There’s a part of my story that I’ve kept quiet about for a while, but I feel that this is the time to share it. I’d actually forgotten about it for a while, but the DVD release of Disney/Pixar’s “Up” put it back in the front of my mind. My mother and I saw “Up” in the theater when I was heavily pregnant, two days or so from my due date. P and M and I all owe a debt of gratitude to “Up.” It is part of what changed my mind about adoption.
“Up” tells the story of Carl Fredricksen, a 78-year-old man who sets his house aloft with a passel of helium-filled balloons. The beginning of the movie introduces us to a young Carl, who stumbles upon an imaginative, freckly girl named Ellie. We watch them grow up together, become friends, fall in love, and marry. In a wordless montage, we see Carl’s and Ellie’s lives together, including their desire to become parents. They happily decorate a nursery. Then a scene shows a doctor’s office, the doctor speaking, Ellie sobbing into her hands and a worried-looking Carl with his hands on her shoulders.
I don’t think it had ever hit me until that moment how devastating infertility must be for a couple. At this point in the movie, early on, I had already fallen in love with the characters and when I saw them decorating the nursery I got excited. The scene in the doctor’s office hit me like a blow to the head. I sobbed as Ellie had, crushed that these wonderful little characters wouldn’t be parents. What a cruel twist of fate! I thought. I was angry at the screenwriters. How could they do this to Carl and Ellie? Poor, sweet, adventurous Ellie. I forgot for a moment that she wasn’t real. I thought how awful it must be to get such news. I tried to imagine it. I thought that I would likely feel betrayed by my own body. A woman was designed to grow a baby. To discover that mine couldn’t do that? I think I’d hate myself. I’d hate God. I’d feel cheated, angry, depressed, desperate.
I realized then that I was clutching my rounded belly for dear life. My attention wandered from the screen for a bit. Jill, what are you doing? I asked myself, thinking of the crib tucked in a corner of my bedroom. Carl and Ellie aren’t real, but there are hundreds of thousands of real people out there just like them, just as wonderful and just as sad.
I let myself think on it for a while. It sounds awful, but I couldn’t picture either of the couples I’d met with months before as Carl and Ellie. I knew that they must have been dealt similar blows to have been led to adoption. But I didn’t like the thought of either couple raising my baby.
But still, I thought, there are so many couples out there who would give the world for the kind of bad news you got in October …
I thought on it, and I pushed it aside so I could focus on the movie (which is amazing, by the way). But that brief scene haunted me all the way to the hospital. I couldn’t get Carl and Ellie out of my head. Their devastation, their sadness and grief. And then I had Roo, and nothing else in the world mattered. I forgot my life before her.
When adoption forced its way into the front of my mind in August, I had certain characteristics in my mind for Roo’s parents. I’d long since forgotten “Up.” I searched and searched and no one felt right. Then, of course, P and M kept coming to mind. And when I met them, there was something about them that I liked, something that drew me to them. I couldn’t put my finger on it until I handed Roo over to her daddy. Then it hit me.
I’d found my Carl and Ellie. Something about P and M reminded me of that cartoon couple, although to this day I can’t pin down what it was. But when I looked at them, I could picture them in a doctor’s office, getting some of the worst news a doctor delivers, grieving together and then, like Carl and Ellie, finding purpose and hope. It sounds awful but when I met those two couples back in February, I didn’t have any kind of overwhelming sadness at their infertility. But when I met P and M, the thought of them finding out they couldn’t have children just killed me. I hated the thought. I was as indignant as I’d been at the movie. How dare God do this to them?
But like Carl and Ellie, P and M are not bitter or angry. They had faith and they moved forward with adoption. Now they have two beautiful girls and they are a family. I’m so blessed to be a part of that. In short, adoption is awesome, and I highly recommend “Up.” It could change your life!