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    Nature versus Nurture -- I love mine just the same

    A question you may have for me or my husband might be, “Was it difficult for you to decide to adopt and/or go through the egg donor process?” You may also be secretly asking yourself, “Are their feelings any different (or is their love any less) for their children since they are not 100% biological?” I would answer the first by saying that there are several answers to that question. The second one is super easy though—I can’t imagine loving my children any more than I already do. I mean that from the very bottom of my heart. My husband would say the same and then he would get tears in his eyes.His love is so deep that he wells up on a daily basis from the mere joy and affection he has for our sons, AKA the BLT Bros.

    I wanted to be a mother no matter how my children arrived. I knew that my love would be the same regardless of their genetic make-up. I had experienced pregnancy and loss and was beyond desperate to become a mom. There were days when my longing was so great that if a baby would have been parked in their stroller just beyond his/her parent’s reach, I would have taken the opportunity to snatched it and run. I realize that is straight up crazy talk but I ached for a baby and probably would have brokered a deal with the devil if I would have been assured a child.

    Now back to the first question, the time that it took us to finally decide upon which road was best for us was long and winding. Truthfully, our marriage was thoroughly tested at this juncture because I felt strongly about adoption and my husband felt just as strongly about moving forward with an egg donor. That struggle began while we were still visiting with the doctor who determined the reasons for my infertility. We worked with therapists to try to help us decide how to move forward. I will focus on the decision making process in a future blog entry.

    If you are anything like me, my guess is that your emotions are all over the place right now; you may be relieved to know that I behaved in ways that were affected by my emotional state. I felt that I was in a constant state of Purgatory while I was impatiently waiting to become a mom. Control was and is the center stone of my existence but I secretly knew that I had none at that time in my life. I did my very best to exert it when I could though. My career in sales has been built on the art of persuasion. Those were the skills onto which I leaned because I desperately wanted to influence my own destiny. I thought that I could manage those holding the keys to my parental future in a way that would produce a baby AND QUICKLY. In my mind, I felt that I was supposed to be a mom back in 2006 so tick-tock, time’s a wasting people!! The obvious targets were our social worker, our adoption marketing firm, and our attorneys but I didn’t limit myself to those individuals. OH, NO, NO.

    I verbalized my deep desire to be a mom to almost anyone who was willing to listen. For example, I found out that my dentist’s brother was an obstetrician and that he had connected an adoptive family with one of his patients. Once I learned that little tidbit, I asked my dentist for his brother’s information and he actually GAVE it to me. OH LORD!! I began calling his brother, the obstetrician, on a weekly basis. I did not feel the least bit awkward about doing so either. Looking back, I really appreciate his compassion and sensitivity; he always took my calls and he gave me a reason to keep pursuing my dream of being a mom. Of course he gets a Holiday card from me every year! Don’t you wonder what the heck he thinks when he gets that card? Those are the cringe-worthy moments that I referenced in my first blog entry.

    Another day that I remember quite well was one that came just a few weeks before we signed the contract to move forward with our anonymous egg donor and connecting with Brandon’s birth mother. I received a news report that came out about a baby who had found in a garbage bag in Chicago and rushed to a nearby firehouse to be rescued. This report came to me by way of Google alerts. Back then, I had set up a search to forward me stories on abandoned babies. As soon as I read the article I thought to myself, “This is our baby!” We had gone through the licensing process to adopt within the US. My belief was that we would be eligible to adopt any baby that had been abandoned. For the record, that was definitely a faulty assumption on my behalf.

    Right after I read the story, I called the nearby firehouse and asked to speak to the chief. I was transferred to a gentleman and began to explain our situation. In summary, I told him that I was licensed to adopt in the State of Illinois and that we were working through an agency and social worker who could help us adopt the boy who was abandoned. I then asked him to share the whereabouts of the baby that had been found the night before. There was a very LOOOOOOOOONG and drawn out pause. He then replied, “How did you get my information and who are you again?” I repeated my full name, the name of our social worker and told him that I needed to know where the baby was taken.

    OK, at this point, you know where the conversation was going…”Ma’am I am not allowed to share that information….” Of course, I thought that I could state my situation in a couple of different ways and also include facts that were not limited to my husband being a very important City Employee and that I ran a Board for the largest Children’s Hospital in the Midwest. I mean wouldn’t you think those details should have assured him that breaking the rules, in this particular case, was completely permissible? Serious cringing happening right now! He respectfully held his position, however.

    I was not deterred by being shut out by the chief, however. Nope. I called the aforementioned hospital and reached out to anyone and everyone that I knew to try to find out if the baby had been admitted. The HIPPA laws prohibited them from sharing that information, of course.

    THINKING, THINKING, THINKING, I was. How am I going to get my baby by the end of this evening? DUH, I just needed to call DCFS and speak to a person who could put through the proper documentation and connect with our social worker. I Googled the head of the department, called and got voice mail, 0’d out and then just started calling any/all numbers that were associated with the department. The pace was becoming just a wee-bit feverish at this point because there was a baby out there who needed his mom.I did manage to connect with a few folks. They were quite kind in trying to figure out how to politely redirect me/decide if they should report me to the authorities.

    In the end, the inquiries ended about mid-day. I had pleaded my case to no less than 12-or-so people and figured I would get a call later that evening letting me know where my son was and how to move forward with our adoption. Surprisingly, nobody ever called me back that day. I still wonder about that little baby. If he survived, he would be just over 4 years old today; exactly 3 months older than my Brandon.

    As I recall those stories, I remember how frantic and utterly helpless I felt back then. I had no children and my first thought of every day was always, “What if I never get to be a mom?” That was always my last thought of the day too.

    Though my stories conjure up the possibility that I may have grown a teensy-weensy crazy during my struggle, busying myself with outreach made me feel sane. I NEEDED to keep myself focused on those tasks so that I felt a sense of control over my situation. I was just trying to stay in the I don’t want to lose my ever-loving mind zone. You probably know that zone. It seemed to work for me most of the time. I also was meeting with a therapist on a weekly basis which provided me immense support.

    Keep the faith, future moms. When you wake up in the morning and right before you go to sleep, say to yourself, “WHEN I am a mom…”

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    Denise Steele

    Denise Steele

    Denise Steele is a proud mom of 3 boys thanks to private domestic adoption and a successful anonymous egg donor cycle. She write blogs regularly on her website www.hope4fertility.com



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