We all have ideas of how our lives will unfold. I did, at least.
Go to college-CHECK
Make music with joy-CHECK
Meet handsome man, fall in love-CHECK
Marry that handsome man-CHECK
Start a family. Be parents. Have a baby. Change diapers. Midnight feedings. Potty train. First day of school. School dances. Boy scouts. First dates. Graduation – DENIED.
You have the child you are meant to have, and he will come in HIS time, not yours. This is the mantra that keeps us afloat.
Yes, we’ve been denied up until now one of the most fundamental joy for human beings- parenthood. After a year of no success, we found ourselves at the fertility clinic to find that I was one of the unlucky ones with nearly no eggs left. To add insult to injury, the many surgeries I had as a teen had caused extensive scarring of the fallopian tubes. All of this to say that it would be impossible to conceive without IVF, and my eggs were probably not going to make it happen for us. We were devastated. I will spare you the details of the next 18 months, but the short version is that after 3 rounds of IVF, the last being with donor eggs ending in a Christmas miscarriage, we were left only with failure and heartache. We always seemed to fall in the 1% of people that would have a certain complication leading to a major infection or the 2 % of people who had a certain procedure unsuccessfully. We were the fine print.
We had been saving money for our first child, responsibly preparing, and because IVF is not covered at all by health insurance, our carefully planned savings was gone. Almost $30,000 out the window with nothing but tears to show for it. I always joked that making a baby shouldn’t really cost more than a dinner and a movie, and here we are…still childless.
We had enough. We are now both 36 and almost 3 years into this journey. We mourned the loss of what it would be to have a child with mommy’s eyes and daddy’s dimples, and we reassessed. We knew that we still wanted to have a family and raise a child, even if my body wouldn’t create or carry it. We always knew we were open to adoption, and decided that we had enough of twice daily needles and living at the doctor’s office. We knew we were done rolling the dice with IVF. We just wanted to be parents. Period. This realization coincided with our move from Europe to the USA.
We started doing our homework on adoption-reading books, joining internet forums, calling agencies, having meetings. It is overwhelming how much there is to know, how much it costs and how long it takes. There is no, “Why don’t you just adopt?” There is no “just” in adoption. Its a long, arduous path with emotional highs and lows that make IVF look like Disneyland. Why do it? Because we cannot imagine life without being parents. During this process, we were encouraged to find out what kind of adoption was right for us. Peter and I have never been parents, and we wanted the opportunity to raise a baby from as close to the beginning of his life as possible. After much discussion with many agencies and advisors, we were led to Domestic Infant Adoption. This process of checking boxes about what you are open to as an adoptive parent is exhaustive. This process is discussed in such a real way in Jennifer Gilmore’s book, The Mothers.
We began our home study. Read: piles of paperwork and forms followed by individual and group interviews about every nook and cranny of our life. During this time, a miracle happened. While I was contacting a list of highly recommended agencies, I cold-called a woman who was the head of American Kidz Adoption Services in St. Petersburg, Florida. Remarkably, she had a situation that might match our exhaustive list of checked boxes, and asked if we were interested. OF COURSE! We spent the weekend preparing our “Dear Birthmother” letter and profile book- a 40 page book about who we are, where we come from, our thoughts on raising a child, how we came to adoption-our lives in 40 pages.
The expectant family (the birth family is called this before the birth of the baby) was going to be presented with profiles to make their decision within days. Expectant Mother (let’s call her “Em”) was 17 weeks pregnant at the time. She and the Expectant Dad (let’s call him “Ed”) are parenting a baby together, and Em has 2 other children from a previous relationship. They both decided from the beginning that they wanted to place the child for adoption. This decision was made with a of love and courage, and I am humbled by anyone who makes such a selfless choice. After reading through profiles, Em decided she wanted to speak with us on the phone. We spoke for about an hour, and we were all terrified and giddy. She told us she and Ed wanted us to be the parents of this baby boy!
Two days later, we were skyped into Em’s ultrasound appointment. We saw him, our future son, and were in awe. Finally there is an ultrasound that made our hearts leap!
In the first week of June, we flew to Florida where Em and Ed live so we could all meet. We also had the privilege of meeting their amazing 1 year old son, who was an absolute dream. There are not words for what that experience was like. I think that will be another post! The short version is that although we were all so nervous, it was everything we all hoped it would be. We loved them. We loved their 1 year old son. We mapped out Em’s birth plan. Em and Ed invited me to be present in the delivery room for the birth of our son. We discussed future contact after placement. After this epic lunch, we all went to Em’s doctor’s appointment, where we got to see the baby boy again! What JOY!
so…. IT’S A BOY! He will arrive in late September!