On my last post, I received a comment asking me my thoughts on surrogacy and adoption. I started a reply and a bajillion words later I figured it would probably be better suited as a post because I would love for people with experience in these areas to help educate me. My thoughts about surrogacy and adoption are complicated.
Surrogacy sounds cool in concept, but I have to start by saying I have done almost no research on it. The costs immediately make it undesirable for me. But even if money were no object, I would have a hard time with it. I honestly do not think I could handle having no control. At least when I am pregnant, I can control what I eat, my habits, etc. I wouldn’t be able to do that to another adult and I would probably go insane.
But then let’s say I wasn’t a control freak about it. I mean, I wouldn’t be pregnant, I could take all the anxiety drugs I wanted, right? Then there’s the issue of traditional vs gestational surrogacy. If gestational were a good option for us (health-wise, etc), that would be cool. But if not, I think I would rather take the money that a traditional surrogacy would require and put it toward adoption.
And, of course, there’s no guarantee that surrogacy would work. I have more friends who have miscarried than haven’t.
Adoption is something that Mike and I briefly talked about way back when we were dating. But I don’t know much about it, either, because I am overwhelmed by it. There are so many ways to do it, and I don’t know what is best. I don’t think I could handle foster-to-adopt. I think the possibility that we could have a child placed with us only to have him/her leave would wreck me after everything we went through with Maddie. I know that’s only one of the possible ways to adopt, though.
Adoption also has a cost, and risk, and a LOT of waiting. It’s a huge thing, and it’s something that I think Mike and I have to discuss in depth, without being overly emotional (or hormonal). But I wouldn’t even know where to start with the whole process.
When I think about it all, though, I feel hypocritical. I am obviously willing to go through a lot, and risk a lot, to have another child, so why should the obstacles and risks of surrogacy or adoption stop me? I’m hoping that when I learn more about them, they won’t seem insurmountable.
Thank you for this post. After Jake died and then again after Sawyer died friends and family suggested adoption. You brought up some of the responses I gave – the waiting, the cost, the lack of control, the uncertainty. You are so right that those obstacles/risks are there regardless of how you are trying to add to your family.
I really thought after Jake died that bereaved parents should get some sort of “get a baby free” pass (with a guarantee that the baby will outlive you and your spouse). . .
Sending hope and hugs. Take care.
I don’t know much about either of those things, but I do know that any child who would come into your family, no matter how they did it, would be one of the luckiest kids in the world!
My husband and I married late in our lives – we were both 38. His first wife had insisted on a vasectomy when he was in his late 20’s, so some of our decisions regarding children were already made for us. We did look into adoption and there are so many options. In all honesty, start with the Dave Thomas Foundation. They provided us with a lot of valuable information and even had suggestions and contacts for financial resources.
In the end, we chose not to adopt but for reasons completely unrelated to the process or cost.
Since I don’t have kids, I have kept my opinions to myself regarding your desire to have your own. But I would love to see you and Mike look at alternatives. Pregnancy takes such a toll on you in so many ways and I just worry about you (yes, I have control and anxiety issues, too).
Adoption has ALWAYS been close to my heart as after we lost our 5th baby, we started to processed with an international adoption. We planned to adopt a baby girl from China….but, then I got pregnant for a 6th time and that time we were blessed with a healthy baby boy we so thankfully we got to actually bring home to love and raise.
However, 7 yrs ago we decided to become foster parents and 1 yr later along with my 2 sons and 1 daughter we were offered an 8 yr old little boy with FAS (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome). Once our family met him it was a done deal and after the promise he we would be ours forever, 1 wk before Christmas, our new son so cautiously entered our home and hearts.
It wasn’t long before we all started to fall in love with him and we had MANY plans and dreams for him….until out of NOWHERE our Social Worker called to tell us the Judge reawarded his father not only access but supervised solo custody. We were shocked to say the least, angry, heart broken, helpless….shattered.
Saying good-bye to him was one of the worse days of our lives especially since we had NO legal rights so it was impossible to fight for him. We had no choice but to let him go. You were right Heather when you said loosing a foster child after loosing Maddie would wreck you. We didn’t loose Maddie personally but we were still wrecked and grief sticken as were our children, which was one of the worse part.
Now here’s the Kicker….7 yrs after we were forced to say good – bye to our boy, I found out through the grape vine this father gave him up for adoption or at least foster care months before we had found out about it.
The thought of running to reclaim our boy was overwhelming but in the end after MUCH soul searching and some ‘inside”information we decided not to fight for him. We found out he was given to a family in a small city 2 hrs away from us. He had gone through so much but now he was finally settled and happy. So, as much as it hurt us NOT to have him, we did take much solace knowing he was happy and finally back in a safe and stable home.
I think adoption and fostering can be an amazing procress with some incredible rewards but it also comes with a lot emotional stuff too especially if you adopt a child who has a past history of abuse. Still, I don’t regret taking in our child and I still find with every fun family thing we do, I always wonder if he would have enjoyed it too. I guess I will always feel that way though b/c my love for him didn’t die the day he left. I just hold with my heart now instead of my arms.
