Tuesday, 15 March 2011

In Which I Ask You All A Question

I always expected to have at least three kids. So did J. (He always said four, minimum). And then we actually acquired some children, and suddenly two began to feel like a WHOLE LOT OF KID. For a year or so, the idea of having any more never really crossed my mind. But suddenly, it is starting to. When people ask the question any more planned? I've stopped laughing in their faces and started saying hmmmmm, we don't quite know.

Because honestly, we don't. We don't feel like this is the right time for #3 (or, who knows, #3 and #4) but it is starting to feel like the right time to start thinking about it. Know what I mean? And we really haven't thought about it yet. We've talked about it for probably less than ten minutes, all together, over the course of about three short conversations. So right now, I have no opinions and no prejudices and that's why I'm asking for your opinions.

Because we have one important complicating factor. Four years ago, we decided that because of my messed-up DNA, pregnancy wasn't the right choice for us. But in the meantime, IVF techniques have been developed that could be game-changers. (we have ethical reservations about some of the IVF techniques that could have helped in the past - these newer techniques address those concerns. Not going to say any more about that because my total ignorance of all matters reproductive would VERY quickly become apparent).

The weird thing (for me) is just how totally neutral I feel about pregnancy at the moment. While we were waiting to adopt Pink and Blue, I grieved and grieved and grieved about all that I felt like we were missing out on. I grieved the specific losses we faced, but I also grieved the lost opportunity to be normal, to have a family that nobody would feel the need to comment on. And I guess that is one of the big differences from this perspective - no matter how we form our family from here on in, we're already on an unusual path. No number of pregnancies would ever get us our Normal back. Another big difference, of course, is that I'm pretty dang pleased with how our first go at being not-normal has worked out.

And that brings me to my biggest fear about pregnancy, if IVF was successful. It's not the thoroughly unpleasant side effects (the women in my family tend to have horrible pregnancies) and it's not the bit at the end, with all the screaming. No, what I fear most is that if we announced a pregnancy people would burst into tears and hug me tightly and say 'oh, I'm just so, so, so happy for you!' and tell me that they have been praying that this would happen.

This might sound stupid (what? You'd be annoyed because people would be happy for you?) if you haven't become a parent for the first time by adoption. But those of us who have probably all have our own stories about the people who take us aside and tell us their stories about how you never know what will happen! and how they knew someone who adopted, and then after they adopted, they finally had one of their own! I've had one person tell me, with a straight face, that this is definitely going to happen to me, because that is what always happens. I came within a micron of saying to that woman wow, even though I'm on the Pill? That really WOULD be a miracle!

Even J, who turns not-taking-things-personally into an Olympic sport, has noticed this attitude and finds it utterly creepy. There's a thinly veiled not even slightly veiled message from some people that a bio baby would be the right and proper happy ending to our story. Nevermind that they really have no clue what the start of our story was. If we said guess what, we're adopting again! to people, many would be pleased, but I fear that for some, a pregnancy would be the reason to get out the champagne. If people said oh, how INCREDIBLE! I think I would hear finally, the real thing! and its corollory, those twins of yours were just practice babies, a means to an end.

(You are not a means to an end for me, babies).
And then I fear that I would punch one of those people in the mouth and get arrested and then I would have to spend my entire pregnancy in jail. So yeah, that is my biggest pregnancy fear.

Okay, srsly. I guess I had thought that if we had any more kids, it would be via adoption. But suddenly I'm starting to think hmmmmm, it doesn't HAVE to be, necessarily. I absolutely know that IVF doesn't guarantee pregnancy, but it's an option that was never on the table before.

And bringing this option to the table makes me ask all kinds of questions. I always assumed that all of our kids would be adopted, and that they would probably all be brown. What would it mean to Pink and Blue if we gave them a white, non-adopted brother or sister? Ummmm, adopted adults, what do you think? Opinions, parents with mixed families? I've really got no clue because I always assumed all of that stuff would never apply to our family. Adoption is what I'm used to. It feels normal to me, and I don't like change. Adopting again would in some ways be our easiest plan. But adoption is such a complicated issue - three separate people have flagged up this report over the last few days and what can I say? It's eye-watering stuff. (Start at p41 - thanks to Tafel for that pointer). I'm much, much more aware than I was a few years ago of the risks in international adoption, and I'm not talking about developmental delays from institutional care. I don't think it's a cut-and-dried 'no, we shouldn't', but I certainly don't think it's a cut-and-dried 'yes' either. There are no easy answers here. It's not simple.

