Thursday, October 6, 2011

Elder Anderson Talk: Guest Post by Ashley

I LOVED Elder Anderson's talk, probably my favorite from this weekend! (Have no idea what I'm talking about? Click here for more info!) I just couldn't put into words my thoughts and feelings until I ready Ashley's post! With her permission, I'm posting her post as my Guest Post! enjoy!

My Take On Elder Andersen's Talk

I wasn't at all offended by it. I wasn't hurt by it either. Not even a little. I watched it once and listened to it again when I made Mike watch it. I honestly had a difficult time seeing why people were stung by his words. Bear with me.

To me, the talk said several things that applies to everyone, even the infertiles:

1. It's not about how you bring a child into your home, through birth or adoption, it's about that you do it if you're supposed to.

A few years ago, I decided to mentally edit talks. Whenever I hear the words "bear children" in a talk, I add two words, "for your." So whenever I heard Elder Andersen say "Bear and raise children" I heard "Bear for your and raise children." I do this because I'm an adoptive mom.

I don't see the call to 'bear children' as meaning 'shoot a baby out of your vagina.' I see 'bear children' to mean "add a child to your family." Bear means 'to produce or yield.' People automatically assume that it means to be pregnant with and deliver.

I bore my daughter into our family just as much as I bore my son.

I endured the trials of infertility. I called the agency. I worked with the office. I scheduled appointments, I arranged the homestudy. I completed the paperwork. I wrote our profile, I compiled photos. I spoke with expectant mothers and worked to form those relationships. I was the one who went shopping for gifts for Carri. I was there for the birth. I stood while people said horrible things to Carri. I spent the night with her and did everything I could to show her who I was so that she felt entirely comfortable that what she saw was what Julia was getting. I was the one who collapsed in the hallway unable to breathe after we said goodbye. I worked with the caseworker, I wrote to Carri, I did whatever I had to to keep my daughter in our home. Carri didn't just show up at our front door with a baby asking if we'd be interested. We had to meet half-way and I was the one who did 90% of the work from our half-way point end.

I did bear my daughter into our lives from our end. Maybe other couples going through the adoption process are more 50/50 in their efforts, and to those who are that's awesome. But Mike will be the first one to tell you that I was responsible for our relationship with the expectant mothers and Carri. That when we say "We did it" that he says it as "SHE did it."

So when I listen to people say that it's our sacred calling to bear and raise children

I don't feel like I'm being singled out for being infertile.

2. Some have said that the talk came across as "I don't care if you're on food stamps living under a bridge, have babies." I didn't see it this way.

There are a lot of reasons why people don't have kids. Or choose to wait. Debt. School. Circumstances. Medical reasons. All of them understandable, all of them very VERY good reasons to not just have babies just because.

What Elder Andersen was saying is "Despite your circumstances, have you asked? Have you and your spouse gotten down on your knees and had a long conversation with Heavenly Father about whether or not now is the time to bring a child into your home? Have you asked until you got an answer? Why not? What's stopping you from asking. And do you have the faith to move forward, regardless of the answer? Even if it seems like it's going to be impossible? Have you asked?"

We haven't asked. Honestly, I didn't know that I had the right to ask. Our promptings to add Julia and Gabriel came so strongly that we didn't ask, we were blindsided. But now, we don't know. Honestly, truly, we don't know.

So Mike and I asked ourselves, "What's stopping us from asking? Why do we feel that we can make this decision without asking? What's holding us back?"

So we're asking. And talking. And praying. I don't know what the answers are yet. I know why it would be a bad idea. But should I put my faith in God and move forward if He asks me to?

3. We have no place to question anyone else's answer. I'm infertile. I've been there. I've seen that family with four kids, no money and barely scraping by. And guess what? She's pregnant. Again. And I didn't have one.

We've been on the receiving end of it. "You've been married seven years, don't you think it's time you stopped being so selfish and started a family?"

The point he was making was, don't question someone else's answer. Because while one person may have gotten a "Have another one" someone else may have gotten a "wait. Not yet."

4. If your answer is "no" then you still have a sacred responsibility. Just because you don't have children in your home doesn't mean that you're not important to children in the world. Because you are. There are roles you can fill that sometimes a mother can't.

There's a reason that they say that it takes a village to raise a child. Because it takes all kinds of people to round out a child, to teach them love, compassion, sympathy, strength, empathy and courage. I wouldn't even begin to pretend that I can educate my children on everything. Because I can't. But friends, family, neighbors and other people can help. For those of you whose arms might always be lacking a child with your last name, there are children who need you to teach them about service. To lend a listening ear and offer sound advice. To be a friend, a confidant and cheer-leader. Your mom is supposed to love you. But having someone who isn't your mom tell you that they think you're amazing and a gift can do so much good. I had a very good cheerleader, Sister Tunks. She made me feel special and I was so grateful to her.

Part of who I am is because of her. And so many others.

You have been blessed with that role.

5. If you've asked, gotten your answer, are doing everything you're supposed to be doing and waiting, then this talk isn't really about you. I mean you can get anything you want out of a talk, yes, but this talk was for people who were scared. Hurting because they weren't going the right direction. Or just needed a little reminder.

This talk was for me. As an infertile woman, I got a lot out of this message. Ask. Have faith to act. Trust. Move forward, no matter what the direction. Find the joy in your answer. Even if it isn't the one you were hoping for. Because you have something to offer, something to give.

And the world is blessed for it.

No comments: