Friend or Family Member Adopting? Here’s How to Support…

Know family or friends who are adopting? There are many “what not to say/do” lists floating around the internet, but here’s my “what to say/do” list.

How you can support loved ones who are adopting:

  1. Listen to what they are telling you about their adoption situation. Every adoption is different, because we are human beings, prone to error-making, mind-changing, and overall unpredictability. Even if two waiting families are participating in the same type of adoption (i.e. domestic infant) those two families will not experience the exact same things. There are tons of factors that vary and will render everything you’ve seen on TV about adoption meaningless. If your loved one tells you how things are for them, resist the urge to say, “Well, I saw on TV or in an article that blablabla.” Just LISTEN to them. The fact is: THEY know more about this whole process than you do. They are the ones involved and the ones who can answer your questions, so listen when they do. Be a sponge. Really, just like a sponge. Sit there and absorb. Sponges don’t challenge, question, or attack. They are calm. They just take in what is given to them.
  2. Keep things normal. Invite us to baby showers just as you did before you knew we had fertility issues (I must point out some folks adopt who have no fertility issues too!) We want to come celebrate your joy. We want our friends to be happy; this has nothing to do with our situation. For me, hearing a friend is pregnant is a good thing. What can get annoying is seeing seven posts in one day about distant acquaintances being pregnant. Just the sheer number all at once does sting, because it’s a subtle reminder of just how many people this is easy for and it feels isolating. It feels like everyone is moving on and we’re left behind. I can handle seeing one at a time, but on New Year’s Day, I saw seven at once…and I had to close my laptop. Then, I got over it and went back to click “like” and say congrats. So keep us included in your baby adventures. This also includes friends just hanging out. I am sorry if I’ve talked some of my friends’ ears off about babies and fertility and adoption… It has been all-consuming at times, so that’s just where I am… but I will try to tone it down.
  3. Support the triad. Adoption involves not just the adoptive parents and child, but the birth mother. Sometimes the birth father, but not usually (statistically). This woman is enduring some type of hardship that will not allow her to parent a child. Adoptive parents have a child, have joy, as a result of this woman’s hardship. Be respectful when talking about her. Use the term “placed” her child for adoption, rather than “gave up” her child. Of course, birth mothers are regular people, so all will be different; however, the majority of them plan the adoption in advance with help from an agency. They choose a family they believe will be appropriate for their child. They are not the bad guy. In some cases there are dramatic circumstances, like a meth-addicted birth mother who wants to place the child, go on her way and is never heard from again. More likely, though, is a woman who cannot be a parent for whatever reason, but does care deeply and wants to make sure the child will be ok. That can mean having monthly or yearly check-ins, photo exchanges, visits, or whatever is agreed upon by all parties. Please accept and respect the birth mother, and understand that if you make insulting comments about this woman in front of our adopted child, we will not be able to let you be around our child.
  4. Know your facts. There is a myth floating around that a definite way to get pregnant is to adopt first. Someone, somewhere, heard this happened, and it got spread around. It even went into Sex & The City when Charlotte adopted Lily and birthed Rose. It is a myth. Adopting will not give you some magic spark to suddenly be able to produce babies. Five percent of people with untreated fertility problems conceive after adopting– the same percentage of infertile couples who conceive but do not adopt. (Source: Raising Adopted Children, by Lois Ruskai Melina, 1998). Also, perpetuating this myth implies that the family is only adopting so that they can have their own later. Not the case. Another fact to know: 40% of fertility issues involve unexplained male factor/low sperm count. So, basically half. If you are part of a conversation about someone else’s fertility problems and you hear someone say, “Oh, really, what’s wrong with her?” as an automatic assumption that the woman is to blame, you need to shut that down. Be proactive when false things are said. Women have enough to deal with without automatically being blamed for fertility problems. In fact, the man shouldn’t be “blamed” either. It is nobody’s fault. But immediately saying the woman has a problem feels like an attack and is factually inaccurate (Source: American Society for Reproductive Medicine and Shady Grove Fertility).
  5. Ask what they’d like to do for their shower. Adoptive families often don’t have typical showers because they don’t know the month or even the day the baby will arrive. On top of that they may feel presumptuous to have a shower in advance for fear the adoption will not go through. You could ask them about their preference so you can help when needed. As for me, I plan to have a shower at my own house, once the baby is here and the (certain number of days) have passed where the birth mother can change her mind. My shower may happen when the baby is a month old. At that point, we will already have a car seat and bassinet, but you could help your loved one populate a registry for things not yet bought.
  6. Be part of the solution, not the problem. Adoptive families often feel criticism for every choice they make. If we choose international adoption we hear, “What about all the babies in our country?” If we choose domestic we hear, “I heard you can get a child from China much faster.” If we choose adoption vs. IVF we hear, “Why not just try it once? That’s what so and so did” If we adopt a black child we hear, “Oh, there they go, trying to be like Sandra Bullock in the Blind Side.” If we adopt a white child we hear, “They must have not wanted a black child.” If we choose an open adoption we hear, “Will the birth mother know your address?” … you see the problem here? Biological families do not have to deal with fielding all of these questions, which come off as criticisms. Accept our situation knowing we have put great thought into our decisions and would like to hear one thing only: “We will support you.” You can inquire about how it all works, listen, and support…without being one of the people we feel we need to defend ourselves to. When others ask you about your family members’ adoption, you can then be part of the solution by educating others. Assuming you’ve listened in the first place, you can then reiterate facts and explain to others.
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No, my baby will not come from a dumpster.

