Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Infertility 101- Ch.5 Sure, I'm exactly like Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie and I have a lot in common. I suppose that's just stating the obvious. I remember when I was nominated sexiest woman in the world... Ok, that hasn't quite happened... YET. However, I totally won the 'sexiest woman in my condo award'. 4 years in a row. Bow chicka wow wow. Generally when folks find out we're adopting from Ethiopia they say " You're just like Angelina Jolie!" This usually causes me to flip my hair, lick my lips and respond, "Yes. Yes I am". It's a very flattering comparison, however an old fashioned "Congratulations!" would be equally sufficient. We both have long brown hair, tattoos, and incredible sex appeal (yes I see you all giving me the side eye), but I wouldn't say adopting from the same country cements our likeness. I realize adoption is a rather foreign concept to many, but sometimes I long for the normalcy of pregnancy talk.

There's this notion that adopting internationally is trendy because a few celebrities have done so. However, far more celebrities have had biological children, and no one responds to pregnant women with "You're just like Reese Witherspoon!" For some reason adoption seems to invite responses that sound unnatural, at least to me.

I often get questions about why we chose Ethiopia. Why not domestic? Why not China? Why not a surrogate? The thing about adoption is, there is no easy way. Domestic can take years and have numerous complications as can International. All of the "solutions" have their obstacles. More importantly, it's none of your business. It's true, I just told you to mind your own bees wax. I used to be really open about why we chose Ethiopia. We started with Liberia and the program was shut down, so we transferred to Ethiopia. I felt that was where our child was. It's a rather simple explanation, and I'm not sure it satisfies anyone's curiosity. The things is, where we choose to adopt from is no one's business. While we're on it, how much our adoption costs is no ones business. It's between us and our friendly neighbourhood loan sharks. If I wanted you to know I probably would have told you already.

It took our agencies bankruptcy for me to really find my voice on the subject. It wasn't until I saw the media responses about Imagine all over the news, that I became furious with the intrusions. Devastated by the attacks on the International Adoption community, and the amount of sheer hate directed at us. I think realizing that people literally hate you, or worse wish you dead for choosing to create your family this way, alters you. When you are in extraordinary amounts of emotional pain and complete strangers believe you deserve it, I think there's a toughness that emerges. I feel less obligated to politely answer probing questions unless someone is interested in adopting. Otherwise, why would you care how much we've spent?

The other question I receive a lot is "Why?" In all fairness it's usually preceded by "If it's not too personal can I ask?" Again, I've tried to be very diplomatic in my answers. I do wonder though if diplomacy is the way to go. How could that not be a personal question? No matter what your reasons are for adopting aren't they always personal? No one asks pregnant women "Why?" So maybe adoptive parents should be exempt from this line of questioning as well. Chances are we're either infertile and we chose to, or we're not infertile and we chose to adopt. So really what you're asking is are we infertile? Which yes, is a very personal question.

In writing about our adoption, I wanted to start here. I feel it is important to state that while I'll be opening up about our journey, it's not due to any sort of obligation. I love the idea of more people understanding adoption and infertility, but that's my own comfort level. I still classify it as a deeply personal experience, and one I would encourage more people to exercise respect around. I suppose at the core of it, whether intended or not I find many questions we face disrespectful. I look forward to addressing our adoption experience in upcoming weeks. It's long overdue, and I have wanted to write about this subject, my own adoption reunion, and the bankruptcy for some time now. However, please don't take my openness to mean asking the lady next to you at the grocery store 'Why doesn't your baby look like you?", is an appropriate question. Take it from me, you'll look like a nincompoop.

Until next time my pretties! J xx


  1. Love favourite part is your parting word "nincompoop" your Bompa's favourite word. Tooooo funny, you don't know how many times I heard it and yes directed at me, especially when I planted the tulip bulbs upside down and couldn't understand why I didn't have any tulips growing!

  2. Jessa,
    I think this is a really well written, very descriptive account of how to kindly tell friends, family, and those ever-loving-and-clueless-strangers that when the time is right, you will (we will) divulge what we feel is appropriate.
    Thank you for your humour, insight, and the connection to another BC-er!!
    Love to have our kids together one day...soon!
    Ashleigh :)

  3. I miss Bompa... You planted the tulip bulbs upside down? That is a bit of a nincompoop move. I think he'd be impressed with how your gardening skills have advanced! ; )

    Ashleigh I would love that!! We will definitely have to get the little ones together when all is said and done. We actually don't know many BC-er's. So that would be fabulous!

    Thanks Rachelle!!! Can't wait to see you! xx

  4. How can people hate people for adopting?
    That is mind-boggling...though I do remember reading some hateful things in the news forums when shit went down at Imagine...

    I haven't been able to read your entries for the past week and a bit (too busy at work). It was sad for me!

  5. I was beginning to miss my biggest fan. ; ) It is boggling that people can hate us, but it happens. The most shocking thing to me was reading somewhere about how we should all be shot since we're a waste of space. It's disturbing.

  6. wouldn't it be wonderful if we were accepted as a couple wanting to start a family instead of a couple wanting to be like others?


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