black babies cost less to adopt.

It’s true. And it’s heartbreaking. But it’s strange.

The adoption process is so much harder than people make it seem.

“If you can’t get pregnant, you can always adopt!”

So many people don’t realize that it costs nearly $30-40,000 for a domestic adoption. Even more for an international adoption. Even harder is the judgment. Being judged about fundraising. Being judged if your worthy parents. Taking classes to educate you on being a parent. Being choosen. All things biological parents who are crafty with their genitals don’t have to worry about.

This article makes me sad. Oof. But I can’t pass judgment (which, if you know me….you know my.  ahem…opinions.) So many people that have traveled the path of adoption have stories as sad as ours. Not all, but so, so many. They had ideas about their families that they can’t make happen. They had visions and dreams for their families future and they want what they deserve.

But I am still sad that these babies are lesser. Undesirable. Unwanted. I want them though. We want them. My husband and I want them. I don’t want these babies to be in places they aren’t wanted or accepted or loved. Our agency does not subsidize children. I would rather our mixed race or African-American child be considered as worthy as any other child. This is an instance where money saving is not and won’t ever be considered by us.

I worry, though. I worry people will think my child doesn’t belong to me. That people will question and judge how a white woman can raise a black child. I even worry people will assume my husband is a stereotype, having a child with someone else other than his wife. The latter doesn’t matter to me— but the judgment does. We fell in love. We got married. We purchased a home. We started a family. We loved and lost and are trying our best to become parents to a baby that we can love and share the world with. You don’t have to do it that way. It’s not “the right” way to do things-but it is how we did it. I don’t appreciate that their are people who will assume we did anything but that.

It’s a reality. One I can do nothing about. But it’s part of the adoption process to consider all of the things that you will be faced with. And to decide that being a family means more to you that anyone else’s narrow-minded opinion.

faith

I’ve found that so many couples dealing with infertility or pursuing adoption feel directed by a faith in their God. It’s a really common thread I find when speaking with others or reading other blogs. I’m not sure why I find it so surprising, I suppose because I’m surrounded by scientists who, in my environment, largely operate using fact-based, rather than faith-based, knowledge.

I was raised Catholic. There is still something I find very beautiful about the mass. But I don’t find comfort there in the words. I don’t ascribe to any defined organized faith. I don’t believe in the biblical version of God. But I do have faith.

I have faith that there is purpose in my life. Not a purpose to serve, but a purpose to connect. To interact with other people in this universe with a knowledge that their
interaction will impact me in a way I probably can not immediately recognize. And in this I feel comfort.

I don’t take comfort in the idea of a miracle, but rather in the idea that there are wonderful people that will help you get to where you need to be. I do not feel blessed- I feel thankful. I don’t feel like there is a lesson to be learned or a reason for our path, but I feel happy that we have had help picking up the pieces, moving forward and smiling.

I am a firm believer that you should define your own faith– it helps you hang on to the important parts, realize the interconnectedness of people and things, and gives you reason to keep remembering and continue acting based upon the aforementioned things.

Plus, George Michael said you gotta have it. And…

Well.

Maybe that was a bad example.

genes

I feel like you do two things when you start dating someone- write your first name + their last name 1,000 times in the back of your notebook to see if they go well together and picture how your kids will look. I’m fairly sure that’s normal (if not….this just got awkward).

Nevertheless, it’s exactly why we pursued fertility treatments. We went back and forth between fertility treatments and adoption in the beginning. We chose the biological route first. I have a hard time living with ‘what ifs’. We got to see him. He was perfect.

It’s the same ending every time.We didn’t get to keep him. While we had him, though, he let us dream about a few things we want to pass on to our child. Things that don’t require genetic contribution.

From my husband, I hope our child:

– learns Chichewa
– understands the rules of soccer so they can explain them to me
– takes on his stress-free personality
– acquires his ability to make up songs about everything
– realizes there is adventure in life (but that motorcycles and skydiving are horribly dangerous. Ok. I’ll have to take care of this part.)

From me, I hope our child:

– appreciates the fall and all pumpkin-containing things, apple picking and the changing of the leaves
– learns that you can define your faith
– realizes that the St. Louis Cardinals are the only baseball team worth rooting for and that ravioli should always be toasted
– learns that standing up for the rights of others is always the right thing to do

And finally, from us, we hope our child:
– always knows how much we wanted to be their mom and dad.
– that marriage should always consist of two people who are best friends
– that laughing is the best way to start a morning
– and that everyone should sleep in until at least 10 a.m. on the weekends, especially kids. (we’re dreamers, ok?)

slow down, you crazy child.

