Public Apology To Infertile People

I was not technically infertile; my husband and I never tried to get pregnant. At 45, after decades suffering endometriosis, I chose to have a hysterectomy. It was only after I became surgically infertile, that I decided I wanted to be a parent.

This is part of my story, and part of the reason I wanted to write a book about my experience of adoption. The irony of feeling compelled to become a mother only after I could not give birth, I felt, was a topic worthy of exploring. I researched and combed my memory, and ended up with, what I think, is a fairly interesting read, with some important insights and information.

On August 11, L.A. Parent online published an article I wrote that presents eight reasons why choosing adoption first is a good idea. Later that week, I posted the link on my Facebook page and thanked L.A. Parent. That night, I received the most cutting note of the entire process of writing my book, blog, or article relating to my book.

Dina- your article is insulting and hurtful. I can’t help but get mad. Your writing is so judgmental and shortsighted. My fertility challenges and choice to adopt was all the journey that brought us to our wonderful son. We had to do that to get to where we are today and I would not change a thing. After reading #6 in your article (and the other 7 points) it’s clear that you will never understand what it’s like and will instead judge people and aim to make those who are on a difficult journey feel guilty for their decisions. Just because we did fertility treatments before adopting does not make him a “last resort” child. Those words are so hurtful.

I felt very disturbed that my “friend” felt it more appropriate to publicly express herself than write or phone me personally. I was up till the wee hours going over and over in my mind how she could have taken a general article about choosing adoption before trying to become pregnant through medical intervention so personally. This was my public response:

I am sorry that my article hurt you. I hope you know that my intention with my book and my other writing and speaking is to inform and to guide, to shed light for those who have been/are in the dark. Changing consciousness begins early on. I hope to reach a generation who may be able to see into the future and be able to expand the way they define “family.” That adoption can be a part of dialog between parent and child, teacher and student, young lovers, and newlyweds alike. Again, I do not write to hurt; I write to heal. My apologies to anyone who has been hurt by my words. It takes courage to speak the truth, yours, and mine. I hope you can also respect my desire to encourage a change in global thought. This is not about one person, one story, one disappointment, one anything–this is about All.

I felt the need to share this here because certainly if one woman took my words as a personal attack, there must be others out there. I absolutely have no desire to condemn anybody for the choices they made that perhaps led them, in the end, to adopt as a way to become a parent. If I spoke about my personal experience with adoptive parents admitting to me that they still long to give birth, even after an exhausting medical process that eventually failed, and it is taken as a condemnation, I really do apologize.

Once upon a time, if a couple was not able to create a child the “natural” way, adoption was their only choice. Technology stepped in along the way to offer a possibility of another option: maybe, just maybe, with the right modality, this couple could actually create another human being, one that shares their DNA. The flaw in this picture is that statistically the odds are against the desiring couple. This is the stuff that the fertility business does not like to share.

Nonetheless, we are where we are, and as stated in the response above, my deepest desire on this mission of mine is to plant seeds of change. The reason that I have spent so much time, energy, and money trying to speak my truth is to reach a mind that may still be open enough to receive new thoughts. Maybe, just maybe, someday, instead of automatically picturing how fertility drugs can make an infertile woman pregnant, she will visualize a parentless child who is waiting for somebody to come along and create for her or him a forever family.

With an estimated 143 million orphans worldwide, and 30,000 foster children aging out in 2010, right here in the U.S.A., I believe that the time is actually right for making room in our hearts and minds for viewing “family” in a whole new way. I never set out on this journey to offend, insult, or hurt any person who adopted their child or children after failed attempts at giving birth to a healthy baby. Therefore, again, I hope that anyone who has been insulted and hurt by my words will forgive me.

5 Responses to Public Apology To Infertile People

  1. Hi Dina,

    I do understand where you are coming from and I do understand that to make real change in the world is both challenging, and comes with great risk. I feel, however, that the angle you are coming at to reduce the number of “family-less” children in the world, is not addressing the real problem. Without going into it here, I would love to have a conversation with you regarding the direction of your argument. I also would guess that if you were to poll all parents who have adopted, the vast majority of them would tell you they tried first to get pregnant, and/or tried fertility methods. I would also guess the vast majority of them (hopefully all of them) would tell you that they don’t care now how their child came into their family – only that he/she did. Therefore, I think you might want to be careful in your approach to some of your statements, as the very audience that you are speaking to, and about, may take issue with some of your wording. It’s not necessarily what you present, but how you present it.
    I hope to talk with you soon. Take care!

  2. Thank you, Juli. I appreciate all input. I now understand the real problem with my message: it has been targeted at the wrong audience. Still hoping that this “Public Apology” has been met with the knowledge that it comes from my heart. Next stop: a youth that has not yet embarked on family-building.

  3. I adopted my son and daughter from the foster care system after I became pregnant and then miscarried many times in a row. In retrospect, I wish I would have gone straight to adoption. I didn’t, however, because I had never thought of adoption as a first and best option. Adoption as a first choice is a hard concept to articulate, and an even harder concept for the vast majority of people, both inside and outside of the adoption world, to accept. Still, I get it and I think that as an adoption advocate, the author is ahead of her time.

  4. I agree with Daisy – this concept is forward thinking and will hopefully help to lead people to adoption who may not have considered it otherwise. Ideas which change the thinking of society as a whole are challenging for those individuals brave enough to stand behind them.

  5. Dina,

    I am absolutely inspired by your message and your courage in spreading this idea.

    I am a 29 year old gay woman (lesbian). Like all little girls, I was raised to want a family of my own. I took care of baby dolls and planned out my children’s names. There is so much pressure from family, peers, movies, media. Of course that’s what I wanted, right? As I matured, I came to terms with my sexual orientation and realized that I would not have a traditional family. Infertility in my case is just a reality. It does not happen without medical intervention.

    I’m nearing my 30s now and many of my classmates are marrying and having children. I’ve begun to question the course of my life and how it might look in ten or fifteen years when my peers are heavily involved in their children’s lives and I am…. childfree? Or perhaps I will adopt. I have a strong desire to participate in a young person’s life. Just not right now. What I know for sure is that finding a ‘donor’ and attempting IVF is not for me. I am conscious of the impact overpopulation has on our environment. It just does not make sense to create another human life.

    It breaks my heart to think of the young people living in the foster system without constant family support/structure. Children who undoubtedly feel lost, unwanted and unloved. It’s hard to imagine growing up that way. It makes me so grateful for my good fortune in being born to a family that wanted and had the means to care for me.

    You’ve inspired me to devote my time and energy to expanding human awareness of adoption as a first choice in family planning. Take care of each other. Is it really that simple?

    Thanks again, Dina.

    ~Mira Johnson
    Los Angeles, CA

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>