Should I write a post just about what adoption is? Is that boring because people already know? The answer is no…they do not know. It’s interesting how much people do not know, considering how many people are actually adopted. I bet you know a few people yourself who are. My best friend as a child was adopted, as are several people I know today. Many celebrities are as well, but you wouldn’t know until they show up on a “Guess Who Is Adopted” Buzzfeed list.

For some reason, much of the adoption world is shrouded in secrecy. I don’t think it has to be that way. I respect the right to privacy, but I believe a better awareness needs to be present in this country as to what adoption means. This is hard because every adoption story is different; however, I have gleaned from talking to many people, even some close friends, that there is a lack of “common knowledge” when it comes to adoption.

On a recent evening full of wine and Cards Against Humanity, a few friends asked us about the process. One friend, visibly confused, asked, “I don’t get it- does the birth mom get to see the kid again?” I began explaining about open vs. closed adoptions and she interjected, “Like to me, adoption is a baby in a dumpster and they call you to come get it.” That was a blunt statement. That taught me that people just don’t know. It’s not ignorance, not stupidity. My friend is a very intelligent girl; but like many people, she just didn’t know what adoption meant.

Nia Vardalos (the lady from My Big Fat Greek Wedding), adopted a child after thirteen tries with IVF. Her book, Instant Mom, is a great read for those considering adopting an older child. She discusses one contributing factor to lack of adoption awareness- the media. The media doesn’t like to report about anything other than extremes. You will hear crazy stories on the news about people kidnapping children, or fighting over custody and driving to another state, or the desperate wannabe mom who stabbed a lady and tried to take her unborn baby. These are media field days. But know this: those are rare occurrences. They just make it seem as if adoption is lawlessness and chaos.

On the other hand, the media has also perpetuated the myth of the “saint-like” adoptive parent who is “rescuing” a child, as if they are some shelter dog and Sarah McLachlan is crooning in the background. It is bizarre to experience this. I called about our insurance one day and the lady asked why we were making adjustments with our account. I explained we had to because we were adopting a child. “Wow! Good for you! What a great thing you are doing, bravo! That is so wonderful,” she gushed. I went stiff, not knowing how to respond, and murmured “um, thanks.” Many people see it like that, and I guess you could say you are “rescuing” if it is a dangerous situation. If a birth mother abuses a child and it’s taken into the state’s custody and you adopt, I guess you could say you are in a position to rescue someone, but otherwise we really don’t feel like that. I mean, we want a child too. We want a family… so there’s a “self-serving” reason beyond “rescuing.” I would never say it’s “selfish” though. We are not selfish people for wanting a family. That’s rubbish.