I begged every year, and I mean every year, for tickets to a Billy Joel concert for my birthday. I didn’t care if he was in China. I. wanted. tickets.

Aside from being convinced I was going to marry him (also add Andre Agassi and George Micheal to this list), I loved his music. I still love his music. I remember falling in love with him when “River of Dreams” came out. I memorized every song on that CD. I sang it in the car with my mom. I found all of his other songs and I memorized them too. I became re-interested in my piano lessons because I wanted to play like him.

And some years ago, when he toured in Connecticut, I spent an absurd amount of money on concert tickets for myself and my friend Kristi. Floor seats. (I nearly destroyed my laptop in frustration over Ticketmaster’s shenanigans). I called my mom when he sang “River of Dreams” and held the phone up so she could hear it. And I cried like a giant fangirl because I LOVE HIM SO HARD.

Last week, my darling friend Anna asked me what my all-time favorite song ever ever ever was. Without hestitation, I answered, “Vienna”. (A close second is Downeaster Alexa, because I have this weird fantasy of marrying a fisherman and living off the land in Cape Cod and shopping at grocery stores with $11 butter and where I know the bread guy by name and he puts my artisan loaf on my tab– I blame Ina Garten and Deadliest Catch in some weird combination, but I digress…)

Anyways, Vienna. This song is the best reality check in musical form. As quick as we raised our options for Malawian adoption, they were dashed by the reality of it being a battle we are ill-equipped and positioned to face. We are lucky enough to have a local agency that feels as right as international adoption.

And when Anna played this song for me, speakers loud and notes clear– the message of each and every note resonated with every overwhelming thought I had.

Vienna- Billy Joel

Slow down you crazy child
You’re so ambitious for a juvenile
But then if you’re so smart tell me,
Why are you still so afraid? (mmmmm)

Where’s the fire, what’s the hurry about?
You better cool it off before you burn it out
You got so much to do and only
So many hours in a day (Ay)

But you know that when the truth is told
That you can get what you want
Or you can just get old
You’re gonna kick off before you even get halfway through (Oooh)
When will you realize… Vienna waits for you?

Slow down you’re doing fine
You can’t be everything you want to be before your time
Although it’s so romantic on the borderline tonight (tonight)

Too bad, but it’s the life you lead
You’re so ahead of yourself that you forgot what you need
Though you can see when you’re wrong
You know you can’t always see when you’re right (you’re right)

You got your passion, you got your pride
But don’t you know that only fools are satisfied?
Dream on, but don’t imagine they’ll all come true (Oooh)
When will you realize… Vienna waits for you?

Slow down you crazy child
Take the phone off the hook and disappear for a while
It’s alright, you can afford to lose a day or two (oooh)
When will you realize… Vienna waits for you?

And you know that when the truth is told
That you can get what you want or you can just get old
You’re gonna kick off before you even get halfway through (oooh)
Why don’t you realize… Vienna waits for you?

When will you realize… Vienna waits for you?

we’re not broken, just bent

Every single time this song comes on, I can feel it reaching into my bones.

Every single day I am reminded that my husband and I are struggling with something that is so profoundly life changing and out of our grasp that the only thing we can do is hang on until things fall in place.

Hanging on to one another during this process is so … abstract. We don’t know how. We have been married for 5 years. We have struggled with infertility for 4 years. Infertility is our normal. Disappointment is our normal. Roller coasters of hope are our normal. Grief, dreamless and indecision are our normal.

But we know that we can find a new normal.

We’re not destroyed, we’re just a little damaged. Just a little bent. And we can be fixed.

We have come to the fork in the road of decision and we have chosen a path. We are going to carry every. single. thing that brought us to this path with us. Our friends, my community of infertility support, our family and our son. It sounds like a lot of luggage, right? But we need it all. Because when we get to the end of our road and we are finally a family of four, we need all of those things to make our family feel at home. Each one of these people helped carry us a step along this path and our family belongs to them.

National Infertility Week Awareness is an opportunity to share our story with others so that they might get a glimpse into our journey. So that perhaps one more person realizes that being vocal about this isn’t as scary as it seems. Or even that the person who remains silent on their journey feels comforted by the words here because they echo the thoughts they live with each day.

