Sunday, December 13, 2009

74 Days

Honestly, I didn't think it would work.

IVF, I mean.

I felt that life had been pointing me to adoption for years and I was ready to just go down that path. My husband - not so much at first. I figured expensive failed fertility treatments had to be what would open his heart to adoption so in my mind IVF wasn't going to work for us.

I think the first thoughts of adopting crept into my head around the age of 7 when I realized that not every child had a home. This knowledge came to me with the gift of my first Cabbage Patch Kid, Polly. Filling out her "birth certificate" made me so sad knowing that apparently her first mommy wasn't able to raise her. I was happy to know that I was able to give her a loving home and I took being Polly's mom very seriously. She slept with me each night, got preferential treatment over the stuffed animals and went everywhere with me. I remember being very upset with my own mother when she wouldn't let me bring Polly into the store with me because she was afraid I'd lose her. (As if!) I think I even pointed out to her once that it was child neglect to leave a baby in the car by herself and that she would never dream of leaving her own child unsupervised while she shopped.

She still didn't let me bring her in.

When I was older and learned of poverty and orphanages and laws like China's (One Child Law ), it made me want to adopt even more.

At 17, I met Richard, who quickly became my best friend. Two months after we started dating, he was diagnosed with cancer which was devastating, to say the least. After the initial shock of the diagnosis, we learned of the treatment plan they wanted to do for him and then were informed that most likely the chemotherapy and radiation would end any chances of him ever being able to have children. We opted to have some of his sperm frozen so we could try to have children later once we were out of school and married. Even then I knew that that would only allow us a limited number of chances to try to get pregnant and in the back of my mind, life was pointing me to adoption.

Sadly, Richard didn't beat the cancer and he passed away a year later. Five years after his death, I made the heartbreaking decision to have his sperm destroyed. I was single, living with my parents, didn't have a job that could support a family, and didn't want to bring children into the world knowing they would never have a chance to know their father.

All I ever wanted to be was a stay-at-home mom. I had never wanted to have a bunch of college degrees or some grand career, but decided that if I wanted to adopt, especially if I was single, I was going to need to be able to afford to do it. So I enrolled in college.

... and met Neal about 6 months later. In one of our early conversations, I told him how I wanted to adopt. It was something he had never given any consideration to... he didn't even know exactly what orphanages were.

I had spent years gathering information on adoption but once our relationship turned serious, I began researching it more to weigh the pros and cons of the different types of adoption to see which would be the best fit for us if we were to get married.

What I found out is that adoption is... overwhelming. The time, the cost, the things you have to consider, the choices you have to make, the paperwork... it makes "just getting pregnant" seem like the easiest choice.

Neal and I were married about 2 years later. During that time, I learned of my husband's phobia to paperwork. Due to the amount of stress he was under at his job at the time, adoption just wasn't in the cards for him at that point so we began trying to get pregnant.

And trying.

And trying.

And trying.

I had always had the thought that getting pregnant was going to be hard for me... though I didn't know why I felt that way. I had never been diagnosed as having any problems. My cycles had always been normal - on or off birth control pills. My family was incredibly fertile... I even have multiple sets of twins on both sides. There was no reason why I should think that I wouldn't be able to get pregnant, yet a year of dealing with the month to month heartbreak of yet another negative pregnancy test and we were getting a referral to see a specialist.

What we found out was that not only do I have PCOS (which causes me not to ovulate), but Neal also has severe male factor infertility... which basically means "really crappy sperm."

Two more years of heartbreak, including 5 months of Clomid and 4 IUIs, and we were faced with three possibilities: Pull out the big guns of IVF; adopt; or live child free.

Living child free was never an option for us so that was easily out.

My initial reaction was - let's adopt. I had spent three years reading blogs and researching fertility treatments. I'd read about the heartbreak of failed IVF. People racking of hundreds of thousands of dollars trying and trying and trying again only to fail repeatedly. Miscarrying after finally achieving a pregnancy. The ups and downs of the hormones being pumped into your body, which I had already partly experienced with the Clomid. I didn't want to go through that.

But Neal... he was convinced that there wasn't really anything wrong with us and I truly don't think he even thought we needed IVF.

Until our new doctor told us that we only had a 1% chance of getting pregnant on our own.

That news was shocking to him, I think. For me, the thought of never having biological children had been with me since I was a child, so while this news was very sad for me, I had already partly dealt with the possibility and was still okay with just skipping IVF and moving on to adoption. But for him it had never *not* been a possibility. And because all this time he had continue to think that we would eventually just get pregnant on our own, he still hadn't put much thought into adopting.

Ultimately, we decided to give IVF a shot.

And, well, I didn't think it would work on the first try.

But it did.

We transferred two embryos and one implanted.

Kasen is 6 months old and now I can truly say that I was meant to be a stay-at-home mom. I finally feel like I am on the path I was always meant to be on and I'm loving life right now.

Except there still feels like someone is missing.

Multiple someones actually.

We want more kids.

None of our other embryos survived long enough to make it to freezing. I refuse to do IVF again. It is emotionally, physically and financially draining. The only reason we were able to afford it before was because we made a profit on the sale of our house and used some of the money to pay for the cycle.

So once again, adoption is entering into the picture. I had no idea how we would be able to afford it or how Neal would find it in himself to deal with all of the paperwork, but then...

About two months ago, a co-worker of Neal's approached him. He knew we had problems getting pregnant and that we were considering adoption to continue to build our family. The daughter of a friend of his was considering making an adoption plan for her baby, who was due within a month. He had told her about us and she wanted to talk to us.

I wasn't sure that Neal was truly ready to pursue adoption, but he shocked me by being ecstatic.

It turns out that while there is a ton of paperwork if you are adopting from another country, through an agency or foster care, if you do a private adoption, it's really not so complicated because you are skipping the middleman and doing all the leg work yourself.

We had our home study done within two weeks.

Long story short, the birthmom decided to parent the baby. We were disappointed but hadn't allowed ourselves to become attached to the situation because we didn't realize at the time that we could get all the paperwork in order so quickly. Ultimately, I am just grateful that the experience not only opened Neal's heart to adoption, but it threw me into actually doing something instead of just reading about the steps that would need to be taken and helped me to find out that adoption doesn't have to cost $30k+.

So we have been legally ready to adopt for 74 Days... we just have to find a birthmom who's considering adoption for her baby.

And this is where that journey begins.


  1. Hi, Carrie.

    Best wishes with your journey -- it's been quite a winding one so far!

  2. Here from LFCA - welcome to blogging!

  3. Welcome to the wild ride that is domestic adoption. We are gearing up for number 2 . . .

  4. Welcome! We have similar stories. After 4 years of IF, we finally had our oldest DS. He is 6 now. We adopted our youngest and its been an amazing experience so far. Good luck with everything.

  5. testing... having comment issues...

  6. Hey! So glad to be apart of your journey to adoption!! Take care.

  7. I'm so glad I found you (via baby interrupted who just posted you as one of her 7 fav bloggers). I look forward to reading more of your posts and following your journey. Thank you for being so incredibly open.

    I can relate to wanting to adopt (and my husband not feeling ready...). I love how you say someone is missing. and then you say multiple someones. I feel the same way.

    I've either posted about us being at a crossroads and/or have one drafted but I'll be happy to learn from you. Thanks!