Thursday, January 25, 2007

Why Poland?

We have been researching and thinking about adoption for a long time. How we ultimately decided on Poland was much more difficult than it should have been. I have Polish ancestry (ok, well, my family does. I was adopted, but I consider my parents' ancestry mine). My mother and her father's family was Polish. He spoke Polish as does his sister. One of my Aunts took it up as well.

There have been Polish "things" around me all my life...albeit little things, such as clothes my grandparents brought back and made me wear and items they brought back for my parents to have in the house. Although I've never been to Poland, there is
some connection there!

OK, let me back up a bit. I guess I could even go into how we decided on international adoption, as opposed to domestic. I have a feeling that will be the most FAQ. We did first consider domestic - I mean, my brother and I were both adopted here. We looked into it, and, in the state we are in, there are 3 ways to go about it. First, is through a private identified adoption, second is through the state, and third is through an agency. Well, we've not learned of any birthmoms desiring to place their child for adoption. Then, the adoptions through my state are generally of much older and special needs kids - an area that we've not entirely considered entering.

Going the agency route had some extreme uncertainties. It is a very costly process ($20,000-$40,000). The costs are high for the agency itself, lawyers, etc. and you also pay for medical, living, clothing, food, etc. expenses for the birth mother. I'm not saying it is unreasonable to pay any of this, but if the birth mother later changes her mind, which is completely her right, those costs are gone. I've heard of many cases of people spending thousands and then, when the adoption falls through, facing the disappointment of the loss and then taking on the expenses of the next potential birth mother.

That leads me to the main reason we decided against domestic adoption. It is lack of control of the outcome of the whole process. First, the birth mother is the main decider when it comes to which parents will be candidates for the child. The agencies put together booklets and profiles of the adopting parents and the birth mothers flip through them and decide. A couple could be chosen immediately, or be left in the book for quite some time before being selected. Then, once selected, there is major uncertainty that the adoption will actually go through. It is an absolute law (and I am not saying that I disagree with it) that birthparents have the right to NOT relinquish parental rights following birth. I think it depends upon the state as to how many days they have. I can't tell you how many people I've met that have had one, two, or more failed adoptions. What loss and grief these people have to go through! I don't know that I have the heart to go through that. Infertility is bad enough.

So - we looked into international adoption. It is international law that the children must be considered orphans to be adopted internationally. That means that the parental rights have already been severed and the chance of a legal challenge is slim to none. There is a certainty that the process will end in a child being placed with us giving much more peace of mind.

Once we decided on international adoption, the major task was choosing the country. Believe me, I've researched them all. I guess it was a good geography lesson. First we looked seriously into China and Guatemala, then Russia and the Ukraine, then even Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Vietnam, name it. They all have their own procedures and each has their pluses and minuses.

When I first discovered that Poland permitted international adoptions, it was obvious that it would be my first choice. With the family connection it felt sooooo right. Then, I looked into it further. The costs were high, it required 2 trips, there was some discrepency concerning the ages of the children avalable and only a few agencies work in Poland. So...we went back to considering all of the other countries.

To make a long story short (I know, I know, there is nothing "short" about this post), we just kept going back to Poland. We would say, well...we would still do Poland if it were not for the 2 trips, or if it cost less...or whatever. Then I think we finally said who cares if it is tough! We considered the whole process, evaluated our finances and decided to go with it!

And we are so happy we did. Now, through the process, we will learn more about the people and culture of Poland. Then, for the rest of our lives, it will be our culture as well.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

And So We Begin!

And we're off. Today we put our application in the mail. We are officially adopting from Poland! After battles with infertility, we have committed to becoming parents the long distance way. Pushing disappointments aside with great fervor, we have determined that there is a child out there who needs a good home. And a good home we've got!

Through my research I've relied on others' blogs. I enjoy the stories, pictures, and experiences and I have learned so much from those who have traveled this road before us. Because of this, and for therapeutic reasons, I decided I must keep a blog myself. Besides, isn't the journey to a child a great thing to document? It can also be a good way to keep our family and friends in the loop.

So I start the blog today, the day we sent in our application to the adoption agency. I could have started it a year ago, or more, when we began our research and search. But today seems very appropriate. It is like the beginning of a race, the day you find out you are pregnant, or the day you win the lottery. It is today that the process begins, and today is the day that we can genuinely begin to be excited about what lies ahead.

Today is truly an out of the ordinary day. Not only because we mailed the application in - we have been working on that for some time and had it notarized yesterday for sending in today. I went to the doctor today, and it looks like I very well may have had a miscarriage. Or rather, that I may effectively be having one now. I'll spare the details, except to say that I've had a very long and disconcerting period, which is still not gone.

To make a long story short, the fertility doctor gave me birth control. Yes - the doctor who was trying to help me get pregnant, gave me birth control to help get my cycle back on track. Funny. Normally I would have taken the diagnosis and prescription, walked out the door to my car, closed the door and start crying immediately. But today was different. I have this peace about my female plumbing issues that I didn't have before. My issues may or may not resolve, but in the meantime, I'm OK with it all.

To top today off, I had my favorite tomato soup for lunch and a great latte. Better than that, I have the most amazing bouquet of flowers on my desk! They are a thank you from Tessa, with whom I work. They were totally a surprise and out of the blue - but I'll say, she couldn't have picked a better day! They are extremely georgrous and fragrant. All of the gals on the floor are jealous and curious.

There is much more I could write about. Specifics about the adoption process, details about fertility issues, thoughts about motherhood, etc. But this is enough for today. After all, it is only day 1.

I will say that I am very blessed. Blessed that I have a completely compatible husband with the same priorities as me and the warmest hugs in the world. Blessed that my parents and brother are always there to support me and us, and love us. Blessed that Ryan's family is so warm and open and loving. Blessed that I have old and new friends to confide in and be a confidant to. Beyond that are a million other things I am thankful for...I'm sure I'll get to a few of them.

But for now, we are off on our journey to be parents to a child that waits 5150 miles away (give or take) in an orphanage in Poland. More later...