Adoption Purgatory

It would be a lot more fun to only write about the good stuff.

I set out to show what an honest journey through infertility and adoption looks like, and it’s important to share the all the bumps and manholes along the way. We already knew the path from infertility to parenthood wasn’t a straight line, and we’re finding that out about adoption, too.

We waited Monday for a call that never came. The call that confirmed that yes, after meeting us, we were still the family she wanted for her baby. The call that would make everything official, set up a birth plan, etc.

Our adoption coordinator called Carrie, the expectant mother, but didn’t receive a call back. All week. So the hubs and I experienced a hellacious four days wondering what we did wrong, if we did something wrong, and basically second guessing everything we believed to be true. Our agency is small, and only has one adoption coordinator, and she was unable to follow up with our concerns this week because she was with a different expectant mother who was in labor for two days. Then she had to complete the placement, the paperwork, and so forth, so she was truly slammed and unable to find out why we had been left hanging. That still left the issue at hand, which was that the hubs and I were left with no feedback, nor resolution, about this adoption that, last we heard, was taking place. So, I did what I do; I put my Sherlock Holmes cap on and started prowling around on Google. It’s a good idea to be prepared to deal with the information you set out to find, and I thought I was, but of course I wasn’t. What I eventually found were details that made it pretty clear that the expectant mother and father were preparing for their new baby, not preparing for an adoption. And the date they were expecting this bundle was at the beginning of May, not mid-June. At that moment, I felt like someone stuck a serrated knife right in my heart and started twisting it slowly around in circles.

But the problem with being hopeful adoptive parents is that our feelings are a distant, distant second to whatever the birth parents are feeling. We are constantly reminded of this by the books we are told to read and the classes we are made to attend. Whatever a hopeful adoptive parent is feeling, it is nothing compared to what the expectant parent is suffering, and the mindset that it creates is that we are guilty of the crime of grieving when things don’t work out because we don’t have the right. There is even less empathy for those of us who snoop around on the internet to find out the truth.

I’m not proud of the fact that I was essentially invading the privacy of the expectant parents to learn the facts, but I’m glad I found what I did, because it did prompt our coordinator to get involved and find out what the heck was happening. And here it is: our expectant mother is committed to this adoption. That’s what she wants. And she genuinely wants us to be the family that adopts her baby. She made up her mind about this adoption some time ago, and knows that it is the best thing for her, her other children, and most importantly, this baby. She is at peace with her decision. We also learned that she didn’t have anything to do with the stuff that ended up on the internet, that was done “on her behalf” and without her knowledge.

But.

The birth father has changed his mind and wants her to keep and raise the baby. Which, as we established above, is not what she wants. She loves this baby very much and that is what has motivated her decision to place for adoption. I know her reasons, but I will not write them here out of respect for her privacy.

I couldn’t feel worse for Carrie. She is trying to do a selfless, wonderful thing for her baby and has no support. She’s as stuck as stuck can be. She asked the agency for the weekend to work this out with the birth father and get back to them on Monday. I guess we will see how it plays out. If for some reason we don’t hear anything Monday, that will be it for us, and we will have to move on.

Excited? It’s Complicated.

Tomorrow marks two weeks since we learned we had been chosen to adopt.  The time since we heard those blessed words has been marked with enormous excitement tinged with guarded enthusiasm.  As with any adoption, there is always the possibility that the expectant mother may decide she wants to parent after all, after giving birth to the baby.  Although we have been told she is very committed to her adoption plan, I still have reserved a big ol’ chunk of my heart just in case. I will let it out of heart jail after she has made her decision and signed the papers.  The old me would have been shouting the news from the rooftops and moving forward emotionally sans hesitation, but experience has taught me to proceed with caution. I wish that wasn’t the way it was, but it is only temporary. Once I am free to rejoice, I plan to do so unabashedly!

We get to meet the expectant parents this week!  I am looking forward to the moment I get to meet them, but I am petrified with fear as well.  It will definitely be something to see this brave woman pregnant with the baby we have prayed for since we started infertility journey part deux.  Back then I could not have imagined that my first encounter with my future child would take place just a few short weeks before they were due to enter the world, growing comfortably in another woman’s body. I would not ever have considered that a negative, I just don’t think I would have thought of it at all. The fact that this is where we have circled around to now feels very natural and exactly the way it was meant to be.

