Monday, May 24, 2010

The Ups and Downs of Life

Apologies for missing another post but Paul and I have been on a bit of a roller coaster with this whole baby thing lately. Just when we officially started to slam the door on the idea of a natural conception, the good doctor sticks his foot in the way. It seems while all my tests have come back normal, Paul's has been a bit inconclusive. Not that this necessarily means anything but thanks to the fact the past two doctors we saw have been incompetent quacks, his tests weren't run correctly and the results are invalid. So he's been asked to do them again this week and we'll see what happens. Of course we hope he's perfectly fine, nobody wants to hear there might be something wrong with them but if the tests come back and say exactly that, well at least we have a definitive answer and possibly a chance to fix the problem. If however these tests do say he's fine, that will finally shut the door as we've exhausted every possibility.

We've also decided that if modern medicine concludes we're both perfectly healthy and they don't know why we aren't able to conceive that it would be a big mistake to throw money away on IVF or the IUI we've been trying to raise money for. The way we see it, if modern medicine says you're fine but Mother Nature is saying no, no you're not then any attempts to bypass her would just end badly. We've already dealt with an inexplicable Ectopic Pregnancy and have since dealt with inexplicable infertility, obviously there's something going on that today's doctors and scientists just haven't discovered yet.

So the next step will be adoption and while we would love a little baby, the only way to get one is through private and international adoption agencies which are just light years out of our budget. So for the past year we've been entertaining the idea of adopting a child or sibling group through the Department of Health and Human Services. The process is a bit invasive but not nearly as lengthy or expensive as it would be for a baby. We went to an information session where they explain about the adoption and foster care system (ideally they'd like all potential adopters to be foster parents as well but for people like us who would eventually transfer out of state which could mean having to return any child or children in our custody back over to the state, it just isn't an option). If you're still interested, you take home a large packet of forms which ask questions about you and your family, have you get a release from your doctor saying you're mentally and physically capable of having children in your home, ask for three references who they will contact later and gives you instructions about getting your fingerprints done for the required background check. This is pretty much the only expense in the process and costs (here in Maine) $55 for every person living under your roof over the age of 18.

A few weeks later (depending on where you are and how busy they are) you'll hear that it's time for the home study and should make an appointment for the visit. They don't just ambush you one day for a surprise inspection, contrary to popular belief, and it's not a white glove thing. They're basically checking to see that you have adequate space for the child or children, that it meets safety and fire regulations and isn't roach or rodent infested (if you live like the people in that show Hoarders, I wouldn't bother applying). It also gives them the chance to go over your application, ask questions and get a better understanding of you and your family. It is illegal in the United States to reject any applicant based on religion, race or orientation so if you feel the the visit is turning or has turned in that direction, immediately contact the office and file a complaint. There have been times unfortunately when an uber Christian rep will get indignant while interviewing an openly gay or non-Christian couple or a rep will vehemently try to steer a couple away from the idea of adopting a child or children of another race but in all cases the home office is extremely apologetic (and appalled in most cases) and usually the Department head will come out to meet with you again themselves. I understand that in a majority of these cases the offender is either removed from that department or fired altogether but you have to speak up!

Anyway, once you're finally approved it's just a matter of choosing the child(ren) you wish to adopt and developing a repor with them. Some time during this process you and your significant other (you don't necessarily have to be married any more but you do have to show strong evidence of a lasting and solid relationship) will be required to take parenting classes. While raising children in general can be very taxing at times, there are extra hurdles when it comes to adopting children and these classes aim to help you deal with them. You've got emotional and psychological hurdles (many children have anger and abandonment issues due to events from their past and some may even hate you in the beginning and blame you for not being able to go home and see mom and dad again even if they were removed years before), you have to learn disciplinary actions (many agencies have you sign a form refusing to use physical discipline especially because of the child(ren)'s possible past history with domestic violence) and how to adapt your life now that this new person (or people) is in it. During the home study, if like me you indicated you grew up with physical discipline (ie your parents beat your ass when you set fire to the living room rug at age 7) they'll want to go a little more in-depth with you about it and ensure you're open to other methods of discipline.

As Paul and I know little to nothing about raising children and would most likely end up becoming a family of 4 or 5 overnight, we eagerly welcome the classes! This will be the most challenging adventure we've ever had to date and our paperwork is ready to send however, for the moment we've put the process on hold. Due to Paul's saga with his shoulder (long story short, he injured it badly during a deployment two years ago and reinjured it a few months ago but doctors are unwilling to do more surgery and have adopted a wait and see approach. You'd think after 6 months of minimal results from injections and therapy the time sit on your ass would end but apparently not. He's seeing a new doctor in the firm this week but if he ums and ahs the same way, we're switching him out to an orthopedic specialist who actually knows what the hell he's doing) we're unsure about our immediate future. Will the Coast Guard get so upset that Paul is taking so long to heal that they'll discharge him? Will they decide to transfer in a replacement and transfer us out again once he's back on the active list? Will we stay in the region long enough to be able to buy a house and therefore have a much more stable lifestyle to raise these poor kids in? We hope to have all these questions answered within the next six weeks at which time we'll look at the adoption question again.

So, thank you for riding the roller coaster that is our life. We hope you enjoyed the trip and will come back again soon! As it will be Memorial Day weekend, I'll probably post something very patriotic next week:)

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