Unfortunately, there is not one unifying site for people to visit online to research adoption. It’s an extraordinary task to sift through the numerous sites and choose your path. I can promise you though, your time researching is well spent. Do read the fine print and don’t rely on hearsay. Each site will convince you that their way is the way to go. Trust your instincts. Know that whatever you choose, it is going to be only a framework. Within that framework are complicated creatures: people. No two families will experience the same adoption, even if they use the same type of adoption.

You can adopt internationally, domestically, privately, with an agency, or from the state foster system. Domestic infant adoption is our path and that’s what I can answer the most questions about. First of all, please know there are numerous laws in place to protect all parties involved in an adoption. No, a birth mother cannot just “come and take back” a child after a year. Conversely, we do not get to “choose a child” from a shiny book of orphans. Also, a child does not cost anything. No price is ever put on a human being’s life. There are tons of expenses, yes, but they go to the agency for the work they do in handling paperwork, matching, counseling, etc…

Think adoption “doesn’t happen” anymore? The National Council for Adoption estimates that 20,000 or more U.S. born infants are placed for adoption each year- slightly more than the 19,000 international adoptions. Yes, adoption is still happening, and yes, the landscape has changed- an adoption today is not a 1950’s adoption. One growing trend is the decision of having an “open” relationship between birth mothers, children, and adoptive parents. We have chosen a local adoption agency that facilitates open adoption arrangements. Our birth mother will be from this area and will approach the agency at any point in her pregnancy.

Adoption paperwork is overwhelming: autobiographies, reference checks, background checks, fingerprinting, family histories, medical histories, child preference forms, and the social worker home visit (a stressful time involving creation of an emergency survival tub, cleaning of things you didn’t know needed cleaning, and for us, trying to appear wholesome whilst husband is recovering from food poisoning and wife is hobbling around on a broken toe). After you’re approved as a waiting family, there are more forms- declaring you’ll let the agency know if you travel, declaring you agree to foster the child until adoption is finalized in court, etc…

Now we wait as potential birth mothers, who have been matched with our preferences by the agency, view our family’s profile book we made. Once they choose our family to place their child with, we will be called in to meet them and further discuss our potential relationship. From there, it could go smoothly. Or, as our social worker has warned us, she could change her mind and pick another family.

For those involved with adoption, explaining the process can seem like a burden. Natural parents with natural families do not have to deal with all these questions. They don’t have to defend it or explain who the birth mother is or be judged for choosing a certain race or gender of child. It is up to those like us, who are involved, to dispel the myths and inform more people about the process. Most importantly, the children need this awareness. They need to understand A. Adoption is forever B. They are safe C. They are loved (by adoptive as well as birth parents who placed them, not “gave them up”).

What questions do you have? Comment below, no last names please, thanks!

*Afterthought: I guess I must acknowledge that while exceedingly rare, there have been instances where women make horrible mistakes by leaving their newborns in a dumpster or restaurant bathroom. So, if we were to adopt via the state foster system, we could in fact have that situation. Those babies deserve the best as well. Hopefully, with access to information about adoption, these instances will go from rare to nonexistent.

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Some “Movement”

Things have been weird and roller coaster-ish lately. It seems one of our dogs has taken to training us for parenthood by not allowing us to sleep. He has been whining and barking at night, waking us up just for fun. Awesome. The week of my favorite holiday, Halloween, I figured I’d shoot our social worker yet another “quick question” email. We’re supposed to check in with the agency on a certain schedule anyway, so I don’t feel guilty about possibly annoying her. We knew that we were #13 on the wait list back in August and I thought I’d see if we’d crept up at all. The wait list for our agency is a list of people waiting to even get into the pool to be matched with birth mothers; the pool itself can be a 3 year wait. (Did I mention this is after a year of doing all the pre-adoption paperwork and background check and home study? So yeah, at the start of it all we could literally have a 4+ year process. This is why I keep advocating for people to not wait, not procrastinate on their family planning. It’s not just one thing in your life like buying a new car…this affects everything and everyone in your life). Anyhow, tangent, sorry…

