Tuesday, September 13, 2011

adoption chronicles

 After our first consultation with the adoption counselor in July, I felt a great deal of anxiety about the expectation that couples should have resolved  their infertility before embarking on the adoption journey. Resolved. What. It doesn't even look like giving birth to a real life baby resolves it at all, how could NOT having a baby and starting the process of adoption bring you any closer? It seemed to be one more thing I could be angry and indignant about. How could the world conspire to prevent us from being parents?

I knew about this. We talked about adoption with the psychologist at our clinic, and he was clear in stating that adoption agencies sure don't like it when couples come to them like they are backed into a corner. This was another thing that made me nervous about starting the adoption process this summer, so soon after the miscarriage, and in such rough shape emotionally.

But the alternative to not starting the adoption process was killing me. Waiting around for the effing biopsy, and mulling over the same donor egg vs donor embryo question over and over again, bombarded with doubts about my biologic capacity to grow a baby inside my uterus, all felt like a passive way of wasting time. And yes,  I know it isn't passive to grieve. BELIEVE me, all that crying and raging, and insulting people in two different languages when I am driving in my car for no reason at all is very active. But active grief does nothing to get you a baby.

We started our home study on Friday, after filling out the mound of paper work and the police clearances and the medicals, et cetera. I get myself fingerprinted tomorrow. The parent training starts this weekend. It's a little funny that the child psychologist has to go hear about attachment for 2 entire weekends, but there are no exemptions: the training is mandatory.

When we met with our social worker/adoption counselor - let's call her Gretchen, shall we - she asked us to talk about our relationship, as well as our struggles with infertility. Like probably 90% of her clients do, I explained that our experiences have been very painful and have challenged our relationship.  We said we were at the point where we needed to diversify our efforts to include adoption. And then a couple of things surprised me. First, I didn't start bawling, which I am prone to do these days every time I have to utter the words infertility and miscarriage. Second, Gretchen shared that the philosophy had changed quite a bit within the adoption world and that she felt it made a lot of sense to start the adoption process even if fertility treatments were still a possibility. It's not that I expected her to say that it was prohibited to do both, but just that we would be considered as too fragile, too eager, not ready enough. She actually praised us for our efforts to go about our process in a systematic way, understanding that time is such an enormous variable.

Was it her praise I was looking for? Not really. I just wanted us to be considered, to be accepted as a couple in waiting.  I just don't want another door to slam shut in our face. We have so few doors left.

Anyway, I can't say that what I am feeling is hope. That would be overstating things by three football fields. I am just putting one foot in front of the other.


  1. I'll hope a little for you on this side of the border. Not so much that it makes ripples you can feel up there, but the flag is being quietly raised. I'm so glad that the adoption counselor is on board with the approach you and Mr. A are taking. I'm glad that you all are diving into what I imagine feels more productively active than the multilingual insults, if maybe not quite as satisfying. But maybe more so. Sending love by constant overnight international express mail. <3

  2. I am thinking of you my friend. We've been in the "adoption world" now for almost a year. It still is hard to feel hopeful. We haven't been as proactive as we should, and we are finally taking the big step in the coming weeks.

    I don't know that any of us can ever really resolve our feelings about infertility.

    Looking forward to following your journey into this brave new world.

  3. Oh I'm so relieved to hear this. To me it's a lovely thing to say "I'm ready to imagine taking this path while the possibility of another is still alive". Doesn't it say something at LEAST as wonderful as "I've come to terms with the fact that adoption is my only path?" I'm so glad "adoption world" has come around a bit, and that you didn't get another slap in the face as you move forward.

    I hope the parent training provides some interesting experiences, if only in the sense of immersing you in a different world. I'm guessing there will be other couples there who are also grieving... Hell, it will probably be an anxious, grief-filled and yet BORING extravaganza! Like the world's worst county fair!

  4. I've struggled with these same feelings. Especially as a counselor, we know the time to grieve isn't fixed. We know it's lifelong, so for someone to ask us "are you over it yet?" feels so wrong. In my home study, it didn't really come out that way. I have only ever hear of one US couple not getting approved on a homes study for this reason and it was because the adoptive parent was so upset about moving to adoption they were unstable.

    I think the idea that has helped me the most through this- and which I shared in our profile and home study- is that the birth mom and us have something in common here. We are both in a "predicament" of sorts and likely choosing what wasn't the first option for either of us. But this grief is shared in some ways, and can serve to unite us.

    Best wishes moving forward!

  5. I am so very glad that you are getting moving with home study. I can imagine that we chose our next path (a thing I am very close to doing) any additional waiting feels just so acutely painful. I am glad the home study went well, gretchen sounds really wonderful and reassuring.
    I am hoping and praying that a baby is placed in your arms very, very soon...

  6. I'm glad that you are making steps to build your family. I am a big believer in pursuing many avenues at the same time,I support this 100%. Its not easy, but you're doing it.

  7. It can be hard to step over from focusing on infertility to focusing on adoption. But I think as you do so, it helps you face and come to terms with infertility. I am still sad about your miscarriage, but I am excited to hear about your new adventure into the world of adoption. Welcome. I hope you find it to be as wonderful a place as I have.

  8. I say take that praise where you can get it. This gal works with folks like us all the time. If she sees a positive in the way you are managing through it all, it comes from a valid ass source. I think it is a great way to underline your strength and tearless power moment.

    Diversifying is a great word. It shows total and complete commitment to the end goal of Take Home.

  9. Great update Augusta...you're in my heart. LisainSK

  10. That is encouraging!!! We are looking at continuing with treatment vs adoption but still have a strong 'sting' with not being able to get (and stay) pregnant and worried about their response if I said that aloud. I don't think anyone having gone through IF ever 'gets over it' but rather comes to terms with it and opens there heart and mind to another option. At least thats my hope!

  11. I like the sound of Gretchen, and I am glad that the (previously ridiculous sounding) thinking has changed. How, exactly, is it possible to close one door entirely before walking into the next room? I don't think it is.