My husband and I have spent the last six months discussing adoption. We have talked at great length about embryo adoption and domestic and international adoption. Next month is National Adoption Awareness month, and I hope to blog in great detail about all three options.
I feel like so many people shake their heads at infertile couples struggling with infertility treatments and say, “Why won’t they just adopt?” Honestly, I believe in high school I said, “If I can’t have children, I would just adopt. I would never do fertility treatments.” But after a couple of years of difficulty conceiving naturally, we followed our Reproductive Endocrinologist’s’ advice and decided to try IUI and IVF. Another great question is, “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?” Adopting after infertility seems like the obvious and simple choice. Why then does this choice sometimes seem so difficult?
I wish that my husband and I were looking to tackle the issue of adoption eight years ago when we first started trying to conceive. Back then, we were different people. We believed that love conquered all. I was faith-filled, fearless, courageous and strong. I was certain that if you stayed the course, if you tried and hoped and believed in your dreams and goals, they could and would come true.
Then infertility came into our lives. Luckily, relatively early in the journey, we got pregnant with my daughter with the help of IUI, after a surgery to ablate my endometriosis. We were blessed with this amazing little girl, whom medical professionals have now deemed a miracle given my conditions of endometriosis and genetic translocation.
However, we desperately wanted another baby. On the very day we went to see our fertility doctor about having another child, I was having a miscarriage and didn’t even know it until my blood results came back. I then had another IUI, which led to another miscarriage. So my doctor recommended IVF, which led to my third miscarriage in 5 months. I was finally diagnosed with a balanced translocation, a condition in which many of my pregnancies will result in miscarriages. But the doctors told me there was a solution, IVF with embryo biopsies. My husband and I tried that twice only to have all 28of our embryos confirmed positive for the translocation, which made them unviable. Add three separate abdominal surgeries to address other medical conditions, and another unexpected miscarriage, and that sums up the last four and a half years for us.
It seems ironic to me that the reason why people think it is so obvious that we should adopt a child--our struggle with infertility-- is the very reason why my husband and I find it completely overwhelming to start the adoption process. Being in the grips of infertility is like being in a terrible maze. There are so many more dead ends and false hopes than there are ways out of the maze, and when you are in the maze, you cannot see the bigger picture. Obviously, we would have pursued adoption earlier had we known that the IVF and embryo biopsies that we had done after our “miracle” daughter was born would only lead to grief and loss. We would talk about adoption at the time, but being overwhelmed already, we kept concluding, let’s just get through these fertility treatments first.
Now, six years after we had our first appointment with a fertility specialist, we are finally finished with fertility treatments, but they have taken their toll on us. My husband and I are not the same people we were when we started this journey. I am certainly not that fearless 25-year-old anymore. I feel like when you have experienced as much loss as we have, it is really hard to start a process that requires a lot of faith and the possibility of more disappointment.
I fear that my husband and I do not have the emotional or spiritual resources to tackle our fears concerning adoption. But I am going to continue learning more about it and will be blogging about what I discover about the process and about myself. Mariska Hargitay, an actress who stars on Law and Order SVU, has a great quote on adoption, "Adoption was a bumpy ride-very bumpy. I'm not gonna lie. There were wrenching moments. I say to everybody, 'Adoption is not for the faint of heart.' But God, it was worth the fight." Only time will tell if I will one day have that fight in me.