Wednesday, September 20, 2006

I Have No Lid Upon My Head, But If I Did...

...you could look inside and see what's on my mind (Let You Down-Dave Matthews Band).

And what's on my mind is, of course, adoption.

I never realized how confusing and overwhelming just the decision making process would be! Domestic vs. International vs. Foster/Adopt. Infant or toddler? Singleton or sibling group? Which country? What about the Hague convention? Costs? Documentation?

All of these thoughts are racing willy-nilly through my head, spinning out of control. All that I do know for sure is that I'm ready to bring a child home and be a mom. It's the process of getting there that's hard. Not that I thought it would be easy, mind you. I just didn't think I would have such a hard time making the proper decisions. Which, honestly, is stupid considering this is, quite frankly, the BIGGEST decision I'll ever make in my life!

I've tried joining a few adoption groups on Yahoo, but they've really not been much help, especially considering how early I am in the process. Plus, there's the added burden of costs. We don't own a home that we could take out an equity loan on, and although there is the adoption tax credit, you still have to pony up the money yourself before you can even take the credit-money we don't have right now. I've looked into information about adoption fundrasiers, but a part of me is reluctant to participate. I can't even put a finger on why, especially since I pony up money all of the time for fundraisers for charity or for my co-worker's kids' school. I'm all about helping my fellow man, I just get all squicky when it comes to asking for help for myself. I suppose that comes from my independent nature. Plus, I feel like I have to "prove" something to myself and others by going it alone-I always have. Perhaps it's because I was raised by a mother who has always been co-dependent and relied heavily on the system to help her provide for her children (thanks to my drunk-ass father who never felt the need to support his family-but enough about my "daddy" issues), or just some part of my personality that always makes me reluctant to ask for help. I've been on my own since I was 17, and have tried my damnedest not to rely on others (besides Jake, for obvious reasons) to make it through life. I don't think it is necessarily a bad trait to have, in fact, I hope my children are just as independent in nature as Jake and I are.

Anyway, back to my dilemma. Obviously I'm sending up many wishes for Jake to secure a better paying job; one that would allow us to buy a home and afford the costs associated with adoption, but every day that passes by, the more impatient I become (patience is not one of my virtues), but here is what I do know so far:

1. I really, really, really, really, want to adopt an infant or baby. But really, an infant. I know to some this may seem selfish, but I look at it this way: even though I cannot birth my children, I still want to be there for as many moments as possible after said birth. I would also love to name my own child, have a nursery, baby shower, etc.-all the things birth parents get to do. I don't have a problem with toddlers or small children either, because I love kids, but at least for my first child, I'd love to have a baby, just to experience all the "firsts" for myself. Which, pretty much leaves domestic infant or Guatemala for my adoption choices. There is a chance I could get an infant through the foster/adopt program, but it's not likely.

2. For international, I really love the idea of Guatemala or Russia, however, I'm really scared by what I'm reading in regards to the Hague Convention. Is this going to make international adoption more expensive? Or, will I not be able to adopt from those countries at all? Anyone?

3. I'm scared, people. Scared shitless. Scared that if we go domestic or foster/adopt that the birthparents will change their minds, or be able to get their child(ren) back. The idea of losing a child that I thought would be mine forever is the most frightening aspect of adopting. The fear of loss is also what kept me up at night in regards to IVF-the "what ifs" about miscarriage, bad embryos, implantation issues,etc, after going through all of those medical procedures that cost as much as adoption, is really part of what turned me off from IVF. While I know adoption is never easy, and that there is a chance of a failed placement, the odds of me actually coming home with a child are greater than those of IVF. Of course, the whole idea of birthparents not being around to change their minds is what appeals to me with international. It's not that I'm anti-birthparent, I'm just anti-having-my-heart-and-bank-account-broken-by-a-failed-placement.

4. If we end up going the domestic infant route, I know there is the question regarding open adoption. I feel that I would only be comfortable with sending letters and photos to the b-parents through a facilitator. I would also be open to receiving letters from the b-parents for my child to have when we all feel the time is right. I know myself (and Jake) well enough to know that we're not at all able to embrace 100% open adoption. However, I realize what a wonderful gift my child would be, what a tremendous sacrifice this is for the b-parents, and how someday, my child will be curious about their background; so I feel I could not deny my child and his/her birthparents the opportunity to know something about each other.

Do you see why I'm so confused?

For all of my friends out there in the blogosphere and internet who have adopted, how did you make these decisions? Why did you choose your particular path to adoption? If you're comfortable with sharing the info, how did/are you affording the costs involved? Please, share anything you can think of; I'm desperate here!

Thanks in advance!

5 comments:

Laura said...

Hi Nat,
It's me. Well you know our story already. I did find out that the Hague Convention thingy may not be as big of a deal as my SW made it to be. So, don't stress over that. Financially, yeah, international is a bit costly.
I agree with you on the whole open adoption thing, and the uncertainty of the Birth parents changing their minds. I guess you have to do what will work best for you. If you look at some of the blogs on adoption, people are doing fundraisers, so if that will help you, why not try it? Maybe even ask people to donate things to sell on e-bay to raise $$.
Just a thought.
hugs,
Laura

Sara said...

Nat, I am a bad blogger, but CONGRATULATIONS! I am so happy about your decision. And I really know nothing about adoption, but I would love to help however I can.

The people here in Nevada I know that have adopted have had different circumstances. For example, I know two families that went through Catholic Charities. Sadly enough, one had racist in-laws and they needed that "all-american caucasian" baby, (???) so they went through CC. A girl I know here just adopted last month and she went through her church and did a semi-private adoption with a young high school student.

Then there is the LDS church here. From what I know, their adoptions go really fast. But of course you have to be LDS.

I am just so happy for you, let me know how I could help!!

Ollie said...

Those are the fears I have too about adoption. There are so many variables at play, it is staggering. The Hague Convention is a bigg'un. Obviously I have no advice or even assvice for that matter. Just sympathy.

wzgirl said...

Hey Nat!! I tried to post a couple days ago & blogger must have eaten my post - so I'll re-post.

I strongly recommend that you and Jake go to an adoption seminar. We went to 2 - both sponsored by RESOLVE. They were very helpful in focusing our direction...and getting us resources.

All that said, there really is no *right* answer, it is such a personal preference. The anxiety & fears about making the right decision are totally normal. For us, once we decided on China - we just knew that was compeletely the right choice. If you'd asked me shortly before we decided....I wouldn't have been so certain.

HTH, friend. XOXO

Michelle L said...

Natalie:

I agree with wzgirl that there no "right answers." Every path has advantages and every path has disadvantages.

We decided on domestic newborn adoption because we really wanted a newborn and Guatamala is rather unpredictable right now. Plus, we liked the idea of helping a child here in our own country. Granted, they would be adopted by someone else if it wasn't us -- but frankly, that's true for almost all children internationally as well.

I prefered having to find the right potential birthparent to being at the whim of a foreign government. Again, it's all about weighing what is important to you and your DH and picking the risk you are willing to take.

Besides the RESOLVE adoption meetings I have also heard that Adoption for Dummies is a nice place to start for good comparisons of various programs.

I do wish you luck and if you have any specific questions about adoption (domestic or international, I researched both), I'd be glad to answer them from my point of view. (mich_johnson63 at hotmail.com)

Anxious to see what you decide.