For a variety of reasons, I'm feeling moved to update here.

We are no longer trying to conceive. But, after all this time, I have learned how to spell conceive. When the Lord closes a door, somewhere he opens a window...

No, I'll stop being a jerk. Seriously, we tried. And it was very very very difficult and emotionally taxing for us to keep trying to conceive without success and without, when it all came down to it, very likely odds. We backed off to concentrate on our wedding(s) and realized how much better, calmer and happier we felt. We got married in July of 2011, first with a big traditional wedding Maine, and then in a smaller legal ceremony in Central Park (we're the ones in white about halfway down the page) and it was all lovely and amazing and I'm thrilled to be Jen's lawfully wedded wife (in some states).

Once the wedding was done, we started talking about kids again, and we concluded that we were indeed happier without the stress of TTC in our lives, and that we would look toward adoption and foster care and foster-adoption.

For people who don't know much about fostering, and I was one of them until recently, a little primer on the distinctions:

Adoption: When people say this, they probably mean private adoption of infants. Most people who are adopting infants are adopting a child who is legally freed from their parents and available to adopt, straight off. In the US, you mostly have open adoptions, where birth parents are choosing their child's family and may still have visits or other contact. Overseas adoptions, you usually have a child coming from an orphanage or other kind of agency. Once a match is made and the family is approved, papers are signed and the child is yours, legally.

Fostering: You are caring for a child who is still legally the child of their biological family. You do not have legal rights over the child, and you cannot make decisions for them without the consent of their parents (anything from an out of state vacation to a haircut). Social workers and agencies are involved, and play a role in determining what services the child receives, how often they see their bio family and under what conditions. The ideal goal of foster care is reunification with the birth family, or a permanent placement with a relative (grandmother, aunt, etc.)

Foster-adoption: Basically, adopting a child that has been in foster care, once it is determined that they are not able to reunite with their family and become available for adoption.

It's all COMPLICATED. Lawyers, families, judges, social workers, therapists, children. But then, it's also simple. Children need safe and loving homes. Maybe for a month, maybe for a lifetime.

After a lot of thought, we've decided to apply to become foster parents. We know we have a safe and loving home for a child who needs one NOW. We would also like to one day adopt, probably a foster-adoption. Agencies are walking a fine line, trying to reunify families, but also find an outcome that is in the best interest of the child. Right now, we have told our agency that we are open to the idea of a permanent placement. (Some people aren't, some people only want to foster.)

We have a lot to do before we get certified - paperwork, training, home study... But we're excited to see what this new endeavor will bring. Most likely it will bring a fascinating, confused, angry, excited, terrified, complicated, terrific little person into our home ere long. I've been reading a lot of fosterblogs, especially fosterhood and fosterwee and trying to learn more about how it all works, what level of crazy we're really opening ourselves up to here.

In the end I think opening up is really the takeaway - opening up my definition of family; opening myself up to new feelings, both positive and negative; opening our home and our lives; opening up to experiences that will be unlike any I've had before. That means I'm learning, that means I'm seeing new sides of myself and of my wife, that means my understanding of the world and of myself is developing. That means I'm happy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

hey there! thanks for updating for us stalkers :), and huge congrats on the two weddings! the central park one looks awesome. we also had an 'extra' ceremony this past summer when civil unions became legal in illinois; we won a contest to be one of six couples who got 'united' at the stroke of midnight the day it became legal. no, it's still not marriage, but i'll take free wedding cake, photos and DJ any day :)

i think i'm wavering more and more towards adoption every time we have a cycle not work out (like today....good ol' period showed, 28 fricking days!). i don't have any diagnose issues as of yet but manage to feel kind of wearied by the whole thing anyways. we shall see. but i really appreciate again your positivity and taking the time to talk about your decisions. lots to think about...