April 24, 2014
It’s now been more than a week since I closed the surrogacy book and (re-)opened the adoption book. This post has been sitting in drafts for more than a week as well. Along with a few others. You can expect a flurry of activity over here shortly. I’ve been holding off posting out of respect for my friend fighting metastatic melanoma. My problems pale in comparison. But perhaps reading about my world will help take her mind off of hers. The world moves on. Or something like that.
Within just a few days of announcing that the surrogacy didn’t take and I would be pursuing adoption, I got the equivalent of “Well, have you thought of…?” from several people. They mean well, I know. But it still kind of feels just like the fake advice you get while TTC – “Well, have you tried fertility yoga?” And yes, I did in fact ASK for adoption advice so it’s not unsolicited. But I’m not sure my real question was heard. Twitter can be a dick like that. 140 characters just isn’t enough sometimes. And last week was one the worst weeks of my life and I was off my game. But I’m also not sure people really understand how long this has been in my head. I’m not starting this process fresh. So I’m going to back up and explain exactly where I am coming from, what I already know, what I hope to accomplish and what questions I still have.
Yes, I have considered all of the following options:
- International adoption
- Foster care / Foster adoption
- Domestic infant adoption
- (Embryo adoption & surrogacy with B)
[Embryo adoption is out as I am no longer interested in pursuing potential babies. The roller coaster is just too much for me at this point.]
At one time or another I have researched ALL of those options. Although this will be the first time I do so with real purpose and intent it is not my first dance with adoption. I’ve been on the verge of going through with this on numerous past occasions. Which is why I know that we are currently only interested in domestic infant adoption. I am open to those other options but they are not right for us at this time. And I’m not doing this alone – Right Guy has opinions that have to be taken into account as well.
Also…yes, I have considered independent adoption. I know someone who just did it. You might be surprised to hear that although I was very much on board with independent surrogacy I am less enamored with the idea of independent adoption. For myriad reasons.
While I loathe the mixing of money and babies I feel strongly about doing things in a way that feels right to me. And for adoption that means using an agency. My surrogacy situation was very different.
I want to be as far removed from a birth mother’s decision making process as possible. I want to have some level of confidence that this vulnerable woman arrived at her decision without any coercion. And that, AFTER making the decision to place her child for adoption, she then CHOSE us to raise it. The closer I am to her in that process the more room there is for her to be affected by my presence – or my lawyer or agent’s presence. I want more people involved. I want her to have explored all her options before she agrees to hand over her child to me. I want her to have CHOICES. I want her to feel as good as she possibly can (which is to say: likely not very) about her decision.
That’s not to say that I think all independent adoptions are bad. I don’t. Every situation is different. Nor am I blind to the fact that agencies have their own vested interest in encouraging adoption over abortion. I really believe my eyes are wide open to
all most of the negative aspects of adoption (one reason I delayed doing it). Just as they were for surrogacy. Any time you are involving a third party it’s inherently more complicated. A high level of respect for that third party should be required as she is not simply a means to an end but an autonomous human.
Also, yes, I am cool with the current standard of Open Adoption. I understand that it scares a lot of people and it’s nice to hear that those fears are generally unfounded. But I don’t really have them. Not that I don’t have any apprehension about it at all but… here’s the thing – I grew up with a handful of adopted kids and watched them go through the turmoil of the “Big Reveal” in first finding out they were adopted. I watched them struggle with not wanting to hurt their adoptive parents but still having curiosity about their genetic origins. In particular I remember a friend who was terrified of hurting her Mom but she really wanted to know where her wild hair came from and possibly get some advice on how to tame it. In contrast, my ex-husband Wrong Guy, never had any desire to hear anything about his genetic father. His mother (also his bio mom), wrecked with guilt, confessed it to him extemporaneously when he was 17. This seemingly had more effect on his younger brother than on him as the younger was learning that his big brother was in fact his half-brother. My point is this: secrets are not good for anyone, least of all the child. I also witnessed my high school boyfriend’s family go through a lot of adoption turmoil. While his older adopted brother spiraled out of control (presumably at least in part due to the secrets surrounding closed adoption) he gained a sister he never knew he had. His mother had given up a child to adoption and later adopted another to “balance the scales” in her mind. The first child tracked her down and they have a lovely relationship to this day. So yeah, I’m cool with the open part. Although, determining the idea level of openness is still difficult to navigate.
Anyone ever see The Hunt for Red October?
“Russians don’t take a dump, son, without a plan.”
I rarely do anything without a plan and without my eyes wide open to what I’m getting into. I have also watched – and paid attention – many of you go through this process. I feel about as well prepared as I possibly can be at this point. Will things happen along the way that I do not anticipate now? Absolutely. Do I know everything? Of course not. That’s called LIFE. And it’s the reason my contingency plans have contingency plans. And it’s the reason I am asking questions of those who have walked this path before me.
So here’s my question for people who have adopted:
What is something you would do differently if you could do it all over again? I know that’s difficult to ponder because you likely wouldn’t have the same child you have now if you had done things differently. But I’m asking anyway. Because I want to try and avoid the pitfalls I may not know about yet.
My previous questions posted on Twitter were not worded properly. I’m not asking strictly about what you learned that you didn’t know when you started. Or how much harder (or easier) some aspects are than you perceived them to be when you first started the process. I am specifically asking if there are things you would have done differently. I know that might be a hard question. And that’s exactly why I’m asking it.