So, we knew we were #13 on the wait list. Our social worker replied with the news that we had moved up quite a bit to #6. Wait, what? I stared at her email, surprised. It was October and we’d moved up 7 spots. BJ was surprised, but reminded me our social worker had said sometimes people go out of the pool for various reasons so probably some people had left. Yes, that probably was the case. People can move in and out of the pool for many reasons- they get pregnant themselves or they decide not to adopt or they adopted from somewhere else. This jump was a nice little kick in the ass to remind me to get my life together. I am fully aware I have books to finish writing and it would be ideal to be done before the baby is here. Somehow, though, I only seem to focus on the 3 year statistic, so I can’t seem to get anything done. I think I have 3 whole years, but I also know it could be much sooner…so I feel guilty. I’m constantly in this dysfunctional waiting/hoping/guilt space. I’d like to be out of this space. I’d like to think I will really get my life in order soon and become a mom and then feel like a real adult. I will be a better person as a mom and everything will be peachy. Ugh, delusional, right?

The wait is a weird space. It’s cruel and annoying and hopeful at the same time. The only thing we hadn’t done yet was our adoption photo book. This is a book about us as a couple, our families, and words we want to say to the potential birth mother. It is shown to potential matches. The birth mother chooses the family. I worked on this project for a week straight. It was a strange, frustrating task to find the right photos to share and the right words to say. I questioned everything from “Do I say THE baby or YOUR baby?” to “Can we put this family dinner photo in there if there’s alcohol on the table, does that look bad?” and finally was ready to order the finished product when I got another email from our social worker. It was two days before Thanksgiving. She told us we were “ready to roll” into the pool! She said to get the photo book to her ASAP. I was stunned. I thought for sure she’d make fun of me for doing the project way too early. I called BJ at work and told him the news through some happy tears. He started laughing at how we’d gone 6 more spots in a month.

I dropped the book off on December 1st. I asked one of the social workers how we’d moved up so fast and she smiled and said, “Yes, there’s been some movement in our pool.” Social workers are so mysterious. They really can’t say a lot. They want to, but they can’t. I get it. So that’s it! We are now in the pool. The initial joy we felt is still there, but now it’s mixed with more anxiety on my end. I had a sudden fear: What if it’s only another 3 months until we are parents? Wait! I’m not ready for this! I haven’t written my books, I need to paint the baby room! In my anxiety, I emailed our social worker to see if this fast jump into the pool was indicative of a shorter wait time in the pool. She responded, oh-so-mysteriously, “No, I would not say it is necessarily indicative of a shorter time in the pool, although it could be.” Arrggghhhh…

A couple weeks later, I noticed my “girl week” was late. Usually, Mother Nature does play cruel jokes on me and make me late by a few days here and there, just so I can waste another $10 on a pregnancy test and be disappointed… but this time it was really late. I grew more curious each day and really held out on taking a test until about day 7. It was negative. But then nothing happened…I still was late. I planned to take another test later and just waited, hoping. I had just taught the children at church about the season of advent and hopeful waiting. Another 3 days passed before I got it. A full 10 days late. 10 days where I abandoned my usual negativity (ahem, realism) and held out hope. For nothing. Just 10 days late for no reason. I sound very bitter, I know, but it’s not about being pregnant or not. It’s about this delicate balance we are in during this wait for a child- hoping, waiting, being positive, but also managing risk and having realistic expectations for everything from the timing to the birth mother to the child him/herself. I really do not need the added emotions of being 10 days late and wondering. I think I hate wondering more than anything in this world. I like facts. I like knowing. This whole thing is an emotional roller coaster.

I will try to forget about that 10 days late hiccup. We are focusing on what we know: there is still movement. We moved on up the list and now we’ve moved into the pool. Now, it’s treading water until we get a call about being matched.

*Merry Christmas*

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How It Began, Part 2: The Results…

Continued from previous post, “How It Began, Part 1: Best Laid Plans…”

… I know from my medical experience that once medical records are in the doctor’s hand, you have a right to see them. You can go request them and pick them up yourself. While BJ was at work the next day, I went to the doctor’s office and told them I was there to pick up a copy of the records just for my own personal file because I like to keep all records. They complied, but repeatedly told me that BJ needed to come in for the follow-up appointment. “Oh, yes, he is, he already scheduled it, I just had some time today to stop by,” I replied.

