The other week, in my not so perfect breakdown, I went on a bit of rant about the hard decisions that anyone contemplating adoption has to make. Decisions that seem so insane the first time I started thinking about them. In fact, many of the decisions felt inherently wrong and 100% politically incorrect.  (That said, it does seem like many of the decisions we have been faced with thanks to recurrent pregnancy loss are slightly insane).

he insane adoptions decisions I’m talking about are decisions like:

  • Race – what race are my husband I be willing to adopt?
  • Alcohol/Drug consumption – what level of alcohol and drug consumption on behalf of the birth mother are we willing to accept?
  • Premature birth – how premature of a birth are we willing to accept?

Decisions like this just seem so difficult for me. My first reaction is, what do you mean what race will I accept? This is actually a choice? Or, premature births, why should I get to choose that, when if I had the child myself I would not get a say in this?

Either way, it is what it is.  So here we are thinking seriously about our answers to each question becuase the fact is if we choose to pursue adoption, we have to make these decisions.

We suck it up, we check the boxes and we make peace with the decisions regardless of the outcome.

But (oh, how I love the word but – the use of the word instantly recognizes the complications of the situation) …

But, intertwined with these decisions is the very critical decision of domestic vs international adoption. So, today I’m going to talk about my straight-forward, matter of fact opinions on the merits of domestic vs. international adoption. Remember, these are just my opinions based on hours of reading over the last few months – I am not citing anything, because I don’t recall exactly where I got each fact, just that I have been mentally compiling them for months now. Anyways, there are thousands of resources out there to review if someone wants academic opinions.


Domestic Open Adoption

International Adoption
Race Check boxes on the application forms of which races you are willing to accept. (Father’s race may or may not be known) Choose the country you plan to adopt from and choose the race and ethnicity of the child.
Age Almost always adopt an infant. This varies depending on the country. It is virtually impossible to get an infant through international adoption due to international requirements for the birth counties to try to place the child within the birth country first. One way to adopt a younger child is by accepting a child with physical disabilities.
Premature Birth Check a box which indicates your willingness to accept a premature birth. Unknown.
Medical History Usually have birth mother’s medical history. Sometimes have birth father’s medical history Unknown. Medical testing is available to confirm current medical condition of the child.
Birth Mother Alcohol and Drug Use Check a box to indicate your preference – low, medium or high Unknown; however, there are many statistics on the occurrence based on the county (i.e. Eastern Block countries have higher FAS ratios then Southeast Asia).
Birth Parent Involvement Open adoption. Involvement can vary from sending letters/photos to weekly visits.   This is not set out in a contractual agreement in my province, so it is hard to say exactly what this will look like through the life of the child. None.
Wait Times Average 3 years. Usually there are about 300 families on the wait list, with about 40-50 adoptions occurring per year. Depends on the country. Usually about 3 years.Your willingness to accept a child with physical disabilities (which may or may not be fixable/treatable in Canada) will typically speed up the adoption process quite substantially.
Psychological Support for Birth Families This service is required as part of the adoption process and is offered after the adoption is complete should the birth family wish to use it (although, apparently, most chose not to). Depends on the country, but is generally not available to the same level as would be for birth parents in Canada.
Cost ($) Approx. 13,000-15,000

Approx. 20,000-60,000


So, there are probably about 100 different ways to interpret the above chart, to help us make a decision.

In my rational mind, domestic adoption outweighs international adoption. For me, there appears to be less risk because there is much more known about the birth mother and birth family. There are also the clear benefits of the child having connection with their birth family. Oh, and we clearly cannot overlook the financial element – domestic adoption is clearly much more affordable.

Yet, I also think the benefits of international cannot be overlooked. First, my husband and I are pretty reserved individuals, the idea of opening our house up to birth parents on a potentially weekly basis really doesn’t interest us. We’ve chosen to live a number of hours away from our parents because we like our freedom and we like keeping to ourselves, so the idea of completely changing our lifestyle to accommodate a larger birth family, isn’t a top priority for us, I’m pretty sure that it doesn’t even make the priority list. The only way to avoid this potential issues altogether is to choose international adoption. Secondly, our private financial information is not shared beyond that of the adoption agency of the adoptive countries government agencies. We do not have to open our private details up to birth parents to know the most private details of our lives including our address and our income. Thirdly, although my husband continues to remind me, we are not turning to adoption to save the world, I cannot overlook the fact that I see international adoption as helping a child that really needs help. Helping a child that may live its entire childhood in an institution, if not for an international adoption by people like us. Making a tremendous impact on the child’s life. If we are going to roll the dice on cognitive development, why not change the life of a child who really needs it? (I’m not trying to say that domestic open-adoption isn’t helping a child – I’m just saying it is not the same type of need. The reality is, that if we don’t pursue domestic adoption, 300 other potential adoptive parents are already on the wait list at any given time. So, we aren’t “needed” in the same way).

