Monday, November 15, 2010

Where are you, Juno?

A few of you who commented on my last point were interested to know why we have decided against adoption.  Given the wonderful support I've gotten through this blog and the fact that some of you may be facing similar decisions, I thought it only fair to share.

I know that I write this post at the risk of offending someone.  Please know, that is not my intent.  I in no way want to indicate that the decision we have made is the right one for everyone.  (It might not have even been the right decision for us, given different circumstances.)  As with all choices about family-building, this decision is personal to us and reflects our deciding what will work for us. . . . not what is the "right" thing for anyone else to do.  So I ask that you bear that in mind as you read my/our thoughts.

Even before attending the information seminar on adoption last Saturday, I had done quite a bit of research on the topic.  I had also posed a question to women on a forum I visit for parents via DE about how they decided to go that route instead of adoption, and I got some very logical, well-thought-out answers.  Some of the reasons women chose DE included the following:
  • At least one parent is genetically related to the child
  • Complete control over the intrauterine environment 
  • Timing of when you get a baby is (somewhat) more within your control, assuming DE IVF works, of course
  • Cheaper than adoption if you have insurance which covers IVF (we don't)
  • Really wanted to experience a pregnancy (I don't need this experience)
  • Didn't qualify to adopt due to age or other issues (does not apply to us)
As you can see by my comments in parentheses, only the first three of these reasons resonated with me/us.  I'll discuss them more later.

At the information seminar we attended, we learned a few things.  The private adoption attorney who spoke focused a lot on "marketing" and how this leads to shorter wait times.  Other than that, he spent a lot of time talking about the adoption of Indian (Native American) children and its complications and difficulties finding birth fathers and the problems which can arise from that.

The next presenter was from a local agency.  The agency representative told us quite a few interesting things:

  • 9 out of 10 of the birth mothers she deals with are "functionally illiterate," so don't bother writing a bunch of stuff in your profile, just make sure you include a lot of pretty pictures
  • many of her birth mothers are homeless, in jail, mentally ill, use drugs, or some combination
  • very few of her birth mothers are young women/girls who are "just" having an accidental pregnancy, and the teenaged birth moms she has are usually from very dysfunctional backgrounds
  • most of her birth moms are looking for a home where the wife is a SAHM and the couple shares her interests (she used NASCAR as an example)
  • in the past year, she has placed about 20 babies and had 2 birth moms change their minds after a match
  • at her agency, if the birth mom changes her mind after a match has been made, you don't get that money (half the agency fee, about $11K) back
  • when asked about wait times, she volunteered the information that she had one family who had been waiting over a year for a "healthy Caucasian girl" and said that she "couldn't remember" the last time she placed a full Caucasian child with a family
I confess that I was already turned off by the idea of "marketing" myself to birth mothers but kept an open mind into the second segment.  (I understand that marketing is a necessary part of the process, but it just doesn't sit well with me, for a variety of reasons.)  As I listened to this social worker's remarks, I started thinking to myself "If I am going to adopt a child born of a mentally ill, drug-addicted mother and unknown father, why not just adopt through foster care?"
There was a break after the agency representative, and MM and I then left because the next segment was about international adoption, something we aren't considering at all.  (We only want a newborn, and MM will not consider interracial adoption.)

[MM's discomfort with interracial adoption stems from his desire for privacy.  He does not want to adopt a child where, by his/her appearance alone, it will be obvious to any casual observer for the rest of our lives that the child is adopted.  I certainly think there is more than one way to look at this issue, and while I do not share his view and would willingly adopt a child of another race. . . . I understand his point and must respect his opinion.]

I think the take-home lesson for us was that there aren't many Junos out there looking to place a baby.  

