Tuesday, February 08, 2005

You have questions, I (sort of) have answers

Gather round, adorable muffins, gather round- it's time for Question & Answer Time with Mare. No pushing now, you are all guaranteed a good seat.

At this juncture, it may be worth explaining how we have come to our current conclusions on adoption in this country. The easiest way seems to be to try to answer some of the very interesting and relevant questions raised in the last post, or those questions you may be thinking to yourself in your pointy little heads at home, wondering to yourself, "But why don't they try X solution"?

As a general health warning, please remember at all times I am talking about us, in our particular set of circumstances and in terms our particular "goals" for family building. Me and E. If you are a prospective adopter in this country, in any doubt whatsoever about the policy in your area, or how it might work for you, then I beg you not to take this as a definitive guide as to how the system works. Talk to the agency or the local authority before you run screaming out of the room.

Ready? OK. Let's go.

If the agency you want to work with has a certain policy about age, could you find one with more flexibility?

The first thing you have to understand is that in Scotland, there are no "private" adoption agencies in quite the same way that you would have in America. Every local authority (i.e. Argyll & Bute Council) is an adoption agency, and depending on where you live, there are also some volunteer charity organisations, such as Barnado's or Scottish Adoption Association.

That's it. That's all there is. So in our area, there is limited choice. It gets even more limited when you realise that some of the charity organisations have some initial criteria for acceptance, i.e. that you are Christian, married for two years or more. Strike one, strike two. Some local authorities/agencies require you to wait an additional six months to a year after completing treatment (to give yourself time to "mourn". Ha. As if you can put a timescale on that.)

Yes, you can do international adoption with a local authority in some areas, if they have the necessary approval, but some appeared to be more, um, geared up than others.

So if it's the local authority that has this dumbass policy, could you maybe just move to a different area, one with an agency with a more reasonable mindset?

The thing to bear in mind is that the age limit thing is a policy, no more. In reality, it might be that we would have no problem at all. For example, we are both in very good health. And it might be that in our circumstances, being slightly older would not be an issue. I am simply going on the information I received from the agency and did the math on timescales. For us, and our desired route and choices, it just doesn't look like a sure thing. The point is, once we get past a certain point, we personally may be setting ourselves up for another difficult hurdle in a process with enough fucking hurdles already, thank you very much. I just wanted to be absolutely clear about that before we started tripping blithely down the ART path, thinking we can come back to adoption later.

The yardstick of age 43 upwards seems to apply quite broadly in most areas of Scotland. So there is no guarantee that if we moved elsewhere we would be any better off.

Plus, you know, apart from the adoption problem, we kind of like it where we are. We both have good jobs in a country where good jobs are relatively scarce. For me to work in England (or America for that matter) would require a further round of professional requalifications. Right now, I'd frankly rather stick my head in a blender.

Could you perhaps undergo secret treatment while on the waiting list for adoption?

I love this idea- it's Operation Stealth Ass Con! Shh, I'm shooting up on the sly. Doctor, bring me a Martini, shaken not stirred.

No, that would be very difficult. You both have to provide all sorts of medical information, including reports from a GP. I think it would get quite complicated, and if we were found out, it would be bad. Very bad. I don't want to start off the process by bending the truth. Plus, we'd sure to be busted when we undergo the lie detector test. (Kidding. There is no lie detector test. Just checking to see you are still awake.)

Acupuncture- good idea, one which I will probably investigate at some point. However, personally, if I am going to adopt, I would prefer to focus primarily on that, and not on treatment or getting pregnant. There is, frankly, only so much time in the day, and the logistics of overseas adoption appear quite complicated for us. So I would want adoption to be the first place for my energy. That seems to be very in line with the thinking of most agencies, and the reason they require couples to have finished with treatment before they start adoption.

I seem to recall something about you being a US citizen. Why don't you adopt in America and bring the child back to that place where you live, what's it called, oh yes, Scotland

Ya gotta love that lateral thinking. Points for effort, kids. The problem with that plan is that as far as I can work out, to bring an adopted child into this country, you must be approved for adoption here. In other words, even if we were to adopt in the US, we'd still have to undergo the homestudy etc, here and be approved. Plus, it then all seems to get hopelessly messy because E. is not a US citizen. Try confuzzlement on a grand scale. Again, don't get me wrong, I am sure there are ways around this, if we really wanted to make it work badly enough. But given that right now the overwhelming urge to put my head down on the desk and weep, I'm not quite at that point yet.

Isn't there somewhere on the internet you can get decent, accurate information on all this?

Well, yes and no. There are links, some of which are informative in a general way, like here. Many sites I have tried simply take you so far and then dry up to a dribble. I've tried joining a few Yahoo!groups and the like, but most of these require you to be "committed to adoption" and "in the process" before they are willing to accept you into their message boards. Never mind how the fuck am I supposed to work out if I am committed when I cannot even get the information I need.

