Stay Out of My Uterus
When we decided to become foster parents a few years ago we never imagined that the first child placed with us would become available for adoption. We actually really hoped that he wouldn’t become available for adoption because that would mean something really terrible happened in his family of origin that prevented them from parenting. We assumed we’d foster several kiddos before having the opportunity to adopt and we were okay with that path to parenthood. But when our little man became available for adoption 2.5 years into his case, we were happy to bring him into our family permanently.
What is interesting is that sometimes when people hear our adoption story they make comments about infertility. They tell me about a friend who is struggling with infertility. They talk to me about how hard it is to find out you are unable to get pregnant. I usually just nod and agree because my reproductive choices or struggles aren’t really anyone else’s business. But here’s the truth – we never walked the road of infertility. We never even tried to get pregnant. Adoption through foster care was our first choice, yet people make all sorts of assumptions about our path to parenthood. In our post-adoption lives sometimes people ask, “Are you going to have any of your own kids?”…umm, my kid is my own kid so I’m not even sure what that question means, but ultimately the answer isn’t any of your business either. Over and over again, people keep making my uterus their business and it’s super awkward.
So here’s what I want to say: let’s all just stay out of everyone else’s reproductive journey unless they invite us into the story because you never really know what’s going on or how painful a certain decision might have been. When you ask a couple when they are going to have kids, they might have experienced multiple miscarriages or they might have been trying to get pregnant for a very long time. When you ask somebody if they are planning on having more kids, you don’t know if maybe they are in a disagreement with their partner about whether they are done having kids. When you make a comment about an adoption (in front of an adoptee) and imply that they were a “second choice” that only happened as the result of infertility, that can be painful- it’s more complex than that.
I know these questions and comments are well-meaning, but they have real and sometimes unexpected implications. So please, stay out of my uterus. Actually, stay out of everyone’s journey to parenthood unless you are invited in and even then, tread lightly because it’s a super personal and can be very emotional.