Friday, April 17, 2009

Adoption agency #2 - funny and flippant

There is something slightly scary about a room-full of infertile couples. The air is tinged with a quiet desperation. I look around and wonder why this or that couple can't conceive - what did they go through to get here?
The adoption talk happens at a branch of the Big Business Baby Factory out in the Burbs. It's so hard to find that one person arrives at 8.30pm as the whole thing is wrapping up. She couldn't find the place and when she did find it she was locked out and was left banging on the door in no man's land until someone happened to leave the building and she could get in.
It's really adoption 101. I meet my IRL IF buddy there (IF=infertile for the acronymally challenged). It's a rare chance to hang with someone I know in real life who is going through similar but different IF issues. S. can't come - and as I am busy info gathering I don't really expect it. It's nice to have someone familiar to sit by. The rest of the room is couples - all straight looking - (meaning comprising a male and a female) and one very heavily made up and slightly slutty looking female couple. When we are asked for topics we would like the speaker to cover I pipe up "same sex couples and singles" which covers me and my friends' issues. Everyone thinks we are a lesbian couple.
The speaker ( let's call her Ruby- not sure why but that name just popped out!) has been busy drawing a diagram of squares and circles in the shape of a family tree. With it she is illustrating that no matter whether the adoption is domestic, international, closed, open or whatever, the adopted child is irrevocably connected to two families at least - his adoptive and his birth family. She or he will always be connected to both - period. Adoption isn't a one shot or finite deal. It isn't over when the papers are signed. It evolves as the child grows and the complex relationships inherent in this truth cannot be ignored. Good point - I had not thought of it in that way before.
Ruby writes a list of topics that the audience members shout out on the white board - agency vs. attorney, domestic vs. international, open vs. closed and the two biggies - TIME FRAME and COST.
She saves those two till last. She is very engaging. She tells stories about the birth and adoptive families she works with. The most memorable points she makes ( and I actually did not learn anything new from her except the family tree analogy above) are about waiting time and cost. She talks in extremes - which is actually a touch misleading. It feels like we have been waiting an eternity to find out the answers to the biggest questions on our minds - how long will it take and how much will it cost? An hour into the talk she starts telling us about a couple who handed their "book" - photo and story book about the adoptive family to be shown to the birth mother so she can pick us - in on a Friday and were picked the following Thursday. That was the quickest turn around she had seen and she almost felt like telling the birth mom not to pick that couple as it wasn't fair to all the other people who had been waiting such a long time. The longest a couple has been waiting ( they are still wating) is 3.5 years. They have very strict criteria - only a caucasian baby and one where both birth parents are involved. As for same sex and single couples - how long do they wait? She did not say that they were less attractive to birth moms than straight couples - she just said that birth moms pick adoptive families for the most bizarre reasons - like they have a dog that looks like one the birth mom's grandpa had and it reminds her of him and so she picks that couple. Or they look down to earth. Or they have the same name as her best friend. Now I still know that same sex couples are going to be picked less but I feel better about it.
Onto the million dollar question: how much?
Well - miss cutie pie funny lady Ruby says, one couple that she knows spent $50,000 on an international adoption in Kazakstan (sp?). Another couple got a baby from a Balkan country which was also the birthplace of the adoptive mother. The baby came from an orphanage which was all too pleased to hand over the child to a national of that country and it cost no money at all! And we're all thinking - well where do we fall in this range? The room is thick with sweat and rapid mental calculations. We're all thinking - can I get a second mortgage? Will my mother lend me the money? Can I sell my soul to somebody for this baby?
And then it's over and we all pile out of the windowless room into the night. On the way to the parking lot I turn to a couple who were sitting on the other side of me and ask them which Baby Factory they go to. We talk, shivering in the cold, relieved to be spilling the beans to each other after an hour and a half of tension and anxiety. The wife says she has great eggs, but she had two IVF cycles and neither worked. Not sure if she miscarried or did not get pregnant but she feels her uterus is bad news. I on the other hand have an as yet unproven uterus - but one that I optimistically still believe can carry a baby - and eggs that have done a sorry disappearing act. She jokingly tells me that maybe we could make a deal - I carry her eggs and cook two babies - one for me and one for her. I almost take her up on it. She's blond, so is her husband, they are nice people. Sure, why not?
We go our separate ways and drive back to our respective lives, where our secrets and longings for a baby are tucked away a little more carefully. It feels like a let down. It feels like it's back to reality, back to the grindstone and back to dreaming of babies that miraculously appear regardless of miscarriages, losses, genetic anomalies, bad eggs, slow sperm, lethargic libidos. What a picture!
And by the way, I give the agency a B.


