Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Deciding to Adopt

Making the decision to adopt can be a decision that takes considerable time. Some people know that they want to be an adoptive parent from the outset whilst others come to adoption after experiencing infertility.  One of the hardest things about making the decision to adopt as part of a couple is actually both reaching that decision. For us it wasn't a decision that we reached a the same time. I think it's fair to say that I reached the place emotionally where I knew adoption was something I wanted to consider about a year before Daddy. When we first started discussing it his reservations were too great for him to be able to consider it as a possibility. Obvious things like being unsure whether he would be able to love a child that carried someone elses genes but less obvious concerns like being rejected in favour of a birth parent in future years and the intrusiveness of the adoption process were concerns that he needed time to process.

Whilst he was processing, I had a very tough year emotionally, if I'm honest. I had a lot of dark thoughts about my future and our future as a couple. I knew that being a parent was something that I absolutely had to do. I imagined waking up on my 60th birthday knowing I hadn't been able to be a mother and I knew that it wasn't something I could willingly accept.  I spent many hours talking to some very close friends about my feelings. They were incredibly patient, allowing me to go over and over the same ground time and time again. What would I do if my husband decided that adoption wasn't a journey he could walk with me? Would I stay in my marriage or would I leave and seek to adopt alone?  I knew I couldn't force him to make a decision and I knew it wouldn't be fair to bring a child into our family if he wasn't 100% on board. I tried to give him some space. That was very hard.

During this time we weren't inactive on the fertility front. We we still trying to work out if there was a medical protocol that might enable me to maintain a pregnancy but our hearts weren't really in it at that point.  The pain of failure was getting too much to bear.  I had stopped getting pregnant naturally by this point so we tried an IVF and FET. I conceived with both treatments but miscarried both pregnancies. We were at 10 miscarriages by that point. Enough was enough. 

We talked. We talked some more. We talked again and again.  We went over and over our concerns about being adoptive parents and the adoption process. We were both nervous about the process. I have a lot of baggage from my past and I was was concerned that would go against us.  I knew I could love a child that I hadn't given birth to because there were children in my life already that I was close to. Could my husband?  How would we cope if our child rejected us in the future after all we'd been through? How could I reassure him that it would be OK? There are no guarantees at all. Despite all this I wanted to go ahead. I felt sad. I felt angry. I felt anxious. I felt so confused. My poor friends had to listen to all my frustrations which must have been difficult.  I spent time talking with an old school friend who was an adoptive parent and met up with her group of adoptive parents. I met all their children. They were all wonderful children. I took my tales home to my husband. I showed him pictures of the children.  I said I couldn't give him any guarantees.

Eventually in September 2008 he said he felt he could go ahead with the adoption process. We agreed we would take it a step at a time and withdraw if we felt uncomfortable or that it wasn't for us.  We were finally ready to phone our local authority and move ahead. 

After all that, when I did phone the adoption team at our local authority, we had to wait until a year had passed from our last a miscarriage before we could proceed.  There then followed another frustrating wait. 

But we got there in the end. That's all that matters. Interestingly, making the to adopt again was easier in some ways but we are so much more aware of all the issues involved that I have had more concerns than Daddy.






17 comments:

  1. Did the LA say why you had to wait a year from your last miscarriage? I heard 6 months mentioned alongside infertility counseling. Thanks for the honesty though - it really helps. We just found out yesterday that our chances of conception are so low that the fertility clinic won't even consider treatment as there's no point. We're gonna get signed up on the counseling but a year's a long time to wait.

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    1. It seems to depend on your LA from what I can see. Some are ok with 6 months and others insist on a year. I don't think people are used to couples like me and my husband. We'd been 15 years experiencing miscarriages and had spent the last 5 years of that journey moving emotionally on and grieving. We were ready to move forwards with adoption once that decision had been made but had to wait. I can understand why they have that rule to be honest but felt frustrated because we didn't really fit into the normal box. Still, we wouldn't have Katie if we'd gone ahead at that time and things have a habit of working out how they are supposed to.

      Have you been told anything definitive by your LA?

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    2. We haven't, though at the information evening, they seemed to allude to 6 months. I'm thinking of going a borough over, as they seem to be advertising on the back of buses in our area for adopters for their cared-for children. I'll give them a ring, I think, and ask. My friends are trying to deal with our LA and are struggling to get anything out of them at all, which is a shame.

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    3. Yes there can be quite a delay in waiting for information. I hope your friends hear something soon. Yes we found out that our neighbouring LA were processing applications more quickly than ours.

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  2. I think hubby and I come into the first group, we both decided that we wanted to adopt whether we could or could not (as it is) get pregnant naturally...
    It's always interesting to see others journey to the decision of adopting

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    1. Yes it is interesting to hear others stories. We are a harder group to find out our stories for the most part. We're not always an easy group to identify. Pregnant ladies bond over their labour stories and I guess we bond over our infertility and adoption stories. I wanted to share our story of the decision because I know lots of people go through the issue of one person wanting to adopt and the other not wanting to.

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  3. I was this close to considering adoption when finally my final attempt at IVF worked. Like you, the ultimate goal was to be a mummy and how I achieved that was secondary.

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    1. I think it all works out exactly as it's supposed to. It's a funny old thing, this game called life. I hope someone explains it all to me one day!! I am still delighted every day that I am a mum. I have my moments of needing my peace and quiet and wanting a day to sit and read quietly (not like that ever happens!) but the trade off is worth it. Even on the tough days.

