Whirlwind… Again

August 18, 2014

How can I simultaneously feel naked and exposed and yet also like a fraud?

I have put my (mostly) best foot forward. It’s my foot. But without the bunions. Is that fair? Is it fair to only show my good side?

I know many people feel like this is a common occurrence on Facebook but for me….it’s not my norm. It’s not that I share all my bad. In fact I tend to hide the worst like most people. But I don’t only share the good either. And usually I don’t feel like my Facebook feed is mocking me with other people’s perfect lives. Because no one’s life is perfect.

But an adoption profile is a marketing tool. Whether it should be or not is another question. It is. You put your best foot forward and hope it resonates. Maybe you include a photo of you in curlers just for character.

Oh wait. I should probably back up.

Two weeks ago we decided on an adoption agency and I started to fill out their application.

Then we got an email from our surrogacy attorney. Asking us where we were on our adoption path and would we be interested in hearing about an expectant mother and an independent private adoption situation.

*deer in headlights*

But…we don’t have a home study.

That’s OK.

But…we don’t have a profile.

Can you get us one in 48 hours?

Um…

Yes!

An expectant mother out there has our (hastily put together) profile in hand.

Gulp.

How did we get here?

Talking Heads – Once In A Lifetime: http://youtu.be/o7pVjl4Rrtc

We have a history of doing things backwards and making major decisions with little time. So far that strategy has not served us well. But…maybe?

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Adoption Considerations

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.

Confession

May 19, 2013

I requested info from an adoption agency a few months ago.  I knew there was a good chance this FET wouldn’t happen. So I requested more info in advance.

And here it is. Filed away on my desk.

Still unopened.

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The Big Decision

November 3, 2012

This may not actually be a final decision. It’s a more a… current DIRECTION.

As you all know, unless this is your first time here, Right Guy and I have been trying to decide in which direction to go in next in our efforts to acquire a kid. Here are the options that are on the table:

  • Use my body:
    • Fresh cycles with or without meds, at home or IUI
    • Do another FET
  • Find a surrogate
  • Adopt – and worry about the embabies later
  • Screw this kid thing, let’s travel

–USE MY BODY–
My body, after much weirdness over the summer, seems to have settled back into a more or less regular cycle. For the moment. No idea how long that will last. I do also still have hot flashes, although not severe. Maybe it’s the estrogen patches keeping me regular. Also? Adenomyosis seems to be starting to become painful. It wasn’t before. Also? Not getting any younger over here. So anything with my body needs to happen ASAP.

I’m more comfortable using my body naturally or with IUI than I am with doing FET. For several reasons. If we do FET, it would have to be with 5d embryos which means they’d have to thaw and grow in the lab for 2 days before transfer. Even OldRE thinks a 3d transfer is too risky. I have a 100% rate of ectopic pregnancy with day 3 transfers. It’s an n=2 scenario so statistically that means nothing. But psychologically/emotionally doing a FET is terrifying. Also, it puts the embryos at risk twice: once in the lab and then again inside me (cuz it’s my crazy ute) – if they make it that far. From my perspective, this is the riskiest plan for the embabies.

–SURROGACY–
Right Guy had previously said he was leaning against any plan using my body. And I was leaning towards surrogacy since it seems like the safest option for my embabies. So I started researching that avenue more. It’s a bitch. It’s complicated. It’s expensive if you use an agency. Agency fees are crazy. I found a handful that are $7-8k but most are priced like late night TV infomercials but with more zeros: $19,900. And that’s ON TOP OF the BASE fee to the carrier that would be in the range of $20-30k. Add on attorneys, background checks, invasive procedure fees (yes, we’d want an amnio) and a whole host of other things (the IVF/FET & meds for one) and it’s no wonder people think you have to be rich to do surrogacy.

It seems possible to do it for ~$30k, but not likely. It could easily mushroom into $80k or more. That’s something I’m not willing to do. I have a little money from Pops which is why I’m even able to consider this option at all. But I’ve said it before: I want to have some money left to RAISE the kid.

