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