Denise was interviewed by Colorado Fertility Conference to discuss how to budget for surrogacy and/or egg donor journeys and protect your investment.
Take a listen to the podcast
Budgeting for Surrogacy and Egg Donor Treatments and Protecting your Investment
Denise was interviewed by Colorado Fertility Conference to discuss how to budget for surrogacy and/or egg donor journeys and protect your investment.
Take a listen to the podcast
Putting one foot in front of the other during infertility
As I stalked my former CEO one day while he continued to meet with one person after another in his office, my stomach was doing flip-flops. I had trouble discerning if the tingles were a result of my unborn baby living out his last few moments in my belly or if it was merely my nerves giving way under my angst as I waited for the inevitable to happen.
No, I was not quitting my job nor was I awaiting a stern tongue-lashing. The management team was heading to my boss’ boss’ palatial vacation home in Mont Tremblant. The excursion had been booked for several weeks; we were going to do some team building exercises and hold strategy meetings in between luxuriating at the spa and/or skiing. We were due to take off in 2 short days but I learned the day before that my 14-week-gestational unborn baby would likely not survive. This was going to be my/our second loss. I needed to inform him that I couldn’t attend the trip.
My plan was to walk into his office, sit down, make small talk, let him know that I was dealing with an unforeseen family matter, apologize for having to pull out of the trip at the last minute and end by offering to reimburse him for my travel expenses. Keep calm and carry on was to be my mantra on that day. I was confident that I could/would stick to my script. I’ve encountered numerous pivot-worthy scenarios during my career as a salesperson. For example, I’ve had clients begin conversations by firing my agency/technology (and by association me) only to have them end with allocating additional budget to test a new product. Given my history of turning bad news into good, I believed that I could act in the third person and convey my message in a calm and rational manner.
Now, you may be asking yourself, “Why didn’t she just tell her immediate boss that she couldn’t go on the company trip?” That is a very logical question. The CEO was a quirky person and tricky to navigate. This annual trip was extremely important to him. I conveyed a little of what was going on with me to my manager and he merely said, “You better tell him yourself.”
On more than one occasion, I had the misfortune of observing this man, the CEO, lose his cool on clients; some of whom were spending millions of dollars with his company. Seemingly minor infractions could provoke this executive to go into tirades where he would spew vicious and crude relationship-ending rhetoric. His volcanic reactions could erupt spontaneously in what had moments before been a harmonious interlude between friends but now foes.
Later that afternoon, I noticed the BIG boss was alone in his office. I politely/quietly knocked on his door and asked, "May I have a moment?" He casually waved me in and said with a smile, “What’s up?” I sat down, took a deep breath and that’s when the unthinkable happened. Upon exhale I hastily blurted, “I am really sorry but I can’t go to Mon Tremblant this weekend. I just found out that I am going to have another miscarriage but I am not sure when and I don’t want to be away when it happens!”
Oh don’t worry, it gets worse…
As I was making the declaration, I burst into a guttural sob that started in my throat but quickly moved throughout my whole body. Who in the World knows what he, the man who held the keys to my career—at least during my tenure at his company, could comprehend from the gibberish falling out of mouth. I was having a difficult time catching my breath much less controlling my facial gestures. I grasped onto the chair and stared into my lap.
(Why are you holding you hands over your ears and closing one eye? Oh, because you are extremely mortified for me? Yes, I understand. As I recall this moment in time, I really wish I could erase it but alas I cannot.)
Finally, when I was able to gather some semblance of control over my emotions/body, I looked up at him through blurry eyes. Shockingly, he looked very serene and casually said, “Well, congratulations on getting pregnant!” I let out sort of a snort/laugh while I used the back of my hand to try to whisk away the tears and mucus that were on/around my face.
He was aware of our previous loss given it happened while I was working for him and later into the pregnancy. During our therapy session/meeting, he shared that he and his wife had also suffered through losses and he empathized completely.
