"Welcome to Holland"c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved I am
often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability- to
try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it,
to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......When you're going to have a
baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip -to Italy. You buy a bunch of
guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David.
The gondolas in Venice. You may learn somehandy phrases in Italian. It's all
very exciting.After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You
pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The
stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland.""Holland?!?" you say. "What do
you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my
life I've dreamed of going to Italy."But there's been a change in the flight
plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.The important thing is
that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of
pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.So you must go out
and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will
meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.It's just a different
place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've
been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you
begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland
even has Rembrandts. But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy...
and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the
rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's
what I had planned."And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away...
because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss. But... if you
spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy,you may never be
free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ...about Holland.
At this time in my life, I am in Holland, and it's beautiful and exciting and full of adventures and trails that I still have yet to hike. It is hard, at times, to talk to all the people who get to come and go to Italy and tell you all about it, but I really love Holland. Someday I may have a surprise in the mail and find a ticket to Italy waiting for me, but I am not going to waste my days looking at the window and waiting for the mail to come. I am in Holland, and I want to see everything that it has to offer.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Italy vs. Holland
Awhile ago I joined a yahoo group with other women who face the challenges of infertility. We all share and discuss our ups and downs with infertility and adoption adventures. Someone recently wrote in a post of an article she had received from a blog. The woman speaking is talking about her experience with having a child with a disability. I thought it was also a great analogy for infertility and the trials that come with it. I thought I would share it with my family and friends. I know it is hard for those who have not struggled with this trial to fully understand what a couple with infertility goes through. I know my wonderful mother tries to help me, but she knows that she can never fully know where I am coming from. Our struggles with infertility have been the hardest thing that I feel I have ever been through in my entire life. However, I know that I am lucky and have been wonderfully blessed to have had two children that literally fell into my lap. And although I absolutely love my children so very much, and adoption was always in our plans, it doesn't take away the grieving that occurs when you realize your plans and dreams of actually feeling a child inside of you may never happen. This analogy is just one that truly explains in words the feelings I have inside.