I completely agree with the above poster who said the foster idea isn’t a good one. I have several friends who have had foster children that they have had with them almost since birth ripped away and they were devastated. I cannot imagine that pain for you on top of losing Maddie. I think it would be too much for anyone. I have had several of my daycare families who have adopted. 2 have open adoptions. One has a gorgeous little 2 year old girl, and when said girl was about to turn one the bio-mom called and told them she was pregnant again and asked them to take that baby as well. I have also kept little girls adopted from China…from what I hear, though, you really really have to do your homework on what agencies to go through. Having recently read a book about some of the Chinese orphanages I would want to be able to handpick where my child came from…
Hugs! Any child who enters your family from wherever they come from will be blessed beyond belief!
I’ve been going through the classes to become a foster to adopt parent in NY. I’m sure it’s similar in most states, but here you have a lot of say in how you want to go about fostering. For instance, I will chose to only foster a child who is legally available for adoption. This will mean there is no chance that he/she will be taken away. I can also decide what ages I’m comfortable fostering, whether or not I’ll take siblings and what sexes. I may decide to start out with “respite” care as well – which means I’ll take a child on weekends or for short periods.
Fostering is not for everyone and may in fact turn out to be not right for me either. I’m still trying to figure this whole thing out but I thought I’d share some of what I’ve learned so far. I’ve been reading your blog for some time now and I wish you all much love. I have been awed by the strength of your family and wish you much luck.
My husband and I only had to wait two months before we were chosen by a birth mother, and now we’re raising a beautiful, bright, cuddly, hilariously funny and all-around awesome two year old girl. Please contact me if you want any information at all on the process, and feel free to take a look at my blog (I wrote a lot about the adoption starting in March 2010, how the process felt for us, how wonderful the whole experience was, as well as some of the emotional struggles.) It’s hard for me to even remember now that our daughter didn’t come from me, and while the hoops we had to jump through weren’t easy, they were ten times easier than pregnancy, and infinitely easier than struggling through losses. I truly believe Anna was destined to be ours, nothing in my life has ever felt more right.
Good luck, Heather, whatever the two of you decide. It’s great that you’re keeping all these options open. There really are no wrong choices, whichever choice you make will be the right one, and you’ll know that as soon as you’re holding your new little one in your arms–however he happens to come to you.
Rachel W. says:
Elizabeth – your comment made me cry. I’m reading your back entries now but I have a quick question for you. (Please disregard if this is too personal) Were you working when you started the adoption process? My husband and I want to adopt, but I’m concerned that our situation (he’s in med school and I work full time to support us) would eliminate us off the bat. Do you have any advice for me? Anna is so adorable, and it’s obvious how happy she is, and how happy she makes you and your husband.
I’m an author, so I work from home, but I honestly don’t think you need to worry at all that working full time will eliminate you! I’ll tell you what our adoption social worker told us, that birth mothers choose their families for a myriad of reasons that you can’t even begin to imagine ahead of time. Ours chose us mainly because we live in the country near a farm! (Also because she loves to read, and thought my being a novelist was cool.) Some choose families because the prospective father reminds them of their father, or because the family lives in a part of the country that appeals to them, or because something struck them about the Dear Birthmother letter the family wrote. Maybe even just because the prospective mom has a really friendly smile.
I bet the fact that your husband is in med school will probably sound as romantic to some women as writing a novel sounded to Anna’s birth mom! Really I truly believe every single family will eventually be discovered by the right birth mother, and be placed with the baby meant for them. The whole thing is a little scary at first, but really in the end it was SO much easier than we expected.
Best of luck to you, Rachel!
Rachel W. says:
Thank you SO much for the response. After I read your comment I actually decided to bite the bullet and call a couple of agencies, which confirmed what you said. I don’t know why I was so worried about my job eliminating us. Fear of rejection, I guess?
You’re perspective is so inspring to me, and makes me even more excited to start the journey to find our family. XOXO
I don’t know you but I’m totally grinning now excited for you, haha! Good luck!!!!
I miscarried on my first pregnancy. I was sure that I would never have children. I had a second pregnancy which resulted in a boy. Then, I miscarried again, and got pregnant again and had a girl. Don’t look too far down a road you are on in life. It changes and what you think is there is not, and sometimes a wonderful you never dreamed of happens. For now, just hang tight, day to day. Can you make it until tonight? Focus on that and make steps towards your goal. That’s all any of us can do. I have a feeling a baby is in your future…..
I suppose this means I should cancel that tattoo session for “Spohr’s Space” on my extra uterus half. Which is sad, I was going to email you my top typography choices today.
I read your post every day and am one of your many readers that truly thanks you for sharing your life because it has made me a better mother for so many reasons. I would do anything to give all the lessons you have taught me back if your Maddie and Jackie could be still be here, but since I can’t I will honor them by remembering them and using those lessons to benefit the people in my life. I am not one to comment much so since I am now wanted to let you know.
I have experience with adoption to share. I knew from the time I was 16 that pregnancy would be an uphill battle with very high risk of miscarriage so decided before I was even married that I would adopt. However, I was overwhelmed. For me, international adoption was not an option. I did not have the flexiblity to travel extensively and it was really important for me to have a newborn. I also knew I could not emotionally handle fostering a child then having to give him or her up so I researched domestic adoption. I focused on two approaches – agencies and faciliators. Both have pros and cons. I chose a faciliator. Basically they match you with a mom, but you do the legal stuff on your own. They also aren’t involved after the adoption is completed. Again, both have pros and cons that would make this already long post way too long, so I am not advocating one over the other just sharing my path.
