HOW DO YOU RESPOND…

Even though Grant and Maria are nearly two years old, I still find myself struggling with how to answer certain questions about them. It’s not uncommon for someone who doesn’t know about their beginning to ask who they favor with regards to appearance. I find this a difficult question, not because I don’t want to share about embryo adoption, but because it’s not always convenient to explain our story, especially to someone who saw me pregnant. I’ll blow the question off with a shrug of my shoulders and just say something like “not really sure” or just never really answer the question. Because I don’t want to seem like I’m trying to hide something, I don’t like shrugging it off and I think I need an “elevator speech” for embryo adoption…something that can be done in 30 seconds or less. When I do explain I say “We actually adopted them when they were frozen embryos; they are not genetic to either Jeremy or me. It’s pretty awesome that I got to give birth to my adopted children.” This will generally garner one of two reactions: blank look followed by agreement, or lots of questions. Again, I don’t mind the questions, but sometimes it’s just more than I really care to get into at any given time.

Another thing that I’ve encountered with is people still don’t truly understand the concept of embryo adoption. I’ve found there’s a lot of people who think we used donor eggs or sperm. This came up recently when someone commented on Grant’s tan and I said he is one-quarter Lebanese. From there the look told me she didn’t quite understand I said they were not genetic to either one of us. She was surprised because “they both look like Jeremy” and assumed we just used donor eggs. So, I explained that no, they were actual embryos and spent 7 years frozen and the light bulb came on, “So they were already put together…that’s so cool!”

I assume this is normal in this “brave new world” of embryo adoption and donation. I just wonder if other adoptive parents have had the same experiences and how they respond to such questions and comments?

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11 thoughts on “HOW DO YOU RESPOND…

  1. People can range from generally curious to just plain rude, and I vary my responses based on their attitude, and how well we know them. It isn’t really necessary for the lady behind us at the supermarket to know our life story, you know. If we may see them again and they seem sincere in curiosity, I will explain more. My daughters are five and half, and may people just laugh and say one looks like me an the other her father. Sometimes, I just nod. My grandfather knows about the embryo adoption, but still hasn’t put it all together, and swears “they got some of me” during the pregnancy. Some doctors continue to ask for family medical background. In other words, it is going to continue. Try to find a response you are happy with, even if it’s just a nonchalant, “She looks just like herself” etc.

    What is the most important is that they understand in a way that is comfortable for you. I explained the situation in a children’s book which is available at lulu.com. Later, I told my daughters that usually God puts the baby right in the Mommy’s belly and she doesn’t need to go to the doctor to get the baby(ies). As the get older, they have more questions about the whole were do babies come from, but they seem content to know their story is a bit different and they are very special. I think it

    • I love the idea of writing your own book. I just downloaded yours and can’t wait to read it. I want to write a children’s book and have it printed through a self-publishing site so our son can have a story book of his embryo adoption.

  2. I have not adopted through embryo adoption but almost did so I know a lot about it. Our domestically adopted son came along the week before I was scheduled for medical consultation for embryo adoption. I am still a huge advocate for embryo adoption. Anyway, when I explain embryo adoption to people I usually talk about IVF and people really get that. I say I can adopt, in your case, we did adopt, embryos that were not used in a couples IVF cycle. They were donated after the biological parents completed their family or (for whatever reason) ecided not to move forward with IVF. So, they saved their embryos so they could give life to another family. Hope this helps!

  3. I struggle with these same issues. I don’t want to over share with every nosy person I encounter, but I also don’t want to lie. And I don’t ever want Leland to think that it needs to be a secret. Right now I take it one (sometimes awkward) conversation at a time. Often times I think back on a conversation and wondered if I made the right decision to share or not to share.

    We’ll sometimes make a comment about good German blood and even my In-Laws will say “is Lara German”. No….our donors are part German. Even the people closest to us seem to forget.

  4. My daughter is very new (only 8 weeks old) and I am surprised with how awkward I find it when people try to find similar physical characteristics between my husband and I and our daughter. I don’t find it awkward when the random stranger does this, but when our family and friends, who know our story, try to find similarities it is awkward. I think they try to point out similarities because they themselves are a little unsure about how to approach this kind of adoption. I try to find opportunities to talk about Allison’s (our daughter) adoption and her biological family so that everyone feels comfortable with the topic.

    That being said, I do try and tell as many people as possible her story. The way I look at it is that you never know who that person might know. They could have people in their lives struggling with infertility and this may just be the answer to their prayers.

  5. I have had people say that my husband Brian can’t deny her. My great newphew says God hand picked her and gave her to us. I agree..

    • I LOVE your nephew’s comment. God hand picks all babies, and just chose a slightly different path for us.

      I also chuckle about the “can’t deny” comments. No matter what I say family always finds these traits. “Oh, there’s the family nose.” “She has our gene for….” Of course they’e my family, but then again, aren’t we all?

  6. Well I don’t share the sordid details of embryo adoption with just anybody. I usually respond with yeas I think he looks like his dad and older half bro which is true he does resemble them. Do I want to get into the whole how he came to be not really. It’s a simple question about looks not anything more usually the person making the comment or question doesn’t know much personal stuff about our family and doesn’t need any kind of answer other than what I think. I don’t go preaching about embryo adoption. I am so blessed to have my son. I will say this that if anyone struggling with infertility talks to me I do offer my insights from my experiences with embryo adoption and our miracle son. I explain how he came to be and that he is special because God cholse him for us.

  7. Thank you SO much for this post! I’m dealing with the same thing. My babies are 14 months and I rarely think about embryo adoption until someone asks questions like “do twins run in your family” or “where did they get their blonde hair”. It’s amazing how people try so hard to find similar physical characteristics. Depending on the person, I’ll prepare them a little by asking them if they were ready to hear something that might be surprising or confusing to them. Then I ask if they’ve heard of in vitro, before finally explaining embryo adoption. I found that I have to kind of go through steps to make the person more comfortable. Most people say it’s so cool, some people even tear up, others will always think we got an egg or sperm donor no matter what we say. I am convinced that those people don’t even know what an embryo is. 😉 I finally had to be ok explaining embryo adoption without fear of what the person would then think of me or my babies. It think my enthusiasm and confidence about how God led them to our family helps people understand and get excited about embryo adoption. I always throw in that if you believe life starts at conception, how could you have a problem with embryo adoption? That usually makes the doubters get quiet 🙂 Thank you again for sharing your journey. I’m finding that being a mom of twins, as well as embryo adopted twins, can be a little lonely at times due to the fact that so many moms just can’t relate. In saying that, I would not give up our experience, or our babies for anything!

  8. In regards to an invasive question about a completely different subject Dear Abby recommended the following reply which I kind of like: “I’ll forgive you for asking that question, if you forgive me for not answering.” Although, I often enjoy spreading the word and am excited to share our experience, I can think of a few times when this would be a very appropriate response to cynical comments from certain people.

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