No Bun In This Oven

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I haven’t been around much lately. I’ve been trying to keep up on everyone else’s blogs, but I haven’t felt like posting or commenting much. I started my new job at work, which adds stress and makes me just want to do nothing when I get home.

I also just feel really displaced and like I don’t know where we are or where we’re going in our infertility journey. There’s no forward momentum, we’re just kind of sitting here treading water. I have always known what the next step would be so this is really hard for me. It makes me feel like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. It makes me feel stuck forever.

After the information meeting at Amara and the talk The Husband and I had, I felt okay that we were going to look at more agencies and take some more time to decide while he read things and thought about things. But quickly that waiting started making me crazy, and I kept asking him what he was reading in the book and what he thought about it and how he was feeling. And he kept saying “I don’t know…I’m just reading” which made me feel like he was never going to make a decision. We were just going to stay in this place where he wants to do IVF and I want to adopt and we will never move forward. So he got upset with me and said I needed to stop asking him all the time what he was thinking, and that i needed to give him time. And I cried and said I felt hopeless and lost and out of control. He asked for two weeks to think and said he would decide by like April 10 or something. I don’t even remember because I’ve been distracted by my new job which has thankfully allowed me to not feel so tortured by it. I haven’t brought it up much since then except to set up an informational meeting with another agency on April 8.

I just don’t know what to feel or what to say here. It’s almost like I’ve run out of feelings, I just don’t have much more to give. My mom suggested that we see a counselor that specializes in infertility. I said that I didn’t think it was that bad, or to that point. But maybe it is. Maybe it doesn’t even need to be that bad to see someone. Maybe it would help us decide.

All I know right now is that for a day or a week I might just feel acceptance that this is my lot in life and there’s nothing to be done, so why let it get to me. And the next week or day or minute i am so overwhelmed with how unfair and horrible and insurmountable this feels that I can hardly function. And I just want to crawl into a hole and never have to see another pregnant woman or coo at another picture of my friends baby or think about the fact that I have only just scratched the surface of how difficult this will be.

So I think I will just take a nap and dream about something else.

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Adoption Information Meeting: Amara Parenting & Adoption Services

When we first started considering adoption and looking for agencies, there were a few criteria that we both agreed on:

1. The agency has to provide great support and services to women experiencing an unplanned pregnancy. This means educating them about parenting, termination and adoption equally and supporting their choice no matter what it is. This is important for a couple reasons; one is that we are very pro choice and even though we’re in a situation that would greatly benefit from more pregnant women choosing to place their children for adoption, we would never want someone to be coerced or pushed towards a choice that isn’t right for them. The other is that if a woman is pushed or guilted into adoption the chance that she will change her mind is much higher. I want to avoid a disruption as much as possible, and I hope that a great agency that makes really really sure that this is what the woman wants to do should help prevent that.

2. They have to adopt to all types of families regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, age, religious affiliation, race, etc. One reason for this is that while The Husband was raised Christian and considers himself to be still (thought he doesn’t really believe in the bible nor go to church…hey who am I to tell him what he is, right?!), I am an Athiest (read more about that here) and I absolutely will not pretend to be religious or lie about it in order to get in the good graces of an agency or a birth-mother. The other reason is that I can’t in good conscience work with an organization that would deny children loving homes based on the gender or sexual identity of the parents. This flies in the face of like every single one of my morals and I just won’t do it.

3. They have to be a well established agency, have been operating for at least 15-20 years, and have a kick-ass professional looking website. I have looked at a few sites that just look kind of 90’s or cheesy or otherwise like they didn’t hire a professional web designer and it really turned me off. If you can’t even manage to put together a decent web site in 2014 then how great can you be at facilitating adoptions? I also want to see clear “next steps” like “if you think you may be interested in adopting, attend one of our informational meetings or request a packet or blah blah.” I don’t just want to see “Contact Us” which is super vague. I want to feel confident about their services and that we will feel really supported by them. Bonus points if they actually list average costs and how they break down.