The entire process for us (staring with making the decision to research to bringing my beautiful daughter home) took 18 months. I was able to go to doctors appointments and was in the hospital when she was born. During my research I also found some great agencies. I gave that information to some friends who went that route and brought their little girl home after only 10 months. I know this isn’t how it goes for everyone and ours wasn’t always without stress, but if you ever want the information of facilitors or agencies that I researched and what I found I am happy to share. I have never been pregnant, but I know from friends that the time that you are is full of worry and stress about the baby’s health and it is full of excitement of them joining your family. Adoption is no different. Some of thespecifics of exactly what you are worrying about may be different, but like being pregnant, all of the stress and worry is worth it when your baby is in your arms.
My parents adopted my brother from Russia 11 years ago after getting a late in life bug for another child. He was a little over a year old when we got him. He’s awesome and I couldn’t imagine our family without him. With foreign adoption, there is less/no risk of the child being taken away once they are home with you, which is great. However, you don’t know as much about their origins so that’s a gamble. From what I understand, the younger the child the easier it is to integrate them into your family. My mom’s favorite topic is adoption, so let me know if you are interested in learning more about it. She also participates in some online forums/listserves to help others considering adoption, so those are out there too.
Tammy M. says:
This isn’t about your post topic. I just love the conversational tone of your blog and how open you and Mike are to input, suggestions and feedback from your virtual peeps. This post is a good example of that.
I have health problems and that’s why I don’t have kids yet. Some specialists say it’ll be hard but go for it others say not such a good idea. Since my husband & I were 15 we talked about how we waned to adopt in addition to having bio kids. My husband’s 2 sisters were adopted from Korea 40 yrs. ago & my first cousins were adopted. Now, 15 yrs. later we are still wanting to adopt but never foster to adopt. Emotionally, if we had to give a child back…I would have a breakdown, so would he. We are huge animal lovers & we won’t even foster to adopt our rescue dogs. We adopt them officially before we bring them into our home. A gestional surrogate sounds great in theory but the cost is a lot, especially because we just bought a house, and it would still take a toll on my health a bit. All in all we are leaning towards adoption. I was actually thinking after reading your post yesterday if you’ve ever thought of it but didn’t want to bring it up. Whatever you decide after weighing your options will be right. Best of luck
Oh Heather…what difficult choices..
Two of my three children are adopted – both placed at birth. We waited for a little over 3 years for the first and only 9 months for the second. I was in the delivery room with both of their birth mothers and held them as soon as they were born. I will say, without a doubt, those were the most life impacting experiences (both times) I’ve ever had. It even beat the experience that I had with my biological child.
A lot of how long you wait depends on what your criteria are. If you decide on domestic adoption – how open will you be? Are you and Mike open to children from other races? Are you and Mike open to situations where a child might have been born exposed to drugs? One thing I’d like to say is that it takes an open mind when you adopt. Speaking with as many people who have adopted domestically will help you see that the entire decision isn’t clear cut and that sometimes you have to go with your gut reaction. The more things you can say either ‘yes’ or ‘potentially yes, depends on the situation’ the more times your name will come up as an option. I’d be happy to go into more detail about what my ‘option’ statement means via email with you – the circumstances around my daughters placements are not stories I share publically. That said, they aren’t scary nor awful, they are just good examples of being open to different situations.
I will say that you and Mike would be a highly considered parent to be by both someone considering placing and an agency due to your age, where you live, and the general life you and Mike have made for yourselves and Annie.
Adoption is not without pain nor is without fear. Educating yourself is the best advice I can give. That said, there is a lot of hope, love, and beautiful experiences that can be had as well.
There is a good education website http://www.adoption.com that will help you learn the ‘lingo’ and provide you with information on the different options that exist. Like one of the other posters said – you can do facilitated adoptions, lawyer based adoptions, foster adoptions, agency adoptions….etc…. Don’t be scared away by some of the things you might read – talk with others -like I said – educate yourself.
The very best of luck to you Heather as you explore other options. Adoption was absolutely the best choice for us – it lead me to two of my children.
My sister had a gestational carrier (another family member) and was blessed with a healthy baby boy. Because the carrier was a family member, concerns for a healthy lifestyle were virtually eliminated. Although there was no surrogate cost, the medical costs for IVF was expensive (12 yrs ago).
I believe now many insurance plans have coverage for IVF making it more affordable.
I think it is a wonderful way to have a biological child and well worth researching. Good Luck!
