To Be or Not to Be a Victim?

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It’s easy to become a victim of infertility. It’s even a little sickly satisfying to feed the woes of infertility with all the possibilities of “it’s not fair” and “why not me?” But those phrases become well-worn mantras that destroy peace, love, and joy. It has taken me years to learn how to fight that internal battle, but I believe I learned in the perfect time.

You see, in His perfect timing I have wrestled with being a victim. In his perfect timing I have learned that I am not. In His perfect timing I recognized the lies I believed about motherhood, family, and parenting. In his perfect timing I accepted the call He laid on my heart since 2nd grade: Adoption.

But now I am learning it’s just as easy to become a victim of infertility through the perspective of adoption. I face new obstacles and a new perspective. I must now learn how to apply what I know to this circumstance as well.

The other day Dean and I attended our second intake meeting with our perspective adoption agency. This meeting left me feeling exhausted and vulnerable. The director went over our application with us, their policy is to go through every question on the application. This doesn’t seem too bad, but let me tell you, some of those questions are very personal: “Have you ever received counseling from a mental health professional?”  When my response was, “yes” her follow up question was, “What was the nature of your issues? What did you and your counselor discuss?”

“Have you ever been abused sexually or domestically?”

It didn’t take long for my fears of not being good enough to creep right back into that room. I defaulted back to my defensive behavior. I wanted her to know I could be a parent. I wanted her to hear the good things about me, not about my abuse and my anxiety. I wanted to prove to her that I was worth it. But those weren’t the questions she was asking.

Overall, I think I did a pretty good job at answering the questions honestly, but I made the mistake of getting defensive when she asked me about Celebrate Recovery. Later, when Dean and I discussed how the meeting went, he pointed it out to me. I knew he was right, because I identified it for myself during the meeting. Thirty seconds into my answer I caught onto my old behavior and stopped it. However, I had 30 seconds of defensive dialogue that I felt horrible about. Dean ensured me that her question was not accusing in the least, it was simply a question. I cried on the way home because I felt like I ruined our chances. I cried because I felt like my abuser ruined my chances. I cried because I felt like my history of anxiety ruined my chances. I cried because it wasn’t fair, other people just have kids without being interrogated.

However, I refuse to feed my sick desire to pout and find reasons why my life is “harder than theirs”. It would be insane for me to go down that path again and expect an outcome other than despair, sorrow, and anger. The reality of the situation is: I don’t know what it’s like to live their life, and they don’t know what it’s like to live mine. This is my life. This is what I have been given. So I need to learn how to find the blessings in this. The best way for me to do that is to change my perspective.

I put myself in the shoes of the birthparent. If I was pregnant, and I was about to go through the selfless act of letting go of my dearly loved child, I would want to know that the adoptive parents were emotionally and mentally stable. I would want to make sure that they have support systems in place. I would want to make sure that they are finding healing from life’s hurts, habits, and hang-ups. I would want the agency to ask them these questions. Not as a way of condemning them, but to get a glimpse of how these people live their life and handle situations that sometimes are out of their control. I would want to know that the adoptive parents recognize brokenness in their lives. I would feel uncomfortable with a seemingly perfect couple, because to me it just screams denial. I know that not everyone feels or thinks this way, but I can’t be the only one. God has gone ahead of me, and he has prepared the heart of the birthparents to receive me and Dean. God has prepared the hearts of me and Dean to receive the birthparents.

So, to ensure I don’t fall back into being a victim I practice gratitude:

Thank you God for adoption agencies. Thank you for all the hard work the staff does to ensure the safety, health, and well-being of the children, birth parents, foster parents, and adoptive parents.

Thank you God for birth parents. Thank you for their hearts of love. Thank you for allowing me and Dean the opportunity to be welcomed intimately into the lives of another family.

Thank you for my husband, and his willingness to call me out when my character defects rear their ugly heads.

Thank you for the support you have given me through counseling, Celebrate Recovery, family, and my dear sisters in Christ.

Thank you for going ahead of me in all things; for helping me to work through major hurts.

Thank you for loving me through it all, no matter what my flaws.

Psalm 52:8 “But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever.”

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