 

So the very first place I was drawn to, which I found months ago, was Amara Parenting & Adoption Services in Seattle. I knew immediately that they fit my first two criteria; they offer all options to pregnant women and they adopt to all types of families. Looking through their website, they had pretty clear “next steps” that included signing up for one of their informational meetings, which we did. Bonus points for having their fee schedule listed on the site. Though I found them a long time ago, I had to wait until The Husband was ready to start actively looking into adoption before taking it any further. We reserved a spot at their informational meeting yesterday morning at 10am.

They’re located in the Madrona neighborhood of Seattle in a single story building all the way at the end of Union Street. Though it was a ways off the freeway, it was easy to find and had lots of parking. We were the first ones there, and they had us sign in then grab an information packet. They also had coffee fruit and girl scout cookies. In all it was a welcoming atmosphere. Once everyone was there, about 40 people, they first showed us a video that had interviews with a couple families that had adopted through them. This of course was totally tear jerking and sweet. One thing I noticed is that both of those families had adopted from foster care. After the video, they started talking about who they are and what they’re about. They have been open for 93 years, which I knew, and while they do facilitate infant relinquishments (pregnant women chooses a family to adopt her child before birth) they primarily do foster-to-adopt. They only placed 6 infants last year. They talked about the process, which requires all families, even those who want to do infant relinquishment, to become certified  foster parents. I’m not going to go in depth into the actual adoption process at this point, I’ll save that for if and when we actually make a solid decision and choose an agency.

Then they had a couple come in who had adopted three kids, siblings, from foster care. They did not feel to me like a good example of typical people who adopt. For one, they had always known they would adopt, rather than having come to adoption after infertility. They were also both child psychologists. When the kids came to them they’d been moved 4 times in 2 years and were 2, 5, and 9. They had a lot of behavioral issues and had to have “line of sight” supervision for about 3 months due to “inappropriate behavior.” The adoption was just finalized a couple months ago but the kids have lived with them for about 2 years.

Maybe I am being naive, but I felt like the environment the kids came from and the level of issues they had aren’t typical, even when adopting from foster care. We weren’t really strongly considering adopting from foster care at this time, but I feel like if we were that would have scared us off. Yes it is their experience and yes a lot of children in foster care have suffered a lot of abuse and neglect that means they have a lot of behavioral and emotional issues that may need a lifetime of therapy, but certainly not all children in foster care have such severe issues that you literally can’t let them out of your sight for a second. I mean these people put cameras in the kid’s rooms so they could watch them all the time. While fostering is something I definitely want to do someday and I think it is so so important, it’s just not something we’re ready for. There’s a possibility that we could have a child under two years old placed with us, but even then it’s likely that the parental rights wouldn’t be terminated and they would be reunited with their birth family, which is the goal of the foster care system. There are children whose parental rights are already terminated and are “free to adopt” as they say, but I think most of these children are older-also not something we’re ready for.

So although Amara is a really great organization with great values that does a lot to help children, we don’t think it’s the right fit for us. With how few infant relinquishments they do each year, I think our wait would be much longer. And I also think that with their heavy focus on foster to adopt, we may get talked into doing something we just aren’t yet equipped for. So we will keep looking.

On the car ride home, we talked. A lot. I asked The Husband again whether he feels like adopting now and doing IVF later is an option for him, and expressed how I would be so much more open to trying IVF if we already had a child and the risk wasn’t as big. He said that he thinks that if we adopt, we won’t want to do IVF because we’ll already be parents. I was like….doesn’t that tell you that it’s not the right choice? I have a hard time understanding his motivations. He still swears that wanting to do IVF isn’t about thinking he’ll love or want a genetic child more. Like one second he says “yes I really want a bio child” and then the next minute he says “no having a bio child isn’t important.” I don’t know if he’s changing his mind or just doesn’t know how he feels. I said I felt like we were at an impasse because he is still definitely leaning towards IVF and I am definitely leaning towards adoption and I don’t see how we can make a choice. One of us shouldn’t have to do something we don’t want to or not get a chance to try something we want to. So he decided we should each weight how we feel towards each option, and he said he is about 60/40 in favor of IVF. I was surprised by this because I thought he had much stronger feelings towards IVF. I then told him that I am about 80/20 towards adoption. So he said that in light of that, and that he is only slightly more in favor of IVF, he thinks it’s likely we will adopt. We’re still not making any final decision, but I felt a lot better knowing that.

