DECISION TO ADOPT
I would like to say it's something ‘you just know’ but the reality for many couples will be quite different. Before even thinking about adoption, unfortunately, many will experience one crossroad after another, confused and uncertain whilst they contemplate a multitude of factors. Questioning and deliberating at different junctures in their lives. Here is some of the more common challenges faced:
- Should we continue trying to conceive naturally? How long for?
- Remain as a couple, with no children.
- Should we try a fertility treatment?
- How many unsuccessful IVF attempts can we endure?
- How will the birth children (if any) cope with us adopting?
- Could we cope with birth parent contact?
- Are we prepared to be flexible on the age of the child/children, as a baby may not be an available option?
For us our decision came down to one flippant comment and this altered our lives forever!
The day we decided to consider adoption - The Simple Statement
I remember it well, it was a miserable dark rainy day when we had an appointment at an IVF clinic, in Nottingham. The consultant we saw, literally skimmed over what IVF entailed, along with some of the potential risks attached. Sadly, his focus was on the financials: the cost, the payment plan etc, it was like we were dealing with a commission-based salesman. So, it was in that very clinic car park that we had our adoption light bulb moment! Experiencing such a poor IVF consultation, I simply said – ‘I would rather adopt than go through any of that’, and that was it!
That was when our very unexpected adoption journey began - a simple statement later!
I was 24 years old when I got married to my husband who was 3 years older. Getting married at this age we felt we had time on our side. Plenty time to enjoy life as a young couple, maybe travel a bit, have weekend breaks with friends/family, basically doing all the couplie things most do before starting a family. Approximately four years on we decided to try for our very own family, something we were both super excited about!
As the months went by with still no news to share, we were determined to stay hopeful. However, a couple of years in, we had no choice but to seek medical advice. Our GP referred us to our local hospital to see a gynaecologist but unfortunately this would take several months. Not wanting to waste any more time, we opted for private health care.
Within a month, we received the results of our fertility tests. We were both feeling extremely anxious but thankfully, we discovered there was nothing obvious to report. Our consultant suggested a fertility treatment for a duration of 3- 6 months. Once again, we were on an agonising journey awaiting a much-desired positive outcome.
After a long eight months of taking the fertility drug, our enthusiasm was fast diminishing and the light at the end of the tunnel was getting dimmer. At the same time we received some news of a possible hormonal issue. The consultant revealed that I was producing extremely high levels of a hormone called prolactin, a hormone (enabling the production of breast milk) expectant mothers normally produce. They concluded, due to the levels of prolactin I was producing, my body could potentially be thinking it was already pregnant therefore making it virtually impossible for me to conceive. As a result, I was prescribed a drug to help reduce/regulate the levels of prolactin, but this course of action was undertaken for just one week. Unfortunately, the medication literally sedated me, leaving me in a non-functional state. So, with a heavy heart we decided not to pursue this route.
It seemed the hope of having our own family was sadly fading and the frequency of my tears was undoubtedly ever increasing. Although we had a strong network of friends/family, I remember feeling very alone. This was not because they were not being supportive, it was more me feeling completely overwhelmed with a whole host of emotions: was I being silly or weak, was I going over the top, I had no real illness so why all the drama? Reflecting on this period now, its’ upsetting to think, I seriously felt that I should not reveal my intensely deep sadness, to anyone!
It was at this point we explored IVF, as an option. However as mentioned earlier this was rapidly ruled out, after the worst IVF consultation ever! Fortunately for us, this was what nudged us to consider adoption. So, we got in touch with our local council, who advised us to enrol onto a 6-week Adoption Awareness Course. The best move we ever made!
You will need support
It is crucial to understand that you too, may experience similar (or more) challenges at this premature stage of your adoption journey. Perseverance is key but much more than that it is paramount that you keep talking to each other and one hundred percent tap into your support network (whenever needed). No-one needs to be a superhero!
In my next blog, I will take you through what our adoption process was like, providing an insight of the lessons learned from round one (adopting 2 toddler boys) which ultimately aided our second round of adoption (adopting their little sister).