I opened the envelope on the way to the car, trying to keep it dry underneath my umbrella on this dreary, wet day. Once in the car, I read the results. I’m no genius, but I can do basic math and read numbers in a range. It was… bad… like… really bad. His sperm count was way outside the normal range. Unbelievable, I thought. It’s him. I could not fathom that he was the problem (the problem being his sperm, not anything he did himself). It said a normal count was 20 million or above. His count was 1.6 million. Then there was the measurement of movement- how many moving (motile) cells there are. Sperm have to be moving, not lazy (unmoving or moving in circles in no particular direction like a drunkard) to get where they need to go. He also didn’t have a great number there.  My mood matched the weather as I drove home, still surprised. This is probably something I shouldn’t call him at work about, I thought, so I waited to show him the papers when he got home.

He was disappointed, like I was; but honestly, it was a relief to at least know. For a split second he said he may have felt embarrassed, but that quickly passed when we both realized it’s nobody’s fault. At his follow-up appointment the doctor confirmed this: some guys just don’t have a lot of sperm… it’s not any different than any other medical problem. It also wasn’t due to a hormonal problem; the testosterone was normal. There was nothing to be done about it. No drug for him, no change in underwear styles (he already wears boxers anyway), no nothing. Hearing that is kind of good. We were glad he didn’t have to take some medicine with potential side effects or change anything about himself.

He then began picking over the numbers himself (he loves math) and tried to calculate further what our chances were. “It’s not impossible!” he declared at dinner the next day. I did my half sigh, half grunt noise and got up to do dishes. The doctor said conceiving for us was “not impossible, but not likely.” For me, that was all I needed to hear. But BJ clung onto that “not impossible” part and so we kept trying for a while longer. This is where our personality flaws really got their time in the limelight. I would be negative and dismal and he would be excessively, unrealistically hopeful. Neither of those extremes is healthy. I told him one night, “You know, this is not helpful for us to keep trying. It’s the exact same situation we were in before… before we even knew we had a fertility problem. We’re just trying and wondering and waiting. It’s the same! We need to move to plan B or C or whatever!” He agreed that we should look at researching IVF and adoption… but also keep trying. I approved of that plan.

After many days of living with our new reality and many Homer Simpson references (“The first step towards failure is trying”) we realized we had formed some kind of strange, twisted bond over our inability to make a kid. We had jokes too… lots of jokes. BJ describing his visit with the urologist: “You sayin’ there’s somethin’ wrong with my gear?” (Billy Bob in Bad Santa, anyone?) And no, BJ, there’s nothing wrong with your “gear.” I was only half-joking with: “I mean we have undesirable genes anyway… who wants to pass on autoimmune disease, shortness and acne?” We were in a little shared world of failure… no, not failure… failure indicates you did something wrong… but it was like our road of life had several detours rather than just speed bumps. I’m not going to lie- questions do enter your mind about your relationship. I wondered if I had known about the sperm issue before marriage- would I have married him? Are we not meant to be? Imagine if I had married someone else and had 4 kids already? Those thoughts come, but they pass quickly. Of course I would still have married him. I married him because I love him and want to be with him. If the problem was with my eggs, I’d expect him to still love me. Our marriage, which I deem the most important thing in my life, is between two people… and it still will be once we have kids (or don’t).

We decided we’d research both IVF and adoption and see what fit. We hoped to be led in one direction unequivocally, but that didn’t happen. Much time was spent on both in 2012. First, we visited a fertility clinic together and showed the doctor the sperm quality results. He explained that IVF was the only way to go for us; IUI or just pills or hormones wouldn’t do any good. Inconveniently, that’s the most expensive option. We wrestled with the decision of whether to do IVF for a long time- way longer than we should have. I don’t want to get into all that now as that’s for a later posting on the topic, but I will say I wish I had gotten started with researching adoption much sooner. It’s crazy how fast time can go by and you realize you’re only pushing back your “being parents” date each day you are only thinking about what to do. We should have acted sooner and not agonized over things for so long. Plus, with adoption, you pay and know the cost will actually get you a baby.

