Discerning the Path Toward AdoptionNovember 9, 2010 at 8:38 am | Posted in Adoption, Megan's Blogs, The Nitty-Gritty | Leave a comment
Tags: Adoption, disability, disability and love, disability and marriage, disability and relationships, interability marriage, Megan Cutter
When we first learned that we would not be having children biologically, Barton and I were both devastated- we had always pictured having two children, we named them even. We grieved in different ways, with slightly different issues coming up for each of us.
When we first approached adoption, we started off by making calls to different agencies, and we learned an independent adoption agency was within walking distance to our house. We attended an information session where we learned the benefits to open adoption, the costs and process associated with adoption. Adoption is not for the faint of heart- it could be a long process and could take many years with many variables. For a long time, independent open adoption was the only path we considered.
Yet there were still unanswered questions. Potentially, I could go through sperm donation, but as we explored that path, I quickly realized there were just as many issues that would come up with sperm donation than with adoption. The process can be grueling on a woman’s body, and there are still issues surrounding the rights of a biological father. Yet, it was important that each of us explore the different issues that were coming up at different times, and for us to respect where the other one was at in the process.
Most people don’t mention the questions infertility can bring up- does is matter how a baby is created, is the woman’s body considered holy, when & how does a soul come into the body? It’s not only the physical questions that came up, but spiritual, social and relationship questions as well.
There was a point several years ago where I wanted to have a baby “right now,” but Barton wasn’t quite sure. He even questioned whether we should have children or not. As hard as it was to hear, but it was an option we needed to explore. Yet, as our relationship shifted and grew, Barton couldn’t deny that smile and spark that arose when being around children, and wanting to raise a child in our family. He mentioned that if we were going to have children, it was important to him to take care of a child who wouldn’t otherwise have a home, and we talked about the deeper and underlying foundation for his need.
In our case, I also had to look at how there were friends who weren’t supportive of our having children, similar to the concerns of us when we got married. I learned I would need to find support in different places.
Closed adoption, semi-closed adoption, open adoption, international, domestic, independent- how do you decide which path is right for you? We listened to other people’s adoption journeys and researched as much as we could about each path. For example, international adoption would be less feasible because many countries require that you travel to that country, many for week or months at a time, and we wouldn’t be able to do that.
Independent adoption appealed to us as well because in most cases, the birth mother chooses the adoptive family, and it was very important for us not only to respect the birthmother, but to make sure that the birth mother has the ability of choice. Yet, it would be difficult for us to screen any high-risk situations. We have heard that flexibility is key, as the path may change mid-course.
Agencies have different policies as well. Can you believe how shocked I was when I called an agency and they asked what nationality we preferred since the fees were different for different nationalities! (I couldn’t get off the phone fast enough).
I also realized that right away we would need to get life insurance- it was the one issue that came up over and over when I mentioned Barton’s disability. We spent two years working on getting life insurance for Barton (being qualified wasn’t the issue, but it was the research that took so long).
And now, we’re working on the financial end- our least favorite part because if it was up to us, we would have already started the process. The reality is adoption is incredibly expensive, and we have been in a recession with multiple contract changes. And of course if we wait, I am worried that age will at some point be a factor for me.
It was important that each of us be respectful about where the other one was in the process. Now we have come to the place where we both would love to have children and begin the process immediately, but we are working on the list to make sure we go through the home-study without major hurdles to Barton’s disability.
The truth is- we don’t know what will happen, but we are being open to all of the possibilities.