On the drive home, we agreed that we were both totally off the idea of adoption for a few reasons.  MM first observed that when the agency representative talked about the family waiting over a year for a "healthy Caucasian girl" in a way which implied they were being unreasonable, that raised a red flag for him since "that's the kind of baby we want."  (We are flexible about gender, but it's true that we want to adopt a healthy Caucasian newborn.)  One of MM's stated reasons for agreeing to consider adoption was that we could "give a home to a child who needs one."  Hearing these two presentations made him realize that there are couples lined up twenty deep to adopt healthy Caucasian newborns, so we aren't really performing a charitable act if we adopt one.

We began to realize that, though we might get lucky and be picked early by a birth mother, more likely than not, we would be in for a long wait for the type of baby we hope to adopt.  Given that I intend to continue working outside the home if/when we have a child and other variables involved, it is possible that we would not get picked at all.  It is possible that we could have a failed match.

We then discussed the possibility of foster-to-adopt, since that popped into my mind during the second presentation.  MM feels he could not do this due to the risk of the baby being removed from our care and returned to the parents or another family member after living with us for months or years.  He feels it would be "too heartbreaking."  (Again, we disagree but I respect his position.)

So how we arrived at a decision. . . . . One thing you need to know is that my most dominant feeling about TTC at this point is that I want to be done.  Done "trying," that is.  I have reached a point where I honestly feel I can be content with ending our efforts, whether the end result is parenthood or not.  (My preferred outcome would still be to have a child of our own, but I do truly believe that I could learn to be OK with childlessness also.)

In this alone, I may well be in a different place than many of you reading.  I no longer feel that I will do "anything" just to be a parent.  Over two-and-a-half years of trying, with nothing to show for our efforts, has sucked a lot of joy out of my otherwise-very-happy life, and I am tired of it.

Given where I'm at emotionally, and the fact that I am already much older than I'd ever planned to be as a first-time mom, adoption doesn't seem like the better choice to us.  Unless we got extremely lucky with adoption, we would likely have a long wait ahead of us with basically no control over how long that wait would be.  Though I certainly don't judge others' choice to do so, I don't wait to be starting out as a parent at 43 or 44.

I realize that there are no guarantees that a DE cycle will work, but the success rate of 80% is encouraging.  Assuming it worked on the first try, we would be parents in the spring of 2012, around my 41st birthday.  Even if we had to do subsequent FETs, we wouldn't have to wait long to start them.  So unless the "worst case scenario" occurred and I didn't get pregnant from either our fresh DE cycle or FETs from embryos from that cycle, DE IVF would likely mean a baby for us much sooner.

Also, I confess that the ability to have complete control over the intrauterine environment of our child appeals to the nurse and control freak in me.  I think the intrauterine environment is so important, and I know that if we adopted, I would worry not only that the birth mother used drugs, alcohol or tobacco but also about lesser things like whether she ate nothing but processed foods and soda.  (These concerns wouldn't stop me from going that route if it seemed to be the right choice, but I would still have those thoughts, I know.)

If I were even five years younger, I think we would go ahead with adoption.  Even if we had to wait 3-5 years for the right situation to come along, that would be doable.  But given my age, the length of time we've already been trying, and the length of time we'd probably have to wait. . . . it doesn't feel like the right choice to us.

So we are going to go ahead with our single DE IVF cycle next summer.  We are going to take advantage of a type of "shared risk" program offered by our chosen clinic, where we pay a single flat fee for the fresh cycle and all FETs from embryos generated during that cycle.  At then end, if we don't have a live birth, we would get a refund of a significant portion of what we spent (though we would still be out of pocket for meds, the donor's fee and some other miscellaneous expenses).

I hope by putting this into writing I've done a decent job of explaining our reasoning.  If you are facing a similar choice, you might arrive at the opposite decision for perfectly reasonable and rational reasons. . . . . if only a few variables were different for us, we might have arrived at a different decision.

One of many things to hate about infertility: there are seldom many "right" answers.

Friday, November 12, 2010


Wow, it's been ten days since I posted!  It's not that I don't have anything to write about; it's just that I don't have much opportunity to write.  After spending the majority of my days working at the computer, I'm not in much of a mood to log on again once I get home.  The fact that it is now getting dark before I even leave the office doesn't help.

