Change in Plans

Wanna make God laugh? Tell Him your plans. We did. For more than a year, we’ve been trying for a second child. When the old fashioned way didn’t work, we enlisted the “help” of a gynecologist. Since June, she’d been prescribing fertility drugs. Hope was just a side effect. Since we started trying, every time the test stick said no at the end of a cycle, I’d cry, then I’d think: Maybe it’s not right, and when I got the final answer I’d cry again. I’d cry on and off all day. Once Rose went down for her nap, I’d crawl into a fetal position on the bed and sob and ask God “WHY? Why can’t we have another baby??” Eventually I altered the plea:“Please just tell us what to do! I can’t take this anymore!”

Well, we finally got our message. We’d written off the gynecologist and gone to a fertility clinic where they took one look at my records and said my ovaries are shutting down. It was possible, the doctor said, to conceive with treatment, but we’d run a serious risk of birth defects and miscarriage. Finally a straight answer. How long was the other doctor going to string us along? I don’t appreciate all the pain she put me through. I’m quite bitter. But that’s another story. On to Plan B. Adoption.

As an adoptee and a parent of a well-adjusted two-year-old, I believe I’m well-qualified to adopt a kid. I thought my husband and I would breeze through the process. We had a plan. We’d adopt a toddler from foster care. A girl, so Rose could have a sister. A toddler so they’d be close in age. We’d get our kid quickly because there would be toddlers waiting for homes and we wouldn’t have go through the rigamarole of an international adoption.

So I went online and did some research. And from what I could find, it appears that there are no healthy kids under two available for adoption in the United States. The only kids I could find on public sites had severe physical and developmental disabilities. It takes a special kind of mom to raise those kids and I know myself. I’m not that mom. I’m not that strong.

Plan B: International adoption. Most of the adoptees from other countries are toddlers. Jackpot for us, right? Did some more research. Since we want a girl, I looked at China, because they have so many unwanted girls either. Each country has its own set of requirements for adoptive parents. China requires parents to be married five years if there is a history of divorce in the family. We have both been divorced. We’ll celebrate our third anniversary in February. Forget China. Ok, maybe other Asian countries don’t like girls. Check Vietnam. Program on hold. Korea. We’re too fat. On to Guatemala. I’m half Cuban, dark-skinned, and I speak rudimentary Spanish, so I figured a Latina kid would feel right at home with us. Program on hold. At 41, I’m too old to adopt a kid in several other countries, so I crossed them off the list. Our international adoption prospects looked pretty bleak– so bleak that I stopped looking and shut down the computer.

The next day I was revisiting my research and I came across an article: something like “The Myths about Domestic Adoption.” It said that parents are reluctant to sign up for a newborn because they’ve heard the wait is so long and they’re wary of the trend toward “open” adoptions. When my parents adopted me, all adoptions were “closed,” meaning there was no contact between the birth family and the adoptive family. Open adoptions allow varying degrees of contact according to each family’s comfort level. The article said that wait time for a newborn averages 12 months. If we wait 12 months from approval, assuming we’re approved, Rose will be about three and a half when we get the new baby. Not so bad. And 12 months is only three months longer than a pregnancy.

Lots of couples go the international route to ensure a closed adoption. I empathize with the desire for a closed adoption but I totally understand open adoption for the kid’s sake. I don’t now and never will know my birth parents. I have always felt like part of my identity was missing. I want my kid to know her whole story. As her parent, I’d be worried her mother would want her back someday, but that’s my fear and according to a strict cost-benefit analysis, the open adoption is worth any kid’s emotional health.

So now we’re on to Plan C. Adopting a newborn. I wasn’t expecting to deal with a helpless infant again but I do still melt when I see tiny babies. So we’ll lose a little sleep. It’ll be worth it. Bringing home a newborn will also provide a more “normal” introduction to a sibling for Rose. And we’ll get to name the baby! I picked out my girl names years ago. Rose is one and I want the chance to use the other.

If you ask God for patience, He’ll land you in a traffic jam. If you ask Him for acceptance, He’ll present you with the unacceptable. I never asked God for help with my compulsion to plan, but I did write about it. And this is what I got. One Supreme reader and three changes in life plans within a week. And who knows? Maybe more changes to come. Adoption is a journey and you never know what will happen next. But I’m learning how to quickly adapt and I’m a willing student because when I’m a mother of two, I’ll need that adaptability even more than I did this week.

One comment on “Change in Plans

  1. For some international is a way to get a closed adoption, but it isn’t the only reason. For my wife and I it came down to finality of the adoption. In the states almost all children are placed in a home before the adoption is final. Sometimes the placement is short, sometime up to a year.

    For instance, we have friends who had their daughter placed with them direct from the hospital and they had to post the child’s information in the public notice section of the local paper every week for months asking if there were biological relatives who wanted to claim the child. Finalization took over a year. How do you bond with a child when you know that someone could show up and say that they would make a better parent because they share some DNA? And what do you do if that happens?

    We went through surgery, several drugs, IUI, and IVF cycles over several years in our quest for a child. The IVF cycles were the worst. Each time we would have beautiful 16 cell embryos that would get implanted; none would take. While those little balls are only 16 little cells, they are your children and having them die month after month is heart breaking. So when it came to adoption, we knew that we needed to know that when a child was placed with us it wasn’t going anywhere; we simply couldn’t deal with the potential loss.

    In Russia, where we went, adoptions are final at most 14 days after the court order, but aren’t even placed in your custody until the finalization date. In both of our adoptions the finalization was made immediate. The paperwork was extensive and a pain and the cost was huge, but knowing that the adoption was final meant everything.

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