It was late 2013, I believe, when we formally started the process of adoption. He was 30; I was 29. Most of our friends had their first babies or were pregnant by now. I’m not saying that because it’s a race or competition, but because each time you hear someone talk about having a baby it’s a little reminder that you’re behind on your own plans. I wanted kids at 30 and now I only had a year (don’t ask me why that was my magic age; I know it’s arbitrary). Someone once commented to me they didn’t know if I’d show up to their baby shower because we were having fertility problems. Let me make one thing clear: We are happy for everyone and their growing families. We want you guys to have kids and be happy whether we have kids or not. Of course we are happy for you. Why would we stop being friends just because you have something we don’t? Greed and envy are not at play here. We want a family, but that doesn’t mean we want everyone else to have fertility problems just so we can all be frustrated together or something. Please don’t not invite us and alienate us- we want to be involved in your lives.

The adoption journey has been long and we’re still on it. It’s now late 2014 and we are at the point where we’ve finished all our work. Now, we wait. It can take up to 3 years with the agency we’ve chosen. This agency is our favorite, so we’re willing to wait. We’re hopeful, but mad at ourselves for not starting the process sooner. Had I started at 27, my magical age 30 parenting milestone may have happened. It’s not about the number though; it’s about time I feel is lost. My advice to anyone considering these things is to JUST START before you even think you’re ready to. I hear when you have children they’re babies, you blink, and they’re in college. I totally believe that. That’s why I’m glad we’re no longer wondering, deciding, thinking… we’re acting. Well, okay, we’re waiting for the baby… but at least we have done our part and it’s all in motion.

(c) Elevati, LLC 2018

How It Began, Part 1: Best Laid Plans…

So, before I delve into writing about the world of adoption and all the terminology, I should probably explain how BJ and I got here in the first place. It’s 2014 and we’re 30 and 31. We were married in 2009 and used birth control until approximately 2011. I say approximately because I have begun to get my years mixed up and I feel like time is passing at an extraordinary rate. I know that’s something people with children say, but I already feel it. So 2011ish we started seeing the beginnings of other people we knew having babies and began discussing the prospect of children. We knew we wanted a family, but let’s face it- no one is actually ever “ready” for children. You don’t buy a crib, shop for onesies, learn how to be a parent, and then start trying to conceive. Parents learn as they go. We did feel we could be comfortable with the idea though… we could handle it… if it happened. That really doesn’t sound romantic and magical, but I told you I won’t sugarcoat anything here.

The plan I had for my life did include having a baby with no issues, on my schedule. I wanted to be married, have a couple years alone with my husband, and then have a baby at 30. That was the plan. Oddly, the priest who married us always brought up this quote in our marriage preparation: “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.” This can be applied to everyone, religious or not. It means you can have all the plans you want, but they may not work out. This is fact. In 2011 though, my plans had worked out so far- I was married and I had a couple years alone with my husband.

We did not conceive right away… then we didn’t conceive after six months… then we hit the dreaded year mark, by which most couples who will conceive have conceived. Our marriage’s best strength is communication. We talk about everything. I am honest, to a fault, sometimes. So it wasn’t like we only talked about fertility problems at the one year mark and never before that. I always brought it up and worried as the months went by. BJ is, by nature, more optimistic, so he assumed it would happen eventually. I was not getting that feeling. I also was the one having to stare down the negative home pregnancy tests. I must’ve wasted like $100 over the years on those damn things. I always had that little sliver of hope though, when my “girl week” would come later than usual. I couldn’t wait and so I bought the tests and was disappointed every time. Nope, yet again, nature just playing a cruel trick on me by having my girl week come later than usual, like every other month, just for fun. One time, I even had a test with an awkward half line (see photo below) and I could almost hear the universe laughing at me.

