So…I have to attend a mandatory 3-4 hour “assessment” through my company’s employee assistance plan provider to “validate” the assessment of my medical doctor and registered psychologist. This is standard for anyone “claiming” mental illness as a reason to be off work.
I understand process and I accept that it’s a requirement. But the choice of wording and language is poor.
But it gets better.
When I called my assigned nurse to inquire about the length of the assessment (seems excessive to me), she gave me the explanation and then…(she is aware of the background of how I ended up on leave)…
Her: You know, I just wanted to tell you a story about a former colleague of mine that wasn’t able to have children…
Me: [mentally preparing myself for the inevitable “just relax” story]
Her:…and they ended up adopting two children and they were so happy and they were able to help out another family.
Me: I see. [in my head: did you honestly just go there?! Did you honestly think that we haven’t thought about adoption?! FML]
The conversation ended quickly after that.
Why do so many people think adoption is a substitution for biological children? What’s even more baffling to me is that it is almost always people with children who bring it up. Don’t they love having a connection to their kids? Seeing their eyes and their husband’s hair? His temper and her sass? If it’s so much the same – why didn’t they adopt? Did they not have the deep rooted animal desire to have their own offspring? And if so, why can’t they understand?!
The decision to grow your family through adoption is a very serious one. It’s a choice not easily made, it involves a lot of soul searching and introspection. It’s not as simple as replacing one desire for another. The wonderful My Perfect Breakdown has illustrated this journey so beautifully – it’s a must-read for anyone wanting to understand what adoption really means to a family.
Not only is mental illness poorly understood, so is infertility. We need to start a dialogue on both.