overrated, but I will definitely say that motherhood for those who want it for all the right reasons is certainly misunderstood.

    Take Care!

    Can you believe it, Ava would be 1 year old in almost no time at all?

    October 1, 2010 at 1:02 pm
  • Reply wheresmybun

    I totally agree with you!

    October 1, 2010 at 1:30 pm
  • Reply ttcnot2easy

    Beautifully put.

    I had always wanted to experience being pregnant – from as young as 13, to my dad’s disgust! But in the quest to get there and ultimately be a mom, I learned alot about myself. Most important of all, is that I know now – as you do – that you do not need to carry this baby for it to be your own. It does not “complete” the motherhood process, does it? It’s a scratch on the surface of being a parent, really.

    October 1, 2010 at 1:45 pm
  • Reply Mash

    It’s like your wedding doesn’t make your marriage. We have an obsession in our society with weddings and pregnancy. The promise of something to come.

    Why can’t we live in the now and celebrate marriage and motherhood? Ugh, it really gets to me. A bride gets to feel special on her wedding day (or not in my case, I was exhausted), and for the rest of her life her marriage is taken for granted by those around her. A pregnant woman gets all that attention until the baby is born, then she falls into a new category again.

    With all the drama in my life, this is something I have thought a lot about recently! Why do people classify things as “perfect” and “imperfect” and you fall into one of those categories? Can they not accept that adoption is not a second rate experience?

    October 1, 2010 at 2:19 pm
  • Reply tzipieastwest

    Ah Sharon, I also realise it is so misunderstood. I hate it when people differentiate between adopted (unreal) vs. bio (real) child or “not your own” vs. “your own”. As if we ever “own” a child, anyway !
    When I am confronted with such a talk, I do not mind that much, for myself. I realise it is probably out of ignorance and I feel blessed that I am able to experience the excitement of being a future adoptive parent, all the anticipation, the un-extinguishable desire for the child, the miracle of the situation …. Pregnancy is probably wonderful and an amazing experience too (at least for some), just a different way to expect ! But what bothers me most, is that these comments are indeed v. insulting for the children.
    I recall that list of thing you wanted to make for “adoption awarenes”. I think this post should defenitely enter in that “program” !

    October 1, 2010 at 3:37 pm
  • Reply little29

    “I didn’t give you the gift of life,
    But in my heart I know.
    The love I feel is deep and real,
    As if it had been so.
    For us to have each other
    Is like a dream come true.
    No, I didn’t give you The gift of life,
    Life gave me the gift of you.”
    – Unknown

    October 1, 2010 at 7:25 pm
  • Reply suestuart

    You are so right Sharon. The feelings I had for Nathan in the 6 weeks he was with us, were exactly the same feelings as those I have for Katy. Your child is your child, whether biological or not.

    October 1, 2010 at 8:15 pm
  • Reply orbit365

    I must admit that I have been guilty of thinking (not saying) some of the things that you mention in this post. Believe me when I tell you that no malice is meant by it. It really all comes from a place of ignorance and not knowing any better.
    This is why I love your blog. You dispel the myths. And more importantly, you educate. Thank you.

    October 2, 2010 at 8:31 am
  • Reply zamom

    This is a bit late but I think that the only people who can really fully understand and appreciate adoption are people that have been personally involved in an adoption. Sue is a great example as she’s had experience of both and as she says, her feelings were no different, case closed in my opinion (I’m not saying that you have to have experienced both to know). I reckon one just has to make peace with all the comments one will get over the years. At least all the important people – you, W, Ava, her grandparents, her nanny, etc. know that’s she’s certainly 100% Ava Grace van Wyk.

    October 2, 2010 at 9:27 am
  • Reply pandoragelb

    So true! I also don’t feel I missed out by not being pregnant. I have heard people call adoption ‘taking the easy way out to have a baby’ (not sure what is so easy about the adoption process…) I don’t regret never being pregnant, or giving birth. I also hate the distinction of own and not own. The statement in the adoption papers says ‘as if born to you’ and that is so true.

    October 2, 2010 at 12:35 pm
  • Reply mrssee2

    I like this ” I did not embark on this 7 year journey to pregnancy, I embarked on a 7 year journey to motherhood!”. I think it sums it up perfectly!

    October 5, 2010 at 5:10 pm
  • Reply reluctantmom

    I have cut and pasted this post to send to a friend. They have just gone to Procare for the first orientation. You have summed this up perfectly, in ways I could not even beging to broach.

    October 6, 2010 at 2:06 pm
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