Vickie Couturier says:
we adopted thru foster care,we chose a older child,you can request that only children who are free for adoption be placed with you,,that limits the chance they will be returned home,,its free to adopt thru foster care,the state pays all those bills,,an it gives a child here in the USA a home,,regardless of color,my son an his wife are expecting their first child but have gone thru the foster care system so they can adopt a child later ,,an they dont care about the color so their chances are much better,,more minority children are in the system an need homes too,,I really dont understand going out of the USA when there are so many here that are in desperate need,,when we first started out in foster care we already had 5 grown children an wanted preteen girls,,the first one we got offered was a 3month old baby girl who was sick in the hospital an wouldnt be going home,I declined because I did not want to raise a baby again,we told him that there were too many ppl who want babies,let the young ones do that,so a single woman got her an later adopted her,,so this is my opinion an its from experience an not a judgement,,best wishes always to you an your family
I value that perspective, but let me give you a succinct answer as to the whys of international adoption, based on a blog I used to read by a woman who went through the certification process for becoming a foster parent and later decided to skip fostering and went through an international adoption process instead.
She was torn about that decision, for some of the reasons you cite (there is so much need in the US, older children are overlooked for younger ones, disabled kids don’t fare as well either, etc.) but here’s what she said was the catalyst for this change of heart: the foster system in her county just put her through the wringer with parenting classes, psychological evals, income audits, requirements on how to modify her home to make it disability friendly (she went through two remodels of her home). She jumped through all the hoops. It took money and time, and she didn’t have much of either to begin with (both she and her husband worked). She did everything the foster agency asked of her, only for her to be told that she didn’t make the cut that first go round, and to try the process again in six months. It came down to one psychological evaluation of her husband whose results suggested he was torn about the idea of being a dad. And quite honestly, what parent to be isn’t torn about the idea of being a parent every once in a while?
She was in her early 40s, as was her husband. She wanted to be able to have a child while she still had the stamina and energy to raise one. So they made the decision that their child would come from elsewhere (Taiwan, as it turned out). It still was a long and drawn out process, and the first year with a toddler at home who was confused about moving halfway across the globe? It was no picnic. But what the adoption process did that the foster process didn’t was give her hope. Hope that some day the child she would nurture would be her child in every way that counts. She did get that, and to some people, that’s pretty important.
Both my amazing daughters were adopted at birth, after my husband and I were unable to conceive. This was years ago (our older daughter is now 30 years old – and we have two lovely granddaughters!), but since I work with families with special needs children, some of whom are adopted, I can tell you that some of the laws regarding adoption – at least in California – have not changed.
Birth parents have up to six months in CA to change their minds. Even with papers signed, they can still re-open the case, of course the hope is that won’t happen, with counseling and all parties (including birth father) involved in the process, but in CA you will not be able to go to court for the signature of the final decree of adoption until the child is at least six months old, even if there is no contest.
Our first adoption – even though our daughter was placed with us at birth – dragged on until she was two years old. The birth mother disappeared without signing relinquishment papers, and we were forced to place ads in the legal section of newspapers wherever there had been a “sighting” of her … those were mostly medical records from ERs around the state where she had gone for emergency care. It was very stressful, but I would not change anything now.
We adopted our second daughter in Hawaii … even though we lived in CA. We had sent out letters all over the country to doctors asking if they knew of any potential birth mothers, and we got a response from our child’s birth mom, who was from the mainland, but was staying with friends in Hawaii for the duration of her pregnancy. We had a great connections with her from the start, and when our daughter was born, she called us from the delivery room. We flew to Hawaii the next day, and four days later we were in court, finalizing the adoption! Four days! Since then, we have maintained an amazing relationship with our daughter’s birth mom – she has come to visit us a number of times from Arizona, where she lives now. And a couple years ago my daughter and I went to visit her, and had a wonderful time. This has been one of those times, when it’s almost like we gained another cherished family member … but she has always been respectful of our family, and is a wonderful person. Don’t know how often something like this happens.
As I look back, I sometimes thank my lucky stars that my husband and I were unable to have bio kids, as the two girls I ended up with are more than I could ever have hoped for.
This post indicates how thoughtful you are. So many people who can conceive easily say “just adopt!” There is no “JUST” about it. You are smart to explore it and take it slow.
THere are lots of online support groups for infertility that have adoption and surrogacy forums. There are so many different directions you can go. No two experiences the same.
Heather and Mike,
Our first baby was born 14 weeks premature and weighed only 1 lb 8oz. She spent 113 days in the NICU before she came home. While she does not have any long-term complications as a result of her prematurity, my husband and I made the decision to adopt our second child.
We wanted to avoid the pain and fear that comes with premature babies and the NICU. We did not want another baby having to go through what Emily had to go through not to mention that I almost died when Emily was born.
We had no knowledge whatsoever about adoption and only knew the myths that exist like that you have to wait 3-5 years for a “domestic” newborn or that at any time the birth parents can come and take the baby away. While these cases do happen those cases are very rare.
A friend of ours gave us the contact info for a Atlanta based Adoption Consulting firm that works with birthmoms and adoption agencies through-out the US as well as with international adoption agencies. They only work with agencies and birthmoms however in states that are protective of the adoptive parents. They only work with states that allow the birth mom a max of 72 hours after the birth of the baby to sign the paperwork. There are states such as Colorado that allow 6 months (I think). I can not imagine getting the baby and having to worry for 6 months whether the birthmom changes her mind and decides to parent the baby…
Well, we got in contact with the Adoption Consultants in early October 2010, signed a contract with them mid October and started working on our home study and our family profile with their help. We were approved by the state of Kentucky the week before Christmas to adopt a baby, immediately were presented with several “situations” and a few days later we were matched with a baby and January 10th, 2011 our sweet Finn was born. We received the call that day and rushed to West-Virgina where he was born and held him in our arms January 11, 2011 – only 3 months after we had made the decision to try and start the adoption process. On January 13 the birth mom signed the papers, later the court terminated the birth fathers parental rights as well.