But even more than that, National Infertility Awareness week is an opportunity for me to be thankful for the friends we have surrounded ourselves with. People we’ve never met,  people I went to high school with and haven’t seen in 10 years, people we see once a year, people we see a handful of times a year and people we see everyday– we love you. You belong to our family. You have helped us grieve. You have helped us live. You have helped us find love. We are forever grateful to you and your support.  Because of you, we can learn to love again. You’ve made it possible and you’ve given us a reason.

Thank You.

who put me in charge?

I did, I suppose. 

The grief is omnipresent and saturating. It stresses relationships & interactions and has changed every part of who I am now and who I will be later.

It just seems like, with that heaviness, I’d be ready to be lighter. To let go a little bit, to unburden myself of sadness, and to move forward with positivity. But I can’t. I’m not ready.

I have to be sad for him. I have to mourn him. All I’ve ever been was sad for him. It’s the closest emotion I have tied to his memory.  If I smile, how will that remind everyone that he existed? 

I am in charge of remembering him. I don’t trust anyone else to remember. Who else will cry for him if I don’t? Who else will imagine holding him while making breakfast while his Dad sings funny songs to him? If I don’t, who will imagine him at his soccer games? Or him sleeping on his Dad’s chest? I don’t trust the rest of the world to not stop remembering him. It is an incredible weight to exist with– but I don’t want to let it go. 

But he has given me things. He has given me a new relationship with my sister. He has shown my husband and I that we are stronger than we ever imagined. He has given me the opportunity, several times over, to see the people that we call friends and how mighty they are in their support when we need something. These things, especially the latter, is something I can not help but be happy about. If we did not experience infertility, pain and loss– we wouldn’t know these things. In an honest moment, I will remind you that these life lessons aren’t worth the cost. But in a second moment, I will say that in the moments of grief, these lessons are what keep us moving forward. 

And moving forward we are. We have had over 500 viewers of our blog. We’ve raised nearly $500 in the last 48 hours towards our goal. We have launched our Facebook page to keep everyone posted on new blog updates, new fundraising goals and opportunities and new milestones in our journey.

Image

We called the agency today. I’ve printed the application. I’ve tucked it neatly in it’s folder. I’ve printed the applications for grants from two non-profits for adoption assistance. 

We’re ready to build our home.

 

numbers

I mentioned in a previous post how I remembered all the numbers. First heartbeat, first beta draw, all the dates. The family making process is largely a numbers game for most of us infertiles. What can we afford, how many times, what are the odds. It’s so far beyond saving for baby. How do we afford baby after he/she is here is nearly an afterthought. Getting to the point where you’ve got a baby takes the front seat in this process.

We were lucky enough to have $15,000 worth of fertility coverage in our insurance policy. Sounds like a lot, right? We spent $14,282.00 of that money on our first cycle. We spent nearly $5,000 on the insurance policy to get us there and another $6,000 on co-pays & hospital bills out-of-pocket. It just feels like the universe should hand you a baby after that. $25,000 and empty-handed is such a slap in the face. $25,000 and a urn and memory box feels like the universe is trying to kill you.

We have decided to no longer pursue biological options for children. We had a 1% chance of losing our son that late in my pregnancy, and we did. We have a 40% chance of pregnancy with our frozen embryo. If we get pregnant, a 40% chance that it will result in a live-birth. And I must have a surgery that enables me to carry a child to term that has an 80% success rate. To an optimist, those numbers sound great. We’ve been on the losing side, though. I can not mentally handle anything less than 100%. Some days I really can’t explain to you how I lived through this ordeal. I can not imagine attempting to mentally survive this twice.

For much of the same reasons, we chose adoption over surrogacy. We have better chances to be Mommy and Daddy here. We want to parent. Biology isn’t a factor. Family is.

Our domestic adoption will cost us $27,000. We have no idea how we’re ever going to pull this off. My husband, the most positive person in the world, believes. And he believes it so much, its contagious.

The outpouring of support we’ve receieved here since launching this blog is insane. We appreciate each and every comment, and read and share. We continue to be amazed by the amazing people we know and are blessed to have in our lives. I hope you all never get tired of the thank yous, because I never stop being grateful.

We will be launching a Facebook page soon that will help everyone follow our journey through the blog, as well as the updates with our fundraising. We currectly have a Give Forward page set-up for donations (link at the top!), but we will soon update you all with other ways you can help!

Our first goal is to reach $2,000. This will allow us to file our application, conduct the home-study and complete an educational course for adoptive parents through our agency.

Thanks for helping us build our family!