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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Why We're Adopting

"Oh, we're fertile. We have a biological son."
     I tossed it out there lightly, without much thought. I saw my words hanging in the room like lead balloons and I  tried desperately to shove them back in my mouth. We were at our first formal adoption group class with our agency. We were just asked to discuss our feelings on infertility with the group. Sitting in tight nervous pairs all around us were couples who couldn't have babies. I didn't know their stories. But as I was trying to shove the zeppelin back in my mouth, I could feel  their pain They probably had really long infertility stories marred with failed attempts and miscarriages. I felt terrible for seeming so cavalier about what drove us to that meeting. I wanted them to know that we, too felt incredible pain and this wasn't something that we decided to undertake "just because." 

     I didn't bother to go into the details at that meeting. I didn't tell them that W was just one pound and completely see through when he was born. Or that he suffered a pulmonary hemorrhage that almost killed him and that they were pumping blood out of his collasped lungs for weeks. Or how we couldn't hold him for a month after he was born. Or how he suffered a brain hemorrhage and we weren't sure if he'd ever be able to walk or talk. Maybe I should have. Then they would have understood that there was nothing cavalier about why we were adopting.

     Little W and I were quite happy together when I was pregnant. I was getting a cute belly, he was growing, we were doing prenatal yoga and exercising and learning what each other liked to eat. I followed all the rules. I was the picture of pregnant health. Then like a tornado at 25 weeks, we were on hospital bed rest. Preeclampsia was the culprit and it was ANGRY. I barely had time to come to terms with what was happening to us when they took him from me at just 26 weeks. The next four months Little W lived in the NICU and we held constant vigil at his side.

     And I Googled things. Lots and lots of things. I found that the chances of this happening again with a subsequent pregnancy where anywhere from 10-70%. No, thank you. Before W was even home with us, we decided that this would be our only foray into the world of reproduction. We could not live with the guilt of trying to make another baby when so much could go wrong. If that kid didn't turn out 100% perfect, I'd blame myself forever and probably wind up pulling a Sylvia Plath.

     We decided right then and there that we didn't care whose loins our children came out of. Then about 15 seconds later we decided that we didn't care what color those loins were. And then about 12 months later when we got serious about #2, we decided that if this child was to be of a different race than us, they should have a connection to their birth family. And thus our domestic, open adoption love story began.
     Maybe I should have told everyone all of that at that first meeting. If for no other reason than to save face from my mindless gaffe. But honestly, the "why" just doesn't seem all that important to me. What's important is that we have a lot of love to give. We're committed to bringing a beautiful baby home with us and forging a lasting bond with their birth mother. And I think that's a beautiful thing.

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