Nonetheless, when you ask me if I’m excited, don’t do a double take and grimace when I hesitate before finally saying, “I think so.” I realize that is a strange answer, but on the other hand, it’s an honest answer, and I am nothing if not honest.
 

 

 

The Best Kind of Radio Silence

We have some news to share, friends.

People have reached out to ask why I haven’t updated the blog after our profile was shared with the expectant mother. After all, it’s been like ten days!

This is the reason.

SHE CHOSE US.

She chose our family.

She chose us to adopt her baby boy, due at the beginning of June.

I have started eight different posts to share this news since we got the call last Wednesday. Interestingly, I seem to lack a writing style that doesn’t lean heavily towards the smart-ass department.  With this kind of amazing, life-changing news, I was blocked, writer style.

So that’s all I’ve got, because I’m actually tongue tied, talking style.  Yup, me.  More updates to follow once I learn how to write/speak again!

Painted by my mother for this very occasion.

Painted by my mother after hearing the news.


www.borrowedgenes.com

 

 

Good Things Are Happening!

The wheels are moving!

Yesterday, the hubs and I received an email of an expectant mother profile! What that means is that our agency is working with a young lady who has decided to make the courageous decision to find a family for her baby, and her preferences and our preferences overlapped so we asked to be presented to her! She has received our adoption portfolio, along with several others, and will make a decision by the end of the week. I do not know how many other couples asked to be presented, nor how many she was interested in looking at, but we were among them. Our agency is pretty small and they have about 8 “paper ready” couples, including us; although there are not many adoption situations that come along, when they do, the ratio of waiting parents is narrow enough that we feel like we at least have a chance of being chosen.

This is very big for us, although to be completely honest we do not allow ourselves to fully experience emotions of excitement or anticipation at this stage. It is just one of those things where we sort of perk up with optimism, but don’t let it overwhelm us, because we still need to wear our “heart armor.” It’s sort of like running a computer in safe mode!

I won’t reveal many details about the adoption situation here, out of respect for the expectant parents. If she does choose us, I can reveal more details at that time, with her permission.

For every family that is overjoyed and elated about the addition of a long-prayed for, much desired baby, there is always a mother, and sometimes a father, that is grieving the greatest loss of their lives. So, while we certainly appreciate, and in fact, solicit, your prayers and positive energy, consider doing the same for this amazing woman who could easily have chosen to terminate the pregnancy and go on with her life. Instead, she chose to carry the pregnancy, all the while knowing that the family that would be blessed by this baby, wasn’t her own.  I know I sure haven’t done anything that selfless lately, or ever.

I will update this post with the news of if we were chosen, or not, as soon as we hear about it. I have been committed to transparency all along on this site, and that means sharing the good and the bad. Sharing the bad sucks, it is true. Oh so true. But it is part of the process, and all of the process matters.

Wish us luck, cross your fingers and toes, channel that energy, or shoot up some prayers!


www.borrowedgenes.com

A Couple of Teeny-Tiny Updates on the Adoption Front

The adoption front has been pretty stagnant, but I am happy to report that I have a couple of updates to share. Maybe you remember that our adoption profile was presented to an expectant mother a couple months ago? We never received any feedback or information after that, so we assumed she chose another family. We recently learned that she is taking her time choosing a family because she is not due for another couple of months. Basically that means that (1) our profile did not thrill her so much that she decided then and there that she wanted to place her baby with us and (2) she is rightfully taking all the time she needs to make a decision and it is still possible she will choose us.  Peace be with you, expectant mama, wherever you are.