I was very surprised by his candor and compassion. I was having a tough time reconciling the fact that the man sitting in front of me could have ever been his alter ego.
The only thing that I recall going according to plan during that conversation was that I offered to reimburse him for my travel. He told me not to worry about it then abruptly stood up and simply said, “Thanks!” I took his lead and said the same to him.
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that in between what was to be my second loss, our basement had flooded several times. During that upheaval, I was forced to take some unexpected days off to deal with the remediation. In my opinion, this man, my ultimate employer, had put up with a lot of Denise drama and was likely growing tired of the soap opera that had become my life. I fully expected him to say something like, “It seems like you’ve been through a lot lately. I think it makes sense for us to amicably part ways.”
As I jetted out of his office, a shiver traveled down my spine because let’s be honest, that exchange was beyond awkward. I was embarrassed, to say the least. On the other hand, I appreciated that this powerful and intimidating man had chosen to offer kindness in lieu of frustration.
That weekend I waited for the inevitable to happen but it never did. Our baby’s heartbeat finally stopped a week later. My doctor was hoping I would miscarry on my own to avoid surgery. In doing so, I came down with what they believed was Sepsis. I was admitted into the hospital and had an emergency D&C while being given loads and loads of IV antibiotics.
One of the trickiest things about struggling to have a family is putting one foot in front of the other while we try to carry on with our daily lives. Our minds and spirits become enormously frayed while we are tasked with holding down a job, nurturing a partnership/marriage, running a household, keeping up with our friends and maybe even raising other children. Personally, I found it nearly impossible to keep going while I was facing the very real possibility that I may never get to be a mother. Getting dressed and even brushing my teeth felt more like working out. Infertility is scary as hell.
Lean on your loved ones for support. People will surprise you; they may even have more patience and tolerance than you ever thought possible.
How to Support Someone Struggling with Infertility
First and foremost, don’t gloss over the fact that your friend and/or loved one is in crisis. In our society, we tend to go that route and it just isn’t helpful. When someone learns that they can’t have a biological child, that brutal reality is crushing. Imagine being told that the one thing you wanted most in life was an absolute impossibility. Let that notion sink in for a moment.
…Now, if it were you, how would you like it if someone simply ignored your agony?
Learning that you have to seek alternative solutions to build your family is not akin to having to choose another neighborhood because you can’t afford to purchase a home in the one you really wish to live. It’s also not even close to attending your second choice college/university. I know this because my husband and I have built our family through fertility treatments and adoption.
The only quasi comparison I can make is that infertility may be a bit like being stood up at the alter. When you're standing there feeling insanely happy about starting your life with the woman/man you love more than anything, the moment you learn that he/she doesn't feel the same way, betrayal falls down on your like shards of glass. They've made a mockery of your loyalty and devotion and it shatters your belief in the shoulda', woulda' coulda's. That's how losing my unborn children felt to me. God had played a sick joke on me/us and I was profoundly devastated. But I bring up a good point, when a person is stood up at the alter, they have a logical person towards whom they may direct their anger. Who do we blame when we learn about our infertility? I wanted to shake my fist at God but realized I would probably need his help in the very near future. For the record, I was right.
Some people tell their friends and family when they have endured a pregnancy loss and yet others withhold that information for various reasons. A direct parallel cannot be drawn between someone sharing the news that they or their partner has suffered a miscarriage to how much pain they will experience while their hopes and dreams are in serious jeopardy of ever coming true.
When couples are encountering fertility issues, it’s not uncommon for them to disagree over how they should create their family. There are so many factors that go into mapping out a parental path especially when it requires the assistance of third parties. In addition to being forced to accept the fact that a person’s future child/children will not share his/her and/or their partner’s DNA, a significant financial investment must also be made in order to pursue that goal. Can you imagine spending $20,000 or more without the guarantee of parenting a child in the end? The stress of trying to figure out from where the money will come while absorbing the shock that your body has forsaken you takes an enormous emotional toll.
