Are You Kidding Me?

I wish I could have ended on a high note with that last post! I wish that for all of us. 

It would be hard to forget our first adoption situation. It was the one where we were chosen by the birth parents, had a three hour long “get to know you meeting,” and then got dragged along ever so agonizingly slowly by both our agency and the couple for five weeks. 

This is the one where I found the baby registries online. And where the infamous paternity test became its own character in the Adoption Shell Game that the hubs and I suffered through as helpless spectators. The one where the social worker told the agency the couple did not intend to place their baby for adoption, so our agency told us it was over. The whole sordid, yucky, so-not-okay situation that threw me for a loop and made me wonder if I could stick with this if this was how the process actually worked. 

Guess what?  It wasn’t over!  Because that couple indeed placed their baby, through our adoption agency, with a family that was not us this week.  I found this out not through the agency in an aboveboard, professional manner, but through my adoption network support group as well as social media sources. 

Okay then. Between the hubs and I, we aren’t even sure what to make of this. I think we can all agree that at the very least, it’s a head scratcher.  Maybe in our case, it’s fair to say this latest development is simply a par-for-the-course-yet-jaw-dropping turn of events, the very thing we should really be expecting on this strange journey through the looking glass.  

Adoption is agreeing to leap through the looking glass with no guarantee what you might find. This is why anyone who even considers adopting has at least a little spark of badass inside them.

 For Carrie, who reads my blog (thanks Google Analytics),
The truth of what really happened, what was fact and what was fiction, may never be known between us. I think communicating through the agency instead of directly to one another was likely a giant mistake. Know this: you made a selfless choice choosing to place your baby when you knew you just couldn’t give him the life you wanted for him now. That is admirable. I’m sorry you chose to seek another couple rather than us. It breaks my heart, but my feelings are not paramount in this situation. I know you have blessed the other family enormously and given them the greatest gift of their lives, and have also given the same gift to your son. I pray that it gives you some peace to remember that as you grieve in the days and weeks to come. The hubs and I only wish for you to experience calm and fortitude moving forward, and a life filled with good things. 


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Sharing Another’s Joy

It’s been an interesting week. I got to prove my mettle to myself the past few days and I’m pretty proud of that. 

A lovely friend of mine, also on a long adoption journey, learned she and her husband had been chosen by a birthmother and the baby was coming soon!  She hesitated to tell me, afraid that it might be painful to hear that she had just be given the very thing I’ve been waiting for. 

When I heard the news, I took a quick inventory of my feelings. I didn’t want to offer a phony congratulations or say something nice, but with a deeply envious dead-giveaway-tone to my voice. And after a couple of minutes of reflection, I realized something:  I was truly, genuinely happy for her. I didn’t have that sickly jealous feeling at all. I was, and am, so excited that her dreams are coming true. She too has experienced infertility. She has experienced disappointment in adoption. She’s been discouraged and frustrated. And now, she and her husband are finally going to be blessed with the baby they’ve been waiting for, for a very long time. That’s a miracle, and they deserve to be blessed by this gift. They will be wonderful parents to this sweet little baby. 

It says a lot that I could cry tears of joy for someone else’s adoption success, and not throw even a little pity party. Those of us who have battled infertility or the purgatory of indeterminate adoption waiting, know it is hard to see other people finally get their baby while you’re still struggling. I didn’t feel that way when my friend shared her news. I was able to truly join in her joy. 

It’s a big deal people!  Maybe I’ve been at this too long.  Or maybe I’ve been at it long enough to realize that every time a woman that is longing for a child becomes a mother, that is always a cause for celebration. 

What Dreams May Come: Part II 

If you’ve already read my post about how I dreamed of my son, the relevance of this next story will make a lot more sense.

Again, I’m not a big analyzer of dreams and their deeper Freudian meaning or what they say about the bigger picture of life as it exists at that time. I’m not against that school of thought in any way, I just have always been rather matter of fact about the dreams I remember; hopefully they are pleasant, and I wake up happy.  Simple pleasures. I remember very few dreams. This is likely because since I rarely reach restful levels of sleep, there probably isn’t a whole lot of dreaming going on up in my noggin.

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Just about one year ago this month, after my very last IVF but a couple of months before I began to feel the tug of adoption, I had another dream.  It was much like the one I had about E fifteen years before, in terms of feeling sweet contented bliss in the simplest, most fulfilling context possible. I had lay down for a quick nap right after I put E down, exhausted after a busy morning playing outside on a hot day. I slept for around an hour or so, but I didn’t want to wake up because I was living the sweetest dream and it felt blessedly real. This one featured me with a child just like in my dream about E, but the details were a bit fuzzier for some reason.  Here is what I remember; I was cradling the sweetest little baby girl. She was an infant, and I remember knowing that she was mine. I was just walking around my home, holding this peaceful little baby girl. She was too young to smile, but she was blowing spit bubbles like brand new babies will do, and I was charmed and delighted.

