Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Deciding to Adopt

Back in October, Todd met a young woman who was pregnant with a baby girl due December 17Th...he and I had talked a lot about adoption in the past and this seemed like turned out to be our first failed adoption. Alicia couldn't handle the baby living so close...we understood but it got us talking about adoption again. It opened a door, and we decided to do some research. Shortly after that we found out that I had a problem with my thyroid resulting in my thyroid being removed. Hypothyroidism raises the risk of miscarriage, still birth (and if you make it past those) mental retardation. We aren't really willing to take those kinds of chances so we decided we would adopt. We had always wanted a girl and had always been blessed with boys so we decided we wanted a girl. I did the research and to break it down there are three categories of adoption.


The first is Domestic. Domestic is where a couple makes up a life book, picks an agency or agencies and after completing their home study waits for a birth mom to pick them to be the parents of her child. The adoptive parents pay for their lawyer, her lawyer, her hospital bills, and lost wages. At the end of all of this, if she keeps the baby, the parents go back on the waiting list. Now this is a good option for people who need the newborn experience and are willing to wait/pay for it...worth every moment and every penny! But for us it wasn't the best option, Lane's medical bills are extensive and I know in my heart that there are enough homes for all children placed for domestic adoption...people are competing for those babies...and they should, but for us, it just didn't feel right.

Then there is International. International adoption is when the couple chooses the country they want to adopt from, goes through the home study process, jumps through some hoops, gets the dossier, and waits to be matched. At any time the country of choice can (and has been known to) close all adoptions from the country for an unknown period of time, no matter where you are in the process. I'm not willing to take that chance, and besides, we have children in our own country...our own backyard in need of good loving these are the children I will concentrate on.

Last is Foster to Adopt. This is probably the least traveled path. There are classes to take, and a home study to complete, and hoops to jump through, but... These are the children who have been abused or neglected in some way to the point that they have been permanently removed from their home and their parents' rights have been terminated. These children are in some way screwed up. They are drug exposed, or abused or left for hours unattended, unloved. Their Mommies, Daddies and family have in some form failed them. We rip them from their home and place them with strangers, people they don't know, people who are relentlessly smiling at them. They are told to trust these people...they have never trusted so to trust is a foreign concept for them. They are the children someone has attempted to ruin. They have never been loved, in a consistent, healthy way. And someday, one of these children will be my child. I don't expect this to be easy or pleasant, I expect bumps in the road, I expect this child to have emotional baggage that I can't imagine carrying. But I will unconditionally love this child. She will be creative and passionate and will march to her own drum, She will hate me sometimes, but will underneath know that she is loved and safe, because I don't ever plan on letting her forget that. She is worth the effort, all children are. She is worth the time and the hoops, she's worth fighting for. She's worth advocating for, the tears I have and will shed for her, the longing, the patience, the baggage, the money, the heartache. She's worth my time, my efforts and my love.
My family has never once said to me 'this is too much' they have supported me from day one, they have said that this is the right route for us. And they support us. They have asked for updates, and have been excited with us. They have helped us get ready and learned a lot about adoption. I thank them because so many families aren't as supportive, other adoptive parents face tension, and misunderstandings. People ask them why they would want someone else's problems, why they don't just have a baby (even those facing infertility). This isn't an infertility issue for us, so I expected to face people who say to just have our own. But it's not about that. It's about that little girl, (I will have a daughter), it's about loving someone, you can't have too much love. It's not possible. I had the pregnancy experience, and I appreciate that I was able to connect to three other human beings in a way that only pregnancy can allow, I've experienced a loss and a grief that is unimaginable to most, and now I'm ready to experience adding to my family in an unconventional way. I will have a different experience with Baby Girl, I will have different memories, and whether her bio-family is around or not, no matter the situation, they will love her. We all do.