If we do adopt from Ethiopia again, there's the question of infant or slightly older child. If we did want to adopt, say, a preschooler, we would probably have to get cracking because we would need to start again with being assessed, which would probably take about a year, and I wouldn't want too small an age gap between that child and Pink and Blue. (2009 is already quite crowded enough as a birth year in our family). And if we adopted another infant, I wouldn't want the gap to get too big. Would I? I don't know, that's why I'm asking. What should I be thinking about? School me.

And how about foster-adopt? I found out from our social services department that they ask people to promise that if they start a family by adoption, they won't have any birth children. What's THAT all about? It sounded to me (because the conversation was a bit longer than the one line I've given) like they are saying that it's not possible to love an adopted child as much a a birth child, so you can't have a bio kid after an adopted kid because you'll reject the adopted kid once you find out what REAL love feels like. Ummmmm... do I want to get involved with a social services department who think like that?

IVF (one or two rounds) would be cheaper than adoption.
J thinks that pregnancy is a bit gross.
I feel like some kind of traitor for even thinking about the possibility of pregnancy.
I know that's ridiculous.
I'm confused.

And so I ask this question to all of you - what would YOU do, if you were in our shoes? What should we be thinking about, rather than worrying about prison uniforms? As you can tell, I've got no idea. You won't offend me by blowing my favourite idea out of the water, because I don't have a favourite idea. You can go anonymous on this one if you have strong opinions and don't want me getting cranky at you. If you've decided to adopt after bio kids, or had bio kids after adopting, or just had more than one kid - how did YOU decide? On the other hand, how did you decide not to have any more? Extreeeeeemely curious, here.

Just one more tiny thing - I've had a new rule imposed (by J) that I'm only allowed to blog (or comment) after I've written drafts of new chapters for this supposed book. I have agreed to this. I have not told him how short the chapters are. But it will definitely slow me down - I'm expecting my blogging speed to go from 'tortoise' to 'sloth'.


  1. We have noticed that people (in our experience) are less excited in general about adoption. I think there were many times when we brought M home that people chose not to make an effort to come meet her. I KNOW the effort would have been there if we had had a new baby. It was and still is disheartening. The fact that we live half way around the world from everyone we know should be cause for panic as we get close to bringing B home...but really...no effort was made to see our new addition the first time around so I cannot imagine it will matter to most people. It just makes it easier on them since they do not have to come up with reasons not to make the effort.
    I am grateful that I was able to experience pregnancy. I am grateful I was able to have squishy babies. I did not love the squishy baby phase at all...but I know I was lucky to have had the chance to experience it. I am SO grateful I have had the experience of adoption. It comes with a beauty all its own.
    I have no advice to give with regards to how you grow your cute family. I think no matter what it will be a beautiful thing. And they are not going to convict a pregnant lady of getting ticked off and punching some idiot in the face : )
    I think having three kids is awesome and I am hoping that 4 proves to be equally amazing.
    Sorry for my cop out response : ) I cannot wait to see what other, wiser, people have to say.

  2. I am soo interested in what people have to say because I am in the same boat as you right now. Do we adopt again? Do we try IVF again? Should we try sperm donor? An Ethiopian sperm donor (not kidding, I have thought this)? We can't really afford another Ethio adoption and with all of the news right now, I just don't think it is feasible for us. I have a phone call into our Department of Children and Families to look into foster adoption right now.

  3. Here's what I think Elfe's advice would be, since you asked: she would prefer, in order, that a)I gave birth to a little sister (one of our neighbors is pregnant and she is obsessed with that, but I think I have convinced her that "mommy's eggs are too old to make a baby" - yes, she knows the basics of reproduction!), b)I adopt a little sister from Ethiopia, or c) I adopt a little sister from India or China (I have no clue why those two places appeal to her). She's not interested in a brother, but I did tell her this morning that I don't like babies very much and she agreed that I could adopt a toddler like she was when I adopted her. And we also agreed that Mommy's bed is not big enough for three people, so we can't adopt until Elfe is ready to sleep in her own bed without me, at which point she will sleep on the top and little sister will sleep on the bottom of the bunk beds that we will have to buy. And then Mommy can finally sleep by herself (and there will be much rejoicing in the land...)

    My reasons for thinking about a sibling for Elfe are that I don't want her to be the only person of color in our family, so I will most likely adopt from Ethiopia or another African country if Ethiopia is not an option. I may also consider foster-adopt - I've recently connected with another single mom in my neighborhood who has done one foster-adoption already and is in the middle of another one, so I feel like I could get some good advice from her about the process. My gut instinct is that Elfe would be a fantastic big sister, and would also be unhappy as an only child (she left some siblings behind in Ethiopia), so that is my other reason for considering it.

