In the Suburbs: Adopting a positive attitude on the frustrating road to motherhood
When our older daughter married 15 years ago this coming weekend, my wife and I celebrated the occasion heartily and began the dream of every grandparent in waiting -- when might a baby come?
Eleven years later, when our daughter and husband divorced, our daughter remained determined to try various processes, beginning with in vitro, to conceive a child.
After what seemed like a very long process of inoculations and other regimens, the contribution from her donor worked and she called one afternoon with the good news. There was, however, a "but." For some reason, the hormones to help launch the pregnancy seemed erratic and weren't climbing as they were supposed to. The clinician tried to be reassuring, albeit realistic, and after several days the pregnancy ended.
A second attempt happened almost the same way and our daughter was crushed. At the time, she couldn't afford a third attempt and simply moved on. Over the course of another 16 months and with several willing partners our daughter had been seeing over that period, she conceived at least three times. Each pregnancy began strongly and our daughter was euphoric. But her obstetrician remained cautious each time our daughter moved closer to that critical 12-week milestone and the hope for a heartbeat.
Sadly, each pregnancy ended before the 11th week and left our daughter confused and depressed. She often asked an oh-so-common question, "Why is it so easy for everyone but me to carry a child?"
After one final misfortune, my wife and I consoled our daughter and urged her to see a specialist to find out what might be happening and see if there was any solution. Ultimately, our daughter learned that getting pregnant wasn't the issue -- carrying the baby was. Apparently, there was something in the uterine lining that only allowed a pregnancy to progress so far, before it was sloughed off. Yes, there were treatments, but no guarantees.
Meanwhile, along the path to discovery, our daughter met wonderful and supportive women who shared their pain, their suffering and their ultimate success through one treatment or another. As a result, she saw different specialists, including one who offered an outside chance of full term through a heparin treatment -- don't ask me to explain.
Simultaneously, our daughter also decided to try the adoption route. Adoption could offer the solution to finally allow her to fulfil her goal of motherhood at long last. The agency she worked with initially spoke about China or Russia, but both countries already placed tremendous obstacles in front of single moms. So, initially, there were more tears and heartache and, at times, a short-term desire to just throw in the towel. But our daughter moved forward.
Ultimately, a door opened in Ethiopia. And one day our daughter called euphoric to say that she was somewhere like 75th on the list. She thought that would put her about 18 months away from the trip. My wife assured her that she was ready. We quietly told just our close friends about the potential blessed event.
Two weeks ago on Mother's Day, our daughter arrived for dinner, looking drained but with two pieces of news -- one sad and one good. On the down side, Ethiopia had closed its doors to further adoptions. She was 25th on the list and the list was now defunct. She told us that, at first, she was completely crushed. But then she said that she had connected with some wonderful folks on the Internet, as well as with her contacts from Jewish Family Services.
She learned that the tried-and-true process of a birth mother approving of a potential adoptive mom or couple was growing in popularity in the United States and as long as there were no restrictions on the cultural background of the potential parent(s), the birth mother was free to select. The only challenge, according to our daughter, was the money -- nearly $40,000.
She's working a few angles on that now and knowing her tenacity and desire for a child, we have no doubt she will find the money and the outlet. I'm amazed these days at the number of fundraising web sites for personal causes. I have no doubt she will find one and at least raise some of the dollars that way.
Meanwhile, while the journey seems endless, in our hearts we believe that ultimately our daughter will receive her baby and we'll continue to stand by her side until that day.
Steven Gaynes' "In the Suburbs" appears each Friday. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.