Anyways, again, I have no answers (wow, this sure is the theme of all my adoption posts), but what I do have is knowledge (in the form a chart and spreadsheets, because that’s just how I think). And, what this means, is we can easily see the pros and cons (as defined by us) of each type of adoption, which will be a valuable tool for us as we work to make a final decision regarding the possibility of adoption.

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So, after my last TWW ended with another BFN (negative), I decided to track what I did for the next few days. so that I could see how I cope, and how I move through the process of disappointment over a lost cycle to hope for the next cycle.

So, here’s what I apparently do in the few days following a BFN:

  1. I drink alcohol. I rarely drink to excess, and I’m proud to announce that I didn’t this month. Right away once I found out we were not pregnant this month, I went and dug out a bottle of wine. It tasked yummy.
  2. I love baths, they are my go-to comfort place after a bad day, or when I have a migraine. And, now, for almost 2 years, I avoid baths entirely. I will only have them in the first week of a new cycle before there is any chance of ovulation. So, I had a hot bath the first day I knew the cycle was a bust. Like, super hot, the kind that would potentially cook a baby if I were pregnant (and yes, I did just write that).
  3. I sat down and finished my most recent puzzle. For me, there is just something relaxing about sitting at a table methodically piecing a puzzle together. And, as an added bonus, I always feel good when I get something accomplished, so I thought finishing the puzzle might help.
  4. The very next morning after the BFN, I forced myself to go outside to mow the lawn and soak up some natural Vitamin D. Due to my sever grass allergy I had been putting it off in case we were pregnant (as we don’t want to trigger any immune reactions I wouldn’t have mowed the lawn if we were pregnant, and as my husband’s ankle remains broken it is on me to take care of the yard and to do almost all things that require two working legs for that matter).
  5. I had an exciting and eventful long weekend planned which nicely correlated with the end of this cycle. When we planned the weekend, we knew it would work for us if we were pregnant or not. And, it would work well either way, because I could either enjoy alcohol without worry, or I would be distracted enough to not focus solely on another high risk pregnancy. This isn’t a strategy that works most months, but right now especially given how hard I took the BFN, I am super happy we have this weekend planned. (Don’t worry, next week I’ll share what we did with photos).
  6. I picked a fight with my husband for not saying anything when I first told him about the BFN. Not the brightest thing to do, and definitely not something to add to the healthy coping strategy list. It’s not like it was his fault in anyway, and it’s not like he can change the outcome. But, like always, he dealt with my crazy and was there to deal with the emotional wreak that I became and for that I’m grateful.
  7. I have enjoyed my chai tea lattes guilt free. I normally make them at home (because I can and I’m cheap), but I decided to splurge and make a trip to Starbucks for a real Due to my migraines, I have never been a big caffeine drinker, but I love chai tea lattes and the ones from Starbuck’s don’t result in a migraine. So, I make the most of it and have been enjoying my favourite drink.
  8. I ate medium rare stake which is always delicious and of course forbidden once pregnant.
  9. I will eat sushi at least once in the next few weeks.
  10. I wrote a bit, but really not that much.
  11. I started working a bit on a project with one of my mentors. I decided to do it before the BFN, but it sure helped right now to have something else to concentrate on.
  12. I entered my new CD1 date into virtually every online calendar to get an idea of my dates for the next cycle.
  13. I asked my OBGYN friend if she has any advice on how to get pregnant again sooner. Turns out, timed sex is about the best advice she has for us at this time given that we have been able to conceive 5 times in the last 2 years.  So we are already on the accelerated pregnancy plan. But, because I’m paranoid I asked, and I feel better having her confirm that I really have no reason to worry. (And as a bonus I got to feel like an idiot for asking one of our very good friends about our sex life – this was rather entertaining actually).
  14. I debated using ovulation sticks for the upcoming cycle. For now, I’ve decided not to because they don’t seem to help and they just seem to piss me off more than anything.

Anyways, this is my list so far. Nothing terribly exciting.

But, I did notice that everything seem to be geared towards distracting myself from the disappointment, or about breaking the scared pregnancy rules. It is almost as though my subconscious has said, f#$! you pregnancy and f*#! you pregnancy bubble. If I’m not pregnant, at least I am going to live how I want to live. (Although, I should note that I do plan to continue to fully embrace the no crack pregnancy rule – it seems like the one rule that I just shouldn’t break).

I know none of these little coping strategies will make a difference to our next pregnancy, breaking the pregnancy rules for a week or two will not change the outcome of our next pregnancy.  We may have another miscarraige, but we also may not.  But I do know they have each worked together to make me feel better, even if only for a few minutes at a time. And, all of these things have helped me focus on anything but the BFN, all my intensifying fears about additional fertility issues and all the RPL fears.

Anyways, since the longest I’ve ever had to deal with trying to get pregnant is 4 consecutive cycles, I assume I am not the expert on the subject. Does anyone else out there have suggestions for turning the corner from disappointment to hope each and every month?

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