Have you ever experienced the feeling when you do something, or say something, or perhaps something happens, and you physically feel like someone is taking a weight off your entire body? Perhaps the guilt of an action has made you ‘fess up’, and the confession has lightened the load on your conscious. Maybe you had lost something valuable, and upon finding it you are brought out of the shadows, and you can finally breathe a deep, full and satisfying breath.
We were in the car, and had just pulled up to our house, we had been talking for some time. The conversation had turned to why we should adopt, we both passionately put forward a number of arguments.
We continued to discuss the subject in the confines of the car, choosing to remain outside our own house than venture inside. Neither of us wanted to break the momentum we had convincing each other what had already both subconsciously agreed to.
I turned to my wife:
You realise we are rationalising something that we both want to do, let’s just commit and say that we will start the adoption process.
She didn’t hesitate and agreed. Still in the car, the decision to adopt had been made. Perhaps we had reached this decision already, in a subliminal sense, but an open acknowledgment of the decision meant we both felt the cloud of uncertainty vanish in to the air.
Our decision sounds like it was easy, but we had talked about it for weeks, months even. As we sat there, we both knew that this decision was the right one for us, there was no doubt, that our future would involve adoption.
The feeling of being freed from an invisible tether is one that many people will have experienced in one form or another, but let me explain it in our context.
If you want children, and cannot have them naturally, you are at the mercy of other people. The control is no longer in your hands, and when that control is taken away, it is replaced by the fear, and hope, of becoming a parent.
When IVF fails, the fear, hope, and a host of other feelings start to compound and form a black cloud of worry and anxiety that you don’t realise is there, until it is gone – that was certainly how I felt.
We had spent a great deal of time looking into adoption, and searching our souls, and the decision to adopt came to us when we asked ourselves a very simple question:
What do we want?
Our friend had offered to be a surrogate for us, but the complexities it involved meant we had to decline her wonderful offer.
We also wanted any child we had to be part of both of us, or neither of us, so that ruled out egg or sperm donation.
Perhaps most importantly, we realised that what we wanted was to be parents. Not to have a baby specifically, but to parent a child, and to have a family. We were in our early thirties, and if we pursued IVF, or any kind of assisted conception, we would invariably spend all of our money and time, and emotional strength trying to have a baby.
When so many questions remained unanswered, it was evident that at a time when we should be in our prime, we could easily have been consumed by medical terminology, doctors, injections, samples, tests and more.
We wanted a child so we could experience the joy of being a family, we didn’t want to sacrifice the best years of our life, and run ourselves emotionally ragged, clinging to a hope that few people shared with us.
So sitting in my little car, outside of our house, our journey into adoption had begun. The concern of IVF was no longer ours. We had reconciled our loss, and the chains that had tied us in knots over how we would get pregnant had been removed, we had finally freed ourselves.
However, our path into parenthood would still yield some bumps, and our adoption journey was almost as unpredictable as IVF. This new chapter was not as straight forward as we thought.