–ADOPTION–
SometimesOften I feel like we’re going to end up here anyway so maybe we should just abandon all other courses and skip to the end. I mean, what are the odds that my eggs are going to produce a baby? Everything else has gone wrong, so I fully expect all other avenues to dead end and we’ll have to turn on Adoption Street eventually anyway. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that adoption is my least favorite option overall, or that I think of it last because I really don’t want to raise someone else’s kid. It’s not that at all (although the invasion of privacy does bother me). It’s just that as long as those embabies exist, I feel compelled to hold off on adoption. I know in my heart I could love an adopted child just as much as my own. But I still have the dream of seeing how our DNA mixes and wanting to see how *our* kid might turn out. And again, as long as we have frosties I can’t let go of that dream and mourn that loss.

But as the surrogacy fees pile up, I end up researching adoption. And then I had an eye exam and it turns out my new eye doc is an IF survivor. After I don’t know how many treatments (but it sounded like several) and ZERO pregnancies she did a private adoption. She knew the birth mother. She gave me the name of her lawyer. It was nice, for a change, to see someone on the other side of all this. Someone who had moved on, away from treatments, and was obviously happy with her decision.

There is life after IF. Who knew?

But there is also sisterhood. I don’t normally like to bond with my docs (I like to keep a professional relationship) but… she’s one of us. And I think we both felt that. We can smell our own. It was a light hearted discussion – sort of. You know how you can discuss super serious, and even tragic, topics but be humorous about it? That’s a skill you learn during rough times. That was our conversation.

–Screw this kid thing, let’s travel–
Right Guy has vetoed this one. But I did just renew my passport…

–NEXT STEPS–
So anyway, while I’ve been going down the surrogacy and adoption rabbit holes, apparently Right Guy has been reevaluating this whole using my body thing. Last night, when I pressed him to tell me in which direction he was leaning, he responded: 5d FET.

Cue freakout.

Not really. I held it together. I was kind of surprised though. Although maybe I shouldn’t have been.

A 5d FET is the easiest option, the cheapest option (aside from natural or IUI), and likely the quickest option. For all those reasons it makes sense. Which is why it was still on the table.

This was OldRE’s idea. Thaw the frosties, let them try to grow in the lab for two days and then transfer them if they do. I have no idea what NewREs will say about this plan. I don’t need their sign off, I could just travel back East to do this, but I most definitely want their opinion and would need their cooperation if I got pregnant.

The general idea behind this plan is to not put them in my uterus until they are ready to implant so as not to give them extra time to go exploring. There is logic in this plan. I don’t think there’s any medical precedent for it, but there is logic.

Except.

I saw the images of my uterus. It looks dangerous. It reminds me of this:

Also, you may or may not remember, that we were so nervous with last year’s FET that we only transferred one embie even though they were frozen in pairs. We were worried that we might have one implant normally and another implant ectopically but that once we saw the normal one we’d stop looking and something would rupture. So we attempted to grow the other one in the lab with the notion of refreezing it if it survived. It did not. Can I risk that again? Risk it with our LAST TWO? I don’t know.

But I have emailed OldRE and will make an appointment with NewREs and see what they all have to say. I’m not sure at all that I want to do this. Or that I’m willing to do it. I might be. I might not. But it can’t hurt to go see the docs and gather more info. If anyone knows of any stats on thawing and then growing embryos in the lab I’d love to see them.

Explaining Surrogacy

August 4, 2012

I shouldn’t have to defend myself. But I kind of had to last night.

My BFF from high school offered last Fall to be my surrogate. I stayed with her while I did my FET since I had already moved out of the area and only went back for the FET. I thought she understood. She came with me to the transfer. She’s known about all this practically since it started.

I took her offer with a grain of salt since I knew she wasn’t a great candidate. She only has one kidney. She has blood pressure issues. While she has successfully carried and delivered four kids I don’t think any of her pregnancies were problem-free.

Regardless, it was an offer. So when I got the official word that my body is just not going to be able to carry a child, I pretty much immediately texted her. Now she seems much less sure about it. Now she wants to know why I would choose surrogacy over adoption.

