Sad face

Today, I am making a sad face, because I know that we have so much waiting ahead of us, and I just want to move forward right now.

Here are a few things I am reading while we wait:

There is more to my ‘sad face’ right now, but it feels too complex to spell out in words. My heart is full and happy, but there is a longing that makes the corners of my mouth turn down from time to time. This is one of those times.

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Reflections: Information Session and Beyond

We attended our adoption information session a few nights ago, and it went exactly how I thought it would and completely surprised me at the same time.

On the drive on the way there, my husband-to-be asked me what I was hoping to get out of the session. At first, I didn’t really understand what he meant, because the only expectations that I had were that they would tell us about the process and how it works, and that they’d talk frankly about the challenges of adopting children with special placement needs. And so, I told him that I was just going to see what happened. Really, I was just hoping that I would come out of it a little smarter than I was on the way in. And I was also hoping not to be scared off.

It was a lot of information to take in, even though I felt as if I knew a lot of it already from my research.  I was pretty much engrossed, as were the rest of the people in the room. We listened to the social workers talk about the adoption process, tell stories about adoptive families, go over the paperwork we’d be required to fill out, detail statistics about how many kids are waiting for families, and much more. Every so often, I would look over at my fiancé and give his hand a squeeze — it was just so much to take in, but with every passing minute, I felt more and more sure that this is what we should be doing.

In the car on the way home, and in the hours we talked after we got home, we decided to apply, and to apply soon, and that we wanted to get into the September adoption class if we could.  This was the surprise!  Before the session, we’d both wanted to wait a little while before starting the process, and weren’t even sure that adoption was the way we were going to go, and now we just can’t wait.

In the days since then, I’ve been doing a lot of reading. The day of the information session, I bought a copy of Attaching in Adoption by Deborah D. Gray. I’ve almost finished reading it, and it’s been absolutely eye-opening for me. I had an impression for a long time that adopting a child who had been in the foster care system would be much harder than adopting an infant or child through private adoption or internationally–but the session, and this book, have taught me that all adoptions have similar issues that need to be worked through, to varying degrees.

I can’t wait to finish this book, and move on to the next book, or the next DVD, or the next class.  One of the seemingly-hundreds of documents we were given suggests that we keep track of all the research we’re doing, so we can tell the social workers about it during our home study.  I may end up going even further than that and doing little mini-reviews for this website, in the hopes that one day this will be helpful to someone else out there.

Right now, I am happy.  Happy, hopeful, and excited.  And becoming more and more aware of how much I need to learn, which isn’t a bad thing–I love research and learning, and am going to jump in to this with both feet.

Step two is done, and step three is in process.  Yay!

Step 2

I know, it’s been a while.  I don’t really want this blog to turn into a blog about everything in my life, though, and the baby-making process has been in a holding pattern, so I haven’t had a lot to say.  Which isn’t to say that I haven’t been thinking about this stuff a lot, because I have.  I just don’t really know what to say.

We are going to our information session with the Adoptive Families Association of BC next week, which is step 2 in the 16 step timeline that they’ve sent us.  If this is the way we end up going, this is what it will look like:

  1. Contact Adoptive Families Association of BC  (done!)
  2. Attend an information session (next week)
  3. Application to adopt submitted, file opened
  4. Intake appointment
  5. Register for Adoption Education Program
  6. Attend Adoption Education Program
  7. Training completed
  8. Homestudy commences
  9. Homestudy completed/matching begins
  10. Possible match is found
  11. Proposal package
  12. Pre-placement planning
  13. Pre-placement visits
  14. Placement
  15. Residency period (6-12 months)
  16. Adoption finalized

Phew.  It seems like such a long list of things to do, especially considering that step 3 involves filling out 7 different forms, including the incredibly heartbreaking Adoption Questionnaire, which is a giant list of all the special needs and risk factors that could be affecting the potential children we could be matched with.  We’ll have to decide if we’re okay with adopting a child conceived as a result of incest, for example, or with spina bifida, or autism.

It’s so heavy.  And hard.  I mean… if we were conceiving this child ourselves, we’d just deal with whatever cards we were dealt — but to choose a child with a particular special need?  Or, more significantly, not to choose a child because of a special need or risk factor?  How does one reconcile this sort of thing in their heart?  How do you not feel guilty saying yes to one child, and no to another?

And while we think about all of this, we also have to think about whether or not adoption is the right path for us–maybe surrogacy would be better?

