But Seriously, Infertility

Adoption Won’t Cure My Infertility, part 2

A friend recently shared an article with me that talked about infertility treatments, specifically the problems with IVF procedures. It was a pretty decent article, and I agreed with many of the hesitations the author had concerning IVF . But she lost me at the conclusion: “maybe a better alternative to IVF would be adoption.”

In my last post, I expressed some frustration with people who jump to adoption as a treatment for infertility, but I want you to know that isn’t the same as just a caring friend asking about our plans and if we’ll ever consider adopting. I already talked about how infertility can’t really be healed by adopting a child, but my second problem with the “adoption as an infertility treatment” mindset has to do with the serious and heartwrenching act of adoption itself. Relegating adoption to merely an infertility treatment diminishes its weightiness.

{Ok, I admit I’m delving into a topic in which I have no experience, as we haven’t yet started pursuing adoption. So if I’m way off base, please feel free to call me out!}

Adoption brings its own emotional trauma

I already talked about the mess of emotions infertility brings (and lets be honest, I’ll probably talk about them again because talking about my feelings is one of my main hobbies anymore). Not only does adoption not “fix” most of them, the adoption process is pretty stressful on its own. There’s the initial stress of meeting all the licensing requirements, then the uncertainty of waiting for a placement; the headaches of endless paperwork and legal proceedings. In many adoptions, the birth family will still be at least somewhat present in the child’s life–and the spectrum of experiences accompanying that interaction can be anything from 100% positive to nightmarish. Adoptions through foster care can include another level of issues and trauma. Jumping into adoption as a way to “fix” infertility is trying to merge two broken families and expecting no subsequent wounds.

Adoption shouldn’t be about the parents’ needs

Yes, we want to be parents. I would give virtually anything to suffer morning sickness and writhe through labor pains, to hear a little boy call me “Mama,” to be the one who has to tuck the kids into bed because Daddy just doesn’t do it right. I long to see Logan as a father, singing his weird little lullabies to our babies, immersing himself in the pretend world of a five-year-old, teaching a little girl how to spot all the turtles when we go for walks. But we can’t choose to adopt just because we want kids, and not because we are burdened for children who need families.

Adopting should be about what the child needs–unconditional love, commitment, safety, home. Infertile couples often make wonderful adoptive parents because their love and attention can be given completely to children who may need extra care. But I shouldn’t expect any child to erase or to resolve the issues I’m dealing with–especially not an adopted child who brings his own baggage to our family.  If I go into adoption expecting it to meet my needs and fulfill my desires for motherhood, how will I react when I discover that bonding doesn’t always happen immediately? When, instead of finally feeling healed and fulfilled, I must bear the added weight of a child’s past? And how will that child feel knowing she was the second choice for our family, that if we had been able to have “our own” kids we would never have considered her needs?

It may well be that infertility is the path that God will use to lead us to some special children He already has in mind for us; that our current experiences will shape us into parents ready to bear the burdens of an adopted child. Perhaps the cares we wear right now and the prayers that remain unanswered are the tool He’ll use to make us ready to love a child we wouldn’t have known otherwise. But when the day comes that we are Mom and Dad to children not born to us, I earnestly pray that the first thought on our hearts is the best interests of those children and their first families and not about treating my problem.

Adoption isn’t just for infertile people

When writers publish articles that say adoptions a “better option to treat infertility,” and when people suggest that we should “stop trying and just adopt,” (again, not the same as just a friendly question in a conversation about our struggle so far!), we start to get the idea that adopting is something that’s the sole responsibility of infertile couples. Those who have “their own” kids are content to admonish infertile couples to stop wasting money on treatments and think of the kids without homes instead, never considering if they themselves have a responsibility toward those children. Would adoption be more difficult with a house already full of kids? Probably. Is every family called to adopt? Of course not. But speaking about adoption as something infertile families should do leads to the idea that fertile families don’t need to.

ok, call me out. Am I completely unqualified to write about this? Am I still looking at these issues way too naively? What’s your experience with adoption, and what should I know as we prepare for that in our eventual future?

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But Seriously, Infertility

Adoption Won’t Cure My Infertility, Part 1

It’s a message I hear often, normally from very kind, very well-meaning people.

“Have you considered adoption?”
“Don’t you think it’s selfish to pursue treatments when there are kids in foster care that need homes?”
“Maybe adoption is the answer for your infertility.”

I recognize that my thoughts on this are purely from the currently childless side. Someday, I trust that God will lead us to adopt, and I can only guess how my perspective on things will change then. But I’m fairly confident of one thing: adoption won’t cure my infertility.