    I hear you about grieving for the normal way of becoming a family, but pregnancy - especially all the screaming at the end - scares the bejeezus out of me!

  4. Ok well, my perspective is just that: mine colored by all of our experiences. But I think you know that :)
    Wdid IVF five times before actually proceeding with paperwork. However, we had discussed international adoption before we ever started trying for a biological child, before we knew we had problems. We always said we would "have one adopt one" in that order because I had this fear that if we adopted first and then had the biological baby the adopted child might feel they weren't quite enough. Maybe they would, maybe they wouldn't. In the end, we found ourselves stuck on repeat trying to have the bio baby before we finally realized we didn't have to put ourselves through THAT anymore (the agony of hope and despair that comes with assisted reproductive technology). Of course, adoption has its own cycle of hope and despair as well, but with the end result usually being a child that definitely is a difference compared to ART.
    IVF isn't horrible, it's doable, but I do think its highly individual. Some find the hormones are awful, some find the process is quite emotionally taxing, etc. etc. I think I survived it fine but in retrospect it was no fun, I was just addicted to the hope part of it.
    I'm really rambling here, but from this position I no longer miss the idea of pregnancy. It no longer holds this mysterious appeal, perhaps because in reality I realize that its quite commonplace and my life isn't less than because I haven't experienced it personally.
    Good luck with your decision--it is nice to have options at least, right? :)

  5. I've had three of them and I echo Liz with with out-loud giggles: pregnancy scares the bejeezus out of me too. But my crappy body doesn't help you. Because most likely anyone who experiences pregnancy at the hands of IVF is happy to have a bun in the oven. No matter how difficult the baking time is.

    I will say this: I cringe everyday that Tsega is the only person who likes him in our family. I am chomping at the bit to start paperwork for another adoption. (I know, for those who know the age range of our kids I clearly am sick in the head.)

    Even if I didn't take a picture of my snipped-off tubes in a jar for proof I was no longer capable of becoming pregnant (for the possible lawsuit should immaculate conception happen). Even if I had lovely soul-cleansing pregnancies and awesome ovaries and uterus, I would not want it.

    I want a more balanced family. I am with you: the Normal ship has sailed. No going back. Now all I can do is keep going. But:

    1) You have a right to want to experience pregnancy and have a bio kid. I don't think it slaps Pink and Blue in the face to want that. I don't know if they will feel that way though. They might. I don't know.

    2) I am guessing most people WILL slap you in the face with being all "oh, now that you've adopted you can get pregnant" crap. It will be forever. They will never stop observing that the adoption magically fixed your screwed up DNA. And yes, many will rejoice and connect way more about the bio kid, and show up the way they didn't with P and B. So you have to face the music on this one I think.

    I should know. I get it all the time. hitting "publish" without editing. gulp.

  6. crap, already found a mistake. I cringe that T is the only one who looks like him, I meant.

  7. I am very curious to read the comments on this topic. We are in a very similar boat.
    a) Always wanted a big family.
    b) After bringing the boys home felt like that big family idea was a completely naive idea.
    c) Started to think it wasn't such a crazy idea a few months ago and began talking about the timing and cost of another ET adoption around Christmas.
    d) Still felt unsure about the timing because, even though we know it will take time to complete another adoption, it is hard to commit your heart and money to something you aren't quite ready to commit to.
    e) Then all this stuff about cutbacks and ethics came to the forefront and now it feels like we might not even be ABLE to adopt another child from Ethiopia, which is really where my heart is.

    So now I find myself going back and forth like a crazy person between diving in immediately because it is going to take so long to complete another adoption, keeping our family as is and be immensely happy raising these two beautiful boys or trying to get pregnant. I even had a conversation with my Dr just yesterday about, "how old is too old"...

    Then whenever I think about getting pregnant, assuming I even could, I think about how it would make the boys feel. You know if people are making us feel the way they do about adoption vs. bio, they are going to make our kids feel that way too. Maybe that will happen with or without a bio sibling, and I think an open dialogue with our children about our choices might help, but still...I just don't know.

    So...as you can see...I am NO help! Struggling with these big decisions right along with you and trying to rest in faith that the choice will become clear when the timing is right.

    Very excited about this book comment at the end. Did I miss something? I would read anything you write!