We do realize that not everyone is as lucky as we were and that adoption is an emotional rollercoaster. But we were lucky that we had the wonderful wonderful adoption consultants with us on this journey. They held our hands throughout the entire process, answered our million questions and our many many nightly phone calls… I am an absolute control freak but I felt very at peace throughout these 3 months. I can only recommend those consultants to anyone who is considering adoption. Adoption might not be the right choice for everyone but it was for our family. Finny is a very active funny happy loving sweet “all boy” 19 months old toddler now.
After we adopted Finn we had one miscarriage last year and in May of this year our sweet litte girl “vivi” was born fullterm at 39 weeks and 1 day. The pregnancy with Vivi was filled with doctor appointments, tests, a million ultrasounds, non-stress tests and so so much anxiety. Everyone expected something to go wrong again at some point. Everyone was surprised that I did go 39 weeks. I do think that the adoption of Finn and the happiness that he has brought our family helped me to endure the stress and anxiety of a miscarrage and the pregnancy with Vivi.
If the pregnancy with Vivi would not have had a happy end we probably would have adopted again and we definitely would have worked with the same Adoption Consultants again.
By the way when we signed the contract with them we questioned why the contract was only going to be valid for one year. Their reply was: Because the longest it had taken any of their clients to adopt a child was 9 months… We thought they were joking when they said that we needed to be ready for a child once our home study would be approved – but when we were approved, matched with a baby and actually got to hold our son within 3 weeks we knew that they had been really serious about that…
Sorry for this lengthy comment – this is a topic that is very dear to our family and I could go on for hours…
You and Mike will make the right decision about what is best for your family. If you ever would like someone to talk to and learn more about adoption, I can send you the contact information for those consultants. They are a great resource and are connected with great agencies and adoption attorneys throughout the states!
Our daughter was born at almost 26 weeks, also 1 lb., 8 oz! She’s now 4 and just today we found out she no longer has a hole in her heart (PFO). We got very lucky with her at many steps along the way. It took a long time to even think about having another baby but three years after having our first, our son was born. When we did, I did go full-term. I agree, it was a very stressful pregnancy – trying to not stress but really hoping to make it each successive week and then just feeling uncomfortable. Congratulations to you —
I’ve read your posts regularly after linking over from a friend’s blog, but never commented. My wife and I were not able to conceive, and both of our boys were adopted domestically at birth, and are the absolute joys of our life. First off, every adoption is unique. Sharing stories and experiences is great, but no two circumstances are ever completely alike. For us, our first adoption went about as smoothly as you could hope. The second, exact opposite. We went through a protracted legal battle after learning that the birth mother had lied to us (and the adoption agency, her family and the birth father), and the birth father fought for custody. Fortunately, we won, and our son stayed with us the entire time. But it was a long, emotional and expensive ordeal. Ironically, it was during this time that I really followed your posts, as I related the possibility of us losing custody to the profound loss of your Maddie. In any case, even with the hindsight we have now, there is no question in my mind I would do it all again. I hope this is helpful, as your insights were incredibly helpful to me when things looked like they might not go our way with the custody dispute. I would be happy to talk more about adoption if you ever wanted.
Our daughter Mea was adopted via foster care adoption, she was thirteen months old when she came home. She was placed as a direct adoptive placement, she was clear for adoption when she came home. The TPR was already in place.
We had a foster son for six months before she came home. It was hard, but at the same time an amazing and rewarding experience.
Foster adopt is not for everyone.
There are ton of informative adoption blogs, from all sides of the adoption triad. Just to even know more about the process, experience, and ethics around adoption, I would encourage you to check some of them out.
After I lost my last pregnancy and was going through a rough time wondering how another pregnancy would go, my husband and I discussed adoption a little bit. I don’t think surrogacy would work for me – like you, I haven’t done a ton of research on it, but I have control issues too, and I just don’t think I could handle watching someone else pregnant with ‘my’ baby…Great alternative for other people, but not for me.
I had decided that if we weren’t able to successfully have another baby of our own within a particular time frame (maybe a year) I would take some time to consider adopting. I knew I wanted 2 kids, but as much as I think adoption is an AMAZING thing to do, I had always hoped my kids would actually come from me and my husband. I wanted to see what our next child would look and be like, and maybe that’s selfish given all the kids out there who need loving homes, but it’s the way I felt/feel. I don’t think anyone can blame you or anyone else for wanting that! I think it’s perfectly natural.
I am sending positive vibes that everything works out for you perfectly the next time around and that what happened was just a total fluke, like it was when it happened to me. I will never know why it happened, but with twins on the way in just a few months I have to believe there was a reason for it somewhere along the lines. I wish the very VERY best for you, you so deserve it, it WILL happen!
Good luck with everything Heather. Lots of great input in the above posts. I have no experience with difficult a difficult pregnancy. Rather took it for granted really. I gave birth to my second child and he has lots of special needs so the challenges came after. With all you have been through already I hope and pray the next pregnancy will result in a another sister or brother for Annie.