Here is what made this dream such a unique experience…she was a beautiful little brown baby girl!  Since the details aren’t crystal clear, I cannot remember if she was African-American, Hispanic, Indian, Native American, etc. She had large black eyes with long lashes and short, wispy black baby hair.

Rewind: This was before we had started to think about adoption, much less discuss it. We were in the stage at the time where the doctors were saying I might be able to become pregnant again using donor eggs.  Generally in that process, you choose a donor who matches as many of your own characteristics as possible. So this dream came out of nowhere, no subliminal longing, no subconscious-beneath-the-surface-realizing-of-what-might-be, nothing but a completely random dream dropped into my peaceful slumber like ice into a glass.

I told the hubs about it, and he laughed, thinking it would be quite the trick to pull off giving birth to a dark-skinned baby with our genes.  He’s right about that. But I can’t help but wonder, much like my dream with E, if I was given the gift of a tiny glimpse of what the future holds. We may not have been thinking about adoption yet at that point, but it’s safe to say God was, and He was way ahead of us!

I am too cynical to say that since I had this dream, I am firmly committed to the belief that we will one day adopt a baby girl of color. I have no clue what will happen.  The hubs and I do believe that God already knows our children, and we don’t want to put boundaries around that. We communicated to our agency (such as it is) way back in the beginning that we had no gender or racial preference.  We didn’t say, “Girl only. Must be non-Caucasian.”  We left it all open.

We actually have been presented for two different adoption situations very recently, both baby girls, one Hispanic, one African-American. We weren’t chosen as the family for either of the babies, so maybe my dream was just that: a dream that was nothing more than a dream. It’s impossible to say.  We were a “second choice” for one of the girls, so that’s good, I guess. Right?  Okay, so I know that it most definitely is not, but I’m trying to keep things positive these days. Work with me here!

If we do end up adopting a dark-skinned baby girl someday, you can bet I will start paying a lot more attention to the significance of my dreams!  Maybe there is something to it. After all, I do have a friend with a proven track record of predicting future events through her dreams, or even just strong feelings that overtake her and don’t let go until she communicates the message to her friend or loved one. I was on the receiving end of this once, much to my delight.  And she was right! Absolutely true story…perhaps a future blog post?


 

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What Dreams May Come, part 1

Many years ago, probably when I was in my early 20s but before I met the hubs, I had a dream that I have never forgotten. I was in a backyard, playing with a little boy with blonde hair, pale skin, and eyes so dark they were almost black. That was the whole dream; we were just playing and laughing. I recognized in the dream this must be my son, but it didn’t feel prophetic or like a life-changing epiphany. Just an ordinary dream where I felt very happy and content. I don’t remember most of my dreams, but this one was vivid and has never faded from my mind.

I wrote about it in my journal “just in case” I had such a little boy one day. Also, I didn’t want to risk forgetting. I told the hubs about it years later, even after we were dealing with infertility, as I recall. The hubs is a very grounded, realistic sort of person so this revelation about my dream didn’t exactly full him with confidence that it was a prophecy waiting to be fulfilled. And neither did I, to be honest. It just sort of stuck with me, and I like remembering the way I felt during the dream.

Also of note: I could never find a a picture that really nailed the coloring or true depiction of the boy in my dream, so I couldn’t describe him to the hubs very well. The description sounds fairly ordinary, but the boy wasn’t ordinary at all. His coloring was so unique. Then one day, I was watching the movie Love Actually, when this kid shows up!

The “Love Actually” kid, the one I recognized as being eerily similar to the kid I dreamed of years before.

I was so excited!  Although he wasn’t the exact replica of my dream-kid, he was darn close. Even though I was watching the movie alone, (since the hubs would rather be boiled alive in hot oil than watch this film), I was so excited to find a good representation of the kid from my years-old-yet-vivid-dream, I made him come take a look. He scanned the screen, said something like, “It is noted,” and went back to what he was doing.

Several more years passed, and we eventually became pregnant through IVF and had a baby boy. I wish I could say the memory of my dream propelled me through the most challenging moments of infertility, but it didn’t. I thought of it all the time, but I didn’t think of it as my destiny.  In fact, I thought I was having a girl until we had the anatomy scan.

If I’m being honest, this story would be much cooler if I had dreamed about a boy with red hair and green eyes and freckles, and then actually birthed that baby. The hubs and I have none of those as dominant traits. How awesome would that be to see a menagerie of recessive traits come to life after dreaming of a boy who possessed them? Spooky!

