Friday, May 29, 2015

Friends through Adoption...

I arrived at this strangers home one Saturday in July of 2008. I was nervous to say the least. I had been to a support group meeting before but this was different. The other group I had belonged to was about endometriosis; it had women there with all the same stories and did pretty much all the same procedures. This was IVF and no matter what anyone thinks, no two stories are the same. I had just miscarried for the second time the month before and the trauma from knowing I could have died was still in my mind. But I needed help. I needed more than just talking to my husband. I needed friends who knew what I felt. I had said years ago that I thought support groups and therapists were quacks. Who needs them!! Apparently I did!! I looked up on the RESOLVE website to see if there was any group out there that dealt with loss and IVF. And there it was - it read a group for MISCARRIAGES!! Great! I was in!

As I approached the door, I hesitated. I knew this would be another start to something for me. When you open yourself up to others, it changes you. I was just about to tell a room full of strangers about my journey up until now and I was about to throw up.

The host was nice and welcomed me in and led me to the room downstairs. She seemed too busy to chat and was running around getting things together. I had never been to meeting at someones house before. I was used to going to a meeting room in a hospital. So I sat on the sofa waiting for the meeting to begin. As they went around the room I heard woman after woman tell there story about their eggs and their retrievals and how many times they had IVF. All I kept thinking was I can't do this! I can't be in this room. My heart was beating so hard and I felt a lump form in my throat. The closer they got to me the worse I felt. I couldn't see myself stick another needle in my body. I couldn't watch another baby die. My body obviously couldn't do this. But I want to be a mom! GOD help me get through this meeting and I will promise to go to church again! It was the girl next to me turn to speak. She was very pretty and I remember she had the best black curly hair!! I stared at it wondering how I could get my hair to do that... UGH! I was distracted to say the least. This young girl began to give her update and it actually made me laugh. NOT OUT LOUD!! She was 28 and had her transfer the day before and she had like 40 something fertilized eggs and she is worried that none will work or whatever. 40!!! And 28 years old! Is she kidding me!! Now please don't take offense but all I thought was 40 fertilized and SHE is worried??? Of course she didn't know at the time but the transfer worked and she got pregnant. I always wondered what ever happened with the other fertilized eggs. Anyway...

Finally It was my turn. Someone said to me "You have been quiet". Of course I was, I was terrified. I think I began my story by saying "I think I'm in the wrong group"and told everyone I started looking into how the adoption process worked. I told them about my miscarriage and gulped the entire way through it. That lump never went away but I did it!!

After the meeting I had a chance to quickly say hello to the host and we chatted about adoption briefly. I knew nothing at that point about how to adopt so there was not much to say. She gave me her number and I left. Thank god that was over. Now what!!

I won't say that I was sorry I went... cause even though it didn't seem to be there right place for me, I got two very important things out of it. One - I knew when it was over that adoption was clearly what I needed to do... no more needles! And two - the host that was running around that day, well she ended up being my BFF. It was Josette. And without her I would never had gotten through this.

Over the next couple of months I scheduled every orientation and meeting I could to learn about adoption. I went to APC (Adoptive Parents Committee) and there I met lawyers and adoptive parents and social workers. It was overwhelming but good. I met with another attorney I heard about on a separate occasion and learned all the weird things I would have to do if doing private domestic adoption. 800 number? Ads in newspapers?? Huh?? I went to three different agencies and heard what they had to say. It was a great learning experience. You see back when I was researching, the internet was not very good. Websites weren't very detailed and getting information was super hard. The best way to verify anything at that point was to go and see for yourself.

I gave myself to October 1st to pick what I wanted to do; agency vs. private; international or domestic. But I needed more. I knew the best learning tool would be to get information from "real" families that did this already. Books are great, professionals are great, but actual adoptive families who went through this journey is what I needed. I started asking all my friends if they knew anyone that had adopted and slowly I began "interviewing" families. What route did you choose? Why? How much? How long? I spoke to about 11 families. It was amazing how much information people were willing to give out! I never told anyone what I spent on stuff never mind a baby! You can see I was so naive and had no clue! I kept my notes organized in a notebook that I would eventually use for writing info about potential situations.

I went back onto the RESOLVE website and found an adoption support group. I figured I did it once right? Let's try it again!! This time was so different!! I was in the right place. There were only four families there but it didn't matter. I felt at home! We met another couple that were thinking about adopting from Poland which was her home country!
And funny enough that couple did adopt from Poland years later and we all going on our 5th annual camping trip this summer!

At the September meeting we met even more people!! Including a familiar face, Josette! The host from the IVF group was there. Apparently my knowledge of nothing helped her decide to learn more about adoption! The meeting was great! One woman broke out her book of tricks and showed me profiles and newspaper ads and 800 number bills and lists of attorneys and wow!!

On October 1st we made the final decision to go private domestic. Signed up with a lawyer, got an 800 number and got certified! On the day we got certified, January 11, 2008, we got up early to get dressed up. I will be honest and I will say that knowing I was gonna stand in front of judge worried me. There was a fear that standing there in a judges presence he would see through my innocent look and he would know all the bad things I did as a kid and lock me up! I took bazooka gum from a store when I was 5!! I mooned a group of boys when I was 12!! He would know I was a "wild" child. Ugh can you tell I watch way too much TV!!

We stood in front of the judge and had to answer a few questions. Is everything we stated in this paperwork true? Have any of you been to therapy? Have we been arrested?? Blah blah ... Each question was answered with a NO!! It was easy!! Until he asked something like will you be good parents? And auto pilot was on and I said NO!! He threw it in to see if I was paying attention! Guess I wasn't. I froze and then started laughing and said ooops YES!! My attorney and husband and thankfully the judge burst into laughter!!

It took about 30 seconds and we left! That was it! We had to wait for a bit in the waiting area for our attorney to be finished with her next few clients. I noticed another couple in the waiting area too. Guess who again - Josette! At this point Josette and I kinda realized something was supposed to happen here. It was way too coincidental that we kept meeting. So after we certified we all decided to go to breakfast!! And that my friends was the start of my journey into private adoption and a wonderful partnership/friendship!!

Written By Chemene
Co-Leader of the Long Island Adoption Group
Adoptive Mom
Homemaker and proud of it!
Join us at our next PRE/POST General meeting on June 5, 2015

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