I understand your complicated feelings toward surrogacy and adoption.I have them as well. My personal beliefs mean that I would never use a surrogate and would consider only a domestic adoption. The issues of class and consent tied up in surrogacy and international adoption are too great for me to overcome.
I think for Adoption you should really talk with your doctor/s about weather or not it would be right for you and your family or to talk about if you are even well enough to adopt! There are certain regulations in every process. For you to understand not every persons, families qualify for adoption.
My Mother was not legally allowed to adopt in Canada because of her health. Slight.
I personally haven’t YET adopted or fostered but plan to in the future. But I wanted to share a blog I follow about an amazing young couple and their adventures in fostering to adoption..many ups and downs, but also many smiles! I encourage everyone to visit, mommy takes beautiful photos of kiddos….http://fosteringawareness.blogspot.com
I have read your blog for years. I think I commented once. I am just not a writer at heart, but I can’t tell you how much you have touched my heart. I too have thought about surrogacy, but as the surrogate. I am 34 though and I feel like many people might consider that too old. If you ever decide you want to go that route, I would love to help you out. We could learn about the process together. Just putting it out there.
I can’t attest to the adoption process, or surrogacy.
However, I can tell you that a child doesn’t have to be biologically linked to you to be loved just as much. I was married previously and had my husband’s son living with us 12 days out of 14. I raised him from the time he was 2 until I left my marriage when he was 9. Leaving that little boy was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I had no choice to leave because of the domestic abuse, but my heart hurt when I left my step son. I felt like my chest was going to cave in, I hadn’t expected the physical hurt I experienced. I treated him no differently than my daughters and I loved him just the same. Your heart can grow for a child just as easily if they aren’t growing in your own womb. As the adoption poem says… he “grew not under my heart, but in it”
I hope you and Mike are able to have a healthy and successful pregnancy, but more than that I hope you end up on the road that gives you and your children love and fulfillment.
I know also how that feels, Heather (of the stepson). Breaking up with my ex-fiance was horrible and terribly sad to realize we just weren’t in the same places of our lives and that he wasn’t the person I needed him to be. But losing his daughter, who was 18mo at the time and we had almost every weekend, was absolutely devastating. I remember the last blow-up during her last visit with us. I remember him going to walk out the door with her and (for her sake) trying to stifle my sobs as I said goodbye to her, knowing that she will never remember me. It was awful, because I had counted on her being mine. Later that year I was around a very close friend from out of town several times getting ready for her wedding. She had a toddler just a bit under my ex’s daughter’s age. It was so bittersweet to be around that child, and my friend. Eventually that faded as I grew closer to them and farther from my previous relationship. But, 4 years later, if I let myself, I still long for my little girl, who was never mine at all and barely had a chance to be in my life.
I plan on never having biological children. No hindrance, just no desire whatsoever for pregnancy. Adopting children depends on my future partner, but I do plan on fostering (with/without adoption) regardless. This is what I feel called to do and quite capable of doing well. But it isn’t for everyone, and that’s ok.
We all have our own pasts and presents and futures to fulfill. They are as unique as we are and all are equally vital.
I am an adult adoptee and I thank God all the time that my birth parents made the decision to give me up and that my mom was able to take me in. I know that all of them loved me and they made the decision that would be the best for me. If you do adopt, always be honest and upfront about the adoption and process with the child. The best thing my mom did was to answer any questions my brother and I had through out the years. People even say that I look like my mom, we just smile and agree.
Oh, I know what you are saying! Even though our daughter’s birthmother had some serious problems with substance abuse and had abandoned two other children before “our” baby was born, we always presented the idea of adoption as a loving choice she had made. We had no contact with her from the time of placement, when our daughter was two days old.
When our daughter started kindergarten, she came home one day and said, “Mom, I feel so sorry for all the other kids in my class.”
“Why?” I asked.
“Because none of them has a birthmother!” she answered.
I think we did a good job, there : )
We adopted my daughter from China six years ago. The process was a lot of hoop-jumping and waiting, but we couldn’t bear the uncertainty of domestic adoption at the time, after a lot of loss, and international adoption has a certainty of a baby at the end.
Whatever you do, if you adopt domestically or internationally, don’t make an antagonistic opposition between you and the birth mother. She would be your child’s first mother, his or her other family. It’s a triad, not a mom-child relationship with a disposable uterus. She doesn’t have to be scary. It’s just a different kind of family structure, that’s all.
Please feel free to contact me if you want to know anything at all about our (fantastic) experience adopting.
We had a complicated pregnancy with our older daughter and started the adoption process when she was 2 1/2 years old. We worked domestically with an agency that works in just our state and a neighboring state. We were in the short list considered by birth mothers about five times and were never the chosen adoptive parents. Some of the reasons were interesting. One birth mother chose another family because they liked to skydive, another chose a family that already had a little boy as she was already parenting a little boy and wanted her baby to experience life with a brother, and one ended up deciding to parent the baby instead of placing for adoption.