My dream was/is very special to me. I absolutely believe I got a little glimpse of life with my son at least ten years before his birth. Of course, the fact that he was born with the genetic traits of the dream-kid is not exactly a head scratcher. 

After all, the odds of giving birth to a boy are 50/50. My eyes are very, very dark and my skin is about as light as skin comes. The hubs has gorgeous blue eyes and is Caucasian too, but with a lot more color to his skin tone. We both have brown wavy/curly hair, but we were both very blonde as children. Therefore it is fairly obvious that E inherited his very light skin and dark eyes from me, and his blonde/wavy/unruly hair from both of us. Mystery solved.

But still, the dream is awesome. And frankly, I thought of it a lot during our infertility journey. Not as my guiding light but just as a small reminder of how happy I was playing in the backyard with the little boy in my dream.

Has anyone else had a dream that came true, or a similar experience? I hope you will share in the comments below!

Thinking About Adoption? Here Are Two Women You Really Should Talk To

One act of kindness (or two acts, in this case) deserves another, so I wanted to elaborate on my conversation with Laura from Faithful Adoption Consultants and Shannon from Christian Adoption Consultants.

The reason I enjoyed my conversation with Laura is because she really wanted to hear about what wasn’t working in our adoption journey so far, for the purpose of making sure that if we worked with them they would go out of their way to make sure we never had those problems again. In reference to money and situations, she gave it to me straight: Continue reading

Hindsight, You’re a Real Jerk

If I had stuck with the original plan, we would probably be having a baby at the end of June. 

Back in September, we had finally found a suitable egg donor and made a down payment to “reserve” her. Good egg donors are hard to find, and they go fast. We had found a new fertility clinic we liked well enough, better than the other four we interviewed. The plan was for her to begin taking ovary stimulating drugs, like I did when I did IVF, and she would produce a bunch of eggs, then have them retrieved about ten days later. At that point they would have been fertilized with the hubs’ “genetic contribution,” and the ones that developed into suitable embryos would be transferred into my uterus around six days later. 

I halted the plan two days before our donor was to begin injections. It just didn’t feel right, for a variety of reasons. One of those reasons was that I had spent the past 11 months undergoing nearly nonstop treatments, which resulted in 2 miscarriages: one of those was my beloved miracle twins, lost at 9 weeks because they were conjoined. The other miscarriage was at 4 weeks, with what doctors said was almost certainly another set of twins. A third cycle resulted in nothing at all. Right after the third cycle, we learned that we would have to use an egg donor to proceed if we wanted more children. That news came exactly one year ago today, on June 3, 2014. 

So, we charged ahead with finding an egg donor. We so badly wanted more kids that I didn’t bother to stop and evaluate what we had been through in a short time. Three cycles and two miscarriages in 11 months. It became very real to me, right before the donor was to begin her stimulation meds, that I was opening another Pandora’s Box of physical and emotional pain. I was tired of all the fertility drugs, all the time. The drugs you take to do the treatments are very hard on your body, and it doesn’t get easier with experience. I was tired of medical professionals constantly hanging around my lady parts, and I so badly wanted to reclaim both my body and my sanity.  I prayed about it, and that was when I began to feel a strong call to adoption. I had never considered it before, and now here it was, feeling like the most obvious answer in the world. 

Another reason I walked away is because an egg donor cycle costs almost exactly $30,000. And there are no guarantees. If the donor doesn’t respond well, or if the eggs don’t fertilize properly, you are out all that money and it’s over. If you do end up with healthy embryos, transfer them, and they do not take or you miscarry, it’s over. We worked hard to acquire the money we needed for an egg donor cycle, and if it didn’t work, that would be the end. We weren’t going to come by another 30k and have a second chance at this. 

On the other hand, for a similar amount of money, we could adopt an infant domestically and if we never gave up, eventually we would adopt. (Well, that was before what happened to us. Now my expectations are pretty low, if I’m being honest).  Besides my personal feelings about another cycle, the idea that our money would be “safer” going this route was very appealing. I discussed my feelings with the hubs, who was at first quite surprised but then very supportive. 

Today, I’m feeling guilty. If I hadn’t changed my mind and the cycle had worked, my husband and I would soon have the second child we have dreamed of for so long.  My son would have a sibling on the way, and he probably wouldn’t be asking me all the time when God is bringing him “his baby.”  I would be nesting and preparing for a new son or daughter, and revelling in the sheer joy and excitement that a new baby brings. I would not have experienced the past 8 months, which is a huge hypothetical bonus. 

But, I followed my heart, and I listened to the answer that was given when I prayed about what to do. I’m questioning now if it was really God steering me towards adoption, or if that’s what I wanted to hear because I needed a break. Only time will tell. Until then, I have to carry the “what if” burden, which is probably my least favorite kind of burden.

Discover the rest of the story at www.borrowedgenes.com