We have been blessed by our two children. I just wanted to start by saying that. If four years ago someone had told me I would have these amazing children, I would have doubted it with my entire being. Becoming parents was a difficult journey for us. It was full of drugs, shots, failures. I have never had a positive pregnancy test and really have no reason to believe that I can get pregnant. We stopped our treatments short of IVF. I just couldn’t do it on the back of six months of fertility drug injections and back to back IUIs. I was an emotional reck and a poor responder to fertility drugs. It seemed as if every month I needed more and more drugs just to get two or three follicles to mature. It was depressing to be a failure at the one thing my body is supposedly designed to do–create children.
My husband and I always knew that we wanted to adopt. We met when we were older and didn’t get married until I was 30 and he was 35. We also knew we wanted 4 kids and that we didn’t necessarily want them right away. So after I had had enough of the fertility treatment regime, we began to seriously look into adoption. We almost immediately decided on International adoption. Why you ask? Because I was not open to having birthmother involvement in our adoption. I knew myself well enough to know that I would have issues dealing with a birthmother who wanted involvement in our child’s life. Please don’t judge me by this–today I would give anything to know something about my children’s birthmother and for their to be a possibility that someday they could meet. But at the time we started looking into adoption–I was not confident enough that I would be able to handle it. I had longed so hard to be a mother and felt like such a failure as a woman that I couldn’t handle competing with the birthmother.
This was one big decision out of the way–but now we had to decide on a country. It was really important to us that we be able to bring our child home at a young age. As an educator and as a person who has studied child development I knew how important this was for development and bonding–for them as a children but also for us as parents. We were also pretty certain we did not and would not adopt from a country with extensive institutionalized care–ie Russia and China. So, this narrowed our choices down at the time of our first adoption to Guatemala, Ethiopia, South Korea, Vietnam and Nepal.
We then thought about what it meant to adoption a child internationally. I would be important for us to feel some sort of connections to their birth country and also want to learn more about and really infuse the tradtions of the country into our lives in meaningful ways. This left us with Guatemala, Ethiopia and Nepal. Nepal was an obsure choice and there was only one or two agencies working there. By the time we got around to starting the process there was a lot of political unrest and talk the adoption process closing. We certainly didn’t want to get caught in a bogged down process and therefore decided to choose a country whose process was stable.
Ethiopia fit all of these criteria. I know things in Ethiopia have changed since we complete our first adoption in Aug 2006. When we started there were only 5 agencies that were licensed to work in Ethiopia. Choosing an agency was hard to do. We felt strongly that we choose an agency that gave as much to Ethiopia as it could and were low-key. We choose to work with Adoption Advocates International out of Washington state and have never looked back.
Our adoptions were both relatively smooth and AAI was there to answer our questions every step of the way. We have since decided to complete a third infant adoption from Ethiopia and hope to start that after the first of the year. Ethiopia is a beautiful country and one steeped in the history of all of us.