It seems so simple, so easy, so rational. Can’t have kids? Just adopt! But the problem with this line of thinking is that it reduces both infertility and adoption to very one-dimensional issues. In this kind of rationale, infertility is code for problem: wants a child and the only emotion associated with this problem is sad because doesn’t have a child. If this were true, yes, adoption would be the “easy” solution. A child would be obtained and the sadness would dissipate into joy. Unfortunately, infertility is much more than the basic lack of a child, and its accompanying emotions are persistent and tumultuous.

Adoption won’t heal my physical condition

While I often focus on the “babyless” side of things, my infertility is actual merely a symptom of a much broader problem–an incurable syndrome that affects my metabolism, moods, and general health. While I hope on my more optimistic days to eventually find the panacea that will completely reverse my symptoms, it’s just as likely that this is something I’ll be living with for the rest of my life–with or without children.

Adoption can’t fix my emotions

The last year and a half have been emotionally turbulent. In addition to basic sadness and grief, infertility has also brought feelings of inadequacy, depression, loneliness, jealousy, anger, fear, guilt, and doubtfulness. Sometimes I let them get the upper hand; sometimes, by God’s grace, I manage to control them. Either way, most of these won’t be addressed by adoption. Adopting won’t heal the loneliness I feel when my friends share their birth stories. I doubt it will completely fix the twinges of envy I feel when I hear pregnancy announcements. I don’t think it can silence the “Why, God?” I cry when someone else is blessed with a child and abuses him. It can’t magically restore faith in a God who has answered so many of my prayers with “no.” It can’t help stave off the self-loathing whispers of Logan deserves more than a broken wife and no matter what I do, I’ll never be good enough to deserve a baby. While parenting an adopting child will, I’m sure, bring just as much joy as having a biological baby, there are so many more feelings than the simple interplay of joy and grief.

God doesn’t explain His plan to us. And while I pray that His plan for us will eventually include adopting, I want my future adopted sons and daughters to know that they weren’t just a bandaid solution to my issues. When God brings them to us, they’ll be getting a Mama with some baggage, some scars, and those children won’t be responsible to fix these wounds for me.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this issue! Have adoption and/or infertility been part of your life? How have they affected you? Do you think I’m being an opinionated drama queen (always a possibility)? 

Part 2 to come (because yes, I have more opinions with little to no life experience backing them up!)

But Seriously, Home, Marriage

There & Back Again

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That’s the face I make when I get to see my seester. ❤

Also the face I make when I’m walking over a very long bridge over very rapid water which I can see through the bridge. Actually, that face was a trifle more terrified/green.

Logan & I took a quick trip last weekend back up to our old college stomping grounds. (Is it pretentious to call ABC “our old college stomping grounds” when we have been graduated for literally 2.5 months?) It was odd to go back–it’s been such a short time, and yet so much has changed. It probably was too soon to visit again, technically, but two of my fellow music majors were having their senior recital, Logan & I aren’t committed to a local church here yet, and Ruth and I missed each other. So I bought waaaaaaaaaay too much trip food, and off we went. (My memories of sustenance needed for road trips all still involve a van full of 7+ people — at least two of whom are always-hungry boys — and drives that last many many hours. Hence the overabundance of munchies.) Continue reading “There & Back Again”

But Seriously, Music

A Ridiculously Long Post (With Pictures)

What is this feeling, so sudden and new? I felt the moment…
I walked out of my sophomore platform.
My pulse isn’t rushing,
My head isn’t reeling.
My face isn’t flushing.
What is this feeling?
Fervid as a flame, does it have a name?
Yes….yeeeeeeeeeees!
Freedom! Nearly-absolute freedom! And peace! And lack of stress!

Okay. Bad Wicked parodies aside, I am basically floating right now. Remember how I termed the past two weeks “Death Week” and “Lesser Death Week”? I wasn’t joking. They were every bit as crazy as I anticipated–maybe, in fact, even worse. Continue reading “A Ridiculously Long Post (With Pictures)”

But Seriously, Home

Life Lessons from Fast Food

In honor of only having two days left at DQ, I thought I would share some lessons from the summer…

