Saturday, August 24, 2013

Knowing Our Limits; Even When It Hurts

I am not sure what I was expecting to see when I clicked on the "view adoptable children" link on the adoption websites. Wait. Yes I do. I was thinking that I was going to see lots of tiny fingers, and toes, and toothless smiles.

Instead, what I saw made my heart ache. Most of the children were older, with some sort of disability and many of the children had siblings. One of the website had a family of six... yes, SIX, kids. Their ages ranged from 12yrs- 0yrs old. My heart sank. How can someone, a mother, have six of her own children up for adoption or living in a foster home? What is wrong with her!? I wanted to scream when I saw the image of her six beautiful children. How could she do that to them? What kind of a mother was she. Oh, that's right. She wasn't a mother, she had just given birth.

Seeing those six children was just a reminder that  life can be cruel sometimes. Here we are struggling to start our own family; we have the means to take care of our child, a stable home, a loving marriage, a wonderful family surrounding us. How can one woman have six beautiful children all up for adoption; all wards of the state, and we can't even conceive one; even with fertility treatments, nor can we save those six kids.

Mike and I have talked about adoption a few times. As you can see in the post below; adoption is not cheap. There were a few times that I thought about forgoing treatments, in the hopes of a BFP, and opting for adoption instead. However, the further I looked into adoption, the less I was willing to give up trying for my own child. Adoption, just like treatment, carries no guarantee of a take home baby.

After  scrolling through the websites I was saddened by my response to the children that were  available. I felt disappointed. Not only was adoption so expensive, the only children that were available were either older than Mike and I would have wanted or living with some sort of disability. We knew that while those children are more deserving that ever of an unconditional love, and a family;  we were not willing to put ourselves in that position by choice.

As terrible as that may sound, it is true. Adopting an older child would be difficult for us. At a certain age children are extremely influential and we want to make sure that during those times, we are the ones that are doing the influencing. Mike said he couldn't adopt a child that was old enough to cause me emotional harm with hurtful words; I've gone through far too much for that, he says. We also know that while there is always a chance that the child we conceive may have disabilities, we are not in a state of mind to adopt a child that is in need of extensive medical or emotional help. We can't. And I don't want to try to convince myself that we could.

I am still trying to convince myself that I am not a bad person for being able to completely shut down the option of  adopting one of those children.

I want be a parent; a mom, so badly. But, I don't want to be one that bad. I told my mom that I felt horrible knowing that I was shopping for a baby and that I was sick with grief that I was able to dismiss the children that didn't flatter me or that I didn't fit into my "requirements". What if I was to have a child that had disabilities or that wasn't "cute"?. She reassured me that it would be different if it were my own flesh and blood and that adopting; especially adopting a child with special needs, was not for everyone. She told me it was okay that I was not ready or willing to adopt a child that needed a special kind of love and dedication. It was okay to not want to adopt at all.

I am not sure why some people think adoption is so easy. I have often been told things like: "Just adopt; there are so many children out there that would be blessed to have parents like you", "Become foster parents! You never know how many lives you may influence, and besides, the state will pay you!" or "Make sure you adopt a toddler, that way you can skip the baby stuff and go straight to the easy parts."

I don't want to be foster parents. We have been though so much heartache already and fostering children would probably cause more turmoil and distress than we need. I don't want to be a temporary mom, or permanent babysitter. I want to be a mother. Another reason why foster parenting is not for us is that quite honestly, I hate doing some people favors. I am sure that I sound horrible saying that, and for having that sort of view  but, it is true. I don't like bailing people out and sometimes I think that these biological parents get too much bailing out. They never relinquish their parental rights, or they take years to do it, and their children grow up in and out of families. It kills me that these kids could have a chance at a healthy, stable, family at an early age yet their parents were too selfish or messed up to figure it out, so years and years pass before they are forced to sign over their rights.

Infancy is a huge part of parenthood and mothering. Why would anyone ever suggest that we skip it? Don't get me wrong, I understand that it may have been suggested jokingly and maybe toddlers are easier because they are more independent, but, skip the baby stage? No way. I have been dreaming of the day when I get to wrap my little one up in the quilt that my mom made (yes, she has already made our babies first quilt) and snuggle him or her while gently squeezing them against my chest. I have spent countless nights imagining our baby waking up in the middle of the night, I've imagined what it would be like to see Mike getting up to comfort them.  I've thought about the difficult parts too. I know nothing in life is all roses; all the time but, I've been around enough babies to know that they are always worth it even though they are not always easy! It don't care what anyone says; I would never want to skip the baby stage. And suggesting it is foolish.