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  4. Hubby and I came to the decision to adopt because all our IVF/FET had ended and there was no more chance (outside of a literal miracle) of us having a birth child. We had to wait a year at the end of the IVF/FET. I had no idea at that time how complicated the adoption process was but I think a lot of that was to do with the constant comments of "you can always adopt" which always gave us the impression it was an easy thing to do and that once the decision was made to become adopters we used to be under the impression that it was a foregone conclusion that we would end up being approved for it.

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    1. You're right. There is either the impression of "you can always adopt" and the reality of how long the system takes. I was terrified we wouldn't get approved.

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  5. You are so brave, I really admire your honesty in your blogs. We had one process of IVF & ICSI and it didn't work. We were, and still are, eligible for a second 'round' but decided against it because our chance of conceiving with IVF & ICSI was 0%-5% and we didn't want to go through the process for such a low chance. Adoption was always on the cards for us whether we were successful in our IVF or not, we've just found ourselves in the road a lot sooner than we expected. I am "glad" to hear that there are other people who worry about the future too, like I do, about your children rejecting you in the future because I worry about that now & we're not even at panel date yet! I'm sure we'll worry about many more things but, my goodness, it's hard! Your blog really helps me to realise I'm not being 'silly' when I worry about things and that all my worries are 'normal' and there's nothing wrong. Thank you for the great writing and honesty. It really does help xx @adoption12

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    1. Hi there and thanks for your post. There are so many thoughts and feelings that we all have about adoption and generally about being a parent. It's funny, we worry about being abandoned by our children and I'm sure they worry about the same - probably with far more reason than we do. It was reading what you said above that suddenly made me realise that. I do worry about Katie choosing to not be a part of my life in the future but I've realised that one day I will leave her. I will die and I hope that I will have prepared her enough to live a full and happy and secure and emotionally stable life. That will be my real legacy. If I can do that then I will die happy. It also makes me realise how much fear and anxiety there is for everyone involved in adoption but I choose to focus on the here and now and what we can enjoy and learn in the present and try not to worry overly about the future. I have limited control over that bit (which bugs the heck out of me!! LOL) x

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  6. You're so right, I suppose that every parent worries about their child not being a part of their life later as well but it's the added layer (birth parents) for adopters that is the worry for us. But any child can choose, as an adult, to go off and never come back (or rarely) so it's so true what you say, that you can only arm them with everything you have taught them to live their lives to the full and be happy and confident in who they are. I find it quite difficult not to worry but I'm learning and I bet, once we've adopted, that we'll be far too busy being parents to actually think about these other, future unknowns. And I'm like you, annoys the heck out of me not to have that control over future events! Lol :-D
    Thanks for the fantastic reply....you really are very good! :) I think you should write a book! Xxx @adoption12

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    1. I think you're right that not having time to think about things is what happens when you have children. I'm certainly not as bad as I used to be. I've not had contact with most of my birth family for 20 years and I'm not even adopted so I know it can happen. I also know why it happened for me and hope that I can at least prevent that happening in the same way with my children. Life is a mysterious journey that I hope someone will explain to me one day!! xx

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  7. I know this post is from a year ago, but I've been reading your blog from start to finish (well, still a whole year to read until I'm finished!) and this has hit home.
    I'm actually not in the journey to adoption yet. Not even close. I haven't even tried for kids yet, my partner doesn't seem ready yet (but my body will soon hit that dreadful age when all stats dip down, so I'm hoping he'll come around soon). Well, the first kid is a whole emotional story on its own. Hopefully things will be biologically OK (my mum had 4 miscarriages before having me, so I'm a bit scared) and I'll be able to have a child.
    But I've always thought I'd birth one and adopt another. I have cousins who are adopted (overseas adoption) and I'd love to grow my family in this way.
    Now, I explained this to my partner a long time ago. And he said he would be happy with this (no 'I wouldn't love a child who wasn't genetically mine'). Reading through your blog, I realise that it's very likely he'll back down on his views. It just sounds exactly the kind of thing that he would hate: probing into his life (even though he hasn't got anything to hide), horror stories about what may go wrong, lots of bureaucracy... I'd be more than willing to go through all of it, but him...
    I'm afraid that when the time comes, I won't be able to get him on board :( And then what. Then I'll have to give up on my wishes but most importantly, a child out there would have lost a chance. Would I be able to forgive him for that?

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    1. It must be so hard to be where you are at the moment. I remember how difficult it was when I was in that place. To know that you want certain things in life that your partner may not can take you to places emotionally that you don't want to be. I never thought I'd have to consider leaving my husband if he didn't want children but I knew I had to be a mother. Thankfully we did resolve things. I do think it helped him meeting other dads with adopted children and making the scenario real in his mind.

      Regarding being ready for children, I don't think you ever actually are. I've realised there is no right time. There is always the practicalities of having a bigger house or more money etc but emotionally I don't think there is. As long as you can accept that life will never be the same again, then you're ready. Children take everything you have in you and more, and adopted children often even more. I didn't realise how much this would challenge the relationship I have with my husband, but it did and it does, especially when I'm tired or the children are being hard work and I want to go to a spa (for a very long time). I hope that you and your partner are able to find a middle ground where you can move forward together. I hope you never have to answer the last question you pose, I really do, because I know that that is a tough place to be in. Wishing you lots of luck and hoping that everything works out just as it is supposed to do for you both xxx

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    2. :)

      Thanks

      Life will never be the same again... I'm ready for that :)

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