Adopting wouldn’t be everyone’s first choice of a way to have a family. It wasn’t ours, we tried the more traditional route, but that didn’t work, and when it was confirmed it wouldn’t work, we had a rethink. For many people, the next option is IVF treatment – but this was something we decided against, and we chose to adopt instead. There were various reasons we didn’t pursue IVF, but the main one for me was, I really didn’t want to. Partly I didn’t want to go through the stresses of the treatment, I was worried that our relationship would become all about whether the treatment worked or not, and I couldn’t imagine the heartbreak if it didn’t work. Partly, I’ve never really been that keen on the idea of being pregnant, and the idea of giving birth totally terrifies me (and I can’t help but think of the John Hurt scene in Alien, I do realise that’s not how it happens though). When we were trying naturally I reasoned that if I did get pregnant then I’d just have to deal with it (let’s face it, if there’s a baby in there it would need to come out), but to go through treatment and stresses to get there, just really didn’t appeal to me. I’d always been really attracted to the idea of adopting, I remember talking to a friend about it at school in my teens and I just found it so sad there were so many children out there that needed loving homes and not enough people to give them. So when life dealt us this hand, it felt right to me that this was the path we should follow.
J took a bit of talking round, but I think this was more to do with his feelings around our infertility than adoption itself. It was recommended that we took a year after finding out our test results before starting the adoption process, and so we took this time to talk over what we were doing, whether it was the right route for us, whether we could forego children and just be happy as the two of us. But having children felt right, it felt like the next step for us, and it was a step we both wanted to take, so after 8 months or so we went to an adoption information event to find out more, and make the final decision about whether it was something we should do.
The event was really interesting and informative, it was also a bit annoying as there was another couple there who actually seemed more like undercover journalists than prospective adopters. They asked a lot of questions, but they seemed more about the birth families and numbers of children – maybe more process-ey than I’d have expected. But perhaps that was their way to approach it, I don’t know. Anyway the event really cemented it for J and I, but particularly J who had been unsure before, but afterwards he was certain this was the right route for us. Shortly after the event we applied to be adopters, and a few months later we received two days training which provided us with much more detailed information about the process, and the issues we might face as adopters. It wasn’t until after the training that we were able to officially start the adoption process and be allocated a social worker. And even after that we still had to go to a panel to be confirmed as suitable for adopting. It was a long process, it was interesting, stressful, enlightening and upsetting at times. In fact, you could say, it was the perfect preparation for parenthood.