  1. I really like being called Elisabeth. It’s a good name.
  2. I’m really slow. There’s this time chart competition thing, and I’ve been consistently in the low slots. It really hurts my pride. I don’t like coming in last or even close to last. Learning how slow I am has been humbling. I’m really not as great as I think I am.
  3. People are quick to criticize others and even quicker to excuse themselves. I’m pretty sure I learned about this concept in psychology last fall (the Fundamental Attribution Error, perhaps?), and I’m quite sure I heard a sermon or two on it this summer (Hypocrisy/Judgmentalism, perhaps?). Because of this…
  4. Learning to have a patient and meek attitude is invaluable in interactions. I don’t have that anything close to mastered yet, but I hope I developed it at least a little bit this summer.
  5. Speaking of being judgmental, I will be much more understanding next time I have to patronize any sort of fast food place. Maybe the kid behind the counter is a stereotypical fast-food worker type…or maybe she’s just very confuddled by having counted change all day and this simple math problem that you’re asking her to do is inexplicably escaping her. All sorts of numbers are floating in her brain, and so if she stares at you blankly, it could be drugs, or it could be just sheer change-counting tiredness. Give her a break. Please. Because that was totally me several times in the drive through this summer and it was really embarrassing.
  6. Speaking of drugs, if you jokingly remark to one of your coworkers who “sometimes does illegal stuff” that the cop going through the drive through asked to speak to her…she probably won’t think it’s funny. Oops. 
  7. Wearing headsets is gross. You know how much of other people’s ear sweat is in those things? Way more than I want close to me. Too bad I don’t have much of a choice.
  8. The easiest way to make sure you get all your breaks is to take up smoking.
  9. Vanilla shakes are nothing more than milky ice cream. Save your money, people. Especially if you don’t even want the whip cream or the cherry.
  10. America has some very messed up priorities. People who buys their dogs cups of DQ ice cream are crazy. That’s some expensive stuff to just feed to a dog.
  11. Not all high school seniors know if France is a city or a country. Weep for the state of the nation.
  12. Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.
  13. People really like justifying themselves. When I ask, as I’m supposed to do, if they want to donate “just $1!” to the Children’s Miracle Network, a surprising percentage of them take the time to explain why they can’t: I did last time, I do that at work, no one ever donates to me, “I’m broke.” (False. If you can afford our ice cream you are NOT broke!) People. I am neither God nor your conscience. I really could not care less why you choose not to donate. Just pull around and give me your money so I can get on to the next customer.
  14. Pop radio is one of the most terrible things I have ever been subjected to. You know how people complain about classical music being boring and all the same and stuff like that? I present to you: basically every pop song I’ve heard. Look at these lyrics:
    One less problem without ya!
    I got!
    One less problem without ya!
    I got!
    One less problem without ya!
    [Ariana Grande:]
    I got one less, one less problem
    [Big Sean:]
    One less problem without ya
    I got!
    One less problem without ya!
    I got!
    One less problem without ya!
    [Ariana Grande:]
    I got one less, one less problem
  15. No job can compare to my library job. Just a few more weeks until I’m back. I can make it.
  16. God is good. From providing work in the first place, to giving me grace shift by shift, to reminding me to do all things without complaining, to granting opportunities to witness…He’s been so good and kind and faithful to me through this entire summer. Will I miss blending blizzards and taking drive through orders? Not at all. But am I glad I got to do both this summer?

Absolutely.

But Seriously

Know what’s intense?

CAMPING!
Get it?
In-tents?
Sorry not sorry.

I was super privileged to spend last week counseling at the Sr. High week at the Bible camp I grew up going to. (Well, I would have grown up going to it if I had ever grown up.) It was super fabulous and incredibly epic. Need proof?

  1. I got to see my Woofie! She’s pretty much my best friend in the world, and I have missed her turribly this summer. Just a few more weeks and we’ll be together like all the time. Watch out, West Virginia.
  2. I had a crazy cool group of girls. Two had been counselors/jr. counselors previous weeks, so they basically knew everything I didn’t, which was helpful… 😉 The other three included a girl I had counseled way back when she was a junior camper (I felt pretty ancient, not gonna lie), the always sweet younger sister of a girl I had been a tablesetter with, and a new friend who taught me “2.5” and humbled me with her sensitivity to God’s Word, even when it challenged her.
  3. No drama. The thought of Sr. High scared me because previous years had boy probz and dress code probz and just general drama probz and this year was unusually non-dramatic in all those ways. It was refreshing.
  4. I got to see some of my favorite people! You know who you are. Or you would know if you were reading this, which you probably aren’t since you’re working at camp. If you ever get the time to read this, know that I was super happy to see you. I would write your names, but a) breach of privacy and b) I’m paranoid about accidentally forgetting/misspelling/etc. and losing a fabulous friend.
  5. This quote happened: “Your lips move in ways unlike anyone else I’ve ever met!”
  6. This quote happened: “Betsy, you’re beautiful on the inside, not the outside!”
  7. This quote happened: anonymous camper acting as jailor during Capture the Flag upon the occasion of other players being captured and joining me in jail, where I had been imprisoned alone for several minutes: “Shoot, now there are good players in here!”
  8. I got to listen my girls quote hundreds of Bible verses every day.
  9. I had a free piano lesson with Mrs. Ried! I think I’m sort of a professional now.
  10. Someone was saved this week.
  11. This happened.