My adoption research is like panning for gold- the odd glimmer of value, a whole lot of crap. And this is me we're talking about, Little Miss Googlemeister. I am truly not trying to be defeatist, but trust me, this is not easy. I have spent hours, hours, and more hours already trying to get information and discuss this with E. But I only have so much energy in one day, and not an unlimited amount of time to make a decision.

Huh. That sucks. Maybe you could cheer yourself up by eating some haggis. What is haggis, anyway?

Generally, sheep's stomach stuffed with offal and barley. Wait, it's a lot nicer than it sounds. I had some chargrilled haggis in a restaurant the other night. It tasted like there was steak mixed in, and oh my. Yummy scrummy.

Listen, I adore you all for your wonderful support and concern. And I am going to be fine. Really, I believe that I will be fine. Maybe not right away, but someday. One way or another we will find a way, or make one. I just needed to be clear that in our case, we may not be able to go from Plan A to Plan B, and to be aware the risks of our choices. Because Plan B might not work out either.

But I do hope you'll stick around for the rest of the story. We can find out how it ends together.


At 9:43 AM, Blogger akeeyu said...

I'm sticking around, but I'm not eating haggis, okay?

At 12:39 PM, Blogger E. said...

At this point, you'd have to initiate legal proceedings to get me to leave. I'm very sorry this is so extra-complicated, Mare. Come on, happy ending (not that kind, you pervs).

At 1:55 PM, Blogger HomeFireBlue said...

Well, this comment will be of no help other than perhaps a rather baffled comiserative kind (is that a word?). I've been mulling over this crap all night.

WHY IS THERE AN AGE LIMIT ON ADOPTION?? Now I can comprehend not allowing someone who had little chance of surviving long enough to raise a bub (say 65 or 70 yr olds) but 42?! And in this modern age where it's not only common but quite popular for men to be 'serially monogamous' and disguard one wife for a shiney new model every decade or so (my Dad is the current expert on this)? Why would the man's age have shite to do with anything?

Mare, I'm so sorry you have to be arsed with this. I also apologise for the rant, but maybe I'm just the idiot here - the policy makes no sense!

I wish you the very best and, yes, I'll be happy to share some haggis!


At 2:16 PM, Blogger Suz said...

Sounds like chargrilled haggis is much better than the every-day variety which I needed a 1/2 bottle of wine to choke down.

I wish I could take a big, noisy chainsaw to all that red tape, Mare. I really wish I could.

At 2:43 PM, Blogger Soper said...

Blue, the age limit is so you both won't die before the child is 18 (like you have ANY control over that one). It's all about stats, ba-bee.

Mare, why do they call it "mad cow" if it comes from sheep? So confused.

At 3:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Blue. These age limits appear to me to be highly arbitrary and totally unfair. Though, I guess, as they say, life isn't fair. But a lot of it is inconsistent and makes no sense. So, it's OK for a 63-year-old Romanian woman to have IVF and have a baby? And as was mentioned, men constantly remarry and have babies with younger women. So the whole bureaucratic thing pisses me off.

Now. Just a couple other thoughts to throw out there. It's very true that at certain points it can all be a bit overwhelming having to negotiate all the various things involved with adoption and/or asscon. But file the acupuncture idea away for a time when you can deal with it. Here's the thing, it's stressful having to find the doctor, but the treatments aren't stressful and in fact can be relaxing. Plus, you sometimes get other fringe benefits from it. For me, I had digestive troubles (irritable bowel syndrome) plus cramps on day 1 of AF. Those things are now gone. No more cramps. No irritable bowel. Gone. Plus it is kind of relaxing - the needles can sometimes pinch at the start, but after a minute or two, I don't feel them and then I'm just laying in a darkened room listening to soothing music. Sometimes I just fall asleep. If you go with adoption, it might be something you can do once the wheels are rolling with that. Or if you don't go with adoption you might be able to do it in conjunction with or as an alternative to the asscon.

Also, you mentioned that if you go with adoption then it will be too late to try for a biological child later. You mentioned that E. will turn 40 this year, but I don't remember what your age is. I have this vague notion that you're somewhere around 34-35? If you went with adoption and that took, say three years from start to finish, then you would be maybe 38? Just wondering if Scotland has some kind of age limit on asscon and then that would be the reason it would be too late for you? Because biologically speaking women can still get pregnant in their late 30s and early 40s. Again, it's just a question of where there is an arbitrary age limit imposed by the bureaucrats? And if there is an age limit, would that be true for private treatment as well? Obviously some clinics don't have an age limit. Plus there are other alternatives to IVF and IUI. It's just that most doctors don't want to tell you about them because they make their money off of IVF (oops. I'm letting my cynicism show...) Of course if you are now in your mid 40s, then ...it probably would be too late. By the late 40s and early 50s I think it's pretty much over.

Anyway, just a few other thoughts to consider. Hope you don't mind me piping up and tossing out thoughts and suggestions. And again, good luck. These are all hard decisions and it's really really hard to know which way to turn sometimes.


