Adoption as a Next Step, Not a Last Resort
When I was asked to write about infertility, IVF and adoption I jumped at the chance! Honestly, I don’t think a topic could suit me more if it tried, these topics are everything about which I am trying to raise awareness. To help people who are at any stage during this journey, including myself! To share a story of this nature can be so hard, but it can also be so great for others to read and that is why I do it.
When I was first told of my infertility diagnosis, a very long time ago. Perhaps unusually, my first response was that I would prefer to adopt than to go through the trauma of IVF cycles.
I reasoned that ultimately IVF was unlikely to be successful anyway. To me it made sense to want to give love, care and security to children who didn’t have that in their life already. After all, shouldn’t that be what every childhood is filled with? I know mine was, and I am so grateful to be able to say that. I want more than anything to give the same to my children, no matter what avenue we must take to get them!
Later, once I was settled with someone who I wanted to have children with, we talked about my infertility a great deal. We had known each other since school and he knew of my infertility before we got together. I have always been silently grateful that I never had to ‘break the news’ to him while our relationship was in its infancy. He has always just accepted it as part of me, and therefore we have always been able to discuss options for the future.
It was actually a strange realisation for me, that when my partner told me that he would happily adopt before trying IVF, it put the fear of god into me! I just couldn’t.
I think it was mostly that I felt as if I was being handed a lifeline, a gift almost of these funded cycles and who was I to throw them away? Of course I wouldn’t have been doing so. They would have just been passed to the next person. But I couldn’t help thinking what an opportunity I would be passing up if we simply didn’t give it a go!
Not only this, but when I looked at my partner and thought of the possibility of looking at our child and seeing his eyes, his personality. I wanted that more than I ever thought I could. I wanted to be able to say ‘oh he/she is SO much like their father’— the way people do sometimes. I figured if the child couldn’t be us 50/50 then at least being 50% him was better than nothing!
Fast forward many years and our IVF journey didn’t work out quite the way we hoped. We got so close to having a child, we were so nearly parents and the pain of it all is still difficult to describe!
IVF clinics work so closely with you during your time there, the daily appointments, letters, calls, and emails. It becomes part of the daily routine… and then it ends. We had that final call to say the last cycle didn’t work and that was it. All ties were cut and our chances at getting pregnant disappeared in a moment!
After that, we have had no more contact with any professionals regarding fertility or counseling. I felt abandoned, if I am honest, and left to fend for ourselves when we needed help most!
Now, I guess our choices are to find the money to pay for another, probably unsuccessful cycle, or adoption. For me, adoption is the obvious next step. Not as a lesser option, just the next one.
The funny thing is, when IVF didn’t work, so many people said to me, ‘oh well, you can always adopt.’ As if these children would be second best to the ones I would have given birth to. A booby prize almost. I find it so hard to see how people can think of them that way. We went for IVF as a choice first, to do our best for me to experience birth and for us to see our family in our children. We were told if we wanted to do it this way, then sooner rather than later was imperative and so we did.
But when we adopt, which we will, those children will be ours just as much.
They will pick up our traits in their own way. They will be loved. They will be safe and secure. They will also know about the brothers or sisters (we never asked the sex) of the children we lost. They will know why it happened and that they still would have been loved by us even if those children would have been born.
Just because IVF was our first choice, it never meant it was the more important one, I hope that with more education and people sharing their stories others can understand this. Adoption isn’t a dirty secret. Adoption is a new lease of life, for the children and the parents!
My name is Becca. I went though the menopause at 15 years of age. Before I even knew what menopause meant!
It was a hard time and I felt so abnormal it really impacted my teen years. Especially when I got the diagnosis of osteopenia (pre cursor to osteoporosis which I now have). It was a devastating blow and really didn’t help my confidence as a teenager, who already had anxiety when it came to my body and the way others viewed me.
Fast forward ten years, I was engaged and ready to start a family. After being on an IVF waiting list for 7 YEARS, we were finally at the top of the list and started treatment!
It was hard on our relationship and we had other pressures going on in our normal life too! But we went for it, full force and did everything we could to prepare.
After 3 cycles, one early miscarriage and one at 3 months, as well as a fail, we ran out of NHS funded cycles. The pain and toll it had on us both was too much, and quite frankly we couldn’t really afford to fund any cycles ourselves. Not that I think we would have if we could afford it, so we made the decision to draw a line under it all. IVF was over, and our new childless life began.
This was only a year ago, I am now blogging about my experiences, writing a book and raising awareness for mental health issues, pregnancy loss, childlessness and IVF.
I see myself as somewhat of a warrior. We got through it, we survived as a couple and that is something to be celebrated!
Read more from Becca on her blog: Post IVF World
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