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When Family Building Feels Impossible…


I know my blog has taken a backseat lately, and I’m sorry for that. It’s always on my mind and whatever I’m doing, you can bet I’m wishing that I was writing to all of you instead. :) While I’m working full time right now, though… I’m just gonna have to do the best I can to fit my posts in where I can. Today, I wanted to talk about Family Building. It’s very present on my mind right now, as most of you know that Hubbalicious and I have put our names back on the adoption list in hopes of adding a new member to our family. What you might not know, is that we’ve also been actively pursuing other avenues. Here’s an update:

Family Building Journey

A few months ago, we were feeling discouraged with the wait for adoption. Our adoption with Dom happened so fast that we never had the opportunity to think about it, or stress about it. This time however, something tells me that we could be waiting quite a while. I don’t know why, maybe it’s because we already have one child, or maybe it’s just my gut telling me that… I don’t know. I’m not typically a pessimistic person, but I just have this feeling that if we want it to happen sooner than later… we need to pursue other options. So that’s what we’ve been doing.

Our first thought, was to consider a surrogate. We actually had a friend bring it up and volunteer to be a surrogate for us. She had done it before, and we felt surprisingly very comfortable with the idea and decided to explore that route. Sadly, she ended up not being approved by her doctor, for her own health reasons, and so we put that idea to bed. A couple weeks later, as we pondered our options, and considered looking for a different surrogate, an idea suddenly hit me. I wonder if I could carry a baby. I know I don’t have any of my own eggs, but if we’re using a donor egg anyway, why couldn’t they implant it into me instead of a surrogate?

So I began testing with a Fertility Clinic. Initially, they couldn’t find my uterus and sent me to a lab for an MRI. Luckily, they did find it and said it was healthy. The hard part about exploring options like this, is that no matter how hard you try not to get your hopes up, it happens anyway. I knew it was a long shot, but I still somehow managed to feel hope and excitement when my uterus was deemed “healthy.” So you can imagine, it was pretty heartbreaking when the doctors told me that they still didn’t feel like I was a good candidate. I really felt like they were being too conservative, but after having all 3 doctors in the office review my chart and come up with the same answer… I decided it’s probably best not to argue with the experts. The general consensus was that with all my previous health issues, they just think pregnancy would be much too hard on my body. Okay, so we put that idea to bed and the nurse I was working with, recommended an attorney that could help me with surrogacy options.

After a voicemail and a couple days of waiting, I received a phone call back from the attorney. She informed me that in order to go the surrogacy route, we need to be prepared to spend $100,000 – $150,000. I don’t know about you? … but I don’t have that kind of money laying around. It’s so disheartening when stupid things like money get in your way. It turns out that her passion is adoption law and she very pointedly led us towards International Adoption. (At the time, it really irritated me because I called to talk about surrogacy, and she seemed to all but tell me not to do it.) Everyone I talked to said that without a friend or family member to do it for you, it’s a very big risk that costs a ton of money. Well, I have amazing family AND friends, many of whom have so generously said that if they were able, they would do it in a heartbeat. They are all so sweet, and I love them for saying that. It’s such a huge thing to put your body through. And this is probably a lot of the reason why I haven’t talked much about this aspect of our lives. I don’t feel like I can talk about it, without making someone feel like they need to explain to me why they would if they could… or feeling like I’m trying to ask them. You know? It’s really a sensitive thing to try and talk about. I finally told my sisters and friends, “listen, you are amazing for saying that… but you don’t need to say it. I need to be able to talk to you about this, without you feeling like you need to volunteer, or without feeling the need to tell me why you can’t. That’s not why I’m talking to you about this. I just want your ear, and maybe even your shoulder.”  They understand that, of course, but I think people just feel for our situation, and that’s just goes to show how amazing the people around me are. :) But it’s also why I’ve been so hesitant to broach this subject. It’s not because I’m secretive or embarrassed, it’s just a sensitive subject.

With surrogacy seeming impossible, for so many reasons… we began to learn and study International Adoption. There are a lot of countries that I’m just hands down not eligible for, due to my history with Cancer & Crohn’s Disease. However, some countries seem open to past illnesses with the approval of a doctor. What I’m finding though, is that you have to be willing to accept older children in order to even get on the list, and then you have to be willing to wait 2-4 years to get those children into your homes. I knew that children could be a little older when you bring them home… but what I didn’t know, was that you could get matched with a 2 year old child and then wait another 2 years before they get to actually come home and live with you. It’s so sad! And it’s not that I’m not willing to be open to those things… it’s just not how I imagined building my family, so it’s an adjustment. I have a lot to think about since I already have one child in my home. I have to make sure we’re doing what’s best for him as well. Adopting out of birth order could be a big adjustment for him. I’m also finding that you have to be able to travel for extended periods.. like 2-3 weeks at least, and some countries as much as 6-8 weeks. It seems so petty to be concerned with your job when you’re trying to build your family, but unfortunately, that’s a reality for us. We work together and having us both gone for extended periods like that would be crippling to our company.

When you’re young, and you have your whole life ahead of you, you don’t anticipate these sorts of decisions or trials. When you’re dreaming of your potential family, you never worry about family building decisions being taken out of your hands. I always felt grateful that if I couldn’t have children of my own, that it was over right away instead of struggling with infertility for years without answers as to why. What I’m finding out now, as we try so hard to add another soul to our family, is that I never really mourned the loss of my fertility. I never really felt that loss because I was so grateful to be alive and genuinely felt like we had options. I didn’t fully understand what I had lost. We adopted Dominic so quickly, and that filled a void I hadn’t even had a chance to feel yet. Now I’m a mother, and I understand the incredible love a child can bring into your home. Now, I understand what I lost… and the more options that get pushed out of our reach, the more fully I understand it. And I feel like I’m mourning the loss of my fertility for the first time.

It’s so frustrating to want to have a baby and feel helpless. I will continue to hold onto my faith and keep trying. For now, that’s all I can do. Have you experienced trouble with family building? I’d love to hear your experiences. I know we are not alone on this journey.

Leah Sannar Blogger for Crohn's Disease

3 comments… add one
  • Bridget May 6, 2015, 1:17 am

    Oh Leah, how frustrating! Mourning isn’t easy. Writing about it helps. You’re looking in the right direction.

    A few years ago I read about a surrogacy program in India. I think it cost about $30,000. The women who do it live in a compound with other surrogate mothers. They have a place to live and food to eat along with medical care…which is more than they get outside the compound. Anyway, I don’t know too much more than that, but if you haven’t looked into that option it may be worth your while.

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