As well as pursuing our next round of IVF we’ve also started looking into other options. We’re not ones to restrict our opportunities and feel no desperate need for our child to be our biological one. While we would both love to have a child that is genetically ours, neither of us feel that this is the only way to go. Our desire is to raise a child not to raise a mini-me, and so we’ve started looking into adoption also. If IVF #2 doesn’t work we will start the adoption process. Adoption may be one of our only options if a negative result in IVF round two fails to provide any explanations as to our infertility.
After a nerve-wracking phone call (I think I dialled the number three times before I was brave enough to stay on the line) our names were noted down to attend an adoption information session at our local Child, Youth and Families office. The wait, about 5 weeks, seemed like an eternity but luckily we had our WTF appointment in the middle to break things up. Eventually the Monday of the session rolled around and we were ready to go. We had both had a good day at work (our first day in a fantastic new office) which was fortunate as the adoption info session was pretty hard going. The course covered a whole range of options; from domestic adoption, to international, to fostering, and emergency care, so the first hour was devoted to the types of kids requiring homes. I have to say it was extremely tough sitting through some of the case studies, many of them were absolutely heartbreaking. Abusive homes, disabilities, addiction, older kids that nobody wanted. I struggled to hold back the tears at times, just the thought that there are so many kids out there in such horrible circumstances – kids that have done nothing wrong except to be born to the wrong people or at the wrong time.
It still grates me that abusive degenerates can have children and destroy those children’s lives and yet we, and so many others like us, who could give a child a stable, loving home are infertile. Then another part of me realises that many of these ‘bad parents’ are just doing what was done to them, doing what they were taught was normal, that they never really had a chance to be good parents, and that makes me sad too. They themselves were once these kids to whom life had dealt a raw deal, and they don’t know any different. I remember watching the news once about some parents who were being charged by the state for treating their kids poorly. I remember one of the parents saying how much they’d learnt while on trial and how it had just never occurred to them that beating their kids was wrong; it was how they’d grown up and what they had considered normal until the judicial process taught them otherwise.
The second half of the session wasn’t much more positive although it did enlighten us on the process of adoption in this country. After the initial information session you put your name on the list for a day long workshop which, once completed, is followed by some ‘homework & self-assessment in your own time, then a further day long workshop before you submit your application for the type of care you want to apply for (in our case domestic adoption). Next comes the assessment by your case worker which consists of multiple two-hour long home visits/interviews after which you are hopefully approved to move onto the next step. From here you build a profile of yourselves – who you are, what you do, what your life is like, what you can provide etc. and it is this profile that is submitted to the biological parents to allow them to assess and decide on who they want to take care of their baby. There are further workshops and training available and fingers crossed one day you become one of the lucky ones chosen to be adoptive parents.
The scary thing is that even once you’re chosen, the biological parents can still change their mind right up until you sign the legal documents. It freaks me out that we could potentially get the call we’d have been waiting for, only to have our hopes dashed at the final hurdle. It is great that the biological parents have this opportunity to reverse their decision if they feel that raising their child is actually something they want to do, but I can’t help but wonder how many of these ‘changed mind children’ end up back in the system when they’re older as abused or neglected kids. I certainly know this wouldn’t apply to all cases but it’s hard to believe that with a seven-fold decrease in the adoption rate over the last 30 years that all of these children are being cared for in the way they deserve.
While we would love to be able to help out some of those older kids in need, I think at this stage of our life we just don’t have the skills to be able to cope with the multitude of problems that many of these children bring with them. After years of ill-treatment and neglect, most of the kids carry a huge amount of baggage. I think perhaps after we’ve raised some children ourselves, rather than just nannying or babysitting some, we’d be in a much better position to assist, and in time that’s what we may do. But for now, we’ve decided that adoption is the way to go. International adoption is just too expensive, especially with the rounds of IVF we’re having to pay for, so it will be domestic adoption for us. The down side of this however is that we could be waiting a long long time for a child (although of course we may also get lucky and be chosen quickly). In the 12 months to July there were only 5 domestic adoptions in New Zealand and there were 54 couples on the books awaiting a child. On the upside we knew one of the couples who had been lucky enough to be one of those five so this gave us hope.
We left the session in much the same way we’d gone in – in neutral. We’d plummeted to the lowest depths and risen to hopeful optimism only to stop somewhere in the middle at ‘it’s just another option’ – just another possibility, another choice to make, and another fork in the road.