Christine Rhyner

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Infertility's Not Fair
6/13/2013 12:00:01 AM by: Christine

Of those who adopt because they cannot conceive and bear biological children, there exists in many of our hearts a deep sense of injustice.

     While we read about yet another baby dumped in the trash we leap through hurdles to qualify as parents. We fill out form after form, submit to criminal background checks, sit through interviews and counsel and sometimes end up on the receiving end of the worst kinds of outrageous behavior and comments.

     My husband and I were required to take blood tests at our local health department in order to screen us for HIV Aids before we could adopt our son Lucas.

     I didn’t mind the test. I knew it was necessary and important so that an orphan would not be given a new home with a parent with AIDS. It was what came after that that offended me—and after that and after that…

     Even though we were in our late thirties and had been married for three years, we were subjected to a required counseling session on “safe sex” practices. John and I listened politely to this misdirected sermon to a monogamous, married Christian couple. After all, in every way an adoptive couple worries about being offensive to any party involved in their ultimate goal to get their baby.

     Our “counsel” complete, we rose to leave the office, but not before being handed a condom. This pouring of salt onto my still raw infertility wounds would have enraged me had it not been so ludicrous. Our counselor knew why we were there. Was this, I wondered, the equivalent of being handed a lollipop at the doctor’s office for being a good patient?

     When I stared at the prophylactic in my hand as though it were a red hot lump of coal, the social worker smiled and said, “Our parting gift to you. It’s part of our protocol.”

     I exited that building a little shook up but relieved too, that I could check another thing off our adoption to do list. But then we passed a car in the almost empty parking lot. In that hunk of metal which sat and absorbed the June sun we saw two small children. A young girl of about three or four years of age sat in the back seat next to a baby strapped in a car seat. I peered through the open windows, but saw no parent in sight. Then I scanned the parking lot only to realize my husband and I were the only adults outside of the building.

     To find small children unattended in a hot car after being forced to give blood and leave the health department with a condom because I wanted my own baby created an even greater sense of injustice in my world. I can tell you it was mighty difficult for me that day to deal with my anger directed at all of the irresponsible, fertile people in the world.

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