By Ann Tatko-Peterson
Tuesday, April 29th, 2008 at 11:17 am in Adoption.
“Waiting for Baby” is an intentional take on the title of Peggy Orenstein’s memoir, “Waiting for Daisy.” I met the Berkeley author during a 2006 interview. Her story of infertility, almost adopting and the unexpected birth of her daughter resonated deeply with me. At the time, I was stuck on my own infertility see-saw.
No one ever dreams that infertility could happen to them. Denial is a nice comfort zone. Give it six months, the doctors suggest. No luck? OK, let’s run diagnostic tests. Still no luck? Then let’s try prescription drugs, invasive treatments, even old wive’s tales. Negative pregnancy tests, miscarriages, failed fertility treatments and a whole lot of tears and angry why-me’s later, I was left at a cross-roads: accept never having a baby or decide to get on an entirely different see-saw.
My husband and I decided being parents was more important than getting pregnant. So, after much soul-searching, we decided to adopt. Then came the hard part.
After some hesitation I decided to share my family’s journey through adoption as we experience it. I tend to be a private person, and I have no idea how this story will end. But as I’ve learned, sometimes you need to take a chance. When adopting, there is no such thing as privacy. Your life is scrutinized by social workers. Your values and personality are presented to prospective birthmothers. Your ability to reach a birthmom who might select you depends on your willingness to network, even with perfect strangers.
But my being open is about more than stepping outside my comfort zone. As I discovered many times along the way, adoption is hard when you don’t know where to look. Try typing “adoption” in a Google search. The more than 86 million hits are overwhelming and intimidating. Navigating adoption is as much about hope and progress as it is despair and false starts. And honestly, I wish my husband and I had not gone it alone for quite so long in the beginning.
So, as we wait until our baby comes into our lives, I want to share what we learned. I’d also like to hear about your experiences with adoption, whether your own or someone’s you know. (You can comment below or e-mail me directly.) “Waiting for Baby” will appear here in the aPARENTly Speaking blog every Wednesday, starting tomorrow. Thanks for joining us on this journey.