I do have several medical issues, some of which are autoimmune, so I figured it had to be me. I was the problem. My body was rejecting the sperm or I didn’t weigh enough or I didn’t take enough folic acid or whatever the hell reason I could think of. Because of these issues I also admit I wasn’t 100% thrilled with the idea of being pregnant anyways. I figured I’d just feel even worse and I’d probably miscarry. When I told people about these worries, they insisted that my worry was the reason we weren’t conceiving. It was stress. I didn’t believe that for one minute. I thought about not having children at all and what our life would look like. After countless talks with BJ and with a relative of mine who told me, “I don’t regret missing out on pregnancy; I regret not having children,” I decided I felt similarly. I wanted a family, but to be honest, I’ve never been a girl who looked forward to being pregnant or experiencing childbirth. I just never really saw that in my future- could never tangibly picture it. I also truly don’t care if I miss out on it. I know there are some great things I won’t experience, like a kicking baby, but that’s such a short blip on the radar. BJ and I want to have a family. Our goal was family, not feeling kicking or seeing a little bean on an ultrasound (not to downplay or disrespect those things, because those things are really freaking cool, but they’re not everything). Many women on the internet like to convince you otherwise with comments like, “But you’ll miss out on feeling the baby move inside you; it’s so magical and it bonds you with the baby!” and “Childbirth is a magical experience, you’ll really miss out on it!” They mean it too. It is magical for them, to feel the baby move. I’ll bet it is… but guess what? I’m allergic to dairy. I have never had cheese pizza. Telling me, “Oh my God, aren’t you upset you’re missing out on pizza?” doesn’t change or accomplish anything. I won’t ever have regular cheese pizza. I don’t miss it- because I’ve never had it. Pretty simple. I’m sure it’s great, for you. I do, on the other hand, have options. I can make my own pizza without cheese, or I can buy a Daiya brand pizza with imitation cheese. Similarly, with fertility problems, there are options. I can do fertility treatments or I don’t have to give birth to have a family at all- there’s adoption.

It had been over a year at that point, so I went to the gynecologist to do some bloodwork. We checked my hormones, thyroid, egg reserve, etc… and it all checked out fine. The nurse told me it took her 4 years to get pregnant. This caused a panic in me, not because of the length of time, but because of the time I felt was lost. Thoughts began to swirl, like, How would we be doing things differently if we knew about our fertility problems? Should I plan on getting a different job if I know I won’t be pregnant any time soon? Should I not have a job and focus on treatments and get it done quickly? If we aren’t going to have kids, our finances will look much different- do we need to save as much as we save or could we take more vacations? What if we had known from day one of our marriage we’d be one of the couples that took 4 years to get pregnant? I should have stopped birth control far earlier! All this time is just wasted! Just wondering, wondering, waiting, waiting! And finally the thought: I don’t care if I have kids or not!  I just want to know whether I’ll have them or not so I can plan my life!

My insatiable urge to know things and not wonder about things- this has always been present in my life. I am not a “go with the flow” type of girl. I plan. So I did what I do best- I planned. I planned a doctor’s visit for BJ. I wrote a post-it note with questions for him to ask and told him what tests to get done after googling for hours. He went, got his blood tests, and we also did the semen analysis. Men, be thankful. Women have to get poked and prodded, but for your test you get to fill a cup and hand it to a lab technician. We waited patiently (alright, I was not patient) and in typical fashion the doctor didn’t call us back. I called the office and they said half of the tests were back. The next day BJ got a call asking him to make a follow-up appointment. Angry, I threw up my hands while he scheduled the appointment. “That’s not good, you know” I said. “That means there’s a problem.” I couldn’t wait another five days before his appointment to know what was going on, so I made my own plan.

To Be Continued in the next post…

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Welcome

Thanks for visiting the blog! We hope to connect with others who are adopting or have adopted. We also want to share our story for those who are unfamiliar with the adoption world. There are lots of things I wish were commonly known facts about the process. Hopefully, some of you will read our blog because you know a friend or family member who is experiencing infertility, IVF, or thinking about adoption. I’ll try to keep things as light as possible. I’ll try to make you laugh when I can… but so much of this stuff is just heavy subject matter. So much is just so. not. funny.

I will get into our story more as I write the blog, but for now check out our “About Us” page to see how we ended up here. In truth, we kinda like it “here.”

Waiting Patiently,

Kristin & BJ

*UPDATE* WE ADOPTED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!