    My sweet campers made me a giant thank-you card...with chocolate. ;)
    My sweet campers made me a giant thank-you card…with chocolate. 😉
  12. Two words: cherry delight.
  13. The term “sportsing” was a thing.
    Sportsing
  14. I found my new dream: to become a graceful ballerina-like ultimate frisbee player. So far, I’m more of an awkward hippo-like ultimate frisbee player, but that’s a start.
  15. My volleyball team lost to the winning team, so I think that means we came in second place, which is pretty exciting.
  16. We got to talk about tough topics like pride and anger and self-will and repentance and forgiveness and devotion and submission (and, of course, boys–it was Sr. High, after all), and we got to watch God work in hearts.

So basically it was like the best week ever and I want to go back.

 

But Seriously

Maybe it’s me

So, yesterday I wrote a post about what boys shouldn’t say to girls. However, thanks to some feedback from some good friends, I realized that there are a few ways girls should never ever respond to boys, too. Here ya go.

Ways Girls Should Never Respond to Boys

*something I have definitely not yet mastered

  1. Over-analyzing everything they say.
    If he said, “Are you feeling OK? You don’t look good,” what he means is probably “I’m your friend and I care about how your day is going,” NOT “Wow, Betsy, you sure look gross today.” I have a tendency to way over-think simple statements. Not a good way to make friends. Sometimes boys say tactless things. Don’t take it out of context.
    Sometimes, though, boys say things like “You look like you want to bite and scratch people.” Even without over-analyzing that one, it’s pretty weird. Which is number two.
  2. Holding on to it forever.
    Seriously. Let it go.Let it goDon’t bring it up for seventeen months. Don’t blog about it. Move on. You have better things to be doing with your life, probably. Chances are, he’s actually a nice guy. Don’t discourage his attempts at chivalry and niceness, no matter of how awkward they turn out to be.

All that to say, sometimes guys say upsetting things. But maybe it’s not their fault. Maybe it’s … me.

Wait. If I’m open to the possibility that I’m the one at fault, I’ll never be able to write good songs like Taylor Swift does! Shoot. There goes my hope of fame.

Obviously, I’m really bad at following this list, and I’m sure I’m missing a lot of stuff. If you have extra advice on how to be a nicer person, please let me know. And if you’re a guy and I’ve insulted you by ripping something you said out of context and then viciously holding it over your head for ages, I am truly sorry.

(Also, sorry about getting that song stuck in your head. I really am.)

But Seriously, Five Glass Slippers, Music

Summer. Finally.

Dearest All Four People Who Read This;

Greetings.

You may remember last time I posted I mentioned Jubilate tour. (And by “you may remember,” I really mean, “most of you saw me on Jubilate tour and it totally made my days.”) At any rate, it’s over now. We pulled back on campus late last night, unloaded, debriefed, hugged, and went our various ways. (And by “our various ways,” I mean “primarily back to the dorms one last night before our families come to pick us up.”) If blogging about chorale tour was hard, this is harder. Continue reading “Summer. Finally.”

But Seriously, College is Strange

The end of the beginning

Finals are over.

People are packing.

Goodbyes are being started.

Jubilate tour is rapidly approaching.

It’s hard for me to believe that my third year of college is nearly over. In high school, I really couldn’t imagine suffering through four years of college…and three have flown by already. This year has been so wonderful, so I decided to write a poem about it. I present to you

“Betsy Ruminates on her Second Sophomore Year”

Continue reading “The end of the beginning”

But Seriously, Music

There’s Honey in the Rock (really!!)

David Hume, metaphysics, and empiricism have thoroughly confused my mind, so I’m breaking to blog a minute. I could break to work on sightsinging…but blogging is more fun. Plus, my voice is dead. How dead, you ask? 100%, seriously. I don’t think I could sing another note if you paid me. (Though, depending on how much you were offering, I might give you a really good try.) “Wait,” I hear you asking. “Why is your voice 100% dead? Have you contracted some sort of plague from your RA? Did you spend an entire afternoon yelling at one of those sporting event things? Did you accidentally eat an entire jar of peanut butter and so your throat is sticking together?” While I will grant that those are quite admirable guesses, they are, in actuality, incorrect. My RA, though having experienced diseases in a previous life, was gracious enough never to pass them on to me; I don’t even know what those sporting event things you speak of are; and I haven’t had any peanut butter in a long time. No, my voice is dead for quite another reason: I, along with 34 other ABC students, just finished 14 choral concerts over the course of the past 11 days. We sang selections from a repertoire of 15 songs at 9 churches and 5 schools in 4 states and 2 zones, and ate approximately 500 chocolate chip cookies and 9 ham sandwiches. Continue reading “There’s Honey in the Rock (really!!)”