Kimi723 said...

hmmm... Don't really know what to say about this one. I was waiting on the same answers as you (how much and how long) and she never gave the answers. I guess there is no way of telling that, but at least an "average" rather than extremes might have been helpful.

I am glad you had a familiar face show up, especially since it was unexpected. I am sure it made the meeting more comforting. Although, it would be hard to sit in that room and not view all those other couples as your competition, vying for the same prize...

Thanks for sharing all this, I feel like I am learning a lot through you!

cindyhoo2 said...

I can only imagine how tense the room must have felt! The sense of desperation we all carry is frightening at times. I like that this agency was more positive about same sex couples. I agree with Kimi that I am learning alot from you. When you choose an agency you will need to have a good picture made where you look nice and down to earth, have your dogs with you and seem completely responsible (maybe glasses and a granny bun). :)

Good stuff! But I must admit that the straight couple with good eggs would have been hard to pass up.

Anonymous said...

Total side note, but you are a great writer. I'm really losing myself in your adoption tales. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences.

It sucks how we all know there are babies out there in need of homes but it seems so difficult to get them. Here's hoping your baby finds you quickly!! {{{}}}

Anonymous said...

im voting for agency #2 so far.

im with glamcookie, i am really enjoying reading about your ventures into the world of adoption, thank you for sharing all of this with us!

tireegal68 said...

thanks for reading and commenting - it means a lot to me!
of course I will keep you all posted!
TG:) said...

Hey there....could not help notice, that your father's first death anniversary just passed by....Hugs and Prayers and hoping that he is in peace.

I haven't been rocking the adoption scene at all, so I have little to contribute to the OMG experience you had. But I hope you can find a better agency.


Fat Chick said...

Adoption recon is no easy business, that's for sure. I went to a few, and that was what made me choose the IF route, despite my fear of needles! I admire your courage.

And fwiw, I call the waiting room of the RE's office the Vortex - short for the Sucking Vortex of Misery. I found the desperation in the adoption agency to be much easier than the misery at the RE.


Anonymous said...

I found your blog through IComLeavWe. I am in the adoption process as well. Trying to finish my application. We just have our autobiographies left to write. I hate writing about myself. Anyway, I would like to wish you the best of luck. This whole process is rather draining and very scary.

Anonymous said...

Good luck on your adoption, I know it can be overwhelming. We are also in the process of adopting.


Nicole said...

What a great summary! We are adopting domestically and in the middle of our home study. And I have to say that there are definitely as many variables in this process as there are in IVF (which we did 3 times)!

Good luck with the selection and happy ICLW!

Best When Used By said...

Tiree, Thanks for posting on my blog! I had to come over here and read a few of your postings.

First of all, you made a wonderful tribute to your Dad, and I'm sure he's very proud of you.

Also, I'm excited to see how your venture into adoption progresses. I really enjoyed your writing and will continue to follow your story.

Wishing you much luck!

Celia said...

One of the things that scares me about adoption is the idea that we won't get chosen for some weird reason-like that we have cats and not a dog. Or that we live in a city and not the suburbs. What the heck are birth mothers really looking for anyway?

Frau said...

The adoption thing is scary. I know a couple who are about as apple pie as they come. It took them FIVE years to be picked. Though then again maybe that's why they weren't picked because as much as I love them, they are sort of opinionated about being apple pie.

We have put out feelers on the adoption thing and the second guessing is very nerve-wracking.

Good luck. I like the way you sum up these meetings. It's a great resource for those of us who are getting a toe wet with this adoption thing.

We have Angel Wings said...

First thank you for commenting on my blog.

Second, I can't wait to learn more about your journey. I've only read one post and so far, I'm in love. You capture my attention and make me want to continue to read.

I'm wishing you all the best with your adoption journey. Hoping that you and S will be paper pregnant very soon.

Thirdly, go to this website where you sign up for a live feed. :)

Thinking of you and hoping the best.


Anonymous said...

Hey there!

Returning your visit to my bloghouse earlier today! Thanks, btw!

I really enjoyed reading about your adoption agency adventures and found myself vicariously in your place. We are coming to a point (within the next few months) of deciding between IVF and adoption. I've got POF so IVF won't be a 'gaurantee' at all.

Geesh! It's so much to think about, isn't it? I wish it could be a blindingly easy for us as all those pregnant by accident 16 year olds out there.


Mr. Shelby said...

Good luck on the adoption. It sounds like you guys are approaching it with a great spirit.

Mr. Shelby (from iclw)