First Resolve adoption support group

On Friday, DH and I went to our first Resolve adoption support group. It was equal parts exciting and overwhelming, and I know it’s going to take far more than a few days to process it.

We are increasingly talking about adoption as an option, no matter what happens with this upcoming transfer. Adoption for a first child, should the transfer not lead to family. Adoption for a second child, should the transfer lead to a baby.

These meetings are for anyone considering adoption, at any stage in the process. My contact person was still undergoing IVF treatments when she joined the group years ago.

Where will the money come from? We have some rudimentary ideas. But I will say that because we’re in the RBA Frozen Egg Advantage Guarantee Program (we chose right! we did something right! holy shit!), if the transfer doesn’t work out, and even if (big big if) we decide to try donor sperm, we will get a large portion of the fee back if we withdraw.

Here are the encouraging things we learned at the support group:

  • Domestic adoption: Because we are open to any race, we would most likely have a much easier time getting matched with a birth mom.
  • International adoption: Becasue DH is 100% Korean (genetically), Korea might consider waiving some of its extremely stringent requirements for us. For example, their requirement that we must be married for 3 years (we’ve been married for 7 months). By our 3rd wedding anniversary, I will be 42 years old—and you must be no older than 42 when you apply. So even if we have to follow their requirements to a T, we would meet those requirements by the skin of our teeth.
  • Korea has the best international adoption program, it sounds like, in the world. The group erupted in a love fest for Korea. “They hold the babies and give them love,” they said. “The babies don’t have problems with attachment because of how well they are nurtured.” “You’ll get tons of medical information.” “Their needs are all met.”
  • Cleft palate: If we are open to children with cleft palates, we would most likely move lightening fast through the process. Cleft palates are correctible with surgery, and although sometimes there are some cosmetic indicators of the condition after surgery, sometimes there are none at all, and there is little risk of problems other than cosmetic. Knowing that this is an option gives me hope. I knew next to nothing about this until the meeting.
  • Domestic adoption attorney: One of the women there has what sounds like a fantastic connection for us, an attorney who has a staff that screens birth mothers, so that you are not fielding millions of calls and screening them yourself (under emotional duress, no less). It sounds like an ideal situation in which birth mom and adoptive parents have equal advocates, and the advocates do all of the negotiating. Her wait to match was only 9 months.
  • “If you do not give up, you will adopt.” This is the adage. You might wait one month, you might wait 3-4 years, but it will happen. You will be matched with a child, if you never stop trying.
  • Recommended agencies: Adoption STAR and Adoption Alliance.
  • Recommended $ resource: helpusadopt.org.
  • If you adopt from Indiana, there is a $3000 cap when it comes to the living expenses you can pay for the birth mom; this is a safeguard against financial scams.
  • Louisana and Mississippi are also good states to adopt from, in terms of their protections for all parties.

The meeting certainly wasn’t all positive. In fact, one of the first things they talked about? “Emotional scammers.” I had no idea what this was. Apparently emotional scammers are women who completely invent their stories and call you, the potential adoptive mother, to tell you their story and to say that they want to place their child with you. The stories they concoct are elaborate, consistent, and believable. They will keep you on the phone for hours. They are NOT after money—money never enters the picture! They are also almost certainly not pregnant. They only want your attention, and whatever thrill they get out of manipulating you. Sometimes they will pretend to be more than one person, when they call—the pregnant woman, the pregnant woman’s mother (who is calling to get to know you, too). After all I’ve seen and heard, I don’t know why this shocked me. But it did. I kept thinking: “We wouldn’t find ourselves in that situation, we would be able to tell,” but of course that’s wishful thinking.

BUT if your lawyer or lawyer’s staff advocate, or your agency staff, is screening calls for you, then you will not have to deal with this. Even if you are screening your own calls, if you follow the rule of no further involvement until proof of pregnancy, you can protect yourself. Still, many of the women in the group—savvy, capable women—had been manipulated by emotional scammers more than once. These stories were very hard to hear and I had to keep reminding myself that there are definitely protections available.

Another negative of domestic private adoption is that advertising can cost $700 – $1000/ mo, and placing ads can become a full-time job. Some people in the room had hired someone at $25/hour to do their advertising for them.

Another negative to domestic private or agency adoption for us specifically: We want to move. When you move, you have to start all over again in your new home state, obtaining another homestudy and certification.