Adoption isn't easy. Adoption isn't the answer to our infertility. Adoption isn't going to fill my void. I fear that if anything, adoption would fuel it. Yes, I want to be a mother but, I want to be a mother to my own child; to Mike's child. I want our first born to be a product our DNA. I know that there are thousands, millions, of children that would be blessed to have us as parents, and I know that we would be blessed to be their parents but, when it comes down to it, we have to chose: adoption or an attempt at our own child? There isn't anything we want more in this life than to have our own child. Sadly, in order to do so, we have to spend a lot of money. We can't chose IVF and adoption and I can't live the rest of my life knowing that we didn't try everything we could in order to have our own.

If we get to IVF and it doesn't work then at least we know that we did everything we could. We know that we will go forward living and loving our life no matter where this chapter ends. As I said before, we can live a childfree life just fine; but, it would be great to have a little Findley around to show off share it with.

For many reasons; in many ways

41 comments:

  1. Thank you for being so open and vulnerable. Adoption is a very difficult decision and process that is so commonly offered up as an "easy" solution.

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    1. I hope that no one takes this post the wrong way- I mean, I have a huge amount of respect and admiration for those who parent by choice or not- a child special needs. If faced with it, I know I could- but I just can't choose it.

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  2. It's important to know your boundaries. In the end, if you convinved yourself to do something that you didn't feel you truly wanted in your heart, you would end up suffering an awful lot.

    As someone who feels the call to adopt in my heart, I too have my own boundaries. I know what prenatal exposure I am open to, what age is my limit and what other things we are open to taking on. It's important to be honest with yourself. Don't feel bad for that.

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    1. Thank you for your support! While I can envision us adopting a newborn that came from an okay background- we can't adopt a child past 3 years old, or one with special needs, or one with a very very traumatic past...

      By having so many boundaries... I've noticed adoption proves to be very difficult.

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  3. Hubby and I ruled out adoption for many of the same reasons. There's nothing wrong with establishing boundaries and sticking with them. After all, there are no take-backs when it comes to parenting.

    Oddly enough, even though we ruled out adoption many years ago, I had a dream last night that we adopted a girl... so weird!

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    1. I have had adoption dreams-- sometimes the are great dreams- other times they are nightmares! And you are right- there are no take backs when it comes to parenting!!

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  4. You are by an awful person AT ALL! These are really difficult decisions to make and I think that everyone has different callings, feelings and paths that they must take in their lives- and that's OK. You're strong for thinking so much about all of your options and for hating your feelings here on your blog with us. I can tell you that you're not alone in your feelings on this topic... There are many women who share the same exact thoughts. And those thoughts are OK to have! Xoxo

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    1. Thank you! I almost didn't publish this post for fear of hard feelings. I have to be honest with myself and with Mike... and we have to have boundaries with IF like we do with all things!

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  5. Your honesty is what pulls people towards you, Teresa. I just have such a soft spot in my heart for you. I know for a fact we'd be friends IRL. Thank you, just thank you. For staying true to who you are and being strong enough to share it. <3

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    1. I have been told I'm too honest! But, my blog. My feelings. Right?

      I totally agree that we would be awesome IRL friends! I am so thankful we found one another and to have your continued friendship and support!

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  6. Thank you for an honest post. I think it is essential that you listen to your heart.

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  7. I can relate with some of what you posted on here today. For a while Al and I did consider adoption. I went through the state adoption files and by the time I was done, I was in tears and honestly feeling like a horrible person. But to be fair, I believe the children I saw on there needed and deserved more than what I knew Al and I could give.

    Adoption is not for everyone and I also think that if you do choose adoption, you would feel the connection with the right child that was made for your family.

    I wish you luck in whatever avenue you use to help build your family Teresa, you are a wonderful person and deserve so much goodness in your life.

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    1. That is exactly were we are- those kids need and deserve more than we can give. If we ever did adopt- we would be waiting a while- we want a infant. And I am not willing to spend all of our money to adopt and wait when we could be trying for our own. Thank you for all your support, T! I heart your friendship!

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  8. Thank you for sharing your honest feelings about adoption. I too have these same feelings of guilt and limitations. It was nice to see someone post exactly how I feel.

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    1. I am so glad you stopped by- and that my post was relate-able for you!

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  9. I recently discovered your blog and I have to say that I appreciate your honesty. You have pinpointed how I feel about adoption, foster care and esp. adoption of older children or children with special needs. I fortunately haven't had someone tell me to "just adopt" yet. My decision right now is to try IVF with own eggs, and then IVF with donor eggs. We may consider embryo adoption... And international adoption may be our last resort. My fear is that we would run out of money by then and it may take a long time to even get a match. So much to think about. That's why I try not to think about it and just do it one day at a time. Easier said than done.

