Paul's Heart

Life As A Dad, And A Survivor

Making The Decision (To Adopt)

Wendy and I were already in mid-life stride when we got married.  We got together with one very important goal of our marriage.  We wanted to be parents.  Of course, before Wendy said yes to marrying me, I did make her aware that due to my cancer treatments, I was not able to have children.  This had been confirmed.  But I assured Wendy that I fully supported her in efforts to get pregnant artificially, such as in vitro or in vivo.
Since there was nothing to confirm about me with the process, it was a matter of selecting a fertility specialist for Wendy as well as donor facility.  Oddly enough, the specialist wanted to begin by re-testing me.  When I explained the chemo regiment that I went through, thereby leaving me unable to knock anyone up, and confirmed by sperm count (or countless – nothing), I was told that in just fifteen years, new technology was available to go further into the “why” of infertility from chemotherapy.

I must admit, that from the time I was told I could not have children, my desire to be a father never waned.  But disappointment was strong that I did not pursue sperm storage prior to beginning treatments.  My oncologist ignored my age in exchange for timeliness of treatment, clearly a factor in surviving Hodgkin’s Disease.  But to be told there was still a chance, more definitive testing could reveal that my body was still capable of producing baby batter.  And if it were, then it was not a matter of being infertile, but rather a failure somewhere in the reproductive system, as perhaps as simple as a blockage.

After a repeat of the sperm count, I had a blood test done to test FSH, the hormone necessary in determining the ability to produce sperm.  No or low FSH, the body is not producing sperm.  End of story.  But if normal level, the body is still making the hormone necessary to produce sperm.  That would mean more tests, possibly a blockage.  But, also, a possible blood heir.

But it was not to be, as my counts were too low.  The plus side to that, is that there would be no delay in moving on to Wendy.  My book on fertility was closed long ago, and I had resolved my issue.

Everything was checking out okay with Wendy, so we went ahead with artificial insemination, just placing the sperm inside.  It had its chances for success and was less expensive that the test tube process.  There were lots of hormone shots for her, no comfort for me.  Sadly all six attempts failed, though one had given us quite a bit of hope.  The doctor then told us, perhaps it was time to go to the next level.

We had spent so much money so far, with no results.  Wendy grew frustrated as success was not happening.  We were at a crossroad because we were running out of time and money.  The new process was extremely expensive and like the artificial insemination, was not a sure thing.  Or, we could consider adoption.  That also was not a sure thing, but had a better chance of success.  We were running out of time and running out of money.  And the decision had to be made  while coming to terms that she may not be able to give birth, infertility.  Wendy was a normal healthy female, okay, mid 30′s at that point, but had no reason to think she was unable to get pregnant.  Whether male or female, having to deal with being infertile, emotionally it can be devastating.  As I said, I had already come to terms with it in my past, but Wendy had no reason to suspect.  Now, without grieving for her loss, she now had to move forward and make a decision now.

The best advice that I could give Wendy, and this was her body, her decision to make, was simply put:  “do you want to be a mom, or do you want to give birth?”  It was a harsh question and unfair, but it was the only way that Wendy could see the overall picture in the short time and funds we possessed.  It was not until several years later that she finally accepted the fact that she could not give birth, which is not the same as being infertile, just cold not give birth.

Wendy made the decision, which I supported, that being a mother was the most important consideration.  Together, we decided to pursue adoption.  The only thing left to decide was they types of adoption, closed or open, domestic or international.

We contacted several agencies only making actual contact with one that would give us the time of day.  Most others never bothered to return our calls, or were judgemental because of me having a prior marriage.  But the one agency that accepted our call, spoke with us for close to an hour, answering all of our questions, and then invited us to informational meetings.

It was at that meeting, that we met a little girl who had recently been adopted from China.   She was an adorable and pleasant little girl and just melted our hearts.   Wendy and I knew this is what we were going to choose.  Within several months, our dossier of paperwork would be in the process to bring home our oldest, Madison.

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