Last night I fell asleep on the couch during the 10 o'clock news. It happens, though not often.
As he usually does on these occasions, MM woke me up to go in to bed . It was a little before midnight, and when he woke me, he oh-so-casually said "Oh, by the way. . . . I was thinking about it in the shower tonight, and I do think I could love a child we adopted. I think nurture is stronger than nature. So maybe we should look into that before going ahead with this donor egg thing."
I have spent the last year and a half exhaustively researching various treatment options--everything from acupuncture and TCM to supplements to Clomid to IUIs to donor egg IVF--but never once have I looked into adoption. Yes, it might seem a logical choice for us in the minds of many, and I can't even count the number of times it has been suggested to me since we have been dealing with IF. I have never been particularly opposed to it--in fact, I used to think I would adopt alone after age 40 in the event I never married--though I will admit, I'd have preferred to have a child of our own, the "natural" way. . . . a ship that sailed some time ago.
But I've never looked into adoption because, prior to last night, MM has been wholly opposed to it and refused to consider it as a viable alternative way to become parents. (Well, recently he did say he might be willing to "learn more about it" if our DE IVF cycle next summer failed.) I wrote about MM's reasons for not wanting to adopt at length here, and up until last night, I believed that these were still his feelings.
MM had previously gone so far as to say that he didn't think he could love an adopted child in the way he would love his "own flesh and blood." I never believed that he was right about that--everything I have heard and read from parents who have adopted tells me that the feelings you have for your child are just as strong, no matter what your path to parenthood--but I also never thought it was fair to a child to take the chance that perhaps he was right and I was wrong.
We talked a little bit about the various ways to adopt, though I will admit, in addition to my lack of knowledge (all I know about adoption I've either picked up in the course of living life, in my work as a CASA, or have learned from reading blogs of women in the ALI community who have adopted), I was not at my most coherent after being awakened from sleep. MM shocked me by saying he might even consider foster care adoption, an option which he had previously dismissed out of hand as "buying into someone else's problems." (Though to clarify, he is still only interested in adopting an infant, only a child under a year old.)
Ironically, at my last counseling session, the counselor (who I will call NC) asked me what my reservations were about pursuing DE IVF. (We were talking about this because we had agreed that it seems to be a very logical choice to strongly consider, and one of my stated goals of therapy is to get to a place where I could wholeheartedly embrace this option.) Aside from the most obvious reservation--the HUGE price tag--another reservation I talked about is that, to me, there seems to be something inherently selfish about our choosing to go this route. I mean, what is so great about MM's genes that he/we feel they must be passed on to a new generation? (I know my in-laws don't care about this because it has been discussed.) I love my husband, but there is nothing particularly exceptional about him or his family that is genetically inherited, and I know they would agree with this statement.
Also, I personally don't feel any burning desire to experience pregnancy or childbirth; I know some women feel this urge, and it is a natural one, but I do not. The only real appeal of them for me of carrying my own child is that it would afford me the ability to have complete control over the child's pre-birth environment and to have my child with me from day one (and before). And I have no doubt whatsoever that I could love a child who does not share my genetics. . . . else I wouldn't even consider DE.
[To those who are taking the DE route, please don't misunderstand: I'm not saying I think it is a selfish choice per se to do DE. I'm saying that it seems like a selfish choice for ME, for US. Everyone must choose her own path and no doubt has valid reasons for her choice.]
MM hasn't opened his mind to every possible type of adoption. For example, he still will only consider adopting a white infant, vs. a child of another race or an older child. So that rules out international adoption and many children in the foster care system. He was perplexed and confused by the idea of embryo adoption. Also, he has a lot of reservations about the idea of open adoption, particularly an open adoption in which there would be regular face-to-face contact between the birth mother/parents and us. An only child raised by two only children, MM is more private and insular than most about his family life, and to him, open adoption seems at odds with that.
There is a lot to consider, and ultimately I told him that I just didn't feel that we have the facts necessary to make an informed decision about this. So we agreed to seek out a seminar or informational meeting in our area which we can attend to learn more. (And knowing me, I will now be researching adoption online in the same way I once researched treatment options.)
I am sure that many of you reading this post know far more than I about adoption, so educate me. Where do I begin to inform myself about this? And if anyone lives in the Phoenix area and wants to recommend an agency, I'd appreciate it.
*I always enjoy sports analogies, and given that my husband and I are both baseball fans and the World Series is fast approaching, today's post title seemed appropriate.