“Welcome to Holland,” was written by Emily Pearl Kingsley many years ago in an effort to assist people who have learned the child they are parenting has a disability. Though the poem focused on the topic of coming to view raising a child with a disability in a new light, the adapted poem below focuses on infertility and the unexpected feelings it brings and how adoption may end up being a richer and more rewarding path.
When you’re planning to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guidebooks and make your wonderful plans. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting.
After months of eager anticipation, the day still has not arrived. You re-examine your itinerary and it says you are supposed to go to Italy. Several more months go by and still your trip is delayed.
You visit the travel agent again and she says, “Maybe you should consider going 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 itinerary. You will not be going to Italy. You can choose to go to Holland however.
The important thing is that you can still take your trip – it’s just that you are going to a different place. It’s not a horrible place. 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.
Yes, it is a different place. 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. 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 some time you may say, “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”
And the pain of that may still be with you… the loss that comes with infertility. The loss of that dream is a significant loss.
But… if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be able to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things … about Holland.