Well it’s about that time again.
- Picked up a $200 vial of Delestrogen (or as I call it, 200 more frequent flyer miles since my husband’s company could give a rat’s ass about covering infertility treatments in any way, shape or form – mind you they’ll cover me getting a sex change, but nothing towards IVF) and my arse practically twitched thinking about going back into bruiser mode, but hey it is what it is.
- Did “needle inventory” – basically, getting the bag o’ supplies from last round out of the closet and figuring out how much I have left of each type, as there’s one for the Del and another for the Progesterone. Funny, I can look at needles prepackaged but no way in hell can I watch one going into my skin. (Thank you husband!!)
- Assessed my bag o’ “comfort accessories” – bandaids that aren’t technically necessary but help me remember each day what cheek was injected (anyone who’s done this knows that after a while your ass just hurts everywhere and is a bit polka-dotty), and some goodies like these little “stress drops” to put in my tea that my ND gave me, and of course Vicodin and Valium for transfer day.
- Scheduled my before and after acupuncture appointments with my own ND for this time around. I was pretty pissed to find out that the acupuncturist my RE works with actually takes insurance if you go to her office, but won’t when she goes offsite, and honestly? I’m not paying $150 cash if my own ND will let me pop in just before and just after the transfer. I am not totally keen on having to commute from her office to the fertility clinic, but honestly the reclining chair thing that they do the transfer in is just not conducive to relaxation afterwards, and my ND always puts me right at ease when I see her. (Plus she completely disagrees with using needles in the ears like the RE’s does, as my ND & I agree that anything that hurts that much is totally counterproductive to relaxation pre/post IVF!).
There, are you excited you got to read my checked-off To Do list?
Embracing the Ambiguity That is Our Future
One of the things that we as an infertile couple seeking out alternate ways of getting a kid either started in my womb or via an adoption agency is that no matter what we do, there are no guarantees we’ll be parents.
This is something that many on the outside often just don’t comprehend. While I’ve never personally been offended at the intent of the question “why not adopt?”, what often gets offensive to many is the rampant assumption that adoption is EASY.
It is so not easy. Oh how I wish it was.
- Paperwork? Fine, to be honest. There’s a lot of it but it didn’t bug me, probably because it was about the same level of weirdness and bureaucracy as my husband’s immigration paperwork. Getting the letters of recommendations from friends was actually really insightful, as it was the first time we could see on paper what others thought of our potential as parents (not to mention, who put real time into the letters and who, upon reading it, really didn’t seem to either know much at all – or didn’t care how important it was to us to put any depth into it). Yes it requires organization but just like buying a home or any other major commitment, you have to have your shit together. No biggie.
- Training? We were fortunate with our international adoption to get to do our training online for a nominal fee. With my husband working retail and occasional night shifts, getting into the large number of onsite classes, traditionally held on weekends and evenings, would have been very challenging. Availability with the DHS foster/adoption process, for example, was extremely limited – we would have JUST finished the classes around now as they don’t offer a ton of them and you have to take them in consecutive order, so forget it if you can’t do one in the series! They definitely don’t make it easy on prospective parents who work non-traditional hours.
- Background checks? Fine. Slightly annoying in that we had to be fingerprinted THREE times because DHS, the State, and the FBI apparently don’t share information, and so it cost us a couple hundred bucks altogether, but ultimately, fine.
- Adoption Requirements? This is where adoption gets tricky. Different countries have different requirements, and as a 42 year old female and 48 year old male who are married, you’d assume no problem, right? WRONG. My husband is actually considered too OLD to adopt in most countries, as they don’t want more than a 40 to 45 year age difference. Also, many countries require that you be married at least 5 years…which, ironically, would then also push ME over the maximum age to be an adopting parent. (Because 5 years magically equals stability and that you’ll never divorce, right?) Furthermore, since my husband is not a US Citizen, I am the primary adopter, rather than both of us. For those who aren’t aware, we actually started out with DHS simultaneously, who considered us a “red flag” because we were going through infertility treatments and starting the international application process as well – they didn’t want us to be “distracted” with any new children. (Because no one evvvvver gets pregnant in families once they adopt, right?).
- Cost: This is by far the most prohibitive part of adoption, just like infertility treatments. To adopt a baby through Boys and Girls Aid, for example, costs $33,000. That’s almost twice the cost of our DEIVF. To adopt internationally, it is ~$18,000 + travel costs (see why we care about saving up those frequent flyer miles!!). There is the Adoption Tax Credit, which is a little over $13,000 – but you only can claim it AFTER the adoption is complete. So even though we spent $13K already in 2015 in non-refundable agency and paperwork processing fees, we weren’t able to do anything on this year’s taxes. By the way, this is where having good credit helps as I was able to get our credit line increased and pay the agency (who doesn’t take credit cards) via c/c checks. If my business wasn’t going as well as it has been, we wouldn’t even be able to adopt – or do IVF. We’d have to try to go through the DHS foster care system which in Oregon is a complete clusterfuck. I still have dreams of bringing home an older child, but right now there are too many horror stories of having a kiddo for 5 years and ultimately at the court hearing seeing him or her sent back to a family member merely because they are biological, not because they are in the child’s best interests. They were very adamant when we met with them that they would always go for blood relatives rather than external, no matter how wonderful we were as parents. Oh and that and the rep mentioning that they often screwed up paperwork and accounting as well (we saw just in the early process how they messed it up for us)…and that we’d have to be the same religion as what the child grew up with. We aren’t religious. Nice open attitude eh?
- No Guarantees. There is no guarantee in the adoption process that you will get a child. We already know the waits for a child can vary wildly based on agency and country, but the risk you take with international adoption is that countries can close their doors to international adoption. Things like political and military upheaval in a country can suddenly slow down the process even more. So many things beyond our control. It’s been two weeks since our agency left for Ethiopia and had said they’d let us know how things were looking when they returned. Are they back yet? We don’t know as we’ve emailed twice this week but haven’t gotten a response. We are on the embassy’s email alert list so that if anything big happens in Addis we’ll hear about it, and check the news, but so far it’s unclear. It’s been two months since our paperwork was translated and processed in Addis, and could very well be ten or twelve more til we hear anything. The hard part is we honestly don’t know what goes on behind the scenes during the wait, but the recent violence has me terrified that the program will close and we’ll have to start over with another country (they’d transfer over the basic fees but we’d be starting over).
So ultimately, we are grateful we have the chance to buy the lottery tickets called infertility treatment and adoption.
However it gets hard as we are still trying to think “WHEN” we have kids when we talk rather than “IF” we have kids, but when talking $$ with our financial advisor, she kept making the “when you have kids” assumption as if it’s definitely happening soon, and I had to finally ask her to keep those line items out of the budget. It’s just too painful to make any type of plans for kids when you honestly don’t know if your body will continue to fail and/or if your adoption will truly happen. It very well could be that none of it works, with a slight chance that one will work, and a slighter chance that both avenues will turn up positively.
Expect the best, prepare for the worst, right? I dunno.