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Why I Want to Adopt

June 19, 2010

Do not attempt to adjust your computer screen. You are reading this right.

I did not realize how much training for a 10k distracted me from my grief, until I stopped running. I ran the 10k race on Memorial Day and didn’t go running again for another 10 days. In those 10 days, a new wave of grief emerged.  Four days later, I become unglued on an emotional meltdown so disorienting, I took a sick day from work. I had dinner on a pint of chocolate ice cream (dairy free, of course) and a chocolate bar. So yes, to answer Mrs. LC’s question, I do eat lots of sugary things with chocolate in them as a way to try to soothe my pain.

Then on the day of Magic and I’s wedding anniversary, instead of celebrating five years of marriage, I grieved the five years I spent trying to have a child with him. I saw my first RE just two months after we got married. I grieved the loss of having a daughter who would look like a combination of the two of us. Just when I thought I was really over my genes, I’ve grieving it all over again.

I think I’m beginning to get used to this pattern. Just when I think the grief is resolved, it hits me again, when I’m least expecting it. Just when I thought I was over believing in miracle pregnancies, here I am, believing it might just happen for me…again. Denial. As Magic says, it’s his favorite river. Apparently, I’m fond of this river too. Sigh.

I told myself that after the BFN of the last IVF with my own eggs, I would give myself 6 months to grieve and not think about anything baby-making related. While the weight-loss regime and 10k training served as distractions, I admit that I was not very good at not thinking about my next scheme about having a child. I thought about it a lot.

Now, it’s six months post-BFN and I have arrived at a place I really didn’t think I would be. I have always thought about adoption. When I realized what IVF was all about 5 or 6 years ago, I would have rather adopted, but Magic was adamantly against it. Now, adopting seems so right for me for many reasons. Let me list them here:

1. Genes do not make a family. Yes, it’s kind of a nice perk, but I can’t say that genes have made my family particularly close. As a stepmom, I’ve been in training for years to love children that aren’t “mine”, at least not in the genetic sense. I know I can love children that are not genetically related to me.

2. Pregnancy is a bad idea for me. As much as my body wants to be pregnant and tells me it wants to be pregnant, my brain knows it’s a really bad idea. Part of what unglued me a week ago was reading a tragic story of a local woman who most likely has post-partum depression/psychosis and killed her 6 month old son. I could see myself in this woman. I knew it could have been me. Just the short time I was pregnant with the prenatal depression and anxiety I experienced is enough for me to know that I would have been the post-partum train wreck. The other thing that triggered me about this woman’s tragic story is that I believe it could have been possible that my mother tried to smother when I was an infant. This never even occurred to me until I was pregnant myself, and I started having unexpected vivid flashbacks of my young childhood. Memories that are very difficult to access. I’ll never know if this suspicion I have is correct, because I think that even if it did happen, it’s not something my mother remembers or will ever acknowledge. This isn’t just the run-of-the-mill trying to dig up some trauma to blame my parents on. I had a recurring nightmare as a kid of being smothered. It was a very abstract dream, so it took me a very long time to make this connection (42 years, to be exact). It’s either one of two things: 1) birth trauma, possibly from being born breech, or 2) someone tried to smother me at a very young age. Long story short, pregnancy = mental illness for me. Not something I want to try at home ever again.

3. Cost. Getting practical here, donor eggs is going to cost $40k minimum. I don’t have that kind of money. Nor, do I want to gamble that much money on something that has the chance of not working. Which leads me to…

4. IVF sucks. I think I can safely say that I’ve been traumatized by IVF. I don’t think I could go through another IVF cycle without some guarantees, which isn’t going to happen. My body cringes when I think about going through it again. I don’t particularly like that putting one embryo back doesn’t guarantee that you end up with one child. I don’t like that wildly out of control whoops-your-embryo-split kind of surprise. You can have too much of a good thing. I could suck it up and go through that all again, but it brings me back to #2, and with the artificial hormones, that makes prenatal depression and anxiety all the more likely.

5. Human beings are hard on the planet. This is a big one for me. Everyday, I see how we are poisoning our world. I think of that big oil slick in the Gulf, and I get sick at the idea of creating another human being who is going to be using up lots and lots of resources. I work in the environmental field, and it breaks my heart to see natural areas being bulldozed for housing developments. I read stories of floating islands of plastic in our oceans. Climate change is here, and it is undoubtedly from the amount of fossil fuels we are burning at an astronomical rate. Being in the environmental field, climate change and how to manage for it is a huge unknown topic that is looming large in the scientific and applied sciences right now. There will always be children to adopt. I feel better making a difference in the world through adoption rather than adding to the world population crisis.

6. I want to be able to ask for one girl and get one girl. I know this sounds picky, but we really want just one child and we want that child to be a girl. I know several people who have adopted and have been able to ask for the particular gender of the baby they wanted. They may have had to wait a little longer, but in the end, they did get what they wanted. If you’ve been following my story for a while, you’ll know why it’s so important for us to have one girl.

7. I like the idea of open adoption. I think this can be very healing for all involved. I think because of where I am at now in life, I can have compassion for what a woman would go through to give her child up for adoption.

I don’t know if I am going to adopt. For the first time ever, a crack has appeared in Magic’s wall of opposition to adoption. He sees how sad I am. I explained to him my reasons that I have listed above, and he agreed that they made sense, particularly the part about PPD. He saw what I went through when I was pregnant. He gets this part more than probably anybody else could.