Having said all of this, the question I’m sure you continue to ask yourself is, “How do I support my loved one during all of this uncertainty?” To start, put yourself in his/her shoes. Really think about what it would be like to embrace the possibility of never being able to parent a child if that was your lifelong dream.
In a previous post, I wrote about what one should NEVER say to a person facing infertility. You may want to read it and forward it onto others in your immediate family/circle of friends.
Ultimately, the person you love just wants to feel understood. They need to hear the words, “I’m so sorry!” I urge you to listen to them—really listen. Prior to asking a question, rehearse it in your head before it leaves your lips. That exercise could save you from having to apologize for inflicting unintentional pain for what may have been an insensitive remark. Try to refrain from offering the usual platitudes and definitely don’t say, “It will all be ok!” The bottom line is that you can’t assure him/her a child. Your loved one’s doctors and/or adoption facilitators can’t even grant them their wish with 100% certainty.
I realize you may feel like everything you say/do these days is all wrong. I seriously doubt that is the case, however. But sadly, I think you would agree that your predicament is far less precarious than the one your loved one is currently facing. At this particular juncture, your quiet and unconditional love is what’s needed most. In my no-so-humble opinion, these are the ways in which you may support someone who is experiencing infertility.
My current quest is finding our family a home in a top-rated Chicago school district. The exercise has proven to be exhausting and futile over the past several months.
Last night, we learned that we lost out on an updated, spacious home with loads of storage and a dry basement that was also within walking distance to one of the best elementary schools in the city. I sure hope our opponent won due to a sizable difference in their bid.
When I saw the text from our Realtor that simply read, “I’m sorry but they took the other offer” I immediately felt betrayed, angry and just generally frustrated. Part of my betrayal stemmed from the hope that had begun to grow inside of me. I had already started imagining our future happiness in the home. I was angry because I had wasted my time (and my HR manager’s) frantically trying to gain access to my online ADP account that wouldn’t allow me to login. Our lender needed 2 months worth of pay stubs to work out the numbers and the listing agent had set a rigid deadline for any/all offers to be submitted. When we wrote up the offer within minutes of the deadline, I was committing to more than just the physical property. I was attaching us to the street and the community. I had already convinced myself that our children's future best friends all lived on the same block. My frustration was really about not wanting to start the whole process over again.
This wasn’t the first time we lost out on a home deal either. Back in January, we had made an offer on an even larger home with 5 bedrooms and 3 full baths. It definitely needed more work but the layout was perfect. It was located on Minnehaha Street. Now, I call it Minneboohoo Street.
When I overindulged on pineapple pizza last night while I watched the Mad Men season finale, I thought, “I am feeling some of the very same emotions tonight as I did back when I was facing infertility!”
I wanted to shout, “Why can’t you just let us buy a house?” UGH!!! I’m not really sure who, you is but I am damn mad at him/her!
The source of my internal anxiety is no longer fueled by my biological clock ticking; now it's tied to the ever-rising interest rates. Instead of sending exasperated emails to my fertility nurses/doctors, they now go to our ill-fated Realtor. My new shopping distraction is purchasing Judy Collins, John Denver, Jim Croce and Joni Mitchell songs on iTunes. Apparently, I find solace in songwriters whose first names start with the letter ‘J’. (Ok that realization just struck me. ‘J’ names were obviously very popular in the 1960’s.) I have racked up about $100 on my iTunes account just today.
Don't misunderstand me; purchasing a home can't compare to starting/building a family. My only point is that some of my old infertility wounds have been opened up during our home buying process; it reminds me of the depression I used to feel when I realized that we were back at square one. If you are anything like I was when I was desperately trying to become a mother, you may feel a pang of envy whenever you learn of others good baby fortune. Now, I definitely feel a sense of inequity every time I'm informed that we lost the chance to own a home to which I felt we were entitled. Deep down, you and I both know that the winners are probably just as deserving as we are though. Sadly, that knowledge doesn't take away the sting.
