news item – adoption. never easy, but worth the fight.

This week’s news article is getting a bit of double team action!  Check out both Chandra, a mom and foster parent who has tried to adopt through foster care,  and Traathy, an adoptive mom in an open adoption, reactions’ below to the article Adoption After Infertility.  We hope you’ll read the article and weigh in with your thoughts and opinions.

*****

Chandra

When I first glanced at this week’s news article, Adoption After Infertility,  my stomach immediately clenched.  I get that way every time I read an adoption article from a mass media outlet.  Adoption is such a complex topic, that rarely does an article do the subject justice.  So let me state right away, I am not of a fan of this news article, fact-wise.  It is misleading if not incorrect.  However, I am a fan of this article, emotion-wise.

The article begins by the author stating that she and her husband,

“have talked at great length about embryo adoption and domestic and international adoption.”

And then her very next sentence is,

“Next month is National Adoption Awareness month…”

Sigh.  Three sentences in, and I’m shaking my head.  The author correlates embryo adoption, and domestic and international adoption, with National Adoption Awareness month.  And that is patently misleading, here is a quote from adoption.com about National Adoption Awareness month:

“the particular focus of this month is the adoption of children currently in foster care.”

And no where in the article does the author mention the actual focus of this month.  I am a supporter of all types of adoption, but given my experience with foster care I am quick to correct people on the true meaning of this month.  My DH and I are foster parents.  We have detoxed a preemie, we have gotten a two-month old who had never been bathed or been put in clothes, we have taken a toddler with enough emotional trauma that the child will be in therapy for years.  This month is not about dropping twenty to forty grand on an international adoption. I have no problem with international adoption, if money wasn’t an issue I would want to adopt internationally as well.  But this month NEEDS to be represented accurately, because 104,000 kids are counting on it.  That’s how many kids are currently available, ready to go, to be adopted right now in the foster care system.  And they are available at little to no cost in adoption fees.

That aside, the rest of this article really spoke to me on an emotional level.  The author really gets at the sense of confusion and overwhelming prospect that adoption seems to have when you are also in the throes of infertility.  Infertility is so hard to navigate, getting the right tests, diagnoses, picking what method of ART is best for you.  To then try to figure out where to even begin with adoption, it can feel hopeless.

The author writes of their time trying to have a child through infertility treatments and discussing the adoption option:

“We would talk about adoption at the time, but being overwhelmed already, we kept concluding, let’s just get through these fertility treatments first.”

She gets right to the heart of it.  Lost. Overwhelmed.  Confused.  I admit, I am still all those things.  My husband and I want to pursue adoption, if we’re not able through foster care, then another way, but we feel SO lost on how to start, where to begin.

I will be posting in the comments a link to a post I wrote about National Adoption Awareness month and a link to a post I wrote near the year anniverary of having our foster daughter in our life.

*****

Traathy

So, straight up I’m just going to say that a lot of this news article bugged me.

For many, many reasons.  Chandra touched on a bunch above.

For the most part because the majority of the time that adoption is featured in “big name” publications it is sensationalized, generalized, and inaccurate.  As Chandra mentioned above, it’s the emotions of this news article that struck me the most.  It’s the emotional part that the couple featured talks about that had me questioning and thinking.  I like thinking about adoption and I really like that it makes me want to question the way it is presented in the media.

I think the main concept that I took from this article was that the author talked about trying to decide if adopting would be the right decision after she’s been through infertility and has had a biological child already.  If the effort and energy it takes to start the adoption process would be consuming and with a child already at home.

From someone who’s in an open domestic adoption.  Yes, it is all-consuming and yes it is a huge process.