So, what’s next? Magic and I need to explore this more in counseling. I know the perfect person to see. I just need to make the appointment. I haven’t made the appointment yet because I want to make sure this is the right thing for me. I want to make sure that this is my heart speaking, and not just my hormones and not just my instincts. That’s a very hard thing to pull apart. Let’s just say, I’m not there yet.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. Nora permalink
    June 19, 2010 10:28 am

    Phoebe just to say that I’m rooting for you in this process. All of your reasons make complete sense and more importantly, it seems like they make sense to your heart. I hope that the assault on your heart and body that your fertility journey has been does lead you and Magic to a place where you are welcoming into your lives hope that leads to joy (as opposed to IVF where that is so often not the case) and newness, instead of the rut and cheerlessness that we all know so well. I wish you both well on your journey and will so be cheerleading you on from the sidelines elliejxxx

  2. June 19, 2010 12:47 pm

    Wow, Phoebe. You are really getting through some major stuff. I think your awareness about the possible smothering explains so much and empowers you now, as it’s out of your subconscious and into your conscious mind.

    I understand getting triggered by that news story. There were two, in particular, back in my day that about turned me into a nihilist. WHY would a woman give birth in a Disneyland bathroom and leave the newborn in there while I was hurting from lack? WHY would that father in your city beat his 10 week old son to death when, if he & mom weren’t ready to parent, they could EASILY find someone who would cherish that baby?

    Anyway, you are wise to sit with this a bit and see if your resolve fluctuates at all. I wish you and Magic the best in coming to a solution that you can both go into whole-heartedly.

  3. June 19, 2010 3:13 pm

    It sounds like you are doing some major explorations into your feelings (even though it’s tough) and making some great strides in moving forward.

    Waiting patiently for clarity is always a good thing. Your intuition will lead you forward.

    I’m thinking of you as you and Magic take your next steps.

  4. June 19, 2010 4:02 pm

    Wow–what a development! You’ve been through so much. I’m excited to see where your heart leads you. Lots of love as you explore!

  5. June 19, 2010 6:38 pm

    Oh, Phoebe, this is a beautiful post. I know you are not 100% there yet, but you sound very good and like things are becoming clearer for you…sometimes just writing it and sending it out into the universe is enough…for now. Thinking of you.

  6. June 20, 2010 4:51 am

    I always admire your ability to really really look at critical issues–so many people don’t and just hope for the best which can be a dangerous thing. It’s all so complicated and like I always say–this path is the most intensely personal one any of us can be on…so just know that whatever you decide I’ll be her cheering you on.
    PS And of course you know my thoughts on adoption 🙂

  7. June 21, 2010 6:00 am

    It sounds to me that over the past six months you have made progress and you are now so close to figuring out what the next step is to complete your family. I hope you and Magic are able to see the counselor (when you’re ready) and that things go smoothly from there.

  8. Sky permalink
    June 21, 2010 7:14 am

    I went through absolute hell last summer with prenatal depression for weeks. I lost 10 lbs. in a week – the same week I could not sleep, eat or function. I shook constantly and had very ugly thoughts. I believe the enormous psychological and emotional stress I was under contributed greately to the physical breakdown that resulted, ultimately, in a loss. I was terrified to do this again. Between weekly therapy and Zoloft, I am managing well this time. I have developed a few tangible tools that are critical to my sanity but I still worry. Had I been able to adopt (adopting a healthy baby as a single woman is beyond difficult and likely a process to take far too many years), it was my preference.

    So I say, keep thinking about this, stay on this path, talk it through and take a leap. Your spirit baby may be entering this world soon looking for you.

  9. Denver Laura permalink
    June 21, 2010 11:04 am

    Wow! I mean… WOW! I am amazed and proud that you’ve come this far! I know the both of you aren’t 100% yet, but it’s above 0 which means a lot. I think you’ve come a long way and seem to have been able to pinpoint specific feelings to be able to move on. Keep talking about it, it helps to have focus and get excited about good things rather than the failures 🙂

  10. June 21, 2010 1:17 pm

    I haven’t been by in a very long time. I’m glad to hear you are coming to a solution that sounds so perfect for you. You have many good reasons to go the adoption route – good luck to you!

  11. June 25, 2010 6:41 am

    What a great post.

  12. Sky permalink
    July 2, 2010 7:17 am

    I had a dream about you last night (though we’ve never met in person). I was leaving one of the exam rooms at C.C..RM and I saw you coming out of another exam room with a gown on. You were petite and had pretty softly highlighted blond hair. Dr. S.u.r.r.ey said “they looked great, good luck” and you said “thank you” with a big smile and shook his hand. Your husband came out after you. He had dark hair – kind of Italian looking. You recognized me and smiled. I was puzzled. I said “but I thought you were adopting” and the dream ended.

  13. geeksinrome permalink
    July 3, 2010 10:37 am

    It’s great to get to the at-least-talking-about-it stage with Magic. I hope the counseling helps bring everyone’s fears and hopes out. You are an awesome mom and I bet Magic seeing you be so loving and close to his sons has helped him see parenthood can be beautiful and valuable and precious without the bloodtie.

    Keep us posted. Life never stands still so, alas, dipping in that Grief River will prolly repeat itself. lots kisses!

  14. July 30, 2010 9:19 am

    Genetics do not make a family. I agree with that. You put forth some logical arguments for moving to adoption. I hope that counseling brings you the peace of mind and gets you both on the same page. I look forward to hearing more about this journey.

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