Many of the infants adopted by people in the group were born addicted to something—from illegal drugs to anxiolytics. I think all of them were born early and underweight. But the positive side is: Many of them are now doing absolutely fine, meeting all of their milestones on time.

I don’t want to go into any personal details revealed by group members but will say that in the room, every situation imaginable was represented: People who waited only a month (or less!!); people who have been waiting for many years; international, domestic, private, agency. Some had open adoptions, some had semi-open. Some had loving, close relationships with birth moms; some sent letters and pictures each year; in some cases, the birth moms were most likely presently using drugs and unreachable. There were a lot of tears, and a lot of obviously extremely happy parents in the room.

There was also talk by the adoptive moms of feeling guilty about experiencing so much joy—joy that couldn’t have happened if the birth mom had not been in crisis. “Her trainwreck is my miracle,” someone said.

Every single woman in the room had gone through infertility treatments, and  many of them for far longer than I have. Many had had miscarriages. They said that it was very rare for someone to come to adoption without going the route of infertility treatments first. I thought of all of you. They talked about how much easier the adoption roller coaster is than the IF rollercoaster. Because your body is not being pricked with needles, your hormones are not out of whack, you are not losing a baby that is inside you, when things don’t go well, you can cope much better, they say. You are not so personally, phsycially, and physiologically involved. You can roll with things better. You know that if you are tenacious, you will find your child. With infertility treatments, they said, they couldn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel, but with adoption, they could. And that light made all the difference in how they experienced the journey.

When I saw photos of their little adopted ones on their iPhones (I asked) I saw THE CUTEST little people you can possibly imagine grinning back at me. I swooned! Oh, they were delicious. Such gentle expressions, sparkly eyes. Looking at them, parenthood felt like a very real possiblity, not a possiblity fraught with shadows.

During the drive home, DH and I both felt positive. “We can do this,” he kept saying to me, and also to himself, to the windshield, in semi-disbelief. My buddy. My partner in finding the path of least resistance.

We went home and made love and slept well.

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13 Comments

  1. So much information! I’m so glad you went so that I could benefit from the information ;) I hope you have a great week!

    Reply
  2. So much information, but as someone who is very pro-adoption I am glad to see you considering this possibility! I wish you the best as you continue your journey to become a mom, whatever way it leads you. You will be a mom someday! It will happen.

    Reply
  3. very interesting info! did you find it useful? do you plan to keep attending?

    Reply
  4. This is amazing information. I so wish we had RESOLVE in Canada! We only have local, ad hoc support groups here…I’d love to meet some people to talk about the Canadian domestic adoption situation. Anyway, sounds like you guys are well on the road and have a solid plan in place, which is half the battle. And the emotional scammers? Both terrifying and pathetically sad. Hope you can stay far away from people like that!

    Reply
  5. Wow, that sounds like a great experience! I am so glad. It feels so good to go to something where you can feel hope again after all infertility dishes out physically and emotionally. I wish you peace on either road!

    Reply
    • Thanks Jess! It’s nice to know you are in a similar place, contemplating a fork in the road…Did you see that they rec Adoption STAR, too?

      Reply
  6. Woohoo!! Way to go, you! I’ve been contemplating the idea of seeking out support groups in our area as well. Where was the group meeting held (community center, church etc)? Like you, I’m seriously thinking about the whole “not putting your eggs in one basket” – pun intended! LOL – because with dealing with DOR, I know there’s a chance adoption may become a necessity for us rather than a choice. I’m looking forward to further updates :)

    Reply
    • Oh GOOD! I’m glad to you’re looking forward to more updates—I’d been kinda worried that readers would start tuning out when they saw me posting about adoption. It is a hopeful path, truly. There is such relief in knowing that it is there, and renewed energy. I’m not going to mention where the meeting was held just because I’m trying to be as discrete as possible in describing the group (sorry, it’s my social work training (: But just go on the Resolve website to find a meeting near you.

      Reply
      • Not at all! It probably depends on the person and where they’re at, what their goals are. For me, having been diagnosed with DOR over a year ago, I’d rather be realistic about what my choices REALLY are down the road. Adoption is something I’ve always been open to, although I’m finding the prohibitive cost of domestic infant adoption both outrageous and, quite frankly, an ethical issue for me. So it really helps me to read about the process and experience that others are going through :)

        Reply

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