When we learned about the first expectant mother, we learned there was also a second expectant mother who was having a hard time getting medical records together. After two months went by, we figured that she had either decided to parent or that she was just taking the time she needed to process how to move forward. We were wrong—she was STILL dealing with medical professionals and trying to get copies of her records! Listen up, doctors, insurance companies, and hospitals; if a woman is in a situation where she is choosing to find an adoptive family for her baby, try not to make her life a living hell by giving her the run around as she attempts to gather all the necessary records for the agency. Seriously. Anyway, our adoption coordinator has told us that she will have a profile of the expectant mother to share with us by the end of the week. That was on Monday. Tomorrow is Friday. I have been checking my email every 15 seconds. I do not have a great deal of faith that we will actually see it tomorrow, but patience is the name of the game in adoption. Patience and fertility are two things God did not grace me with, so the adoption wait is basically the ultimate in horrible irony. But I digress.

Target is having a huge baby sale this week so I went and bought a bunch of diapers. Little teeny ones. Although there isn’t much happening and we have no reason to believe we will need wee diapers any time soon, I believe in preparedness. Also, it gave me an excuse to wander through the baby aisles and ogle all the adorable baby things. Okay, let’s be real.  I found out about the baby sale because I was already there looking at the adorable baby things. But the reason I was at Target in the first place was to acquire some Hyland’s homeopathic cold and flu tablets for my little one. It’s complicated, like your classic “which came first, the chicken or egg?” scenario. But I like it there. The first time around preparing for a baby, I had no clue what I was doing. The baby aisle at Target was a scary, frightening place. I wanted no part of it. Now that I’m an old pro, wandering through the baby section is quite comforting.

Also, I completed the nursery and it is baby-ready. That will be a separate post* because it was a rather involved undertaking. But I needed it done, because again, preparedness. What kind of monster brings a new baby home to an undecorated nursery? The horror!

Here’s to hoping we have more exciting news to share in the not too distant future, and to keeping an optimistic heart and mind.

*I’m super excited to share how I redid the nursery and managed to keep it gender neutral. It’s orange and turquoise! And the theme is elephants! And cuteness! But mostly it was a much needed time of creativity and DIY therapy to keep my hands busy and my mind engaged. Details and pictures coming soon.

www.borrowedgenes.com

Fact: It Will Be Worth the Wait, I Have Proof!

A few weeks ago, I received an email about an adoption situation in Georgia.  The mother had seen our adoption profile via Facebook, of all things, and we happened to be on an old email listserv of the lawyer she was working with.  The lawyer was to the point: baby boy, born three days ago, mother is choosing to make an adoption plan rather than have the baby removed by Family Services to disappear into the foster system.  Were we interested?

Of course we were interested!  In my “adoption situation presentation” fantasies, interest is always enough. So it definitely a swift kick to the ovaries when I immediately realized that interest alone was not going to cut the mustard in this scenario.  There were a ridiculous amount of circumstances that made this situation impossible for us: paying new and unrelated adoption fees* for the baby boy in Georgia, when we have already invested our adoption nest egg into our adoption agency here.   Ten days would need to be spent in the state of Georgia as we waited for papers to be processed that would allow us to bring the baby across state lines back to Oregon.  Two plane tickets would need to be purchased on zero days notice, as well as ten days of lodging.  We have a little boy who would wonder where in the hell his always-present parents, who have never been separated from him for more than one day, had gone away to, and why he was left behind; we also did not have family lined up to care for him for ten days on five seconds notice.  The hubs is currently grinding his way through the absolute busiest time of work in his field, and leaving with no notice was going to leave a lot of people and circumstances in the lurch.  We had absolutely nothing going for us in this situation except interest, and our interest was not a magic wand that was going to turn the impossible into the possible.

*Adoption fees and expenses: Been car shopping lately? Think of the MSRP on your favorite SUV…and now you know why it would be quite the hat trick to come up with that twice! 

Adoption is an extremely competitive industry, despite the non-profit status many agencies hold; as a general rule, agencies don’t work in cooperation with other agencies, because it isn’t financially beneficial to do so. In other words, my agency and the lawyer were not going to join forces to make our dreams come true. Fair enough.

It was hard to decline the situation, but it was the only option at our disposal to make. Is it still considered an option if there is only one to pick from?

Something I know to be true about myself: I do not handle situations with one “option” well.  I would say that is probably true for the majority of us, nothing special about that. For me personally, the concept of being without choice or power harkens back to our long infertility battle, and later on, our miscarriages. Grief with which I have long since addressed and healed, but which is brought bobbing to the surface again by that nasty common denominator: powerlessness. The ultimate place to find oneself robbed of choice, and even in the strongest of us, hope.

