As I mentioned in an earlier post, Ryan and I attended an adoption conference this past weekend in Kirtland, Ohio. The conference was sponsored by our adoption agency, LDS Family Services. It was excellent. I have a lot that I want to say about it, but I will have to do it bit by bit, so as not to overwhelm myself or anyone who reads this blog. Infertility and adoption are not light topics.
Tonight, I just want to post an interesting metaphor that was shared at the conference. It was originally published in 1995 as part of a Dear Abby column. I think it is clever and quite reflective of the experience of infertility.
Long journey, wonderful destination
“Deciding to have a baby is like planning a trip to Australia. You've heard it is a wonderful place; you've read many guidebooks and feel certain that you're ready to go. Everyone you know has gone there by plane. They say it can be a turbulent flight with occasional rough landings, but you look forward to being pampered on the trip.
So you go to the airport and ask the ticket agent for a ticket to Australia. All around you, excited people are boarding planes for Australia. It seems that there is no seat for you; you'll have to wait for the next flight. Impatient, but anticipating a wonderful trip, you wait—and wait—and wait.
Flights to Australia continue to come and go. People say silly things like, ‘Relax. You'll get on a flight soon.’ After a long time, the ticket agent tells you, ‘I'm sorry, we're not going to be able to get you on a plane to Australia. Perhaps you should think about going by boat.’
‘By boat?!’ you say. ‘Going by boat will take a very long time and it costs a great deal of money. I really had my heart set on going by plane.’ So you go home and you think about not going to Australia at all. You wonder if Australia will be as beautiful if you approach it by sea rather than by air. But you have long dreamed of this wonderful place, and finally you decide to travel by boat.
It is a long trip, many months over many rough seas. No one pampers you. You wonder if you will ever see Australia. Meanwhile, your friends have flown back and forth to Australia two or three more times, marveling about each trip.
Then one glorious day, the boat docks in Australia. It is more exquisite than you ever imagined, and the beauty is magnified by your long days at sea. You have made many wonderful friends during your voyage, and you find yourself comparing stories with others who also traveled by sea rather than by air.
People continue to fly to Australia as often as they like, and some say things like ‘Oh, be glad you didn't fly. My flight was horrible; traveling by sea must be so easy.’
You will always wonder what it would have been like to fly to Australia. Still, you know you have been blessed with a special appreciation of Australia--after all the beauty of Australia is not in the way that you get there, but in the place itself."
I still don't know if we will eventually get to "Australia" by plane or by boat, but I am glad that I've had the opportunity to learn about the journey by boat. It's true what the article says: "It is a long trip, many months over many rough seas." The uncertainty and waiting involved in adoption can be heartbreaking. But it's also true what the article says: "You have made many wonderful friends during your voyage." I am so grateful for the friends that have supported us during this difficult year--and also for the new friends that we have made during the adoption journey. We felt a kinship with the other adoptive families at this conference...we're all in this together, and we all understand what it's like.
And the final line of the article is my favorite: "...the beauty of Australia is not in the way that you get there, but in the place itself."