As I listen to these beautiful songs and put my thoughts to paper, I'm gaining important perspective. I realize that finding a great home in the right neighborhood would be nice but all I really need are my sweet and crazy children. I am sure you would trade any/all of your beautiful monetary things for a healthy child. I will keep thinking good thoughts for you. While you are waiting, have a listen to the Judy Collins station on Pandora. It's pretty great!
Don’t Worry, Your Worry will get Bigger
I have hesitated to write about my mom experiences in this blog/forum because I remember how annoying it was when my friends used to prattle on about their current-day issues with their kids back when I had none to prattle on about. I am breaking my code of silence, however, because I want to reassure you that your current-day worry will become even greater once you become a parent.
I recall obsessively wondering from where my children would come when I was facing infertility. The nights were almost unbearable because I would lie in bed and try to conjure up ways to convince others to put me at the very top of any/all lists that would guarantee my chances of becoming a mother.
Today, I am giving you an assignment that will enable you to be the best parent you can be once your children arrive.
Last night when I was putting our 4.5 year old to bed, he began inquiring about fire safety. He asked what would happen if a fire ever broke out in our house. He wondered how he would get out of his room at night, if the fire were between he and his door. I assured him that mommy and daddy were right down the hall and that we would protect him. In my head I kept chanting/praying, “Lord, please don’t let there ever be a fire in our house—or at least not when any of us are home!”
Then I reminded him that the fire alarm was right outside his door and that it would make a sound if it detected any fire or even smoke. In hindsight, that was probably a mistake because that new knowledge actually provoked more anxiety in him. He doesn’t like loud buzzing noises. I have a sticky note on our dryer buzzer that says, “Make sure this is OFF at all times” The first night we moved into this house, it sounded right after he fell asleep and sent him into a major tailspin.
As we went through about 43 fire safety and escape route scenarios, I thought to myself, “I don’t recall ever laying in bed and wondering about this particular subject matter when I was waiting for you or your brothers to be born.” When we were adopting and going through the egg donor processes, we met with a myriad of professionals who prepared us for the physical, financial and emotional challenges we would face as parents but nobody ever prepped me for this particular event.
Once a person crosses the parental threshold, sex and drug conversations are to be expected; in fact, the first time I held our eldest I said, “Please don’t ever do drugs!” But who prepares/reminds us that we will be faced with a parental challenge of epic proportions almost every single day once our children make their way to us? Well, I guess that’s what I am doing right now, eh?
Don’t get me wrong, while I was sitting on the side of his bed and we were talking all of this through, I felt honored to be his mother. In those minutes, the awesome sense of responsibility came at me in full force. Looking back, I now realize that I had an idealistic and simplistic view of what parenting a very young child would be like; now it seems, overly so.
When I have a second to ponder the desperation I once felt about becoming a mother, I often think to myself, “I guess I should have used those months/years to prepare for how to alleviate my children’s angst about what life may have in store for them” (imagined or real). Now that I have been given the awesome gift of motherhood, I become stumped so often at the numerous inquiries my young children throw at me.
In short, here is my message to you—Spend the time that you have now preparing yourself to be the best parent that you can be. Once your child/children arrive, you will not be given a cheat sheet of the questions he/she/they will throw at you at any given moment. They start doing this at a very young age; you will be surprised!
Denise sits down with Ayush on the I AM BIG SHOW
So, now what?
This post is dedicated to all of you who are asking yourselves, “So, now what?” I received an early morning text from a dear friend who recently became pregnant thanks to an anonymous egg donor cycle. This morning’s text was panic-ridden. After having just celebrating her rising HCG levels last week, I learned that she had begun spotting this morning. I was saying, "No, no, no!" in my head. It took me back to when I experienced a similar scare when I became pregnant the very same way.