Really? I need to justify my decision?

Did she just forget that I have two frozen embryos? I’m not choosing surrogacy over adoption. That’s really not the choice. I’m not looking at this from that perspective. I have the choice to try to use my embryos – life that Right Guy and I already created – or destroy them. Or give them away to someone else. This is not about choosing surrogacy over adoption. It’s about choosing my embryos. My babies. How could I not, at the very least, try to protect my embabies?

Perhaps to her, they are just cells frozen in the lab. But to me, they are my children. The only biological ones I WILL EVER HAVE. And I will fight for them.

Up to a point. I am not willing to spend $100k on them. I’d prefer it be more like $10k. That way, we could still afford adoption if it didn’t work. Because, ultimately, we are choosing adoption over surrogacy. Amazingly, despite my original diagnosis, I actually still have some eggs in my basket – it’s the basket that is broken now. We could do a fresh IVF with a gestational carrier. But we choose not to. We want to have money to RAISE the child – not put ourselves in enormous debt to GET the child.

Which is also why I would prefer to use a known donor who is willing to carry for me because she loves me/us. Not because I’m paying her $30+k.

Adoption has ALWAYS been on the table and considered our next stop on this wild ride. But we can’t ignore our embabies. We can’t just pretend they don’t exist. We have to make some decision about what to do with them. It’s those options that drive me to surrogacy. I can’t destroy them. I don’t think I can donate them to another IFer. Believe me, I would LOVE to be selfless enough to make someone else’s dream come true. But if those embies grew into babies… I’d want them for myself. Knowing I had a bio kid out there somewhere and that I couldn’t be it’s Mommy… that might crush me.

Everyone makes their own choices for their own reasons. IVF. DEIVF. Adoption. Surrogacy. Childfree. There are a ton of options out there. And everyone has to do what is right for them. And not judge others for their choices.

So… I think we have to explore the surrogacy options. At least the more affordable ones. First.

Then we can move on to adoption.

I guess I should wait for the report on the quality of the remaining embabies. If it’s reasonable then I think I will make a Facebook appeal for a gestational carrier *gulp*. And see what happens.

Adoption Options

March 11, 2012

A long time ago, in a land far away, Right Guy and I spoke generally of adoption. This was when I first got my diagnosis and gave him the option to walk away from my reproductively challenged self. Wrong Guy was never really open to adoption so I wanted to make sure Right Guy was if he was going to stick around. He said he was. He made jokes about babies of other races so I knew he’d be open to that as well. We didn’t talk about it after that really.

Right Guy doesn’t really give much though to the future of What Ifs. He waits until the situation is at hand to start thinking about what he wants to do. This drives me INSANE. I am a planner. My brain is always 5 miles ahead of my body. I’m always thinking about the what ifs. I have to have a contingency plan. We are opposites in this regard. Which, although it makes me crazy, is probably a good thing. It brings balance to us both by making us meet in the middle. Although I DO wish he could talk about serious topics without always making jokes.

I’m not ready yet to give up on having our own child. But the reality is that it’s not likely. So I am ready to think about adoption in the sense of: what’s right for us? Domestic? International? Infant? Toddler? Older child? There are just so many options. When/If we decide to move forward with it I want to have already determined which direction to travel.

I have thought about it A LOT. Before Right Guy came along, my plan was to adopt on my own. But I never figured out what path felt right for me. And now there’s another person’s opinions and feelings thrown in the mix.

Turns out maybe he HAS thought about it. A little. He also said none of the options “feel right” to him. This was a very enlightening statement for me since he rarely uses terminology like that. We are both very rational people and like to make logical decisions. Based on facts. But this is an emotional issue. And there are no guarantees. You can’t just order up a healthy baby that looks like you. You don’t even get that guarantee with your own biological child.

