Monday, September 17, 2012

The Infertility Checklist.

Infertility.   I know it’s common.  I know thousands and thousands of women (and even men for that matter) deal with it every day.  But even so, it’s interesting how few conversations I’ve had about it over the years.  Maybe it’s because it’s a painful topic, or maybe because someone is always giving you advice as to what to try next or trying to figure out what you’re doing wrong, and even though you know it’s helpful, it is hard to have those discussions.  For me, the difficulty came because I seemed to be the only one who didn’t eventually get pregnant.  Even most of my friends who adopted had at least one biological child, and so even though we’d been through a lot of similar experiences, it just never seemed like anyone had as much or as long as a battle as I did.  I’ve been trying to get pregnant since I was twenty-one and we got D when I was thirty-eight, so that gives you a small idea of what we have been through.  When we headed into adoption, it was after a year-long experience with our last option--two rounds of invitro fertilization, during which my body reacted horribly and I became extremely sick.  When the second round failed, we were done, and with feelings still raw and tears still fairly fresh, we went to our first adoption seminar to look at our options.

I suppose we are the classic example of why the county makes people go through this checklist and take their “Adoption After Infertility” class.  One of the hardest things about the whole process is how personally invasive it is.  As couples, we have so many personal and intimate conversations about everything from children to our hopes and dreams to marital conflicts we need to resolve, and most of those are kept private.  With adoption, nothing is private.  I have a love-hate relationship with the whole thing, because I know that they are just protecting the children from going from the frying pan into the fire.  And yet, sometimes you feel like it’s just none of their business.  But, I guess it is if they want to, with a clear conscience, place these children in a homes that will be good for them.

I have included both pages of a checklist we were both required to fill out (click on them to see them larger).  During the class we were required to attend, most, if not all of these issues were discussed, and you are supposed to openly and honestly share where you are in coming to terms with each of these “tasks”.  Of course I green lighted everything, and honestly, I do think I was telling the truth.  But a few of them still made me a little sick to my stomach to think about.  As much as I think we were ready to move forward with adoption, I don’t know that grief ever has an end, as implied in #1.   In regards to #4, I wondered if that meant 51/49 was okay, or was it supposed to be 80/20?  Numbers 6-8….hmmm…sketchy, but I’m sure I dabbled here in there.  Number 9-10?  Well, I think it’s hard to answer a question like that when you aren’t in that situation yet.  We all like to think we would be so intelligent in our dialogue, but even with extensive education, it’s hard to know how to handle certain things when it involves your child whom you love dearly.  And #11-#12….am I the only one that sees these as contradictory?  Having had a child placed for us for adoption and losing him back to his birth-father makes me think #11 may need to be reworded.

I do think this checklist is a good starting point for some open and honest discussion with your social worker, your spouse, and most importantly yourself.  You do need to be sure you are ready, although give yourself a little slack and don’t require such a complete, rigid standard.  You might not be 100% on everything, and that’s okay.  I’m still not, and I’m loving our little adopted boy and we’re on the list to do it again!

***Also, if you have experienced infertility, whether you adopted as a result or not, you might enjoy my post Plan B:  It's a Good Thing  


  1. Wow, that's tough to have to be drilled like that on such a sensitive topic, and especially to feel like you're being judged by your answers. I don't understand #12 at all!

  2. In California, the first goal is always reunification, and you have to be aware that even if a child is placed for adoption (which they don't do unless they feel there is a high probability of the biological parents losing their rights), you still have to participate in the reunification process. You actually have to sign a paper to that effect. So fun. I just thought it was funny that they are making sure you know the difference between being a foster parent and adopting, and yet, when adopting, you are basically foster parents until finalization....if that actually happens. So fun!