Many of you are probably
struggling right now with the problem of whether to put the infertility
treatments on hold and finally start the adoption process, or to continue
the treatments for yet another year. To your friends and relatives,
it's simple-just adopt. But the reality is far from that. And
it's not just coming to the conclusion that you can accept a child into
your life who is biologically unrelated to you. It is an acceptance
of the fact that you will have to undergo yet another process that you are
not totally in control of. Want to know what it will be like?
I'll tell you. And you will see that there are a whole lot of
similarities between the infertility process and
Adoption involves an
array of choices. Just as you were given choices too
numerous to mention during the infertility process (Should I have
surgery this month or wait 6 months? Should we do IVF again or not?) you
will have important choices to make with adoption even before you begin
the process. Do you want to do a domestic adoption or pursue
international? Do you want a private adoption or agency? Do
you want to try to find your own birth mother or not? How do you
feel about openness? You won't be able to get out of the starting
gate until you have answers to these questions.
time. Just as you can't produce a child biologically in a
day, you can't do it with adoption either. You should count on it
taking about one to two years, and that does not include all the months
you will spend just calling agencies. That is from the time you go
to an agency orientation to the time you are placed with a baby.
Oh yes, you will hear about people who adopt more quickly than that, and it
can happen. But don't count on it or you will be
disappointed. (Sounds like what your spouse or doctor would say
when you thought you might be pregnant, doesn't it?)
expensive. Just as infertility procedures can cost thousands of
dollars each, adoption can be just as expensive. And
costs seem to be going up. To work with a private agency, it can
cost anywhere between $20,000 and $35,000. The good news,
however, is that with adoption, after paying all that money, you will
end up with a baby whereas with infertility treatments you might not.
And there are ways that you might be
able to save some money. Some employers offer adoption benefits to
their employees. And don't forget about the adoption tax credit of
up to $10,000 if your income is less than $150,000.
Adoption means losing
your privacy. Just as you were subjected to all kinds of
inspections of very personal aspects of your life (and body) with
infertility, you are under the same kind of scrutiny with
adoption. You are asked to fill out myriads of forms, answer
probing questions of your case worker, provide financial data, get
reference letters and undergo a criminal background check before you are
considered acceptable parents to raise a child. It's a
mind-boggling experience but couples somehow get through it.
Adoption can be
another emotional roller coaster ride. You will experience
highs and lows with adoption, just as you did with infertility.
You were on Cloud 9 when you thought you were pregnant; you were lower
than a snake's belly when the tests came out negative. In
adoption, you will be on a high when you have been officially approved
by the agency or when you get matched to a birth mother. You will
be down in the dumps if the process seems to be taking forever, or if
the birth mother changes her mind.
Adoption involves a
lot of waiting. Just as in infertility, when you spent
hours waiting to see a doctor or waiting for test results, you will
spend a lot of time waiting in adoption. You may have to wait
until the agency has its next orientation; you will have to wait until
the social worker finally gets the home study done; and, most agonizing
of all, you will wait until you get picked by a birth mother. Then
you will have to wait until the baby is born and the birth mother signs
the relinquishment papers 48 hours later. Whew! When all is
said and done, you will have the patience of Job!
So, you might be saying, if
adoption is so similar to infertility, why would I want to put myself
through that? The answer is simple. Unlike infertility, there
is a wonderful ending to the adoption story. You will get a baby and
you will become parents. You may not have built your family the way
most people do, but you will become a family, just like everyone
else. Anyone who has become an adoptive parent will tell you that
adoption is just as beautiful an experience as having a baby. That
when that baby is placed in your arms, the same bonding occurs as that of
a biological mother and child. That you love that child so very,
very much, as if it were born of you.
And finally you can let all
those feelings out that you've held back for so long. Finally you
can kiss and hug that little person that you've been aching to hold for so
long. Finally you can cuddle that baby and feel that soft cheek
against yours. Finally your dream is a reality. You are
parents now, and that's all that matters.