The author, who has thought about it for so long, never made the steps to start the adoption process before she had her daughter.  So she’d been through years of struggling to try to get pregnant again and those years take a toll on your mind, body and spirit.  Adoption is not easy.  I am lucky to have my daughter but I am extremely aware of her being in my life because of the loss another woman went through.  Domestic adoption & Open Adoption bring an entire complexity of emotions (and people) in your life that not a lot of couples are comfortable dealing with.  After speaking with many pre-adoptive families I’ve discovered that there are a lot of couples who wind up thinking that International adoption would be easier for them because the chances of having familial ties with birth families would be minimal if not none.  I can’t tell you how many times we were asked if we would have rather adopted from Africa because we wouldn’t have to worry about somebody stealing our baby back.  Sigh…

Which brings me onto this,

“Why are you putting your body through all of those hormones and procedures when there are children who are already born and in need of homes?”

Seriously?  Did she just used the “save children” stereotype. UGH!!!

I think anyone who has had any bit of struggle with infertility or recurrent loss will tell you that when you and your partner get into the mindset that you ARE going to have a baby – all bets are off. Crazy sneaks in and you wind up in a daze of cycle after cycle planning even though you KNOW that, you could foster to adopt the children who are out there without homes. However, we put our bodies through hell, hormones, injections, IUI, IVF, miscarriages, infant loss, and it’s only when most of us hit the end of the road and we accept that there are just some things our bodies can not do that most wind up seriously considering adoption.  It’s a rare population of people (err..only 1 couple that I know of) have only ever just wanted to adopt.  

And that’s why I questioned when she said,

“Honestly, I believe in high school I myself said, “If I can’t have children, I would just adopt. I would never do fertility treatments.”

I never felt that way. In fact, it wasn’t until I met my husband and we had the big talk about children that we discussed adoption. It wasn’t until we were ready to have a baby that we thought about it seriously.

My husband has a medical condition that has a 50/50 chance of being pass on to any biological children that we have. We decided early on that we didn’t want that to happen to any children we had and that is how adoption came forth for us. I never hesitated, I didn’t think about if the baby would look like me, I just knew instinctively that I would love my baby.  Then, for those of you who know me, life led us down a different path that would only put adoption back in our focus two years after originally talking about it.

Advice for all the peeps out there thinking about adoption:  Always go with your gut!!

I always wondered how people came up with the conclusion that if you can’t have children you would just adopt. Just adopting…good grief, as if!!! It baffles me how people can just say it so flippantly. I now wonder if it is because of the celebrity spotlight on high-profile people adopting and the way they just *magically* have a baby one day. There is often little to no back story as to how much time, effort ENERGY is involved in the process.  It is so beyond life consuming and to do it after RPL or Infertility you pretty much are moving on fumes only.  That’s why I wonder if the author is really done with pursuing another child because she does have a daughter after having already endured so much in her life with Infertility.

When it came to wanting to be a mother, we did everything we felt we were capable of.  For us, we never considered fostering.  I don’t know if that is because we lost our daughter first and were scared to death of losing another baby or if we really weren’t educated in it, or if we walked the path we were just meant to.

All I know is I feel like I’m the luckiest girl in the world right now.  Would I want start the process again?  Right now, I don’t think so.  But, as most of us know, when you feel that maternal string being pulled.  All bets are off.  You’ll fight.

I know I’ll fight…when and if that time comes.

*****

Have you adopted or pursued adoption?  Tell us your story or link it back to here.

What do you wish people knew about adoption?  

Have you written a post about adoption? Link up in the comments.

What are your thoughts on people’s’ perceptions of International vs Domestic Adoption?

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Comments

  1. http://metholicblog.com/2010/11/05/november-is-break-your-heart-month/ – my post on National Adoption Month
    http://metholicblog.com/2011/06/01/baby-girl/ – my post to our foster daughter after almost a year of having her in our life.

  2. Omg I have so much I want to say about this. But I am on holidays so I can’t but my discussion would stem arond my cousin and his wife who are looking into adoption because its so much easier than having to deal with that pesky and inconvenient pregnancy thing again.

  3. Thanks for the post about adoption, I did a post about it here: http://itsjustaboxofrain.wordpress.com/2012/10/31/adoption-is-never-easy-but-worth-the-fight/
    I am a proud adoptive mama!