  8. I wanted to add....not sure if it is her age or circumstance or what...but Mihiret is very often put out by the fact that the boys are from my tummy. She moves between being proud that she was born in Africa and being jealous that she was not born to me.

  9. Hoping my comment doesn't turn into a blog post itself, but this is something that has been on my mind. My older son is bio and the pregnancy was extremely hard. It was also the only successful pregnancy I have had and I have lost 3. For that reason, along with always wanting to adopt, we adopted our second son. We "twinned" the boys. Our adjustment process has been excruciating and my desire for an infinite amount of children screeched to a halt and now I'm thinking 2 is just dandy.
    But lately my mind has started to think maybe more. If (and that's a big IF) we went forward, I suppose technically I could attempt a pregnancy. Why not? It's free and it might be nightmarish, but if it was successful I would have another baby. But would that be a slap in the face to my Korean son? Would that be a message to him that said, "yeah this adoption thing didn't work out so well for us so we went back to the 'usual' way to have kids". Would it even be fair to have him be the only Asian face at our dinner table.
    On the other hand, I don't think I really want to adopt again. I struggle with the $$ it costs, the ethical questions, and the guilt I have personally experienced watching my son lose everything in his life. And having another Asian face at the dinner table isn't a great reason to pursue an adoption.
    Which leads me to foster/adopt, which might be the option we pursue IF and only IF we decide to expand the family. Sure there might be an entirely different race/culture to incorporate into our family. Who knows?
    This dilemma plagues me to the point that I dreamed that I was inseminated by a Korean man in order to find a "happy medium".

  10. It's a little unfair of me to answer this because

    A.) I have finished building my family and
    B.) I have both bio and adopted children BUT

    I can tell you this and I know it like I know my own soul, that if I had not had my bio children first I would have absolutely wanted to at least try IVF after adopting my DD because I would have wanted to experience pregnancy. I strongly feel that it is something, as a woman, I would want to experience. If at all possible, of course.

    But I say this selfishly without considering the color of my child and the dynamics of any particular family which all comes into play. So many factors. So much to consider. So, so very complicated. Any desire of mine to attempt a pregnancy is of course a selfish one but I think a legitimate and primal one. I think it comes from a place deep inside us and sometimes it just can't be denied no matter how much we try to think our way around it.

    Good luck with this issue Claudia.

  11. Cindy's comment makes me so sad for her child. I think that's terrible!

    Anyway, wow at even having these thoughts. These days I am so impressed by people who survive babies and want to have more LOL

    Kind of joking!

    I'm not sure if there's going to be a part of you that will regret not giving IVF a go.

    (I don't know your history - point me to the posts or time period and I'll happily catch up)

    For me, IVF was def the means to the end - BABIES! But my friend used donor eggs and was about to use donor sperm too (turns out they ICSId those eggs) because she wanted TO BE PREGNANT. And after the devastation of IVF1, I still felt a glimmer of hope that we could now rule out some things and move closer to a successful IVF. I didn't know this going in but I think I would have saved and saved and had IVF after IVF to have our babies.

    Everyone is very different. Yet another friend had one IVF and said, "that's it - I can't take it any more, we are now childless".

    I don't know how Blue and Pink will feel but I do know people WILL no doubt think you hit the pot of gold if you have bio babies after the adoption. This bugs me so much I can't tell you.

    But at teh end of the day, if you're going to regret not giving it a shot, go for IVF.

  12. Oh boy. I don't even know how to condense all the craziness in my head to answer this question. Our oldest was born from me, with a generally uneventful pregnancy. We didn't decide to adopt until it came time to think about #2 and I really didn't care to be pregnant again. Then. So we adopted one, then another. And here we are with 3. There are so many infinite combinations of family dynamics that I honestly can't offer any concrete advice.

    However, I do think that our kids being so close together in age is in fact a problem in a lot of ways. So much so that if we even consider a #4, we want a nice break between them and our youngest is already 3. So that would be a pretty big break.

    My eggs are 43 years old and so if there is a #4, I get myself into an unanswerable circle. I really don't know about adopting again, and my eggs are old. So where does that leave us? Stuck. But exhaustingly stuck with 3 kids who are 6,4 and 3.

    I do say though, to not give a flying f what anyone else says or how anyone else reacts UNLESS it happens in front of your little ones. Then GO TO TOWN ON THEM. People do say the dumbest shit and it only matters if it affects how your kids feel about themselves.

  13. Btw, Cindy's daughter is voicing what I expect most, if not all, adopted kids with bio siblings feel at some point or another or forever. There are so many angles to this feeling, but part of me thinks that a wide gap between kids would help mitigate this horrible feeling somewhat.

