A few days ago, I ran by a woman watering flowers in her front yard. I said hello, then a few steps later I spit on the ground.
"That is so unlady-like!" she yelled.
I stopped. Walked back to her and said, "Are you a runner?"
"Heck NO," she snapped.
"If you were," I explained, "then you would understand why I'm spitting."
I kept running toward home, thinking about what had just happened.
We tend to judge people for the things they do, without ever taking into consideration why it's being done--or what it might be like to be in a similar position. Some things, I believe, can only be understood by being experienced firsthand. I wasn't spitting to be crude, I was spitting because it's a necessary part of being a runner. When you run, you understand.
I kept running--and I kept thinking. How many times have I shook my head and walked away from a conversation or question because I realize that someone couldn't possibly understand what it means to stand in these high heeled shoes of mine?
It happens a lot when I talk about adoption; most people don't understand why we chose it instead of IVF. Why wouldn't we do absolutely everything in our power to have a biological child? Why walk away from that opportunity and choose a different route--one that is more complicated, costly and complex than the other? Why subject myself to a life of questions and explanations about the origin of a child that is not biologically of myself?
Choosing to be an adoptive parent is no different. Choosing to say no to IVF is just the same. When you live it, you understand it. I can attempt to explain what it felt like or why we made that choice, but I wouldn't do the experience justice. Or, I could try to tell you how I knew adoption was the right choice---but it would come back to the answer to every complicated concept in each of our lives: we just knew.
How did you know your significant other was "the one?"
Why do you have faith in God? How can you detect His presence in your life?
Why do you love your significant other?
You know the answers to these questions, of course, but you'd be hard pressed to generate a concise answer. I'm not morally opposed to IVF. I don't believe adoption is a superior choice to fertility treatments. All I know is this: adoption just felt right. I have never, in the last 13 months of waiting for this opportunity, believed anything else to be more true in my life. I have never questioned our choice; never waivered from my pillar of faith in our path.
Maybe you get it, maybe you don't. That part doesn't matter to me particularly; what matters is that at the end of each day, I know we made the right choice. And if I have to spend the rest of my days telling people that if they knew infertility they would understand, then so be it. I'm ready for any challenge.