Even if we could make a solid decision to adopt, we also can’t agree on domestic or international, and he doesn’t think he likes the idea of an open adoption. It’s so frustrating for me because I have already done so much research and have made decisions based on facts and he is still in the “gut instinct” phase. I also was freaked out by openess at first and now that I’ve read about it and listened to radio shows and understand it, my mind is completely changed. I keep telling him he NEEDS to read things and do his own research, because I am way ahead of him and it makes it really hard to not just say “you don’t even know what you’re talking about!!!” when he gives his opinion on things. Le sigh. When will life be easy again? Oh never? Fuck.

Oh did I forget to mention that I started my period right after we got to the adoption meeting? It was real cute.

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…With my eyes and his hair

Greetings, bloggy friends. I’ve just returned from a week in sunny Phoenix Arizona hanging out with my 7 year old niece and 4 year old nephew. On Saturday we will be going to an informational meeting at the adoption agency we would most likely go to, but other than that there has been zero progress, changes or revelations as it pertains to infertility. Still just floating in limbo land.

My brother, whose family we were visiting, is ten years older than me. Though I’m more like him than my other two brothers, the age difference has always made connecting a little more challenging. He and his wife did ask pretty soon after we all got together about what our next steps were, as they do know we’ve been trying to get pregnant for a while now. I filled them in on IVF and adoption, and the prices, and sister in law shared that her sister had needed IUI to get pregnant with her second. Lucky lady.

A few days after that SIL and I were in the car alone and she asked me how I was doing with the infertility stuff. She said it seemed like maybe I’d just kind of accepted it. I said that today that’s how I feel, but it’s pretty unpredictable. I can be just fine and  not having any major feelings about things and then one day something hits me like a ton of bricks and I break down. One day a comment or question or pregnancy announcement won’t really bother me, and then next it will completely ruin my day. Hard to say. She said that she thinks if it were her, she’d have a lot of feelings about how unfair it is. She lost her dad last year (he was only 63) and said she often looks at men her dad’s age who are bad people, or are some bum on the street, and she feels like it’s so unfair that they get to be here and her dad doesn’t. I agreed that when I see some asshat who can barely take care of themselves cranking out babies, it does feel very unfair that they get multiple children and I can’t have any. It IS unfair. I only see her maybe once a year or every other year so it was nice that we could connect over that.

I played a lot at legos, and swinging on the swing-set. My mom and I took my niece to paint pottery. Kids are so fun. I really want one. One of the things we did was go to my niece’s volleyball practice. There were tons of moms there with their little girls, and I couldn’t help but notice how much the little ones looked like their parents. In particular their noses, it was uncanny how much you could absolutely tell whose daughter they were. My niece definitely looks like my SIL. It was one of those moments that gets you in the gut, thinking you might never have that. I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned, but The Husband is half Japanese, so he has black hair and brown eyes and a slightly darker complexion. I always imagined us having a little girl with jet black hair and my dark blue eyes. Her dads complexion and my nose. I look a lot like both my grandmother and my mom, and I’m so curious to see if I had a daughter, would she see herself in her great grandma Midge? I’m ready to make peace with never having a bio child and am so totally open to adopting, but I think everyone thinks about this. It doesn’t mean I wouldn’t love my adopted child more than anything. I would just always wonder what that little girl would look like. Will I ever get to meet her?

On the plane ride home, I put on my Infertility Jams playlist, and shed a few little tears. If I hadn’t felt the need not to freak out the lady next to me, I probably would have had a sob-fest. This really is a total crock of shit. I am at the same time fully pissed at the world, and completely in awe of myself for how much I can handle. We’re kind of bad ass bitches, aren’t we? I just wish we didn’t have to be.

