What’s next? Maybe surrogacy?

I think I may be done with foster care. I just can’t do it anymore. There was a call this week for 2-year-old twins and their 1-year-old sister, and I so badly wanted to call back and take them, but then I thought about having to say good-bye again and I just couldn’t do it. If we had a forever baby already, then maybe I could. I have loved having all of the little ones we’ve had, it was SO much fun. Our house was full of love and happiness. But to go from three little ones to an empty house again? Nope.

We’re still waiting to get picked for domestic infant adoption. Honestly, we haven’t been waiting that long, less than two months. It’s hard to wait and not know what’s going to happen, and I worry about never being chosen since I just turned 40 and I know that’s not an appealing number to birth moms.

We recently received half of my inheritance, and I will be receiving the other half relatively soon. It’s more than enough to pay for surrogacy with egg donation (either from my sister or someone else). Surrogacy never appealed to me in the past, considering how many kids there are that need homes, and the insane cost, but now that we can afford it and knowing the ridiculous competition for both domestic infant adoption AND foster care adoption of kids under 3, it’s starting to seem silly to not move ahead with surrogacy and let others who don’t have surrogacy as an option have a better chance of adopting.

Yes, we could adopt an older child, but I know enough know to admit that it’s not for me. I have a hard time seeing kids older than 3 (maybe even 2 and a half) as anything other than “someone else’s child.” And I don’t really like other people’s kids that much. I don’t know why I feel that way. Maybe if/when I have children of my own and I watch them grow up past that age, I won’t feel that way, but right now I do. It’s funny, because once they get a bit older, like high school age, I stop thinking of them as “someone else’s kid”, maybe because I stop thinking of them as kids and start thinking of them as proto-adults, but I really enjoyed the time I spent mentoring high school kids and when I’m older I wouldn’t mind fostering teenagers, I think.

But right now, I really just want to start with a baby. And have them stick around. So I’m thinking freeze some embryos, wait a bit to see what happens with adoption, and then maybe start looking for a surrogate.

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A needed vacation

I’m currently on my way back from a much-needed vacation in Iceland. It was seriously awesome. I mean, it was cold and windy and it rained quite a bit (and even snowed!), and driving could be terrifying at times because the highways were narrow with no shoulders and sometimes even UNPAVED (and I did all the driving, in a tiny little car), but it was so incredibly beautiful. I’m definitely a mountains and snow person, and not an ocean person, which was really driven home when we stayed in a tiny little fishing village in the north and it just felt so isolated and lonely and sad, and then when we drove back down south over a desolate mountain pass where it had snowed the night before, all I could think was how beautiful and peaceful it was.

Anyway, there were mountains and glaciers and waterfalls and hot springs and geysers and even some northern lights (and I’m seriously annoyed with D that I didn’t get to enjoy the northern lights more but that’s a story for another day). It was spectacular.

I got an email last night as we were packing to leave with our first report for adoption matching. Our profile book was requested 12 times in about 3 weeks. I’m thinking that’s good? I have to say, the one thing that vacation was good for was getting my mind off thinking about if/when we’d be chosen. The suspense is killing me!

And the day before we got the report, I got a phone call for a newborn foster baby. I didn’t answer, since we weren’t really in a position to take a baby (and D is completely out of vacation time). We’re not ready to take another foster baby, and we may never be honestly. I’m not sure why they called us directly, unless it was some special circumstance. I hope it wasn’t a direct-to-adoption case, because then I’d be kicking myself, so it’s probably better that I don’t know. But afterwards I saw people posting about how they wanted that baby. People who currently have foster babies, under a year old, who are going to adoption. People who already have multiple kids. I can’t help but feel like the foster community can be kind of greedy when it comes to babies. Most of the foster parents I know want to adopt. Every single foster parent I know already has kids, but they will all fight tooth and nail to get the babies who need homes (and they rarely take the older kids, even though they’re far better equipped for it than D and I). It’s so frustrating, and it makes me glad we’re pursuing domestic infant adoption. I hate the feeling of this desperate fight over babies.

Moving forward with adoption

I’m going to start by saying I think we made the wrong decision. Maybe. I’m still excited about domestic adoption, and I really, really hope it works for us. We’re expecting our profile to be available to expectant mothers by the end of the month! D is convinced we will be picked very quickly. I know the heartache that so many others have been through, so while I’m still hopeful, I’m a bit more realistic. I honestly don’t know WHY I still have hope after everything we’ve been through, but I guess that’s my nature.

Why do I think we made the wrong decision? Well, I thought for sure I’d want a newborn. We made the decision right before we had any foster babies. At that point, our youngest foster baby had come to us at 20 months. I love her still (and I get to see her still!), but a year later I was sure we’d never have a baby and I ached for a baby. The fact that an international adopted child wouldn’t come home until the age of 2 was really frustrating to me. Then we got N at 8.5 months, and that was awesome! I loved that age! I love that baby still, and I know I’ll probably never see him again. Six weeks later we got R at 6.5 months, and he was slightly delayed at the time, but that was a really fun age too. It made me think we had made the right decision to stick with domestic adoption over international adoption. And I still wanted a newborn, at least once in my life.