  14. Rebekah- SO curious why you think a wider gap would mitigate the issue between a bio and adopted sibling... I worry about this all.the.time. Elia will likely be 5 or close to 5 when/if her sibling ever comes home (hypothetical sibling at this point). I'm guessing there will be a 3 year age difference between them. I've always been frightened that our adopted babe will feel "less than" b/c we have a bio babe. I don't know how this will unfold. Since I had a horrific pregnancy/birth I almost hope that will HELP our adopted babe- you know- if I say how awful I felt, how depressed I was, how we almost died- that's not "all that lucky" *really,* but then I get concerned that this would hurt my bio babe and so the spirally thoughts continue. They race. I worry. I don't see an end to this. I just won't know until we know who our next child is and what kind of personality she has.... I have a secret #3 in my head and I would probably attempt a biracial/hispanic/AA domestic babe....but my husband would FREAK if he even knew the thought was in my head. So, I'm just letting it sit there for awhile... Looking forward to seeing what direction you'll go! :)

  15. Seriously, I don't think you could ask a more personal question of your particular readership... way to go, Claudia.
    Almost all of my thoughts are just about my personal experience - 43, tired and about to have TWO, TWO-YEAR-OLDS (but only for five weeks).
    I wish Little Dude would have a sibling of color (which is why we almost waited for twins). However, I don't think I want more children. So we will have one of each; one girl, one boy, one bio, one adopted, one pink, one brown, and eventually one white, one black (color versus race). Hopefully there is some balance in this symmetry.
    I have fantasized about so many scenarios, including when these two are way older, adopting an older sibling set (some shade of brown).
    I do think you would get the weird bio joy from strangers and friends. I am not sensitive and very few things bug me in that way, but that would enrage me.
    I do remember reading about a study (or at least a fair amount of anecdotal evidence) that having bio and adopted children does present some specific challenges. I can not remember the source, though.
    For us a big push for adoption had to do with our belief that there are children that need homes. Which I still absolutely believe. Another major reason, our belief that as Paul Simon says, "the planet groans, every time it registers another birth."
    But we have a bio kid, so I certainly have no high-ground in that argument. I do believe it would be incredibly difficult for me to pick a country, program, agency to trust at this point.... ugh..... That would be WAY MORE WORK THAN LABOUR (I added the U just for you.) Although I do not know if it would be more work than IVF. Either way, I sense another book in the works.
    Another way you could decide, if you are a tortoise forget about bio - laying eggs and kicking sand over them is no way to start a relationship. If you are a sloth, give it a go. It is probably a slow-labour that you practically sleep through in a sloth-like trance.

  16. " it's not possible to love an adopted child as much a a birth child, so you can't have a bio kid after an adopted kid because you'll reject the adopted kid once you find out what REAL love feels like" seeing that from an adoptee's point of view I'd say it's about the inevitable differences which I can't go into here but you can read lots about if you search.Most adopters say they do love all their children adoptees and biological if they have a mixed family.There is a difference and it is felt by adoptees and is often very visible if you look at photos of mixed families, without them realising.
    Since you asked for opinions I'd say give your adoptees the very best parenting you can, love them, help them grieve their loss and raise them as best you can to deal with racism and everything they will meet along their adoption journey.That will be a full time job if you do it right.
    Forget all those horrible procedures, many of them with bad effects for you which will detract from good parenting.Many of those procedures arrive with later identity issues for the product.We don't fully know or understand how those procedures affect women or babies yet, it is too early to say despite what the medics want you to believe.I don't know your age but I'd be making some decisions about fertility or at any rate start giving it serious thought..the snip or tied tubes?
    In the end it's your life and you know your strengths..good luck!

  17. I just have to add that rebekah had a comment offering that spacing the kids far apart might mitigate the feelings of hurt over some being born to you biologically and some being adopted. Unfortunately, for us anyway, that hasn't worked out.

    My adopted DD is 10 years younger than DS#2 (bio) and 16 years younger than DS#1 (bio) and it bothers her no end that they came from my belly and she didn't. She joined the family at 15 months of age and she was acutely aware of the difference then and she still is now.

    Some kids just feel different no matter what you say, no matter what you do. It's their burden to carry. You can offer to help with the load, but in the end, usually, all you can do is walk with them.