Six 1/2 years later, we were matched with our younger daughter (now 2 1/2). She was just 2 days old when we matched and we brought her home at 3 weeks. Our adoption was finalized when she was 6 1/2 months old – our state requires 6 months from placement to finalization. This was a foster adoption, but we weren’t actually looking to adopt this way. I’d be happy to share more via email if you’d like more info.
The length of our process was hard, especially as a family member completed TWO international adoptions during our waiting time. But in the end, we received the baby who was meant for us. Whatever course you and Mike decide to follow, I know that you will put a lot of thought into the choices you make. Thank you for sharing the process with us.
If aadoption is the right choice, an adoption consultant would be a good resource. You would not need to adopt within CA, and franly you shouldn’t with the 6 month revocation period they have. Several states have no revocation period or recovation periods of 24-72 hours and those are the states you want to adopt from. If you are open to race, some adoption agencies base their fee on race (awful I know, but it helps adoption become afordable for some). Some agencies will limit the number of prospective adoptive parents they accept so that everyone gets a baby without waiting years. Don’t be scared, if it is the right decision for you guys, you will have so many resources available to you! Good luck!
Right now I would suggest putting these “other options” on the back burner for the moment and focus on giving your all to this “last shot” for a pregnancy. God forbid should that not work out as hoped and planned, then I would suggest taking a more serious look into surrogacy/adoption.
And of course, hope it all works out for the best Heather. Muah!
Well, if you ever have any questions about surrogacy, feel free to email me. I’m a three time surro, just had my last surro baby in June actually. I never thought of this or adoption as options for you, I guess because I’ve always thought you were so focused on being pregnant yourself (and you have proof you can do it, though with a lot of help, as you have said!). I think whatever way a family decides to expand is what is right for them. This isn’t something I bring up with people wanting more children, unless they’re close friends, as I feel it’s such a personal issue.
But anyway, if you have any questions, feel free to email me. My last set of intended parents (wonderful people!!) would be happy to talk with you as well, if you needed their perspective.
Whatever you do, I wish you well. I am excited to eventually see Annie with another sibling.
Dear Heather and Mike, I have a lot in common with you after loss, miscarriage and the stress of very ‘medical’ pregnancies, complicated by the blood clotting disorder. Thankfully I persevered and we now have a daughter and a son who mean the world to us.
I have no experience of adoption or surrogacy but it’s heartening to read so many positive experiences from people here.
I hope you find comfort in the knowledge that there are other ways of becoming a parent but it does seem to me that whatever the route taken it can be an emotional roller coaster ride.
My emotional response to your situation would be to wrap you up in cotton wool and to concentrate on your next opportunity with your top medical team to have a pregnancy of your own. Annie is your proof that you can do this. Let us support you and share this journey.
Whatever happens we are all agreed that your next child, however they arrive, will indeed be very blessed.
I was adopted as an infant, am currently an adoption counselor (part time) and my county’s foster care worker (full time). I know a lot about adoption and fostering if you ever wanted to chat about it. It can be unbelievably heartbreaking and rewarding all at the same time.
I just wanted to tell you that my husband and I have discussed adoption and it just doesn’t feel right to us. And we felt guilty about it at first, but later on I had to just say that unless my heart is in it 100%, I can’t do it. Like you, I’ve seen so many friends miscarry, and ‘ve also seen so many friends begin the adoption process only to get their hearts broken after not being chosen, not raising enough money, etc.
We lost a baby earlier this year and while I say now that I can never go through that again, well..I’ll just have to see. I have hope for another successful pregnancy. I plan to take it a step at a time.
I just don’t think there should be any guilt involved in choosing not to adopt, or go the surrogacy route. We have to do what is right for us and our families as individuals.
I completely understand where you are coming from. I also have had a very difficult time over the past few years around pregnancy. My whole reproductive experience has been plagued by loss, stress, anxiety, and trauma. I have had a miscarriage (like you), and I lost a baby daughter (like you). I am blessed to have two healthy sons. I feel so incredibly lucky to have them. The odds were not in our favor. I am almost certain that we are done having kids. I simply do not think I can go through it again. You understand where I’m coming from.
On the other hand, sometimes I do consider adopting a third child for one reason: I just want so badly to have a daughter. I know its irrational, but because we lost our only daughter there is a part of me that aches to have a baby girl, and because of this I sometimes toy with the idea of adoption. But I don’t know. Like you pointed out, adoption has its own uncertainties and stresses that, although slightly different, appear to be pretty close to the type of heartache I am trying to avoid by not getting pregnant again. For me, its just all about trying to figure out just how much I want to have another child vs. just leaving this stressful chapter of my life behind me and accepting that “I can’t always get what I want.” What do I want??? I really don’t know the answer to this question, and until I do, I’ll just keep it open as a possibility but not move forward until I feel clarity.
I’ve been reading blogs about families who have adopted. Just to try to get a better idea of what its all about. In case I should decide to go forward with it at some point in the future. One blog I love is Finding Magnolia. The family adopted two girls from Ethiopia, and I’ve just totally fallen in love with their family.
