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Adoption and Other Options

Sarah Preston Gorenstein

I just read all the comments on Parenting’s Facebook page, posted to my first Fertility Files blog that went up last week: “Back to the Beginning.” Adoption came up in some of the comments on Facebook, which sort of surprised me because that hasn’t come up in any of my blogs yet. So let’s get this out of the way now: Adoption isn’t something Jay and I have really discussed yet—it’s come up in casual conversations with friends a few times. We’re far from giving up hope that we’ll conceive another child through the help of fertility treatments or even naturally, as many women like me do.

Plus, frankly, I know very little about the adoption process, and how difficult (or expensive) it even is. The only thing I do know is that we would not consider fostering to adopt for one reason: I have a friend who fostered to adopt, and recently lost her daughter after more than three years, which was—and will always be—unimaginably devastating. The good news there is, she’s now pregnant with her third child. But nothing will ever replace the daughter she lost; it's heartbreaking. From her experience alone, I don’t think I would be able to do what she so selflessly did. It’s important to know your own boundaries.

But am I against adoption? Absolutely not. My husband was adopted! So of course that’s something we’d consider, if and when the time came to consider it. And if and when we felt that was the right choice for us. But at this point, we’re not there yet. We’ve been at this fertility stuff for less than a year…

Your comments have been extremely supportive; I can’t thank you enough for the kind and encouraging words, both on the blog and on Facebook—and can't tell you how much I appreciate you sharing your own experiences. It not only helps me get through my own stuff, it helps me continue to write so openly about it. Some people may not understand why I’d choose to put myself through all of this, and that’s okay. Others may not understand why I’d be crazy enough to write about it…which is okay too. Both weren’t easy decisions to make…but writing about it has been very therapeutic for me. It’s helped connect me to women like you.

There is no question that this process puts you, your husband and your kid (if you’re blessed to already have one) through the wringer at times, so I can see why some people might not understand my choice to do this. But this isn't a choice I'm making for myself alone.

One commenter on Facebook had this to say:

“Why would she make herself so sick that she can't even interact with her first child?? That is insanity to me! You want a baby so bad that you will risk whatever affects this has on the one child you already have??? Just appreciate the baby you do have!”

Wow, where do I start? Yes, I have been sick a lot, and there have been times when I’m out of commission, but I never said that I wasn’t able to interact with my child. That would be impossible! I am here for him 100 percent. I am always around (even if I’m in bed—thankfully he’s the world’s best cuddler). And thanks to my hands-on hubby, if Mommy isn’t feeling well or needs to get some rest he makes it possible for me to do that. I power through the tough parts as much as I can, but the times I’m not physically able to my husband is always there, and so is our supportive family. We have it covered. And this should go without saying but I’ll say it anyway: We do appreciate the baby we already have, very much in fact—he's our world. It’s not about that at all. He is a very loved, and lovable, little boy. And he knows it. We want to expand our family; we still have more love to give.

It may seem selfish to some people, but let’s make something clear: I’m doing this for all of us—most importantly, to give my son a sibling. When I see him with his cousins, whom he’s very close with, and when I see how much he loves our friends’ kids, it makes me ache for another child even more. While we're grateful to have so many cousins and friends we get to see on a regular basis, I want him to have a sibling of his own, is that so wrong? I want a sibling for him every bit as much as I want another child for myself.

In fact, a friend who’s an only child herself said to me recently: “Don’t give up, do whatever you have to… I always wished I had a brother or sister.” She feels like she missed out on something growing up without a built-in buddy. I totally get it, even though my brother and I are four years apart and he wanted nothing to do with me when we were kids (true story). I want Preston to have that very special bond and camaraderie that only siblings have. I want him to get to be the older brother who destroys his baby sister's favorite doll house. (Can you believe my brother did that to me!?)

However, I don't think there’s anything wrong with having, or being, an only child. My best friend growing up is an only child—we were like sisters; we were as close as two girls can be without being related. It’s a personal choice, and it's not for everyone (neither is being a parent!). I’ve just always wanted at least a couple of kids, not that I think it's going to be easy. My husband and I always said we wanted three, actually. I love the idea of a having a house full of older children—it’s getting through the early years that seems impossible sometimes. (We’re going through the Terrible Twos again in our house, plus Preston is getting over walking pneumonia, so it’s been a bit challenging lately.) But no matter how challenging it gets, I never question whether or not I want more kids—and I’m optimistic that in the grand scheme of things, this period in our lives will be a little blip in our collective memories, most of all Preston’s.

Moms struggling with infertility: Have you ever considered adoption? I’d also love to hear from parents who’ve chosen to adopt—what has your experience been?