  18. I will put aside my brief moment of OMG I'm famous, Claudia linked to me :) and say this: One of the reasons I grieved stopping the process for #2 is because I really wanted Sport to have a sibling... and a sibling who looked like him. I wanted him to have at least one person in his family who he could introduce as family without eyebrows being raised and questions being asked. Now, that said, I also wanted more kids myself - I don't think people should add to their family *just* for the sake of giving their child a sibling. And your twins do have each other.

    Personally, I don't think I would get pregnant now. And it's partly my age, partly lack of desire to be pregnant, partly not wanting to deal with people who would draw the kind of comparisons you mentioned. If I add to our family, it will be through adoption, possibly foster-to-adopt or maybe a waiting child internationally. (There are no waiting kids domestically in our province, which sounds great, but really it's because they are all stuck in foster care for years.)

  19. I thought Von's suggestion that children convieved via IVF are going to be screwed up, and so are you is a little bizarre.

    To some, they are not horrible procedures as he said. To some of us, they are miracles of science.

    And frankly, I get my dander up when men suggest to women they eternally end their ability to procreate out of nowhere. It's not right. Line crossed.


  20. Claudia, I applaud your vulnerability to even put this question out there. I say... listen to your gut and follow it. If it leads to IVF whether successful or unsuccessful matters not. If it is what is in your heart, do it. Just try. As to how your two adorable babies will react... God only knows.

    Our family: 2 bio sons, 1 adopted daughter. As I was awaiting the impending birth of second son I COMPLETELY freaked out and thought we were ruining first son's life by adding this child. Did the SAME thing when adopting our daughter. Bottom line- each family turns out the way it turns out and everybody adjusts.

    As to bio vs. adopted- people probably will say stupid crap to you. People are stupid. 'Nuff said.

    But also... there is a difference. I adore my daughter, but as I mentioned in my attachment post, it's not exactly the same. Not everyone feels that way. I've talked to some adoptive parents who say their adopted child felt EXACTLY the same as their bio ones. So... your experience will be your experience.

    And it will be full of wonder- no matter which direction you go.

  21. Ok then! You have saved me an entire blog post since I was just about to put the very same question - with IDENTICAL considerations and thoughts - out into the blogosphere.
    We have kids the same age. I think you guys are probaly the same age as J and I. We have similar issues requiring IVF - with ICSE I assume?

    What to do, what to do?

    I will tell you this.
    Here in the States IVF is just as expensive as adoption. I think on average $24,000. Of course the cost rises with each unsuccessful round as you have to pay again for certain parts of the procedure. No part of it is covered by insurance, at least not our insurance.

    I am very very very torn on this issue as well. Ethiopian adoption, at least from my point of view at this point, is looking really difficult. And if we adopted again I can't quite fathom adopting from anywhere other than Ethiopia. (Don't hold me to that please...)

    But IVF is so expensive and so physically draining. I know people who have done it and if I didn't have Ariam I'd take it on. But with a toddler, the idea of the shots and the cramps and the emotional swings and the weight gain and the hormones. UGH. I can hardly find time to take a shower. When would I inject my ass with hormones and find time to sleep off the accompanying crankiness?

    What to do what to do? I no longer feel the desperate tug to be pregnant and experience delivering a baby.

    But what are we left with exactly? Why do the options seem so limited?

    Tell me what you decide. in fact, why don't you two decide what we should do and we'll ALL do it? That's what I need, someone else making these decisions in life. I no longer have the energy for it.

  22. Your attachment post challenge is what brought me to your blog - and now you have this fascinating conversation as well. What a stimulating place to be! Love it. I have no advice for you. I can relate to your screwed up DNA (I have a balanced translocation) and the thoughts about whether IVF is something you would try or not. We chose to pursue adoption instead of IVF with PGD, but now, with all that's going on in Ethiopia, I'll admit that I'm thinking just a bit about trying for a biological child again. I never thought I would be here, but here I am. I do know that our plan has always been to adopt two children of the same race, so that would be a factor for us. Even if we did have a bio child, I think we would want to adopt again, too. But really, who knows? Good luck to you as you think through all of the options!

  23. This is a great post. I have so many thoughts about this as it relates to me because I'm selfish like that and knowledgeable about IVF.

    We want another child and I'm extremely conflicted about whether it will be biological or adopted.

    I want Boohoo to have a sibling who looks like her, but at this point the risks of adoption just flatten me and leave me in a terrified muddled heap on the floor.

    On the other hand if I have another biological baby I worry that I come off as a quitter, like I don't think adoption is "worth it" or that it reflects badly on my daughter.

    No wisdom here, but I totally understand your struggle.