Then all our babies went home, and magically we got our newborn three weeks later, after almost two years of being foster parents. This was frustrating to me, as almost everyone we’d met through the whole foster approval process had taken in a newborn within a few months, and the vast majority of them were adopting (as a matter of fact, the only foster parents I’ve met who AREN’T adopting are the ones who are infertile – all the adopters have children of their own). And while our little newborn has gone to live with her family (who are capable of taking care of her, so yay!), I had my chance to have a newborn. And I’ve decided I think I like slightly older babies better, say 3-4 months. Luckily, newborns grow into 3-month-olds and 6-month-olds and 9-month-olds, so getting a newborn will still be awesome.

But I’m on a mailing list for international children who need families, and while the vast majority of them have cases that are too difficult for us to handle with two working parents, a two-story home, and limited family help, in the last few weeks we’ve received notifications for quite a few whose only health issue is that they have limb differences. D works with kids who have limb differences, he volunteers at a camp for kids with limb differences, and he has a limb difference himself. He actually works with a lot of kids who have been adopted from other countries, who were available for adoption because of their limb differences. When the older kids find out he’s trying to adopt, they always advocate for him to adopt from their home country (it’s pretty sweet actually). We’ve already decided that we want to do it, hopefully for our second child (since we’re still hoping domestic adoption works out for us for a first child). But knowing that the kids coming from other countries will be at least two years old, it makes me wonder if we’re doing this all out of order. Should we have done international adoption first? How long should we wait after adopting domestically (fingers crossed) before we try to adopt internationally? I just turned 40, I’m not sure how much longer I can keep this up

Some thoughts on a newborn after (but really during) infertility

Having been through five years of infertility and counting, and six foster kids in less than two years, and attempting to adopt a newborn, and finally getting to parent a newborn for almost six weeks (while working full time!) I can say this pretty definitively: caring for a newborn is nothing compared to the minor hell of infertility or the major hell of foster care/trying to adopt. It’s actually quite delightful in comparison. Baby snuggles are the best.

Anyway. I’m 40 today, and expecting my latest foster baby to leave today also. I’m feeling very defeated.

Heartbroken, again

After bugging my social worker for weeks about help with finding daycare, she finally called yesterday to tell be not to worry about it because the baby will probably be going to her dad this week. On my 40th birthday, actually.

The social worker apologized profusely for not telling us earlier, but apparently she doesn’t understand how the process works. It’s so frustrating.

Six kids in less than two years, and nothing to show for it. It feels hopeless.

Update

We almost had two babies again, but D and I had to say no. It was really hard, but I believe it was for the best. As it turns out, the forever baby that we missed by a few minutes went to another family I know. A week later, they messaged me asking if I was interested in taking him because they were having a hard time with the kids they had. I was so excited! Then they messaged again two days later saying that they had jumped the gun and weren’t sure they could part with him and needed more time. That really, really sucked, but I didn’t want to pressure them. I wanted them to feel like they were making the right decision for their family without any outside pressure at all. So I waited, and eventually they messaged again saying they really didn’t think they could keep him. I went to meet him and hear his whole story, and now I understand why. The case isn’t nearly as cut-and-dry as I had been led to believe. The foster mom even told me that if it was going straight to adoption, they would be keeping him. D and I talked about how we really just want to adopt, and we can’t handle any more of the long, drawn out waits and the uncertainty and the messiness of foster care when our primary goal is to adopt. We’ve been through so much heartbreak, and there are already too many people fighting over this baby, and we already have a little baby who I love more than anything and who very well might go home, maybe even on my 40th birthday.

So we said no to baby #2, and I immediately felt like it was the right decision. I can spend more time with B, and enjoy the time I spend with her. I can put all of my energy into our private adoption and my health and my job. It’s interesting, because I’ve been trying really hard to make more connections in the foster care community in order to build my “village”, and there are so, so, so many people who have secondary infertility who are trying to adopt through foster care. And a lot of them are getting frustrated and giving up. I’m realizing it’s not THAT different than domestic infant adoption, where the newborns and infants are fought over by so many families who want them, except in each case there’s usually bio family also fighting for them. I’m tired of that fight. If I had known this back when my mom died and I inherited enough money to adopt, I probably would have just put that money toward surrogacy and avoided this whole mess.

As far as my health – I had to go to the doctor to get a signed letter saying that I’m healthy to adopt. Obviously that’s not an issue, since I’m as healthy as a horse (where in the world did that saying come from?), but while I was there I mentioned this hip pain I’ve been having for the last few months that makes it really hard to sit cross-legged (or criss-cross applesauce, as the kids say these days, which is much less offensive than what we said when I was a kid). I guess that means that I’m as healthy as a lame horse. Anyway, I LOVE sitting cross-legged. I don’t care if it’s not appropriate, it is by far the most comfortable way for me to sit, and not being able to do that because of hip pain is really frustrating. So my doctor is sending me to physical therapy and I’m SO excited!