For a quick update, I'm going to use bullet points.  Each of the topics here deserves its own full post. . . . maybe some day soon.

  • MM and I attended the adoption seminar and, to greatly abbreviate, now that we've learned more, we have decided adoption is not for us, but for completely different reasons than he had before.
  • In light of our decision that adoption is not for us, and our desire not to remain childless, we have agreed to go ahead with DE IVF.  (I have been leaning this way for a while, but we have now agreed.)  Plans are being made for a cycle sometime between May and August 2011.
  • I had my fourth counseling session last Sunday, and NC and I mutually agreed that I am not in need of more sessions at present.  My stated goal in starting therapy was for me to accept that I would not have a genetic child of my own so that I could move forward with DE IVF.  Though I'm sure I will still have moments of sadness, I feel I have accomplished this goal.  I'm glad I did this; even though I only had a few sessions, I think it really helped me.
  • Three of my wonderful regular readers (whose blogs I read as well) are pregnant!  One after her first IVF cycle, one after a DE FET, and one after a donor embryo cycle.  I'm very excited for them! 
  • Two other bloggers I read are in the 2WW, one for her first DE cycle, one for a DE FET.  I'm rooting for you!
  • A close friend of mine (who is not infertile) told me last Saturday that she is pregnant with #2.  (Her 21-month-old son is my godson.)  I felt a twinge of "why not me?", but for the first time in a LONG time, my happiness for her completely outweighed my negative feelings.  And she's fertile!  I think that's progress.
  • I am getting adjusted to my new job and slowly learning where everything is and getting cases assigned to me.  No problems so far.
That's me in a nutshell!  I have a busy weekend planned, so I don't know when I'll post again.  Know that I am reading all my regular blogs on my BlackBerry at intervals during the day; I'm just not commenting much because it's too hard to type on the handheld.

EDITED TO ADD:  Though we have agreed to go ahead with DE, for some reason, MM still thinks we could somehow miraculously conceive on our own.  It's led to some disagreements, as I am THROUGH with OPKs, checking cervical mucus/position, or even keeping track of what CD I am on.  Yes, I know the RE said there is a 5% chance of our conceiving on our own and that 5% is not zero. . . . . but logic tells me that after 33 or 34 unsuccessful cycles, all of which had perfectly timed intercourse, it ain't gonna happen.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


MM and I had a wonderful weekend at Disneyland and California Adventure!  We rode all the rides we'd hoped to and, aside from one bad experience (outside the parks) when we first arrived in Anaheim, it was a very relaxing weekend.

I started my new job yesterday and so far, so good.  It's too soon to say whether I am going to like the work, but people have been friendly and nice, and my office has a great view!

It seems that I am going to be blogging less--and commenting less on blogs--though, because there is a company-wide policy prohibiting blogging on work time or on work computers.  (I don't know about the rest of you, but I used to write my blog entries at work more often than not.  Spending much of my days on the computer, rarely am I on the computer in the evenings.)  I'm sure if I have a burning desire to write about something I can sign on in the evening and do it, but I know that I am less likely to get on the computer then than during the day.

I've often talked about cutting back on my time on the computer, and this job is going to force me to do it.  (In addition to blocking blogger, their system also blocks Fac.ebo.ok and my personal email accounts.)  So if I haven't commented on your blog for a while, rest assured that I am still reading and haven't forgotten you.

In terms of TTC-related news, there is none.  AF arrived before we left for California, and I couldn't even say for sure what cycle day I am on currently.  We are still signed up to attend that adoption informational seminar on Saturday, and I have a counseling session on Sunday.  So that's where I'm at.

One surprising fact about our trip: I found that I wasn't at all bothered by all the small children, babies and pregnant women we saw.  I'm not sure why this is, as these are sights which historically have bothered me.  I did find myself thinking of my nephew a lot (as in "Oh, wow, Rowan would LOVE this!") and, at times--I'm not gonna lie--feeling glad that I only had myself (and my husband) to worry about.