Prior to my scare, I had experienced 2 other miscarriages. They were not typical and occurred much later in my pregnancies. I didn’t spot/bleed and was unaware that I had lost my babies until the ultrasounds indicated that their heartbeats had stopped. What people don’t tell us is that there is no such thing as a typical pregnancy or miscarriage. We experience them with varying symptoms and side effects.
Unfortunately, it may take a few days for my friend to know if she is miscarrying or if her pregnancy is still intact. I am now sitting on the sidelines, much like my loved ones did for me/us, and just praying that her pregnancy and baby(s) will survive. While her pain and anxiety is off the charts, it's excruciating for me not to be able to influence her outcome.
I know she is feeling tortured. She wants an answer but only the one that will assure her a healthy baby in 9 months. When her mind starts to wander the other way, it’s just too difficult for her to fathom enduring yet another painful loss. I am sending her prayers and hoping that her doctor will say to her what mine said to me which was, “Spotting is very common with twins!”
Kisses and hugs to all of you who are fretting and worrying. I am praying that your healthy babies come to you quickly and with as little stress as possible.
Letting that Balloon Go
Facing the possibility of having to take extraordinary measures to start or grow your family may feel daunting. When we are young and begin to imagine how our lives will evolve, having children is supposed to come naturally and on our own timeline. As women, we look forward to becoming pregnant and carrying our biological children. Once that illusion is shattered, letting go of the dream can stir up profound feelings of betrayal and disappointment.
As you have read from my other posts, I felt that domestic adoption was easier to embrace than the anonymous egg donor process. Personally, I didn’t want to carry another pregnancy for the fear of having to endure another loss. Of course, there is risk associated with adoption too. But for me, it just seemed like the road that would lead me to our future child(ren).
Ours is a labor of love when our children come to us via adoption, surrogacy and egg donor cycles. Now that I am on the other side of wishing and wondering, I can attest that even though my children don't share my biology, I absolutely experienced labor pains. I labored with my eldest for 2 weeks before he was born and 2 days after his birth. When his birth mother mentioned that she wanted to take him home for a night when we spoke over the telephone, just 2 weeks before his scheduled birth, my labor pains came in the form of panic. I was frantic after that conversation because I was almost certain that we would not be taking him home with us. In the case of our twins, I labored throughout my entire pregnancy; I worried that I would either miscarry or that Logan and/or Trevor wouldn’t be alive and breathing after their delivery.
As human beings, we don’t just want what we want when we want it, we also want it how we want it. I’m here to tell you that if you allow yourself to follow another parental path, your joy will be just as great once your children become yours. None of my children share my DNA but they all have my heart and that is more than enough for me. Nobody can take that away from any of us.
With our eldest, I always feel such joy when I’m driving and happen to look in my rearview mirror and get a glimpse of Brandon’s birth mother looking back at me. When we were going through the adoption process, my compass was always pointed towards making sure that his birth mother was certain she was doing what was best for her and especially him. I’m amazed at her strength and her ability to give us our greatest happiness at the cost of her own. Logan and Trevor came by way of anonymous egg donor but they have acquired so many of my mannerisms that I can’t possibly distinguish where the donor ends and where my husband and I begin.
One of my sister’s favorite euphemisms is, “You just need to let that balloon go…” I definitely think it applies in the case in infertility. If we allow ourselves to let go of the idealistic notion of how we wanted our children to enter into the World, we can grasp onto what is most important—feeling the enormous joy when they arrive in their own unique and wonderful ways.
Making Love, not War during Infertility
The day my husband, Brian, and I learned that the 3 embryos resulting from our first IVF cycle all had massive chromosomal abnormalities, strife and resentment began to fester between us. I had just walked in the back door having returned from an acupuncture appointment. We were due to go into our endocrinologist’s office the next morning to transfer the embryos that had fertilized from my egg retrieval a few days prior. Brian asked me to sit down and he seemed extremely somber. I thought to myself, “Oh God, who died?” I hadn’t even considered that the news he was about to deliver would be related to our IVF cycle.
