I made a phone call today.
I made the same call two and a half years ago when, after attending a seminar put on by the agency we would go with, my husband Jeff and I decided to move forward with adopting our first child.
We are ready to do it again.
Like many adoptive parents, we went the adoption route after years of infertility struggles. We could get pregnant; my body just wouldn’t sustain the pregnancies. I had two miscarriages (and would later have a third), during the first of which I found out I had a uterine anomaly. We started working with a fertility doctor in early 2014, and I had surgery that spring to correct the issue with my uterus. About seven months and three unsuccessful IUIs later, my husband and I were faced with the question, where do we go from here?
We got the sales pitch (that’s exactly what it felt like) from our fertility clinic on IVF. You get a discount if you pay for two or three up front. But if you’re successful on the first try, you don’t get any money back. We opted not to go that route, because we had no reason to believe my body would sustain a pregnancy that was implanted any better than it did for the ones we managed on our own.
At one time, we’d looked at private adoption attorneys. But the family profiles on the sites we looked at felt like online dating. “Hi, we’re Jeff and Chantel! We like long walks on the beach, traveling, and German Shepherds! We would love to welcome your child into our loving, happy home. [cheesy grin with twinkly tooth]” Plus, we’d heard how long it can take to get matched that way. And how do you determine who is the best attorney to work with, how hard they work for you, how much they search on your behalf, etc.?
We also had been learning quite a bit about Fostering-to-Adopt in the previous months. It just so happened that a group had started at our church to educate and inform those who were interested in fostering/adopting, as well as support those who were already doing it.
We heard a lot of stories from foster parents – including those who had adopted out of the foster system – during those meetings. For a while, that’s the route we thought we were going to go. Yet, we never took any steps to get the ball rolling, and I couldn’t figure out why.
Until we went to that adoption seminar in January of 2015, and that’s when we knew we’d found the right path for us.
When we adopted the first time around, we were fairly quiet and private about it. On Mother’s Day of 2015, I did make a Facebook post that we’d started the process. But other than a small group of family and friends that we emailed periodic updates, no one knew what was going on until late September, when we were able to officially announce that a baby boy had joined our family.
While we’d met him the day he was born, we couldn’t officially call him ours until the birthmother signed her consent. That happened when the baby was two days old. We flew home with him three days later.
I have since told our adoption story more times than I could ever count. We have recommended our agency to many people, and some have even signed on with it. Just a couple weeks ago, I had a 2-hour phone conversation with a friend of a friend who is considering adoption. Our mutual friend asked if she could put her friend in touch with me, and I said absolutely.
There is a lot of mystery surrounding adoption for those who’ve never encountered it. It’s also changed a lot in recent decades, with many adoptions now being open (meaning the adoptive parent/s have ongoing contact with the birth mother/family). Research has shown that open adoption is in all parties’ best interest, especially the adoptee.
My hope in sharing our journey as we embark on it a second time is to educate and inform others on the process; to share the joys and pains, the anticipation and anxiety, the highs and lows; to share our story and hopefully take away some of the mystery surrounding adoption.
And if you’re considering expanding your family through adoption, to maybe give you hope for your story too.