I know a very beautiful woman who, while she is a mother to two, has also opened up her life to be a surrogate for someone else. As someone whose womb tragically failed me, the very idea of this is foreign, magical and exotically lovely. I know many would balk at a wife and mother doing this for another, even a stranger, but I have to question: could there be any greater ministry?
Of course there are already born motherless children, and so many homeless and hungry… But every day I grow more and more in my absolution that not everyone is cut out for adoption. It’s the whole had I known perspective.
Several years ago a very amazing woman, (a different woman) offered to be a surrogate for us. She too was a wife and a mother. (I feel it is important to share those details because there is this stereotype with surrogates that displays a very different type of woman.) This surrogacy never came to fruition because we all lived in a state which didn’t allow surrogacy and there wasn’t really a way around that. It was a nice five minute dream, but one we realized quickly was very expensive and beyond anything we could ever really touch.
The path of infertility is a dark and isolating one. You never realize how many pregnant women there are, until you’ve had a miscarriage. You never realize how many babies are everywhere, until your arms and heart ache every second of the day for your own baby. When it becomes profoundly obvious to you that a woman’s body was designed to bear a child, and yours cannot, there is no worse feeling in the world. It is more painful than rejection and far more humiliating than any failure… And this is the heart to which so many women come to adoption. They come to adoption, full of hope and expectation. They allow that word to touch their dreams.
Adoption in and of itself is a word that builds hope. In the general population it stirs a positive emotion.
For so many, many, many children, it is a dream. There are so many children (just in America. I’m just talking our foster care system right now, though I know it goes far beyond that.) Who fall asleep dreaming of a family to Finally come and love them. The one thing the barren mother, broken by her inability to be a woman, and the abandoned child, simply broken, have in common is their dream of that same beautiful word…
In the mind, adoption makes so much sense. Pair the childless mother with the motherless child. Each desperately, achingly wants what they do not have and viola! Finally!
In truth though, life is messier than that. This isn’t some meet cute motion picture. Adoption is hard. It can be (but maybe not always, I hope) ugly. It can be worse than anything you imagine. The world full of babies and women who can be women, the way they were made to be, are always the first to judge when an adoption does not work out and the parents admit defeat and give up. They do not try to empathize with how completely hellish the interior of this journey can be for everyone. Sometimes that is the best course of action, and sometimes it isn’t. Before I was an adoptive mother, I certainly didn’t understand. Now I do. It’s hard to wrap one’s head around though… How can someone abandon a child who has already been so abandoned? But nothing is ever that simple.
My beautiful, bright adopted daughter hates me. She can get over it sometimes, for a day or two, and when that happens life is glorious. We really enjoy each others company and have a lot of fun. It’s beautiful and my husband and I will remark about how maybe we are actually sort of close… because, the truth is, I think she loves me too. The best she knows how, anyway. The hatred trumps love though. And as awful as it sounds, through so much work, and help we’ve learned (though she has trouble seeing this) it isn’t personal and it isn’t about me. It’s about her, though she directs it at me. I didn’t do anything to earn her vindictiveness or cruelty, but I’ve been receiving it for years. It’s a very isolating place to be, and I’m pretty empty anymore.
Some weeks ago, in a rare moment of candidness I asked her why she feels she hates me so consumingly and her answer shocked me to my core. I expected some “because you hold me responsible for my actions” nonsense (we get that thrown in our face a lot, because she’s a kid and that makes sense!) Defiantly she glared at me and with absolute disgust in her voice she spit out “Because you adopted me.”
Startled I questioned, “Me personally? You wish someone else had adopted you?”
And she scoffed like I was stupid. “No, I don’t want other parents. I just think adoption is an evil thing and no child should ever have to go through it.” She proceeded to rant about how some kids are products of horrible divorces, or have major disabilities. Despite having an early, pre-childhood of major abuses, she views adoption as her life’s affliction and the thing she’d one day over come.
Another Finally I guess. Finally, a reason, though it makes no sense and hurts my heart and makes me so confused… And feeling so isolated and alone here on my island.
I’m noticing a lot lately that the world is full of three types of people. One- the person who loves and is willing to give so much of themselves, even if it doesn’t make sense to their observers. Two- the people who judge the surrogates and givers of the world. These are the same ones likely condemning the broken, for being broken. There is a lack of empathy, replaced my their need for opinion. And Three- The ones who act the supportive and empathetic part, but are unavailable and their support empty.
Seeing this makes me know who I want to be, for sure. Even if I’m only half a woman…