The Next Family

By: Stacey Ellis

WE ARE ADOPTING. We are happy to adopt! Now, this? Normal numbers? I wanted this over. Over –one way or another. I just didn’t expect it would be THIS way. This isn’t a bad thing; don’t get me wrong. It just left us speechless. Now, we know there’s a long, long road between “normal numbers” and a baby, but do we try? Insurance will cover almost all of one more try on me (not an egg donor). Do we do both? What do we do NOW? The first thing we do, rather, the first thing I do, is go to the doctor the next morning for an ultrasound. If all looks good, I could start the shots immediately and 12 days later we know if we have any better results than past tries.

I can’t sleep. Tossing and turning. Normal. Is it really normal or are the drugs masking the bad eggs? Will I really produce healthy eggs? Notice the plural “eggs.” I only got two before, which is considered a total failure in the IVF world. Most women get 19 or 20 or 25 eggs in one IVF retrieval. The morning just wouldn’t come quick enough.

WE ARE ADOPTING. I arrived at the doctor’s office nonchalantly. This is just a blip on the radar. It probably won’t work anyway. The ultrasound shows I have a cyst. Sometimes women get cysts when a follicle that ovulates and releases an egg doesn’t disappear quickly. So, if you give a woman with a cyst stimulating meds, then the cyst will suck up all the meds and nothing else will grow. So I am put on a kind of progestin—the pill. Well, that’s an improvement. The last time I had to take Lupron shots…for 20 days. 20 days of “preliminary prep shots” before the “real shots.” I wasn’t sure I could handle that again. This one is just a pill. I can handle that. He says come back next Monday. Okay. That gives us time to work on our Birth Mother Letter and time to go see my parents for a quick 48 hour visit…

WE ARE ADOPTING. On the plane to the east coast, I decide to get back to our focus: adopting. Birth mother letters are not hand-written letters that simply state why we’d be good parents. They are full productions, 8-page glossy brochures, like the kind you find at a travel agency. They need to be fully designed by a graphic designer with the right bright -yet soothing -colors. They need to say exactly the right thing, with the right words that will make a birth mother pick us to raise her child. So we have to write all about us, our life, our pets, our dreams. I ask my husband, Steve, how we should do this. As expected, he says, exactly what I think he’d say, “You’re the writer. You write it, and I‘ll edit it.” So I do. I spend the next five hours on the plane to the east coast writing and writing and writing. Steve tries to read over my shoulder and I tell him to stop reading over my shoulder until I am done.

First section: Dear Birth Mother. Here I have to tell her how grateful we are for her decision to place her child for adoption. How we don’t understand what she is going through. How we want nothing more than to have a child. I find myself thinking that no matter what I write and no matter how sincere it truly is, it will never seem sincere. We want her baby for goodness sakes! We have all of the resources to care for a child…resources she doesn’t have! And if she had the resources, she may keep her child! I almost feel this pang of guilt, like I should help her keep her child, not take the child from her! But then I realize, she is placing the child for adoption for a reason and that reason may not just be financial. Still, there’s something just weird about this part. I manage to get two paragraphs down, but feel distanced from them. I move on…

About Steve…writing about Steve feels like writing all the things we never say to each other out loud. Like, I love the goodness of his heart or the way he plays with our dogs. Of course I smile when he does it, but do I ever say that out loud? Definitely not enough. I don’t have any trouble with this part. He’s so great, he’s easy to write about.

About me…I start to write it and Steve looks over at me. “I’ll write that part,” he says. Whew. I really thought I had to write that too!

About our dogs, Sammi and Joe. Easy. Done.

Now, about our family, friends and life together. This too just flows from my heart. We have wonderful friends, some who know this whole story, some who know parts of it. But they’ve been supportive and caring and loving the whole way through. I feel like this wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be. Then I get to the final part…

Our promises to the birth mother takes two hours. Wow. What do I write? We promise to love him or her unconditionally. Everyone writes that. We promise to be a good parents, kiss the boo-boos, give him or her a great education? Everyone writes that. How do I reach this woman’s heart ? Now I feel like everything I write is not only “staged,” but is bland. It’s all from the heart but it just feels cookie-cutter. I finish the last line just as the plane touches down. Now I just have to make it through 48 hours with my parents and not let them know anything except WE ARE ADOPTING.

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