D has been gone the last five days, and I have been super annoyed with him because he didn’t do ANYTHING to try to make it smoother for me while he was gone, and it has honestly been really hard to take care of a 4-week-old foster kid and work full time while the air outside is so disgusting I feel like I shouldn’t go out. I’m grateful that he’ll be home tonight, but now I feel like I need a vacation.

And our private adoption is coming along at a snail’s pace. It’s driving me a bit nuts. Every time I think I’ve just about finished all the paperwork, I find out there’s one more thing. This time, it’s a signed, dated, and NOTARIZED statement by D about his DUI. I’m going to have to closely supervise him in order to make sure he gets it done, which neither of us will enjoy, but if I don’t, nothing will get done. Argh. I’m so ready to be done and waiting for a match. I’m really concerned that there will never be a match, but I’ll be super happy to just be done with paperwork.

And last but not least, I was sure that my beloved cat’s time was near. I’ve had him for 16 years, when he was about 1-2 years old. I love this cat. I know I’ve written about him before, but he’s seriously the best cat on the planet. He’s sweet, cuddly, never bites or scratches, doesn’t run away from kids, and really just wants to sit by me and purr. He’s been getting so stiff and losing so much weight, and I’ve been so worried and I took him to the vet, and she looked worried, and said his arthritis was really bad, and then she suggested a painkiller and some joint support medication, and within 3 days he was back to his old self, with quite the spring in his step. He’s still old and skinny and not cured of arthritis but he’s obviously feeling SO MUCH BETTER, and it makes me happy.

More disappointment, but a few good things happening

The last few days have been such a roller coaster. For starters, we were placed with a newborn 2.5 weeks ago. We didn’t know the details (and still don’t), but from what they did tell us, it sounded like the case might eventually go to adoption. I was hopeful. D was not, and was not particularly happy with me for saying yes. Fast forward to yesterday. We still know nothing, we’re exhausted from being up half the night with a baby, and I had been instructed to take said baby in for a DNA test because the father was fighting for her. On my way to the parking garage, I decided to take the elevator instead of the outdoor stairs because it is hot as heck and I needed a break after being up all night. Well, while I was in the elevator the county called me about a newborn who was almost certainly going to adoption. By the time I listened to the message and called back, the social worker was already on the phone with another family who took the baby, even though they already have an 8-month-old whose case is probably going to adoption (and they have a child of their own too). Actually, what happened was that when I called, it went to voicemail and I left a message saying that if the baby’s case was going to adoption (because she didn’t say in her original message), we’d take him because we really want to adopt and we can’t handle taking another baby who won’t stay as we’ve said goodbye too many times already. She called back about five minutes later to say that another family had said maybe, and they needed to confer before saying yes. Which bothered me, because the few times I had called and said that we were interested but that I needed to confirm with D first, I had been told that if anyone else had called, they would not hold the baby(s) for me. But they held this baby for the other family. It was devastating.

I missed out on a forever baby by two minutes. I’m angry at myself, angry at the system, and angry at the other family (who doesn’t really know that by taking that baby, they have deprived us of yet ANOTHER chance to finally have the family we’ve been dreaming of for so long). I’m tired of being angry. The worst part is, D looks at this as just another bit of evidence that the universe doesn’t want us to be parents and that we should give up. It’s exhausting trying to talk him off the ledge. It’s exhausting getting my hopes up, having them crushed, and then trying to rebuild that hope that a forever baby will come through for us. And I’m finding it harder to bond with this baby, knowing there’s a good chance she’ll leave (I still love her to death, but I’m so, so scared of what might happen).

In other news, we finally finished our domestic infant adoption homestudy, and it’s been sent to the agency for approval. I’m assuming at some point we will have to have it notarized and/or provide updated paperwork proving our income, mortgage, pet licensing and vaccinations, retirement plans, etc. Since D leaves in one week for the children’s camp where he volunteers each year, I’m hoping they get back to me ASAP, because once he leaves, I’m not sure when we’ll have time and I just want to be done with it and have our profile out in the world, ready to be chosen. I’m turning 40 in less than three weeks, and we’ve been trying to have a family since I was 35, and that’s a long time to continually face setbacks and have our hopes crushed.

But to end on an upbeat note (or two, actually)… I LOVE my new job. I’m so, so happy that I finally found a great job in my field, and I work with awesome people, and as much as I hate the bureaucracy involved, I do love what I do. And on top of that, we are just about done with Phase 1 of our backyard overhaul. I will post pictures soon, but it feels like a completely different space, and it is SO AWESOME! I can’t wait for the firepit/coffee table to arrive. Now if only the temperature would drop below 100 degrees so I actually feel like going out and enjoying it…