  24. We haven't had to face many of the issues before you now because we are an "adoption-only" family.

    I would suggest that you consider the IVF process as an important part of your decision. Both my sister-in-law and my cousin struggled physically and emotionally while undergoing IVF and trying (unsuccessfully, in my cousin's case) to sustain the resulting pregnancies. The result was some missed parenting time for their already-born children. Fortunately, there were grandparents, aunts, and uncles around to pick up some of the childcare needs, but the effects on the children persisted for some time afterwards. In the case of my cousin's son, who was adopted from Ukraine, the family lost some ground in areas of attachment.

  25. First and foremost, you will decide what is right for you and once you do it will make complete sense. I know that about you.

    I guess I would think about what doing ART would do to my family life now. I know when I did it, it was a lot of scrambling to get to my appointments so that was tough with a little one. I didn't mind the shots and hormones, the side effects, that much. I know that when I had IVF and transfer failures, they were devestatingly hard on my heart. I did give up on trying to get PG, I just remembered this today. I was on a support board and I remember that I asked a question of all the women there who all had IF issues. I said, "If you had the money to keep trying IVF would you use it all before you decided to adopt?" I asked this because my treatment was covered through insurance and we had a lot of insurance money to spare and could have still done a few more IVF's. Every single person said they would spend every dime trying to get pg. I found it very odd. That just didn't feel right for me and I decided to stop ever trying to get PG again. I do think people have a very odd celebratory response to those who get engaged to be married and those who get pregnant, as long as it is within acceptable social norms, of course.

    I will say that what is going on in Ethiopia right now, though, would probably make me think of trying to get pg (if I were in your shoes). You are trying to build a family. Sadly, I fear I may never bring a child home from Ethiopia at all (at least on some days). Maybe you could choose a different country, though. And I agree with Rebekah, as far as what people will say to you about getting PG, screw them.

  26. We had a bio child post adoption, actually I got pregnant during the adoptions and no it was not planned so I can't give opinions on what I think you should do.
    I will say that we only planned on two and ended up with three which going from no children to 3 in 4 months was a huge adjustment, but I'm thankful for all of it. Three is much harder than two, being outnumbered, not having enough hands, etc.
    We had decided to adopt early in our relationship so we never did IVF, but I am glad that I got to experience adoption and pregnancy. Pregnancy wasn't a good thing for me though as I didn't have a good pregnancy, but we did get to add another incredible child to the family. We will never have another bio child as the whole pregnancy problem and delivery problem thing terrifies my husband.
    We have very briefly brought up possibly adopting again in a few years. We'll see about that though.

  27. After going back and reading everyone's comments, I have to add about the adopted vs. bio. Two of my kids are brown and one isn't so it's very obvious that they are adopted. They were all born within a 12 month period. We are honest (developmentally appropriate) with them. They know the names of their birth mothers and when we are discussing friends or relatives that are pregnant, they will often proudly say that they came out of A or S's belly. My daughter has asked at times why she didn't grow in me and I answer her with a variation of God knew that S would be the best person to care for her when she was growing in a belly. They know that their birth mom's weren't able to car for them and wanted to find a family that could give them what they needed. For now they are happy with it and no different than any other child.

  28. we always said we'd have 3 kids, I was itching to start the process again within a month of the twins being home and then they started walking and that put the end to that. Two is plenty for us :-)

    BUT...if we had decided to go for 3, I have NO idea what we would have done. I suppose we could get pregnant (never tried) so I know we would have all of these discussions too. It's a hard one. But maybe, like us, it won't be once Pink and Blue start walking :-) Just kidding...xo

  29. I don't really have an opinion myself, but I would say that I'm glad you are thinking of all possibilities. A friend who did the IF thing, was in the process of adopting and got preggo, was kind of offended and sad about the difference in reactions between their adoption announcement and a pregnancy announcement. I think if anyone can handle it, though, you and your family can! It's a big decision and I hope you will feel supported in whichever direction you choose.

  30. Very interesting discussion! Love reading the responses. We are still in the land of "who knows?" with adopting a second child. I gave birth to our first about 15 mos ago. We know (for so many reasons... not the least of which is the trouble I had near the end of pg and with post partum issues) that we most likely will never try biologically again. I'm so so happy to have experienced it, but I'm done. I have always been interested in adoption (I don't know how much my wonky cycles made me interested from the time I started), and Hub never has. He's terrified of it... mostly because we'd do foster adopt (and your system is so WEIRD with the pg thing!)But I would like to build our family a little larger with adoption. We've put off the discussion until E is a bit older.