We don’t even know what we would do if I did get pregnant but the baby had Down’s or something. We both agree that we’d do the testing. And we both agree that we don’t know whether we’d terminate or continue if the test came back bad. But we do agree that we wouldn’t take that on on purpose. We’re not willing to adopt a child with a serious medical condition. For me it’s mostly because I spent so much time caring for my father. I don’t want to sign up for a lifetime of that. I want to know I’d have a child that would grow up to (potentially) become self-sufficient (yeah, I know the kid could turn into a drug-addicted shiftless layabout but I want the genetic potential). For him, it’s because he’s a pediatrician and sees families every day who spend all their time dealing with kids with horrible conditions.

He wants full disclosure. And he wants to feel that the information is reliable. He’s treated kids who were adopted from countries that did not disclose KNOWN issues. And that really scares him. So… what’s right for us? Is child-free an option? When I mentioned “child-free” to him he said, “Yes, please, I’ll take a free child.” 😉

I don’t know. This could take awhile. Which is exactly why I want to get started on it. He wants Juno. [Maybe we should put an ad in the Penny Saver] But that’s not likely to happen so we need to figure this out.

I’m kind of interested in international adoption. But the unknowns seem too large for him. At least for two areas of the world. He’s strongly against Russia/Eastern Europe (former bloc countries) and Africa for medical reasons. Latin/South America has a certain appeal to me but I’ve heard some horror stories there too (kids being sold). That leaves Asia. I’m sure each country is different. It could take a looong while to sort through it all.

We’re both open to domestic adoption but there are still many unknowns there and he hasn’t yet come to accept the price tag. Domestic or international – they’re both expensive. I’ve made my peace with that. He hasn’t yet. It’s just a reality that has to be accepted.

Surprisingly, we’re actually both open to adopting through the foster care system. Which would most likely mean an older child. And psych issues.

There’s a lot to think about. And we still have 2 frozen embryos. I fully intend to continue to investigate surrogacy for them as well. It’s not looking like a viable option at this point but… I still have more questions that need answering. It seems surrogacy laws are weird here.

And I have another AMH test result to get back. And an appointment with my RE coming up. My new insurance will apparently cover 3 IUIs. I don’t know whether I want to try that or if it’s even a viable option. I want to talk to my RE about all of this as well. I’m not ready to give up just yet. But maybe I should. I can’t decide what to do.

In the mean time, I’d love to hear from those of you who have adopted or are in the process. How did you decide what felt right? How do you sort through it all?

The Future Plan

June 14, 2010

Since the Clomid didn’t work this month I’ve been a bit dismal. I know the jury isn’t quite out on that just yet – there’s still a (slim) chance I might O on my own. The man has not yet counted ten (I love boxing references, can you tell? I used to kick box). And there are other drugs to look at for future cycles. I’ll see the RE on Monday to come up with another plan. But it’s just made me think a lot more about what if this doesn’t work ever? In one sense, I’ve never really believed it would. In another, as I discovered Friday, I had actually allowed myself to hope that it would. I don’t think that I fully realized how much hope I had until it was dashed.

In any case it made me think more. And last night Right Guy and I discussed our options. Some time ago I attempted to give him an “out” since I am “broken.” He chose not to take it. He’s open to other options. Which is more than I can say for the ex-Hubby. But throughout our conversation last evening it became clear to me that when it comes to adoption (or donor eggs) he prefers to know the child’s history. Presumably the medical history. He is an MD after all. So it looks like if we can’t have our own, we either go for a known egg donor or an open adoption.

I think we are both OK with both options. I think being open is almost better because the child is almost certainly going to want to seek out biological parents at some point so why not make it open? When it comes to donor eggs, however, it is a bit of a tricky situation if the donor is known to you. That’s just a HUGE deal. I don’t have sisters, so that’s out. But I do have a friend who has offered her eggs to me. They are drunken offers, however. How serious is she? I guess I’ll find out. I may have a second offer as well – she’s thinking it over without me asking her. I have such GREAT friends. These two in particular are both women who do not want kids. They really like other people’s kids but they don’t want their own. Or rather, they don’t want to RAISE their own. So… we’ll see.

Since I’m a list maker and a planner, just having this conversation and better defining Plans B & C makes me feel better. And right now that’s really all that is important.