Tuesday, May 25, 2010

In transit

Well, we've finished the first leg of our flights so far. So far so good. As it turns out, Dora the Explorer on a portable DVD player is a traveling mother's best friend. We didn't hear a peep out of Eggbert for the two hours that we let her watch it. Whew! The trans-Pacific segment is next. Wish us luck!

We are taking a holiday before the IVF, so we won't actually be in Korea for a few more weeks. I may not post for a bit, but just thought I'd let you know that we're underway. Woo hoo!

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.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Pleasing the people

When I was trying to conceive Eggbert, I don't think that it ever really occurred to me to worry about what other people thought about my choices. I don't mean that I wasn't aware of the judgment that the world heaps on infertiles (and mothers, and, for that matter, women), but I never let it creep into my thinking when I was making important decisions about family-building. But for some reason, other people's opinions bother me more now. I can't really put my finger on why.

I've always been a bit of a people pleaser, so caring what people think, unfortunately, isn't exactly a new thing for me, but caring what they think about my family is. When I met Mystery and we fell in love, our relationship was almost universally disapproved of in the community where we lived at the time. Our families were supportive, luckily, and so were my friends, but several of Mystery's then closest friends really let him down, and our coworkers were unanimously appalled. I can't say that we were happy about that, but it never made either of us doubt that we were making the right decision for ourselves, and ten years later, we still think that we did (and the naysayers have mostly come around).

And when we ran into infertility, I certainly heard the "just adopt's" and the "perhaps it wasn't meant to be's" and even the "it's God's will's," but I just chalked those off as stupid things to say and then moved on. Sure, it hurt my feelings sometimes, but it never made me doubt my choices. People that think assisted reproduction is wrong found me nothing but supportive of their decision not to undertake assisted reproduction, and when they didn't agree with my decision to use it, well, they were welcome to kiss my PIO-bruised arse.

For some reason, though, it feels different this time. Maybe it's because I've somehow landed in adoption-land central. In my 12-person department at work, five people have adopted children, and one of my closest friends outside of work is currently waiting for a placement. Apparently, adopting is the standard operating procedure for infertile couples here. It is not a coincidence that while all of my friends and colleagues know that we're going to Korea this summer, I haven't told all of them why.

But that's not the worst of it. The fear of disapproval isn't just silencing me, it's also getting into my head and giving me doubts about where to go from here. Mystery and I had a really difficult time deciding to try IVF again, but now that we've made that decision, I feel good about trying one more time, but then what?

Like many people, I find it much easier to start an ART cycle when I have a backup plan for if (when?) it fails. When we started trying for Eggbert, our backup plan was adopting from Ethiopia. I felt really good about that plan, and it definitely helped me to get through some dark days. So you'd think that I'd know what we were going to do if this cycle fails, but you'd be wrong. Now I am full of doubts. I don't doubt that I would love an adopted child wholeheartedly, but I am increasingly doubting whether that would be the best decision for our family as a whole. It's so complicated. At this point, I'm torn between three options: 1) embracing Eggbert's status as an only child, 2) adopting, and 3) trying donor eggs. And when I listen to my heart, I lean toward option 3. I've been trying for about 20 minutes to outline the reasons for my waffling, and am having trouble getting the words just right. It's so hard to talk about these things without seeming to condemn other people's choices. Or am I just afraid of your disapproval too? I really don't know. Reason #85 gajillion that I really hope this cycle works. If not, I really don't know what the next step should be, and I'm pretty clearly not yet ready to face it, whatever it is.