Infertility and Adoption: @TheRHouse Shares the Benefits of Both
Have you ever had a friend or family member that has struggled with infertility, and not known what to say to them? Have you been one of those friends or family members struggling to have a child and wishing that people understood or that there was some support group within which you wouldn't feel so alone and different? Lindsey Redfern was one such person, infertile and anxious to find a means by which she could effectively vent about her struggles. She started her blog, The R House, in 2006, with no other desire than to increase awareness by telling her story. But when she and her husband decided to try to adopt, her blog became so much more.
Says Lindsey: "When our dream of having a biological child washed away, we mourned like any parent who had lost an actual child. Then, after a lot of soul-searching, we decided to adopt." The R House has, over the years then, become a positive site, a means of empowering herself and others as she opened up the discussion not only to other couples hoping to adopt, but to birth parents and adoptees as well. "This community," she says, "was and is huge to my healing."
Interestingly though, this transformation emerged out of the difficulties of the adoption of their now oldest son, Tyson. Due to a glitch in a Maryland law, she was stuck in limbo in Maryland for two months alone, awaiting the ironing-out of legal issues surrounding the adoption. As she blogged/vented, she noticed that people—strangers— were actively reading and commenting on her blog posts, reaching out to her and buoying her up. As she and her husband later delved into an 18-month legal battle for the adoption of their second son, Gavin, the power of social media became more evident to her and she adopted a new identity as passionate advocate for the beauty of open adoptions. "The adoption journey is heart-wrenching for anyone," says Lindsey. "I ask for help in promoting a positive view of adoption and talking about the many heartaches and joys of adoption and infertility."
You would think that people would have nothing but positive things to say about this woman and her efforts to help others, infertile couples, birth parents, and adoptees alike. Unfortunately, though, such is not the case. Some people tell her she should not "advertise herself" or try to "coerce birth parents." Women who placed children for adoption in the '50's and '60's and had horrible adoption experiences aggressively oppose adoption on her site. There are those that say she shouldn't have kids of different races than her own. On such a personal topic, people passionately contribute a variety of heartfelt opinions.
How does she handle that kind of opposition? "I used to cry," she says, "but now I take it with a grain of salt. If you let the few negative voices dominate, they win. Adoption, when done right, it is not scary. I will never stop being an advocate for adoptive parents and birth moms. Open adoption represents hope for all parties involved."
These days, Lindsey advocates and increases awareness not only through the R House, but also through the adoption consulting firm that she and her LCSW husband, Mr. R., started, and TheRHouseonEtsy, which features crafts related to adoption and babies.