It was poor timing that four days after declining the situation, I was then felled like a giant oak tree by old school influenza, the kind you get a shot for, but then the shot doesn’t work because the virus is tricky and outsmarted the scientists this year. Plenty of time for me to lay in bed and analyze, analyze, analyze, which is both my best characteristic and my worst.

It’s hard to see the forest for the trees when you haven’t showered in five days. I think that is probably an undeniable truth for anyone, unless you are in an actual forest and the reason you haven’t showered for five days is because you went out there to see the trees.

And, for all those on an infertility journey or an adoption wait, I leave you with this groundbreaking realization: it really is true that the greatest joys in life are worth the wait. We waited over three years for our little man to grace us with his presence. I came up with that obvious little factoid after my cathartic ugly cry two days ago, and it made me feel so much better I wrote it down and taped it somewhere I can be reminded whenever I need a pick me up.

Hope Shaken, Not Stirred

While the rest of the country continues to get abused with relentless ice and snow, our little corner of the world has had unseasonably warm weather, clear skies, sunshine.  Things are blooming that have no business doing so at this very moment, but no one told them that, so they just keep poking their little heads up higher and higher and higher until they burst through the dirt to meet the sun.  I’m afraid that we are going to have a hard freeze one of these nights and it’s going to shock those little buds right back to the ground.  When tender buds that didn’t expect to get blasted by freezing weather do, they often don’t come back until the next year. The ones that stayed just under the top layer of dirt for a little while longer are protected from the frost and come out when the coast is clear.

So, let’s talk about train of thought writing and the unexpected consequences.  I did not expect, as I was looking out the window and writing about my flowers, to write a painfully obvious and cliché metaphor about my own heart.  I did not expect to have to grab a napkin from the dining room table to bawl my eyes out when I realized the reason I’ve been feeling just a little bit sideways is that at some point, I am not even sure when, I seem to have lost the ability to believe that something good is going to happen to us in this adoption journey.  And I totally do not have the right to believe that, because we have only been home study ready for six weeks, and we worked so hard to get to that point.  Really, we should just be enjoying the fact that we made it through to the other side, because it was a lot of emotional hard work.  It’s also worth noting that it is a darn good thing we did not get called right away, since during the month of February I got to enjoy both the stomach flu AND legit influenza. (Note to self: stop justifying your feelings away with practicality and facts, for heaven’s sake! You have a right to be upset sometimes just because.)

I spend some time every day reading the WordPress journeys of other women like myself, women who are going through IVF, or considering using an egg donor, or pursuing adoption.   It’s important to read their stories and remind myself there are other people out there going through this too, because otherwise it is isolating to the point of suffocation to be the only one. One of these ladies recently underwent IVF, was successful, and learned she is having identical twins.  That was last week.  Probably I should have stopped reading at that point, like a total jerk who can’t be happy for someone else because her twins have their own amniotic sacs and mine didn’t. Instead, I continued following her updates and today she was seeking advice about whether she should tell her boss and her coworkers she is eight weeks pregnant, and before I knew it I was shrieking at my laptop, “No, woman, no! Why would you do that?!” Yeesh.  Never mind that when I was pregnant with E, I told everyone I encountered that I was pregnant at about 4 weeks along.  The hubs thought we should wait a while to tell people, and I was like, “Yeah, that’s not gonna happen.  Hey, did you tell your mechanic yet?”

But then we experienced loss.  And more loss, and then nothingness.  Through all of that we had this shining little beacon who was oblivious to our pain and radiated joy through our home like Tinkerbell and her pixie dust.  It’s hard to feel despair when the embryo who did show up to the party is now a little boy full of love and light.  And I’m so incredibly grateful for him, and I think the truth is I just don’t know if lightning really can strike twice in the same spot.  Perhaps the biggest problem is that I’m just not sure I believe it can, for now. When God blesses you with what you desired most above all else, is it fair to ask for another miracle?  When you do, is it fair to expect one? 


Borrowed Genes