Tuesday, October 12, 2010


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."


  1. I love that story and metaphor - Australia is a beautiful place and I hope you'll continue writing about it once you are there (as well as the journey).
    I'm glad you were able to make it to that conference - I bet it was amazing.

  2. what a wonderful metaphor Rach. . .
    it's true.
    Australia is a beautiful place. . . no matter how you get there.
    but, those who fly by plane might not appreciate Australia as much as you and Ryan will.
    good thing that their are such WONDERFUL people like you that can handle the boat trip. (your strength ASTOUNDS ME!!!)
    Heavenly Father notices and that is why Australia is worth it!

  3. What a great metaphor. Except, I keep wondering what kind of souvenirs people bring back from their trips to Australia. Dirty diapers? Wrinkles and gray hair?

    In any case, when you get there, I can't wait to swap Australia stories. I KNOW you'll have some good ones.

  4. Even though you already told me this metaphor it still made me a little teary thinking about you waiting in that airport. No one thinks to pamper you on the boat, I know, but I hope you know that there are many of us who are praying for you and love you and would be pampering you every day like a huge pregnant woman if only we lived close enough!

  5. You are the sweetest sister, Sary, and you actually are pampering me, even from far away! (earrings and hot cocoa in the mail...)

    I really am pampered though. I have wonderful friends who are constantly concerned about me. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world due to my friendships. Really, I do.

    Love ya!

  6. I love the Australia analogy. If I ever have the time and the brainpower, I'm going to work being a birth mom into it. Something like ... well, I'm sure I'll think of something.

    And I think that the longer your trip to Australia, the more you appreciate being there. You are going to love Australia, and I hope you get there soon!

  7. I've seen a similar metaphor titled "Welcome to Holland"- about giving birth to a child with a disability, Holland wasn't where you were planning to go, but lovely nonetheless in a different way.

    I am waiting for your trip to Australia!!!

  8. What a cool analogy, sis! I must be turning softer in my old age because that post totally just made me cry too. Sary is rubbing off on me!!! I agree with her about the image of you in the airport. And the part about when people say "Be happy you didn't go by plane." It is so easy to say insensitive things when you don't know what to say, so I like reminders like that one. Love you sis! We are all praying for you.

  9. What a great metaphor! It is good to read things like this to remind us all of the different journeys we are on..you guys are such amazing people and we pray often that you will get to have a little baby in your arms soon (or that you will reach your "Australia":)


I love hearing from you!! Thanks for the comment!