Infertility Etiquette

by Camille on July 17, 2011

So while visiting with Charlie, Ellie, and me today, a person made a few jokes about when we’re going to add another baby and then says, “I just knew you were going to tell us Camille was pregnant!”

People say the DUMBEST things. And too often, they are people who are supposed to love and care for us but apparently haven’t taken all that much time to brush up on their infertility etiquette or “Things Not to Say to Adoptive Parents 101.” For anyone interested in how to be sensitive to others, I suggest reading HERE. 

In reply, I gave a polite (as in icy), “Adoption doesn’t cure infertility, thanks.” Really, I wanted to jump into a verbal assault. These types of questions suggest that we are still somehow hoping for the ultimate goal of a biological child…as if Ellie is just some placeholder until we achieve pregnancy. Stop and think.  Would you expect a pregnancy from a mother who gave birth only five months ago? No? Then why would you expect me to want another child so soon? Ellie is not a tool to get the child we really wanted. She IS the child we wanted….our sweet, funny, amazing gift from God.

Also, such a callous question shows how little you understand about infertility. (More kinda moody thoughts about dumb people HERE). We didn’t make the decision to pursue adoption lightly, and there is generally a mourning process involved in saying goodbye to one’s reproductive abilities. However, we’d prefer you didn’t remind us of that loss all the time. Instead, we suggest you use your mouth to make funny faces for Ellie. It will be a better use of your time.

So friend, just so you know….we don’t have any plans to become pregnant anytime soon. If that happens, we will of course be joyful (as we would with the addition of any child into our lives through any path), and we’ll be sure to tell you, but we don’t plan on spending any more of our lives worrying about it. We think God has done a pretty fabulous job of building our family thus far, and we plan to add to it in the future…. likely through adoption.



Carrie Horne July 18, 2011 at 12:30 pm

Amen sister! Unfortunally, we will always incounter crazy things that people shouldn’t say. My latest one was from an 8 year old (a “friends” kid) “How much did you pay for Micah?” Really, can you not explain adoption to your kid without saying we bought him? I didn’t think that it had to be said!
My brother and sister are adopted (from Korea), I have been getting crazy comments my whole life. I hope for our children’s sake that as time goes by it does get better and people accept it like we have, understand it as we do, and love our families just the way they are!

Camille July 18, 2011 at 2:40 pm

Hah! “Well, we went to the adoption store, and he was on clearance, so….” I had similar issues trying to explain adoption to a little girl at a local community center. I found that I really took for granted how much people understand about the process.

I didn’t know your brother and sister were adopted. 🙂 What a gift to have their insight as you raise Micah. Thanks for reading, and please let us know if you guys ever head this way for a visit. We’d LOVE to see you and meet your sweet boy.

Jen September 27, 2015 at 7:21 am

Couldn’t have said this better.

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