‘Adoption has been a journey from ignorance to enlightenment’

When I decided to adopt orphaned twins from Ethiopia, it felt like the most natural thing to do. But it raised many questions about motherhood and the bond we have with our children

I assumed I would conceive naturally when John and I decided to start a family. I didn’t. We turned to fertility drugs with ambivalence. Reports of the mood swings the drugs sometimes caused worried me. I had only gone through one round when I broke a wooden dish-drying rack over John’s head. I don’t remember what he said, but I’m sure it was something I’d otherwise have considered innocuous. Instead, a growling, uncontrollable rage emerged from nowhere and then overcame me like an emotional tsunami. We decided the drugs weren’t for us.

I had gone along with fertility treatments for the same reason I went along with other non-decisions I’ve made in my life, like having an enormous wedding, because people whom I loved wanted it for me. I thought I was supposed to want it, just like I was supposed to want to get pregnant by any means. Yet I cried genuine tears when, month after month, I was unable to conceive. I felt like a failure.

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