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  10. Welcome! I am so glad you found me and that you appreciate my honest ways. I hope that my honesty doesn't offend anyone!

    We are taking things one step at a time but a lot of the times my mind wonders.

    Some one once posted something that said "If you want to know where your heart is; pay attention to where your mind wanders".

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  11. This post rings so true for me as well. It does feel so shitty to articulate that you don't want a child with special needs...but honestly who does? Everybody wants a healthy, un-compromised child and it is devastating to learn at birth or even before birth that the child you are carrying may have complications. When your child is born with or develops disabilities it is life altering. When it is your biological child that you have or had in your belly for 9 months, you deal with it. You deal with the shitty situation you have been delt. You love that child fiercely and roll with the punches for as long as it takes. That's YOUR precious little baby and you will do ANYTHING to protect it and make it's life better.
    To freely and knowingly put yourself in that position after you fork over your life savings...it takes a very passionate, dedicated person who feels it is their "calling". I personally think you would have to be in a very secure financial situation to take that on responsibly...and let me tell you, I am NOT in a secure financial situation.
    It doesn't make it any less shitty to verbalize these feeling out loud. Massive kudos for being BRAVE!!! xoxo

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    1. Thanks! I know that even though our own child may be born "less- than perfect" it would be our own flesh and blood. I pray for all those children I looked at... but I know that they deserve more, more than I am able to give. Thank you for support me!

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  12. My husband works with someone that was adpoted and told him to, "just adopt it is free". The coworker is lucky my husband didn't strangle the individual for being so ignorant. Maybe the adoptive parents of his coworker told the coworker it was free but I'm sure it wasn't because I know of know lawyer that will do their work without wanting a fee.

    Hoping that things will soon go well for you.

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    1. UGH! People are so ignorant. Nothing is free...

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  13. I really appreciate your honest discussion of adoption here. It's been really helpful for me as I sort through some of these thoughts myself. We have also been subjected to the "Just adopt!" comments, and it's infuriating.

    One of my dear friends looked into adoption after infertility/loss, and when she and her husband met with an adoption agent, they were asked to state honestly why they wanted to adopt. After they told their story, the agent told them gently that "adoption is not a cure for infertility." The agent said that adoption is not for couples who are seeking to replace the biological child they couldn't have; it is for people who feel truly called to be adoptive parents.

    For me, that was an eye-opening story. My friend (who was eventually able to conceive and give birth to a daughter but is now struggling with secondary infertility) is one of the few people who I can talk with honestly about my thoughts on adoption because she understands that it's not simply an "alternative" to biological parenting.

    I can relate to so much of what you discussed here. Thank you for sharing your honest opinions on this very emotional and challenging topic.

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    1. I appreciate your comment.

      I also appreciate the truth the adoption agency told your friends. Adoption won't fill THAT void...

      I was scared to post this, and it was written through many tears, but it was something I needed to verbalize.

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  14. I think you showed a lot of courage in considering adoption and though I have never looked through those adoption profiles I can feel my heart sinking just from reading your description. Of course every child should have a loving home including special needs children. At the same time it is not up to infertiles or any parents to save the world or all the children in it, unless they do have a calling to try do so. Mel touches on this in her book when she says "parents are not saviours - they are merely people raising children." I think your point about being drained financially and emotionally by IF is also a good one - older child, foster child or special needs adoption may be simply too much on top of the IF grief. I have a ton of respect for people that do go that route - it takes a lot of courage and optimism and I know an IF veteran ( now in her 60s) who fostered a child who was both older and special needs. Things did not turn out well unfortunately, at least not in the long run. But this woman has so much strength and zest for life despite everything she has lived through, or maybe because of it. I love talking to her because I feel that no matter what happens, life can be worth living.

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    1. It was hard to see those kids. It was hard to have an expectation and then have the hard reality come. Adoption isn't easy. It is a process and it doesn't always end the way we want it to.

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  15. Wow, I can't even imagine. I really admire your honesty here! Thank you for sharing!

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  16. I think this is a wonderful post (here from LFCA). Wonderful because you are so very honest, and because you (or your husband) have raised something that so few people forget. By the time we get to considering adoption, we are also damaged. We are hurt, exhausted, and our emotions are fragile. Not to mention our bank balances may be exhausted. So looking at adoption - especially adopting older children, or children who have special needs - is even more daunting than for those - perhaps hardier, perhaps uninjured - souls who suggest we "just" adopt. And I think that point is very often forgotten.

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    1. Hello! Welcome!

      I am honest. I used to be a really good liar- so I thought. Now, it is often time a little too much truth! ;-)

      People don't understand how hard it is for some us... we can't just start a family... it takes a lot to go through what we go through. Adoption isn't going to make it all better... not for me, at least!