    I can tell you an experience of mine though. My stepsister was adopted by my mother. My stepfather never adopted me, but he raised me more than my Dad. (we had different issues.. I'm ok with the non-adoption of me). My sister sees my mother totally as her mother. I see my stepfather as a kind of father. We BOTH see each other as complete and total sisters. We don't even really ever think about the fact that we aren't blood related except when we look in the mirror and giggle at how very very different we look from one another. SO fun to tell people we're sisters and let it at that. ;-) And somehow it works seamlessly that way. It's easy for us, and we're lucky. And we have a 7.5 year age gap. It's cool with us. I think each family dynamic is so different that no matter what you choose, you'll forge the path that works for you.

  31. P.S. We agreed to never do IVF because clomid and injectibles for IUI were so very very hard on me emotionally and physically (my hormones are so unstable) that we knew it would be horrible. I was willing to do ALMOST anything to have a child.

  32. Re: I've had one person tell me, with a straight face, that this is definitely going to happen to me, because that is what always happens.

    My sister said that to me and I ACTUALLY said to her...

    Wow, even though I'm on the Pill? That really WOULD be a miracle!

    Awesome :)

  33. Wow, you have things really fired up in here! I had only one thought as I was reading. If you are not feeling a particular urge to go with one specific route, maybe it is that you do not want more children right now.

    You DID say you would not throw things at a commenter.

  34. I have come back to this post about a dozen times, intending to comment, but I can never quite figure out how to say what I want without going down seventeen rabbit trails and writing a book. I think that this is a highly personal decision, what with all of us having different hopes and dreams and personalities, but it is also good to be somewhat pragmatic about it. My hunch is that the cons for IVF would outweigh the pros UNLESS you really really really want to be pregnant. I'll confess that I've never been in a position to have IVF be *the* option for pursuing pregnancy, so I don't know how that feels, which probably skews my opinion a bit.

    What I do know is that I (or we, as I don't make these decisions singlehandedly, since I respect my husband's desires also) had planned to pursue both pregnancy and adoption, but then I got pregnant, suffered an early miscarriage (7 or 8 weeks), and suddenly realized that I didn't care about becoming pregnant (previously having been in the "I'd like to experience pregnancy at least once" camp), whereas I very much cared about adoption. I find that this feeling is intensified now that we have our own little Ethiopian. Even though it's likely to take longer the next go 'round, we intend to adopt again, hopefully from Ethiopia, because A) I know I don't really care to become pregnant, and B) I would like all my children to have a shared background (meaning both being adopted and having similar cultural heritage), and okay, fine, also C) I also kind of want to stick it to those people who insist that I secretly desire to become pregnant. So we'll adopt again. That's where we're at. And the real deciding factor, honestly, is that I have no desire to become pregnant. If I truly felt that urge, we'd try for pregnancy as well as adopting again.

    I'm not sure that this is that helpful for you in the end, but maybe something will resonate? I have so enjoyed reading all these comments and everyone's opinions. I hope that you come to the decision that is right for you and for your family. I'm sure that, whatever you decide, it will all turn out just fine in the end.

  35. Oh gosh. Hard question. Great comments (though I couldn't read ALL 35 OF THEM! HOLY COW!!!!)

    Has anyone brought up the angle of adopting rather than being pregnant in terms of world overpopulation? It's something to consider. Not saying I think it will answer your question, but it might be an interesting angle to think about. That's the reason we've chosen to create our family through adoption. Not saying that it's the right approach for everyone, or that I necessarily think it even makes sense (ha ha!)

    It also sounds maybe hokey pokey, but I know you're a person of faith, and your answer might come through prayer. I can't help but think these kinds of decisions are so profound and huge that we sometimes need a little help here and there from God/the universe/whatever you think of it as. :)

  36. So much incredible, generous advice here. THANKYOU!

    I'm amazed by how many people said things that I had sort of been thinking but hadn't been able to put into words. Thank you. (Did I already say that?)

    I realised that I never really said why I decided to blog about this - I was talking about this stuff to a friend, and how confusing it all was. She shrugged her shoulders and said 'you should really ask for advice about this' and I said 'WHO WOULD I ASK??!!?? Nobody would understand what I'm on about!' because I was thinking about people I could go out to coffee with, ie, people I actually know. And she said 'hmmmm, good point' and then later it hit me that there is a GREAT pool of people who understand all this stuff.... just happens that they live on the internet. So anyway, thank you SO MUCH for letting me take you all out for virtual coffee... I didn't even have to pick up the tab. Score!

    So much here to ponder. Will get to it. (The pondering, that is!)


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