“I always knew that my journey to become a mom would involve some alternative methods. As a same-sex couple we could either use modern medicine to get pregnant or we could adopt. As an adoptee myself I had complicated feelings about both. My adoption story is beautiful and is an integral part of my life so adopting a child has always been a beautiful thing to me. But no matter how great the story, there is always trauma in adoption. And as I grew older and began to think about starting a family, I couldn’t deny the strong yearning to have a child that was biologically mine so I could feel like I ‘belonged’ to someone. As much as I loved my adoptive family and my birth family, I often felt stuck in the middle of two worlds. I thought having a child would heal some of that and give me a sort of permanence. So, despite my deep dislike of medical interventions, we proceeded with artificial insemination.
At our first appointment with the reproductive specialist, I remember laying there and hoping that everything looked ok. The doctor did an ultrasound of my uterus and proclaimed that despite my ‘advanced maternal age,’ everything looked great. I was 36 at the time and overall, she had no concerns and we were given the ok to begin insemination the next month. My wife and I spent hours online looking at sperm donors and finally picked one we felt good about and made the purchase! We diligently tracked my ovulation, took my prescribed meds and I happily gave myself a shot in the stomach to help things along. I remember taking a selfie that morning after getting all dolled up and thinking ‘I want to remember this day forever and show this picture to our child.’ We naively thought that getting pregnant would be easy for us.
Two weeks later we were met with a negative pregnancy test that would be the first of many. Over the next 2 years we would continue to try absolutely everything. We completed 8 more inseminations through the clinic and even found 2 local donors and did 6 at home inseminations. I tried using western medicine that made me so sick and moody. I had multiple invasive procedures to try and find out why I wasn’t getting pregnant. I even tried a more holistic approach using acupuncture, Chinese herbs, essential oils and even fire cupping. February of 2018 was our final attempt. That was the negative test that finally broke my spirit. Every step of the process had been a fight and it had become so taxing and made me question everything. Mostly I questioned my worth. Why was the universe making this so difficult for me? Was it a sign that I wasn’t supposed to be a mom? I retreated deeply into myself and into a very dark place. I had my first panic attack and fell into a deep depression at the thought of never becoming a mom.
My wife gave me until the beginning of May to sit in my sadness and then she sat me down and said, ‘we are going to adopt.’ As much as I couldn’t bear the thought of another arduous journey, l also couldn’t bear letting her down either. It was solely for her that I began to fill out paperwork and gather the necessary documents to begin the adoption process. All of it felt insurmountable and I felt a deep worry about how we would even pay for all of this after spending so much on inseminations. But her unwavering love and support carried me through. We completed everything and were registered for our mandatory training classes the next month.
Sitting in those classes and learning about adoption changed me profoundly. That may sound odd coming from someone who is adopted but I had never thought too much about adoption. My parents had told me I was adopted before I could even understand what that meant. It was just a part of me like anything else. I have blue eyes, brown hair and am adopted. End of story. When I was born, most all adoptions were closed. But in a time before there was much discussion, let alone awareness of adoption, my parents knew it would be best for me to meet my birth parents. When I was about 10 years old, they sent a letter to the adoption agency to be sent on to my birth parents. It was an offer to get to know me if they wanted to. They said ‘yes’ and over the years I met my birth parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles. They have been a part of my life for over 25 years now. I truly have an amazing adoption story and I love my big modern family.
Listening to the social workers speak about adoption was fascinating to me. I began to have a deeper gratitude for my parents and a deeper compassion for my birth parents. I also began to feel the light seep back into my heart about being a mother. As I listened to my fellow classmates who were likely hearing about adoption for the first time, I was shocked to hear their thoughts and questions. At times I wanted to yell out ‘that’s not fair to the child’ or ‘don’t speak about birth moms that way!’ I knew that no one had ill intentions and they were coming from their own place of struggle with trying to conceive but there was a serious lack of education surrounding adoption and what it looks like. I suddenly realized how much I have to offer. I was an expert, a first-hand expert on adoption. What better person to walk this child through their feelings on being adopted? What better person to openly love a birth family?
As my confidence grew so did my heart. Adoptive families showed up to speak with us and I teared up listening to each of them. They were all so beautiful to me and slowly I began to see how our future family could look like this. On the 2nd day I remember going outside to cry with my wife because I had a breakthrough. My doubts and fears had given way to hope. I suddenly knew that I was going to be a mom. I didn’t know how or when, but I knew that my child was out there somewhere, and we would meet when the timing was right. There was no more question of ‘if,’ only a question of ‘when.’ That breakthrough lit me up inside and carried me through the rest of the process to become a waiting family. Unlike the uphill battle we faced trying to conceive, we breezed through the adoption process. It was only 5 months from application to waiting family status. And if you know anything about the adoption process, that is fast! We felt like we hit every green light along the way. Another sign that this is where we were supposed to be.
I had tried to force things to work the way I wanted but the universe will always do things on its own time because it knows how the story ends. I couldn’t see my purpose before because I was only thinking of myself. When I stepped back to see the bigger picture, I could see that my gift in motherhood lies in what I have to offer my child. I carry the empathy, insight and wisdom to continue the cycle of beauty in adoption. In the stillness of waiting for our child, I am peaceful, hopeful and full of love. I know I am right where I should be.”
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