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  17. Like everyone else said, this is a down-to-it honest post. I have felt the guilt so many times, of "Well, there are so many children in foster care... so many special needs children..." I am a firm believer that certain people are called to certain things.

    One of my good (but at times, misguided) fertile friend was chatting online with me when we were at work the other day. I was telling her about the next IVF and how overwhelmed I was feeling. She wrote back and said that she knew I was going to get mad at this, but there are so many children in need of adoption and that it doesn't matter how families are made. It really offended me, like I should stop focusing on myself and think about the children in need. It's crazy how so many people don't have a clue about what adoption really entails. And no one seems to think about the fact that we need to come to the crossroads of accepting the idea of not having a biological child.

    Teresa, you have many options, and none of them are "easy" ones. But you have a wonderful man beside you and you guys will be able to make the decision that's right for you. <3

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    1. It is more than just wanting a baby- it's about wanting our baby, a baby with the one I love... It isn't just about having A baby...

      Thank you for your kind words! I am rooting for you. Always.

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  18. As you can see by all these supportive responses, you are not alone in your thought! Adoption is NOT easy. If we were to adopt, the only way we could remotely afford to do so would be thought the state, but you are almost guaranteed an older child. Not that those children don't need, or deserve, a loving home, but we also aren't in a position of wanting to take on the already ingrained problems that an older child will come with due to the environment they were raised in to that point. I have friends that have adopted from the state, the kids just under 5 years old, and it has turned out to be an incredible experience for them. I am happy for them, but that is not always the case. I've spent hours poori g through the files of children in need. I have spent a lot of time feeling like a horrible person in my decision not to adopt. The bottom line is that I am not 100% sure I could love an adopted child as unconditionally as a mother should and like they deserve, if they were to turn out to have some serious issues. That sounds absolutely horrible and I know it, but I feel like that child needs to go to a home that is readily able to accept that child unconditionally. Ugh. It just sounds bad no matter how I try to word it. Bottom line is, I agree with you totally, and like everyone else here, you are supported and not alone in your thoughts. I greatly admire those that adopt with open arms and are called to that. I think they are amazing people that are inspiring because of their big hearts. I just happen to know its not for us.

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    1. I don't just want to be a mom... I want to be a mom to OUR child. Adoption won't fill the void- and I don't want to ever feel guilty for not wanting to take on a child that is not biologically mine. We have to do what we are comfortable with and I would rather be childless than adopt- honestly.

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  19. Adoption is not for everybody and you shouldn't feel bad for that. Of course, we talked about adoption, but in the end we knew we had to try everything we could for a biological child. I started to think of adoption as the backup plan and that is not the right way to go into something like that. You have to want to do it. It's not fair to you or the child if you are just settling for adoption. Thanks for being so honest. I think many of us have had those same thoughts and it's nice to know we aren't alone.

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    1. Thanks, Jen! I don't want to settle and that is exactly how I feel about it now... I would be settling.

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  20. I truly think it is so difficult for us to be honest with ourselves- let alone putting it out there for everyone else. Its so important to be honest with ourselves and its not easy. I give you so much credit to be strong enough to say no this isnt for me. I completely agree - adopting is not the answer to infertility. Its an option in creating a family- yet- but not the answer. My prayers go out to you!

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  21. I have thought and felt so many of these exact thoughts. I've wondered if it meant I would be a bad parent if I wasn't willing to accept anything just to become a parent. It doesn't. Doesn't make you, or me, or anyone else a bad anything for knowing our limits.

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  22. No need to feel bad about special needs kids. my husband and I have two kids with special needs , after IVF , and it is so hard. Some days we wonder how we can go on. I would not adopt one or wish this life on anybody.

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  23. So refreshingly candid! We took adoption off the table too for many of the same reasons you discuss here, not to mention the level of advocacy behind birth mothers and how it influences the power dynamic of the whole process in which I feel we would be subjected to highly intrusive nosing about in our home, finances, religious beliefs, medical history, you name it and, basically, begging for a baby that she has the right to reclaim after adoptive parents have already taken baby home and started to bond. No thanks. Donor egg still lingers as a the next potential go-to step because we could avoid many of these "limitations." But you're right about the money and its finite supply. I really appreciate you having the courage to voice this point of view.

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  24. Wonderful, honest post. I share your sentiments precisely. I worked several years in Child Protection so I can see it from a unique angle, too. When people asked, "would you adopt?", I often struggled for an honest answer because seeing the things I saw, the failed adoptions, the attachment and behvioural issues, etc., it scared me away from adopting. It's great that you recognise your limits and how challenging adoption can be...a lot of people just don't realize.

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