Monday, May 17, 2010

What to do what to do?

We're getting in the car tomorrow morning to start our epic journey (which starts with a road trip to see family, then a plane trip to see more family, and then the trip to Korea). I'm excited, nervous, and worried, all at once. Excited because there should be some fun in many places along the way. Nervous because traveling with a toddler is always nerve-wracking. Worried because the trip is likely to end with some very bad news. But I think that I can handle it. I guess we'll see.

To follow up on my previous post, I think it's only fair that I give a little more info about why I am feeling so conflicted about adoption. It's quite complicated, of course, so I'm not sure I'll be able to articulate it, but I'm going to try to at least list some pros and cons so you can see what I'm thinking.

Adoption pro: Almost guarantees a child.
Adoption con: Not necessarily true of domestic private adoption--we may never get picked. What pregnant woman is dying to place her child with a family that a) already has a bio kid, b) isn't at all wealthy, and c) speaks an obscure 3rd world language at home?

Adoption pro: May result in an orphan getting a home
Adoption con: Some of those "orphans" aren't really orphans, or at least didn't have to be. International adoptions sometimes (I'm not saying always, or even often, but sometimes) involve baby-selling or worse. Domestic private adoptions are sometimes executed in a coercive way, with agencies (and sometimes friends and family) putting pressure on vulnerable women to surrender their children when it might have been possible for them to parent. I think I might always wonder if we did the right thing.

Adoption pro: People will approve
Adoption con: People will say stupid things that will hurt all of our feelings

Adoption pro: An adoption would add a wonderful new dimension to our family
Adoption con: The child might feel really left out, since being Mysterious is a big part of Mystery's identity, and will probably be a big part of Eggbert's as well. (She is a dual citizen, and is bilingual.) An adopted non-genetically-Mysterious child would never be accepted as a Mysterious tribe member. Ever. Even if we adopted a child that LOOKED Mysterious, they wouldn't really be accepted as Mysterious by people who knew. And adopting from the land of Mystery is complex and might not be possible for us.

Adoption pro: We don't care about genetics--we just love children
Adoption con: The child might care about genetics, and might have some issues about the fact that his/her older sister is our genetic offspring, whereas she/he isn't.

Adoption pro: If we did domestic adoption, we might be able to have some openness, which would be good for the child
Adoption con: There are no guarantees. The birth parents can always cut off contact and there is nothing we can do to stop them.

Adoption pro: Our hearts really lean toward international adoption
Adoption con: If we adopted internationally, we'd miss the first few months or even years of our child's life.

DE pro: The resulting child would be Mysterious, and would be genetically related to Mystery and Eggbert.
DE con: It might not work.

DE pro: I'd get to gestate and breastfeed (which for me is HUGE).
DE con: It's expensive and might not work.

DE pro: Nothing about the appearance of our family should draw attention from strangers beyond that which we already get (as long as we choose a white door so the child is the same mix as Eggbert)
DE con: Our friends and family might not understand.

DE pro: We'd be able to take the best possible care of the baby from the date of conception
DE con: The child might resent the circumstances of his/her conception

DE pro: The child would be genetically related to the two people that I love most on earth
DE con: The child might wonder if I love him/her less than Eggbert (but this is a con for adoption too)

DE pro: We could choose the donor
DE con: We might not be able to get a donor that we like

DE pro: There is no heartbroken birth mother in this picture.
DE con: An egg donor might be less likely to be willing to answer a child's questions when they grow up than a birth mother.

This isn't an exhaustive list, but at least you get the idea.


tree town gal said...

hi s - i meant to comment on your last post but didn't have a chance. we went through this exact dilemma for child #2. we were at the stage of final payment (which means we already had about $15K out of pocket) for an international adoption and all things fell apart. disaster. country all but closed to adoption oh, about the month we were to get a referral. but within a week, julie (ALPreg) implied where she investigated for DE with her amazing humor and sense. julia (HBHipp) confirmed when i emailed her. i did a little investigation and like a lightening bolt, the process became accessible & affordable.

prior, i only had looked at our local DE places (lousy statistics) and the few best ones (beyond our budget and the NYC joint was super crabby - you would not believe). this other place (CRM in MN) had fabulous results and reasonable cost. it became so much less traumatic than the adoption and cheaper, in the long run, even with travel. we bought insurance which was available and it became almost a guarantee: baby or money returned after three fresh and three frozen cycles (and really, if you are not pregnant by then you are statistically not going to carry a baby). other friends went to same place but opted out of insurance. they have twin boys, and i have the most fabulous son... who looks so much like my husband it's shocking and amusing. and also for me - adored being pregnant and being the voice the baby hears. i adored the staff, it was the best experience in terms of medical interventions i have had.

as you know, DE comes with its own set of struggles but for us, it just fell into our laps and became THE option. i was over the moon and ready for adoption but the heartache became too much and the country is still closed for adoption, years later. and oh, how my daughter LOVED watching me with a growing tummy... but i know she would have loved visiting this other country, too, and embracing a new baby... your pros and cons are fabulous but please please make sure you do a lot of investigation before you count out DE as being too expensive. it may be far more reasonable. my husband and i are both engineers and finance people and this was simply the more logical way to go for us; sounds crass but true. sorry this is so long. i'm not a blogger but i feel so passionate that people get the information about DE and it is so not readily available. i'm still tossing around how to make that happen. and yes, domestic adoption fabulous if you have the heart and stamina. i'm old. i did not. you do what you can. i know foster care also an option for some amazing people. but for us, DE became the path. i still can't believe my son is with me. take care.

Sue said...

Whatever comes of this trip, I hope you have fun and can rest assured you've explored all your options. Best of luck to you. I'm a DE mom in NC - if you ever want to meet up when you return, drop me a line.

Lut C. said...

All important things to consider. My conclusions on some of these points are the same as yours or similar, others don't apply.

Not being picked is a worry of mine.

Fears of baby-selling (whether or not founded) and no access to information about bio parents are cons of international adoption for me too. And missing the first months/years of a child's life doesn't appeal to me either.

Will an adopted child feel second-best in our family? There's no way of knowing.
Is the fact that we're trying ART so hard first, and adoption only second, enough to justify feeling second-best?

In my situation, I'm not sure people would approve of adoption automatically.
I think they would approve as long as it works out. If trouble comes along, I suspect many would shrug and say/think we should have just been happy with our bio daughter.
I don't think I would tell many people about going the DE route if we did.

There not being a heartbroken birth mother is a big difference in my view.

You don't have to decide just yet. I hope you have a lovely holiday with great news at the end.

Thalia said...

what a well thought out list. I don't think there are any straightforward rights or wrongs here, there is just a path that you will decide to take to build your family. When the time is right. Which is not yet.

Hoping your holiday is a good one.

Phoebe said...

I think in the end, the answer to your question, DE vs Adoption, will come down to what you feel like you and your husband could do. I know I'm struggling with this decision. Honestly, I feel better about adoption for my own personal reasons. I have seriously thought about DE, but it does not seem to be a financial reality to us. Plus, I don't think I'm up for more infertility treatments since I did not have the same success as you.

Heather said...

Found you via LFCA. My husband and I are adopting from Korea. I had some of the same thoughts you had. I actually struggled to write a post about it, but it never came out quite right. It's not an easy choice and DE or adoption aren't for everyone, but I'm sure you'll be able to figure out what works best for you and your family.

Best wishes.