At 4:15 PM, Blogger ms pickled eggs said...

Arsebiscuits! The offer of the spare room in England still stands - although you'll have to share with the Christmas decorations, several boxes of books and the suitcases.

At 4:25 PM, Blogger Anna H. said...

And I am going to be fine. Really, I believe that I will be fine. Maybe not right away, but someday.Yep, you will; you are a strong, strong woman. And we'll be here through whatever it takes to get you to someday.

Thinking of you.


At 5:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No advice. Just wanted to let you know that "some" people make up fake stories to get on Yahoo groups. I don't know who "these" people are, I just "heard" about it. "Their" rationalization is that it's just a Yahoo group, a group of people who often disagree about the color of water. Just sayin is all.

Middle way

At 6:00 PM, Blogger amyesq said...

Oy vey. Sounds like you have done a huge load of research on this and that every time you find out something new, you find out there is also another roadblock. It is crazy. Keeping fighting the good fight. We are here for you.

Oh, and blech on the haggis thing.

At 7:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm here for you my dear until the kids are in college (really, I'll be sitting here hitting refesh until you post about that).

Uh, no more haggis. My husband is scottish in origin and quite proud of his scotish roots. He wants to go to scotland to eat some hagis. The very thought of it, well you know.

Much love to you and thinking about you a lot.


At 8:06 PM, Blogger CallistaWolf said...

I'm definitely sticking around. It should not matter how one has a child or if one has one at all. You're a good person and I hope the best for you. Good luck on the long road ahead...

longtime lurker...

At 9:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

***Cracking up at Marla***

Delurking to say - no advice, just hoping you'll find what works for your family, and that there's a kid at the end of it. I love your blog, by the way. You've got great style and a great sense of humour. Lots o'luck with the decision.


At 9:43 PM, Blogger dish said...

What a terrible corner into which you find yourself painted. Good luck with the decision-making process and with the outcome. I'll keep you in thoughts!

And I think I'll also pass on the haggis. I guess I should at least try it being of Scottish descent. However, I am also of Irish descent and I hate potatoes- that'll kill your stereotypes! (ok, not really as I do have flaming red hair from my genes).

At 1:42 AM, Blogger Toni said...

Wow. I can't even say how much that sucks. It's amazing how countries could have such a differing view on adoption.

And haggis...another ugh. Reminds me of So I married an axe murderer :)

At 6:29 AM, Blogger estel said...

Haggis can't really be much worse than sausages which come in sheep intestine linings. (At least real ones do.) Actually my only haggis encounter was at our Uni refectory, which occasionally sold haggis and chips (along with other delights such as fried rice and chips, and even chips and chips). Unfortunately it was on the same standard as the rest of their food.

Mare - good luck with your decisions. It can be tempting to try to find some solution for you. But of course only you & E can do that, and you already know it. These are good questions to be asking now. I guess I identify as its similar to what we're sorting through - do we stop or try to adopt. Adoption looks hard, our ages don't help. I wonder: is this my own reservations about adoption coming through? And ART itself takes its emotional toll. Its hard to go through it and then think about starting a whole new battle. Anyway, I hope to stick around and hear the end of it.

BTW - I don't want to come across as too negative about ART. We did realise it might not work. And we still wanted to try it first. I can't say we seriously looked at adoption then. Perhaps that says it all. ART was our first preference.


At 3:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm going to post my first real piece of assvice ever, because you're sounding a lot like me these days & I just realized something about me that may (or may not!) apply to you.

Methinks thou dost protest too much.

All these lovely folks are trying to find creative ways for you to have A and B and you keep telling the people you can't have both. Now maybe you're totally right. Maybe they're well-meaning but woefully uninformed. But maybe you've already figured out the path you really want to take and are just trying to give yourself permission to turn away from the other one. Do ya just want to adopt now? To get married to E? Or to tell all the droning technocrats to get the hell out of your family choices, conjugal and parental? To fly to private Assisted Repro before either of you gets one damn day older? I have no idea which, if any, of these applies, but I suspect you're beginning to know and should probably let yourself say it out loud.

In my case, as a spontaneous habitual aborter, the dirty secret I'm coming to own is that while I do truly, madly, deeply want a child, I hate being pregnant. The physical suffering has been hell each time, the emotional trauma of miscarriage more than I ever want to face again, especially since my doctors can offer me no explanation or treatment plan. But my family, my parents, my husband, just cannot give up the dream. So I've decided to stop trying to confront them with scientific papers and arsenals of statistics to convince them of the futility of further attemps. They, like your loving readers, just keep coming up with helpful scenarious and hopeful anecdotes. Instead, I'm just going to announce that the next try is the last try and they have to make their peace with that.

Hoping for your ship to come in Mare, one way or another. Life is thirsty on this god-forsaken island.


At 8:28 PM, Blogger Kristin said...

I'll stick around as long as you don't make me eat haggis. I truly hope there is a happy ending to this story.

At 2:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll stick around, for the duration.


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