  4. I would recommend that we not jump all over this author. This is a person who I consider a good friend, who I met through twitter/her blog because she suffered from IF and RPL. She’s not the “mass media” – she’s one of us. A blogger whose personal blog has a very small following (even though it’s SO GOOD) & she’s struggling for answers on how to build her family and how to talk about these delicate issues.

    I totally get that National Adoption Awareness month gets co-opted from its foster care focus all the time, though, and people certainly need to be aware of the need for foster parents / adoption from foster care and the misconceptions that go along with it. I guess the problem for me is there aren’t awareness days or months for any other type of adoption — and there are issues that need spotlighted with domestic and international adoption too. 5-8 million orphans in my daughter’s country – a country where 3 in 10 children die before they reach the age of five – a country where kids who are matched with families die of malnutrition and disease before they get through the bureaucracy to have their adoptions completed. There are huge ethical problems in some international adoptions. Heck, ethical problems in some domestic adoptions too. I don’t want to take the focus away from foster adoption either; I just wish there was a time of year devoted to all adoptions, but there isn’t.

    • No disrespect was intended at the author at all. I hope you know that – and know I would never do that! I know that when I read articles in magazines like this one (and the previous one on Mariska Hargitay) there is always just a snipit of the complexity of *adoption* as a whole and often leaves me with more questions than answers. Articles get cut, chopped and when featured never have that in depth feature that is warranted – especially on a topic that is so complicated and emotional!

      The part about the article that struck me was that the emotions of going through adoption after going through IF/RPL are insane and I can’t imagine how she’s coping with that. That’s the part that I get and can empathize with completely. The struggle and journey aren’t ever as detailed. It sucks that it get’s presented in that way.

    • Missohkay, you raise some very good points. I did not intend to be harsh, but to correct a very common misconception. It is true that adoption in general does not get enough attention, and it is often glossed over so it is hard to write a comprehensive piece about it. I hope that any and every article about adoption works to raise awareness for this issue and its many facets. My husband and I, even before we knew we would have IF issues discussed adoption, and it is so hard to find accurate information. I do want to highlight foster adoption though, because these are the kids that are society’s “rejects.” A private domestic adopted infant, is instantly adopted into a loving and caring family. A foster kid is abused, neglected, and only gets to escape that life if a government official happens to investigate and then it can take months before the child is rescued and placed into foster care, and then years before they are adopted. My hope is that every kid who needs a loving home is adopted, no matter what the means.

    • I agree with you too! I wasn’t really commenting on the author so much, as my own experiences with adoption (and the questions above) as I am always happy to blog about it, and share my experiences. 🙂

  5. We decided before child one that if biological children didn’t work for us, we would adopt domestically and probably from the foster system because we knew we wanted children and that we’d be broke (yes, yes, domestic adoption is more complex than that, but we checked it out and felt prepared then to go with it) and the ethics of international adoption were too sticky for me. Since acquiring bio kid 1, we decided we’d do 6 medicated (but not IUI or IVF) cycles before adoption (unless we change our minds again… ugh…) Maybe I’m naive but I thought it was a reasonably thoughtful post (if news-ishly simplistic) of how complex deciding to move from the RE to adoption is, because if you haven’t considered it, it’s tricky to understand and frustrating that everyone is all “why don’t you just adopt?” all the time, plus whatever emotions go with the loss of treatments that failed.

    • Yes – the “why don’t you just adopt?” line is so unfair. I thought it was very thoughtful and honest about the emotional turmoil you go through with IF and adoption issues. And how overwhelming it can be.

Trackbacks

  1. […] This post is in response to a PAIL topic on adoption, see here: http://pailbloggers.com/2012/10/31/news-item-adoption-never-easy-but-worth-the-fight/ […]

  2. […] and Traathy collaborated to comment on the piece “Adoption After Infertility” from the perspective of a foster parent and an open adoption mama respectively. A thoughtful […]

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