This is our first blog post about our adoption process.
First a little background. Andy and I have been trying to have a baby since the weekend of our friends Stacey and Jim’s wedding. That was July 4, 2006. First we didn’t really sweat it that it wasn’t working. We just went with the flow. We were living in Brooklyn then and frankly the idea of raising a kid in the city seemed daunting. How could we ever handle alternate side parking AND schlepping a baby stroller! Seriously people. I don’t know how you do it!
Then we moved to North Carolina where things seemed much more mellow and family orientated. The first year we lived in Raleigh (full of Republicans) then we moved to Durham. Ahhhh Durham was the city of our dreams; cool, slow paced, good food and booze, and amazing people. We bought a house, thought we were stay there forever.
It was in Durham that we finally decided to take this kid thing very seriously. We went to the Duke Fertility Center. Really- believe the hype. Duke is a medical force to be reckoned with- they were organized and kind. We once had a 45 minute conversation with our doctor. I have NEVER had that long of undivided attention with a physician (other than my friend Betsy but we are usually just talking about other stuff. She just happens to be a doctor).
Anyway to make a very long story short- there were issues. Not insurmountable issues, but they existed nontheless. We had the choice of going through all that IVF hoopla and trying to have a biological child- or to adopt. And it was an amazingly easy decision. I had read about how women go through a bit of mourning when they find out that they couldn’t have a biological child. I really didn’t have that- the second we decided to adopt it felt like it was10,000% the right choice. I can’t explain it but it made me happier and more excited than ever having a biological kid. Andy has always wanted to adopt so the idea really gelled with who we are as a couple. We always joked that our genes were no great shakes anyway. I have funny hair and Andy always looks tired.
So jump ahead- we decided we were going to adopt. We had an idea that we wanted to adopt internationally- but had no idea where or even how. THEN we moved to Portland. My mom moved with us too! Goodbye idyllic Durham, Hello the utopia that is Portland! Portland is like Durham but on crack. Andy’s job took us here. I think Andy’s job will take us to the moon someday. I have come to accept this about Andy and his work. I hope the moon is as nice as NC and Portland. If it isn’t I will be pissed. But I digress…
So we get to Portland and I decided to sniff around about this adoption thing. I asked our landlords (they are super cool and have kids) and some folks in Andy’s office. Then I had a revelation! Raverly! It’s really a knitting website- but it is actually where I found an amazing community of friends and knitters in Durham. I also had a friend who had a miscarriage and said she found a lot of support from the various user groups on Raverly. Knitters are a pretty freaking kind bunch of people!
So I posed on a “Where the hell do I begin” thread on the international adoption group on Raverly and met a bunch of cool women all who have adopted or are waiting to adopt internationally. Some of them had used an agency called Holt International. I had looked at their website and was a little put off by their religious affiliation (they are a Christian organization). If you don’t know this already. Im’a Jew, and Andy really doesn’t consider himself anything.
I went back to the Raverly folks and said “WTF I dunno about the religious stuff”. I was assured that they serve everyone and don’t hold any prejudice about non-religious couples. I have worked for Jewish non profits for most of my career and I can handle faith-based organizations. I really just don’t want fundamental. I also spoke very bluntly to the Holt people and they said that when they look to place kids in adoptive families they look at values- not necessarily religious ones. Which echoed what the Raverly folks said. Andy and I have a value or two.
We also spoke to Portland’s Jewish and Family Services and they highly recommend Holt. So that really solidified our decision. We also spoke to a bunch of folks here in Portland who have adopted (I have been stalking them) and they had used other agencies and had issues across the board. I haven’t heard one complaint about Holt at all. I was even in line at the fabric store. I was chatting with the woman in line next to me who had a daughter she adopted from China. She used Holt too and had nothing but good things to say about them.
So our Criteria for a kid has always been a) young as possible b) healthy as possible c) in a good care situation until we can take them home (none of that Rumanian Orphanage mishagas) d) not have to wait 5 years for a kid. So what I have learned about this process is that the countries change from time to time. A few years ago China was really open to adoption, but now its really difficult. Same with Korea. Guatamala was really open but that program has been closed down completely. So the next country that met our criteria is Ethiopia.
I really didn’t know much about Ethiopian culture other than the food is tasty, they drink mead and that they are (as a whole) some really truly beautiful people. Regardless of where we were going to adopt we are gong to be a trans-racial family. So why not! We are drawn to the program because it meets our criteria, and are committed to learning as much about Ethiopia and becoming a transracial family as we can! I am 38 years old and no dummy. I know that there will be joys and challenges in our new family. I also think you can say the same about any family. We are funny, smart, grounded and practical people and totally positive that this is going to be the best experience imaginable.
So on October 22, 2009 (which is also the same date of our 9th anniversary) and I applied to Holt International to become parents to an Ethiopian infant. We are so excited- and really want to thank all of our friends and families for their support through this decision process. I know this kid is going to have an awesome group of adults in his/her corner!
Our next step is to save up for the home study! Looks like miz Lisey is gonna have to get herself a job! I have had it too good for too long!