We adopted our son from South Korea. We looked at several different agencies but decided on Catholic Community Services because they didn’t require us to travel to Korea; a social worker from here went as our son’s escort. The cost was $15,000, but after the tax credit, it cost $5000.00 We were wait-listed for domestic adoption for 12 months before we added our name to the overseas list. From the day we went on the list to the day we brought him home, it was nine months. We waited just as long for our biological daughter five years previously! We know we have the son we were always meant to have; he just happened to be born on the other side of the world. When people ask if my son is adopted I tell them I have two children; one is adopted, but I forget which one.
Britt W says:
Hey Heather. 1) I am a fairly loyal reader, but have just been able to catch up on July and August due to being caught up in school, and I just wanted to say my heart is broken into a million pieces for you right now about Jackie. She’s an incredible person. I can’t think of anything adequate to add to that, but I am thinking of you.
2) Specific to THIS post, I’ve seen one other person comment who was adopted, so I thought I might throw my 2 cents in. I was adopted when I was 10 (yes, I am one of the very few lucky kids who were considered past the age of 7.) My brother, sister and I had been in foster care for 5 years after we were taken away from our mother after some drug abuse and some other abuse to my brother, our birth father tried to kill himself and is (as far as I know) partially brain dead, and doesn’t even remember us. Our mother died in 94 from stomach cancer, after getting her life back on track, remarrying and having another child. We were all adopted by different people, and sadly my brother was moved to California, while my sister and I stayed on the East Coast. But that’s besides the point.
I met my parents in November of 95 and moved in permanently in Decmber, a week-ish before Christmas I think. The reason they wanted to adopt was because my momma had an ectopian pregnancy years before. Her fallopian tube basically ruptured and she nearly died on the couch, and ended up having a partial historectomy, and another surgery to remove the rest a few years after I came along due to a tumor the size of a grapefruit that was found. I was a Daddy’s girl from day one. My momma on the other hand…I don’t know. I didn’t like her, honestly. She was strict, and wouldn’t let me get away wi the crap I was able to pull before. There were many many rough years, in fact, at one point, I was positive she would leave, and I knew it was because of me (im serious. Thats not misplaced child guilt. I knew what I was doing and I purposely tried to drive her away.) regardless, it took me a few years, but she proved to me that she wasn’t giving up on me, and I finally understood that they weren’t going to give me back. It’s still tough sometimes. I absolutely regret the things I did to push them away, but I could not be more lucky to have them as parents. They have honestly changed my life. Before them, I wouldn’t have ended up as much. I know I would not have been the person I am today or where I am today without them. Now, I have a healthy relationship with my husband of 5 years, 8’ve been in the military and am now in medical school, and I have an awesome nearly 3 year old.
I just wanted to give you some insight from the other side, if adoption is something you might ever be thinking about. I know adopting babies is different from adopting older kids, but one day the questions will come, the rebellion will come and the hurt feelings will come. Sometimes (often) it’s an uphill battle, but it does pay off. If that’s ever the route you, Mike and Annie want to go down, I personally would suggest not only talking to adoption agencies, but to adoptive parents and kids. Go into it with your eyes wide open. If you do have any questions, I’m always available, and my parents are always ready to talk to parents who are considering adoption.
Sorry this was so long. I sincerely wish y’all the very best of luck whatever y’all decide to do.
Expat Mom says:
I lost my first three pregnancies and was done with trying. My husband and I had decided to go for adoption, but it would a long process. I ended up being treated for e.Coli and got pregnant again. I even booked time off work when I would be 8-10 weeks pregnant, since I knew I’d lose this one, too. There was NO positive thinking whatsoever. I knew that my body didn’t hold babies, that was that. Except that this time it worked. We had our firstborn, Dorian, who was born with a birth defect and 15 months later, his brother. We now have a third child and are stunned that after all that, we actually managed to have a full family.
If you don’t want to give up on pregnancy, don’t. But you might need more time to heal. I do think you should consider reading some blogs of those who have done surrogacy and adoption, though, it might help a bit. I highly recommend http://pipsylou.blogspot.com/ (3 babies, one with the same birth defect my son was born with, multiple miscarriages, fostering to potentially adopt) and http://smilesandtrials.blogspot.com/ (6 bios, 11 adopted).
If you ever want to talk adoption, let me know Friend of DS! Thanks again for the text!!
Heather and mike,
I have one biological daughter and have adopted four more children through foster care. I never thought I would be able to handle the children leaving but I have. Is it easy? Never!
One thing I keep telling myself is that the children I am meant to raise will come to me.
I got madi as a newborn and had her almost two years. She was sent back home. I was heartbroken but while she was gone I got an 18 month old named Desi. Had madi been here I would have not taken the placement. We adopted Desi at age 4. About that time Madi came back into foster care and back into our life. We adopted her at age 5! Now both girls are 12.
One thing I have not seen mentioned about adoption is that you can also be fully vested into that child for 9 months and at the last minute the birth Mom can change her mind and decide to parent. That happens often.
If you ever have any questions about adoption or foster care just send me an email and I will be glad to try and answer any questions.
Our adoptions are not the norm, even thought they are through foster care we have open adoptions!
Browsing through your archives and surprised that no one really touched upon adoption ethics, adoptees’ and first parents rights. The commenters who recommand that people adopt from states where the first mother only has a couple of days to change her mind really shock me – you really want someone to make this decision when they’re in such a vulnerable state, post partum?