December 29, 2009

…and Birth Mother Makes Three

Filed under: Adoption, Birth mother, Infertility — adoptation @ 4:52 pm

If there’s one thing my wife and I learned during our few years of infertility misadventures, it was an appreciation for healthy self-absorption. Despite the gaggle of doctors, lab technicians and insurance reps on one end, and the passel of family, friends and bloggers on the other, in the end only we really had our backs. Everyone else had something/someone that came before us, and that could be a hard pill to swallow between scheduled hormone injections.

As much as we’d been a good little team before, we were now a battle-hardened unit. When it came to the baby quest, you messed with us at your peril.

But now that we’ve gotten The Call, there’s another player in the game: the birth mother who picked us. She’s suddenly on the team, and she’s running the show. The adoption agency gave us a booklet about navigating the match procedure, and it leads with this:

“Imagine the following situation in a car: You’re in the backseat, the birth mother is the driver and [we are] the guide providing directions. The birth mother has all the control. She can choose to follow directions provided by [us] or not follow them. You, the adoptive family, are along for the ride. You may have a different route in mind but you don’t have any control over where she takes you.”

Wow. That’s gonna take some getting used to. Because when we were dealing with a doctor, who knew more than we did, we could still advocate for our point of view (and even get a little testy if we really didn’t like something he said/did). When we went in for donor eggs and the donor canceled some of her appointments, we got on the horn with the broker agency and passed along the info that this had to stop—now. When our families expressed discomfort with some of our decisions, we could stand together and express why we needed what we needed.

But this is different. The birth mother is not just someone we’re paying to take care of something. She’s a person who is, truth be told, going through something a lot more difficult than we are in this transaction. In the 24 hours since The Call, the agency has made it crystal clear that if we don’t do our best to make her feel comfortable, to honor her decisions, to communicate genuine empathy for what she’s going through…well, we’ll be shit out of luck.

Which is painting the picture in a bit too dire a hue. Really, we’re still a little team—it’s just that we’re the visiting squad this time. It’s incumbent upon my wife and me to prove to her that we’re on her team, and that we respect this incredibly generous, brave and (frankly) mindbending thing she’s doing. Given the levels of generous/brave/mindbending that are in play here, I’m not anticipating too much difficulty in expressing how awestruck and grateful we are to be invited to join the birth mother’s team.



  1. Interesting perspective on adoption. Adoption as an option has been on my mind a lot lately. Unready to make that decision, I have not deeply thought about the deep emotions of dealing with birth mothers. If there is one thing I’ve learned through infertility is that there is minimal personal control.

    Comment by autonomousblogger — December 29, 2009 @ 5:25 pm

  2. I think that the big difference is that infertility is primarily a lack of control over outcomes. So far, the adoption process is a different kind of lack of control, sometimes in a good way; it can be nice having other people take care of big stuff!

    Since the match, everything has been about the birth mother. We’re low on the list of priorities for now, which I guess is the way this will roll.

    Comment by adoptation — December 29, 2009 @ 5:51 pm

  3. It’s a tough process for all involved… but so worth it. Much luck and love to you!

    Comment by robreedesq — December 30, 2009 @ 3:34 am

  4. Thanks robreedesq. We just had our 1st contact with the birth mother today, and so far it’s going smoothly…I know there are bound to be bumps on the road, but at least we’re finally on a road that has a destination!

    Comment by adoptation — December 30, 2009 @ 5:55 pm

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