If I had to decide right now, with no input from my husband, I would go with adoption.  A few months ago, I would have said surrogacy.  I am not sure when the change happened in me, but I am starting to believe that giving a home to a child that is already born would be better for us, and better for the child.

We’ll see where we are in a few months.

Quick update

I haven’t mentioned this on here yet, but my partner and I are getting married in July.  I dream about our upcoming wedding every night, and spend at least 4-5 hours a day actively researching or working on a wedding related project.

Our fertility clinic called me back, and the doctor is booked up solid until July.  I am praying that they don’t try to give us an appointment on the week of our wedding.  Praying.

Oh! Oh Oh Oh!

I work shift work, so I sometimes sleep at strange times.  I was sleeping this afternoon, in fact, when most normal people are out there doing normal daytime things.  I had a really good nap, which is nice, because I work a 12 hour overnight shift tonight.

When I woke up, I had a missed call from a strange number on my phone.  And as per usual, before I even listened to the voicemail, I Googled it, to see if I could identify the source.  Aaaaaaaand it came back to the fertility clinic we’ve been referred to!

Listened to the voicemail (which just said my name and the doctor’s name and left a callback number) and called them back immediately, and got voicemail. Sad face!  And now I am afraid to get in the shower, because I might miss their call back.  Which is crazy, right?  If I miss it, I will just have to talk to them tomorrow.  Which isn’t the end of the world.  Except that every time we make any sort of progress in our journey to parenthood, I am almost incapacitated by an incredible urge to hit a mystical fast-forward button, to jump ahead to a baby in my arms.  And then it’s just too hard to breathe.

I am going to stop sitting here staring at my phone now, because I just looked on their website, and their office closed over an hour ago.  It’s safe to have a shower now, right?  Right.  And also, I need to remember how to breathe again.

Egg Donation

One of the things that is important to us (and don’t ask me why, because if we use logic and reason, there isn’t a single reason why this should be important) is that our child be genetically related to one or both of us, if at all possible.

For reasons that are complicated to explain, this isn’t super easy for either of us.

The solution we’ve come up with is to use my sister’s eggs, if we decide to go with surrogacy.  She has tentatively agreed. 🙂

In Canada, it is illegal to pay someone for their eggs.  So, egg donation in Canada is done one of two ways:

  • you find a willing donor, and they do it out of the kindness of their heart (usually a relative or a friend, for obvious reasons)
  • you pay for eggs from elsewhere–usually the United States–to the tune of approximately $18,000 in addition to the usual fees for the donation process, which are about $13,000.

Obviously, the first route is the best (and cheapest), for us.  But it’s also difficult, because not every woman wants to endure the egg donation process.  We are beyond thankful that my sister is willing and able to consider this.  And if it doesn’t work out?  We haven’t entirely decided, but at that point, we’d have to either choose adoption instead, or possibly wade into the quagmire that is traditional surrogacy (which I am sure I’ll post about at some point, but it’s a lot messier legally and emotionally).

BC’s Waiting Children

heart_ylo One of the paths we could take to parenthood would be to adopt one of BC’s Waiting Children.  But is this the right path for us?  It’s something we’ve thought a lot about, and here’s a good list of pros and cons for us.  Your pros and cons may vary!

Pros:

  • Very inexpensive.  In fact, it’s pretty much free, except for transportation costs for seminars and classes.
  • Quick.  The process, from start to finish, takes months, rather than years.
  • These children really need solid forever homes.  In a lot of cases, they’ve been bounced from foster home to foster home, and have had birth homes ranging from bad to complete nightmare.

Cons:

  • No babies.  We really would like a baby.
  • These children have varying degrees of special needs, from minor behavioural issues, to needing 24/7 medical care. We’re not sure that we are equipped to deal with this.  The paperwork they give you to fill out regarding which special needs you are able to deal with is absolutely heart-breaking.  Every time we’ve filled it out (which we’ve done several times, and not submitted) we end up with our hearts and stomachs in knots–how do you say no to giving a home to children in these situations, even if you know you just can’t say yes?

The cons outweigh the pros for us, at least right now.  We’re going to a free seminar in a few months on adopting a waiting child, and we’ll evaluate our feelings about it again then.

I visit the Waiting Children website at least once a week, and always end up crying after reading through the profiles.  I feel like a complete asshole for not wanting to adopt a sibling group of four kids who need homes, or for cringing when I read what their special needs are.  And then I remind myself that my fiancé and I both work full time, and have to continue to do that, so we just don’t have the resources to adopt four children at once, or even one child who needs special care.  But then again, maybe we could?  Argh.  My heart flip-flops about this so much.