After he shared the news, we held each other and cried together. He had written down a lot of facts that included the specific chromosomes that were abnormal for each embryo. Then came the defining moment that seemed to set the tone of our tumultuous infertility journey, Brian had moved to one of our club chairs and was sitting across from me when he said, “Well, we are going to have to look into using an egg donor!” Fury was what I felt, smelled and tasted at that very moment; I flew into a rage.
My anger stemmed from him not giving me even a moment to grieve the loss of my fertility or even process it for that matter. It was abundantly clear to us both that my eggs had spoiled and were beyond rotten. Given my age, my previous miscarriages and the new set of harsh facts, the notion of me ever carrying my own biological children had just died. I was incensed that my husband had already accepted that reality and had moved onto his desired path within an hour of the heartbreaking news.
My outrage was intense. I remember thinking (and maybe even saying) “This has to do with me. How about letting me decide how we are going to move forward?!” Of course, I realized this had to do with us both but I wanted/needed it to be about me in that moment.
After many hurtful words were spat, Brian demanded that we get in the car and go for a ride. It was chilly outside so we both threw on our jackets. Before we left, I poured myself a large glass of Pinot Noir. I figured that since I wasn’t going to carrying a pregnancy that week, I could do whatever I wished. That memory actually makes me shudder because it reminds me of just how emotionally weak I had become and how deep my despair had grown back then.
We drove for a short distance when Brian stopped our car (obviously he was the designated driver) on the street adjacent to our favorite park. This was the place where we rode our bikes days after our second miscarriage to release our tension. We often strolled there and talked about our hopes and dreams of having a baby. We would watch children playing and chuckle at the tantrums they put their loving parents through when they were told it was time to leave.
I didn’t want to get out of the car. He came to my side and begged me to get out and walk. I ultimately relented but not without bringing my glass of wine. On our stroll, he tried to make me understand his point-of-view when he made the poisonous statement minutes earlier. I yelled and cried at him for all of the park patrons to see. I had already resigned myself to the fact that I would never be planning any play dates with the mothers present so what did it matter.
No resolution was found on that day nor would it be for quite some time. Our relationship became embattled during our journey to find out children. I felt for the longest time that the comment Brian made that day nearly broke us as a couple. It was difficult for me to let go of my anger and resentment towards him because I couldn’t understand how the person who was supposed to love and cherish me could have been so insensitive to my feelings. We moved forward with our goal to build our family through various means but I often thought, “How can we focus on having a child when we can't even agree on how to make it happen?”
Forgiveness, on both of our parts, has come over time. As I have said before, the process of building a family through alternative measures tests everything we know about ourselves, our partner and those who are doing their best to support us. One of the most difficult aspects of infertility is that it shakes our foundation and forces us try to stand while the ground beneath us is completely unsteady. While we try to hold onto each other, sometimes the force is so great that we lose our grip. While we stretch for our partner, it seems that his/her fingertips are just beyond our reach. The sad irony is that we have never needed our partner's love and support more.
I realize that I'm airing our dirty laundry; I do so with the hope that it will somehow spare you the profound pain and agony we endured while building our family. My message to you is simple; protect your marriage/partnership with all your might. Work on building the love, trust and respect between you and your partner because once your children enter the World, in whatever way that happens, your relationship will be the basis onto which that little human will rely. In other words, make love, not war! Peace, my dear friends.
I was Hoping I would have a Baby by This Weekend
Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a clear-cut process that would guarantee you a healthy child within a specific (short) time-frame? Whether you're trying to conceive naturally, enduring fertility treatments or moving forward with adoption, there are no guarantees.
The weekend is just around the corner; Saturday and Sunday are the days that everyone else has been looking forward to. My guess is that weekends just leave you with more time to wonder, ‘Where in the heck is my baby?”
