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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

National Infertility Awareness Week

If you weren't aware, it is National Infertility Awareness Week. Hurray!
This week we have been challenged as bloggers dealing with infertility to post a bit about our struggles and the myths that surround infertility. The things everyone tells us that don't help and eventually grate on our nerves. (We know you mean well, but, please, telling us to relax or go on vacation or stop trying and then it will happen, really don't help one little bit...)
The myth I've chosen to write about is the old phrase, "Well, you can always just adopt, there are tons of babies out there just waiting." This is kind of a two parter.
Firstly, there aren't millions of babies out there in limbo just waiting to be adopted. If there were, the process would likely be a lot easier then it is. These days, especially, more and more unwed women tend to chose to parent their children. Society has accepted that as a viable option and it works for many of them. The kids who are waiting in the foster system tend to be older or have medical problems that make them hard to place. Many couples dealing with infertility do eventually take in these children, but it is a tough decision and takes time. Like every other couple, they have their dreams of the perfect little newborn, and that can be a very hard thing to give up on. And no child was ever unwanted. Adoption is a tough decision made by the birth mother because she loves her child and wants to give it the best possible chances in life.
Secondly, adoption is in no way easy, quick, or cheap. Depending on what options and agencies you work with, it can take months or years just to get through the paperwork and approval stage. Then there is the waiting. Once approved, you have 3 years in which to hope you are picked. After that, you have to start the paperwork over again for reapproval. And the fees.. thousands of dollars for paperwork and home studies and legal fees and adoption costs, and the finger printing, and medical visits.... it adds up to some pretty hefty sums, and that's just domestic! If you go international add in travel costs, sometimes for weeks or months in a different country, sometimes multiple visits. Then there is the invasive nature of the whole thing. There is no promise that just because you can fill out paperwork and have money that you will be approved. You are left feeling that you are at the mercy of total strangers who will come in and poke and prod at your life, your home, everything, then they get to decide if you are "good enough" to go on the waiting list to be parents.
It can be hard to do, to give up that level of control. You worry that maybe you're not good enough, your house isn't clean enough.. all on top of already feeling like a failure because your body doesn't work right in the first place or you wouldn't have this problem, and you've probably been poked and prodded medically in the diagnosis phase and maybe even tried ivf or something a time or two (again, very pricey treatments that insurance doesn't always cover..)

I'm pretty fortunate. We knew early on that we'd have fertility issues. Hubby'd had a vasectomy near the end of his first marriage, so that was going to cause problems anyway. So we knew going in that we'd either have to adopt or seek assistance. Then we found out about my problems. They weren't a total shock. I'd often suspected there was something going on. And the first few years were just full of all sorts of changes and adjustments anyway.. Married, moved 3000 miles, suddenly had 4 step kids, 2 of them teenagers. We didn't have much money, so I did a lot of reading. About step kids, and infertility and adoption. It helped prepare me for when we started the whole process in 2006. We'd just started on the paperwork with LDSFS, which was a difficult tango because they didn't have an office up here so we were working with them from out of state, when my husband suddenly felt that the timing wasn't right and called it off. I was very upset with him because he couldn't give me an answer as to why. This was early 2007. In August of that year I was in a car accident that took most of a year to recover from, so there was a reason.. then in 2008 we started talking about it again and had to postpone, yet again, because he was going to be deployed. Last year we decided that now was the time and started up again. We've just about got our paperwork ready to turn in (just need hubby's doctor visit and fingerprinting - and this year's tax info..) This time we decided to go with a local agency. There aren't many in the state, but we are going with Catholic Social Services in Anchorage. Hopefully we will be on our way to approval by the end of the year. That would be nice. That would be lovely. Then we just have to work on our profile and hope a birthmother out there likes us.
Meanwhile, I'd better go clean my house :)

If you'd like to know more about infertility or awareness week or RESOLVE (the organization behind this challenge) please check out these web sites: infertility 101 and take charge

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Infertility Awareness Month

Ok, so I missed posting anywhere in March. So my goal of posting at least once a month has fallen.. I will state that I was sick for a good part of it, and coping with trying to catch up on things the rest of it and blogging just slipped thru the cracks.
Hubby and I went to Fairbanks this past weekend. We wanted to just get away for a bit, but who can afford to go anywhere, so we went to Fairbanks. Not much to do there this time of year, but it was still fun. I've never been up there before, so now I can say that I have.
It was a quiet month. Spring, or what passes for it here, is upon us, so the ground is getting muddy and the winds are blowing people's roofs off. Luckily ours seems to be secure.
As mentioned in the header. April is Infertility Awareness Month. I mention this because it has been brought to my attention that PETA has done something immensely stupid, even for PETA. (They use to be a worthwhile group, but things have long since gone hill..) They launched a campaign on March 31 where they are having a contest where they will give some guy a free vasectomy as a reward for spay/neutering their pets. They have said they are doing it "in honor" of infertility awareness month.. This is such a huge insult to those of us dealing with infertility, and really the final straw for me as far as PETA goes. There is a petition to tell PETA how much this sucks if anyone is interested.