Yesterday my bestie with the 4 month old texted me and said that they were going to need to get rid of some newborn stuff. She is planning on giving it to whoever gets pregnant next, but wanted to ask if I wanted to have them. I said that I am not ready to keep baby things in the house, it would just be too hard. But I thanked her for the thought. She said she kind of thought that was what I would say but wanted to ask. I know a lot of IFers have a box or closet full of baby things, but I just can’t stand it. It hurts me just to think about little onesies in this house, waiting to be filled by baby bellies and chubby legs. I’m not ready.

I’ll leave you with another IF Jam, called “When a Heart Breaks” by Ben Rector. Some of my favorite lines:

I woke up this morning
And I heard the news
I know the pain of a heartbreak
I don’t have answers
And neither do you
I know the pain of a heartbreak

I heard the doctor
But what did he say
I knew I was fine about this time yesterday
I don’t need answers
I just need some peace
I just need someone who could help me get some sleep
Who could help me get some sleep

This isn’t easy
This isn’t clear
And you don’t need Jesus
Til you’re here

Then confusion and the doubts you had
Up and walk away
They walk away
When a heart break

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Fork In The Road

Well, nothing really has changed since my last post. The Husband and I haven’t even discussed IVF vs adoption since the appointment. I think this is probably a good thing, since we’re both just sort of marinating on our options and waiting until we have the appointment at the adoption agency before even going over our options again.

But something did happen that changes things a little/probably means we’ll be pushing pause for a little while. I got a promotion at work. The one that is being vacated by the girl who got married in December and pregnant in January. There was a really intense moment in the second interview (which the girl who is leaving was not involved in) where they asked me a question about how I would handle a situation where I had negative feelings about a coworker. So I just decided so come out with it and tell them that I really struggle with my feelings towards the girl who’s leaving, and that I know that my feelings really having nothing to do with her and are all about me, so I work really hard not to let her feel negativity from me. One of them asked me if I knew why I had those feelings, and once again I decided to be honest and said “because she’s pregnant and I can’t get pregnant, and it’s really difficult to talk to her, especially when she mentions her pregnancy. But I understand that it’s not her fault and it’s not fair to her if I treat her differently because of it so I have to remind myself every day that she’s a very nice person and I should treat her that way.” I was a little worried that I totally botched it, but i do know that one of the things they look for in managers is that they trust the other managers and can be open and honest, so I was hoping that I just demonstrated that. It must have worked, because they offered me the position.

I will get paid more, about $400 a month more, which means we will be able to save more for whatever option we do choose. But it also means that I will be really stressed out taking on way more responsibility and learning a ton of new things, and most definitely not in a position to be adding the stress of IVF anytime soon, and maybe not adoption either. I definitely think it would be unwise as a new manager to be all jacked up on hormones and discovering how they affect me. I just think I will need to wait until I have a handle on my new role before adding more to the mix.

I’m hoping that I’ll be so distracted and involved with all this that I won’t feel tortured by having to put things on hold. And I’m hoping that either IVF or adoption becomes a more clear option to both myself and the husband so neither of us feels like we’re settling, But that all seems like a lot to ask. Right now I don’t feel the pain and ache of my childlessness. Does anyone else have times where all they think about is being a mom and the pain of it is so acute all the time, and then other times where you forget you’re infertile and it just feels like you’re a normal person just living your life? I’m just afraid of when the ache and pain will return in full force and knock me on my ass.

My best friend asked me the other day if we had considered “putting ourselves on some adoption waiting lists” while we figure things out. I know that i know way more about IF treatments and adoption than the average jane, but I’m still blown away sometimes at how little others know. I educated her about how you have to pay agency fees, do a homestudy, get your medical clearance ,etc etc before you can “get on a waiting list” and be shown to expectant parents. Though most of the cost comes at the time of placement, most of the legwork has to be done before you can even be shown. She obviously didn’t know that….now she does.

So now I’m just going to sit back and wait for the inevitable surprise pregnancy that will befall me because we’ve “stopped trying” and I won’t even have time to think about it. Bring it on.

P.S. we’ll never stop trying.

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