Shopping for adorable baby clothes and nursery items will likely prove to be more punishing than fun. If you have decided to adopt, you may want to spend some time considering the options that will ultimately define your family makeup. In my opinion, adoption requires 3 important attributes: an enormous amount of courage, a huge leap of faith and a great deal of patience. Actually, 4--adoption also requires a financial commitment. In fact, these are the very same qualities that will come in handy when you become a parent.
Let's address the important questions you will need to ask yourself and your partner (if you have one) in order to move forward with adoption.
From where would you like to adopt? A lot of information has been shared in the media lately about International adoptions. You should know that there are still babies waiting to be adopted in the United States too.
Would you like to become a parent to an infant, a toddler or an older child? If you adopt internationally, you will be adopting a toddler or an older child. Given the provisions that are required to adopt outside of the US, there is no way to adopt an infant outside of this country. If you’re looking to adopt an older child, you may also want to consider going through the Foster system.
Would you be willing to go through the foster care process to adopt? This option alleviates the financial obligation but the emotional risks are much higher. The goal of foster care is to reunite the birth parent(s) with his/her biological child/children. The process may stretch out for quite some time depending on the birth parent's situation. With each passing day, the bond between you and the child will likely grow stronger.
Are you prepared to adopt a child with special needs, one that has been exposed to drugs/alcohol or would you prefer to adopt a seemingly healthy baby? This is sometimes a difficult question for families. If you truly don’t feel that you could parent a child with special needs, then it is important to be honest with yourself and your partner. There are definitely healthy babies and children waiting to be adopted.
Would you be willing to adopt twins or multiples? If you are open to this possibility, you may increase your odds of adopting sooner.
What race or nationality would you like for your adopted child to be? This requires you to think long-term about your family makeup. Obviously, if you adopt a child outside of your race or nationality, you will likely be asked questions on a regular basis from family, friends, acquaintances and even complete strangers. While it's really nobody's business, it will behoove you to be prepared with answers that will protect your entire family.
If you have decided to adopt domestically, would you consider open as well as closed adoptions? A lot has been learned about children having a link to their birth mother and/or extended birth families. While it can be daunting and even intimidating to think about continuing a relationship with your future child’s birth family, studies have shown that many children benefit from this connection.
Do you have access to the financial reserves you will need to adopt? Conservatively speaking, adoption (International or Domestic) will cost anywhere from $30-$45K for a completed adoption. Regardless if you decide to go through an agency or pursue private adoption, there will be attorney’s fees and most likely travel expenses. There are added risks involved in domestic adoption; 30% or more domestic adoptions do not complete due to a birth mother or family member deciding to keep the child. International risks could involve a country shutting down even after matches have been made. These closures are typically political in nature. Currently, Russia is getting ready to stop permitting US residents to adopt.
Do you have the emotional support you will need to pursue a road that could lead to your ultimate happiness but may also be fraught with major bumps? Adoption is not for the weak at heart. There are a lot of unknowns and much of the control is not in your hands. Can you handle going through an adoption that does not complete?
Are you willing to go through the home-study process? For some reason, people grow anxious and nervous around this portion of the adoption process. It is really not as bad as it sounds. Our social worker made it as painless as possible.
If you are looking to adopt with a partner, do you agree on all of the above questions? (Personally, this was the area where my husband and I struggled the most. I was in it to win it and he sat on the bench at times. The moment our son was born, he leaped in with both feet and his whole heart, however.)
These are just a few questions that you should ask yourself before you commit to trying to adopt. My personal experience is with domestic adoption. If you would like to read, Brandon’s Story, it is a post about our personal journey. It talks about the relationship that we built with our son’s birth mother. It shares the emotional roller coaster ride we took in preparing to be our son’s parents. I also have an adoption resources page that you may find useful.
While the road for us became bumpy at times, I wouldn’t change a single twist or turn. We love our son so much and feel beyond blessed that he made his way into our lives and our hearts. We often joke with him and say, “It sure took you long enough to find us!” But of course, he was absolutely worth the wait.