* Author Topic: Our new journey to become a family 2017  (Read 7548 times)

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Offline itsonlybridge

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Our new journey to become a family 2017
« on: 7/01/17, 19:43 »
Hi everyone  ^wave^

DH and I are currently 13 long years in to trying for a family. We have been together for 21 years and married for 10. After 4 natural mc, we turned to IVF but the first attempt failed. After extensive testing with a private clinic, we discovered I had high killer cells so our 2nd cycle included treatment to combat this. It worked and I became pregnant and we were stunned. I remember balling my eyes out staring at those 2 little lines, we were overjoyed. At a private early scan, we sobbed tears of joy when we saw 2 strong little heartbeats on the screen. Although ever so cautious, we thought all our dreams were finally coming true as the weeks went by and a second scan confirmed they were going strong although measuring a little bit on the small side. Despite this, I had a huge bump almost immediately (mainly due to OHSS) which I adored and never tired of marvelling at. I'll never forget sitting in the garden in the summer with DH, the pair of us grinning and talking about how the future would be with our little twins. Sadly it wasn't meant to be and we lost them just before 12 weeks  :'(

The nurse who had seen us through through the cycle and all the scans, grabbed my hand and told us she was so sorry but she couldn't find either of their heart beats  :'( The gut wrenching howl that came from somewhere so deep within me, the shaking sobs coming from DH as he held me trying to comfort me whilst the nurse also tried to hold it together will stay with me forever. Devastated doesn't even begin to cover how we felt and I knew then I couldn't go through it again.

The days following the scan passed in a blur of tears and emotion. We were handed over to the NHS and were made to wait before they would consider performing a D&C. My body refused to let my little babies go for 2 torturous weeks and finally I was booked into hospital and sent to theatre. It was the longest day ever and I can still see the pain etched on DH's face as he sat next to my bed trying to find the right words. The hospital agreed to send the twins remains for testing so we could at least try to find out why they had died.

6 weeks later the results were sent to us and we discovered they had both been boys  ^blueted^ ^angel^ ^blueted^ ^angel^ They had Trisomy 22 which is a chromosome disorder incompatible with life. At least we had an answer and we silently said good night to our precious boys  ^Heart^ ^Heart^

I spent several months wondering whether we should have one last attempt with PGS IVF where they would screen the embryos for chromosome abnormalities before transfer, but that came with its own risks not to mention price tag!  We talked and mulled it over and over but deep down I think I just knew I had reached the end. DH felt this more strongly and said that he didn't think he could cope, helplessly watching me go through it all again and we finally made the decision to close the door and look at a different way to create our family through adoption, which was something we always said we would consider if IVF failed.

Having made the decision, I feel as though a weight has been lifted. Our lives have been on hold for so long whilst we have ridden the fertility and IVF roller coaster, it is almost refreshing to have a new path to travel.
I don't think I will ever fully come to terms with not being able to carry my own child to term and give birth, but my way of thinking has changed from the desperate need to get pregnant, to the desperate need to have a family. When I think of the future, I predominantly think of my family doing things together and not of being pregnant and giving birth like I used to.

I've accepted that it is always going to sting when someone announces their pregnancy and I am always going to get a jealous pang when I see a pregnant woman. However I am also beginning to accept that we all have something in our lives that other people long to have and I am grateful for my wonderful DH. We have a relaxed and happy marriage. We are healthy and fairly fit and really enjoy spending time together. We have a lot of close friends and family who are very supportive of us and our situation. We have a lovely home in a country village with an amazing community and our best friends recently became our neighbours. I have a great job and my DH has recently set up his own business and the future is looking very bright with that. A family would now be the icing on the cake of our life and give us a purpose.

I long to cuddle my children, play in the garden in the paddling pool on hot summer days, go for picnics in our lovely countryside, bake in the winter and snuggle on the sofa watching a Christmas film, read bedtime stories and most of all hear the words 'mummy and daddy'. I totally get that the reality of life will involve tantrums, tears, hard work, long days and probably no sleep (we have 16 nieces, nephews and godchildren who have shown us that!)  but we have been so ready for all of that for so long I actually can't wait!  :)

So having contacted many adoption agencies which were all local authorities, I came across a charity run adoption agency who are not part of a local authority but who work alongside all of the authorities in the UK. Rather than just matching children within your area like the local authorities do, they have a wider pool of children within all of the authorities all around the UK. The phone call I had with them was the most helpful and positive and they immediately sent me an extensive information pack with an initial application form.

We are still open on age to a degree, but like a lot of people we would prefer as young as possible. We were told by all of the agencies that they already have many adopters waiting for ages 0-2 but we are not in a rush and it has to be right so we are willing to wait. I have also seen from these diaries and forums that the agencies seem to tell all potential adopters the same thing in the beginning and many then go on to be matched to a young LO quite quickly.

More research since then on other people's experiences and I think I may need to stop reading the stories because the more issues I come across the more I am narrowing down our options. For example, we initially we felt the younger the better, but then we didn't factor in that we wouldn't actually know at that stage if there were any learning difficulties etc that wouldn't show until early development check ups. At the other end of the spectrum, the older the child, the more traumatised they will be from their experiences. Don't get me wrong, we don't expect to adopt a perfect child, but at the same time, we are not going into this to deal with severe mental trauma either. We are just not equipped to deal with those issues, but there are many wonderful people out there who do take those children on and give them what they need.
We simply want to give a child/children who have had a difficult start in life, a loving forever home and I really hope that doesn't come across as selfish or nieve.

So we have completed our application form and have included that we have supported a family member though adoption as well as some friends so we have some understanding of the process involved. We have also already asked our chosen family and friends if they would agree to be referees for us and they have all said absolutely yes without question which is lovely.

We now have to wait for an initial appointment for a social worker to come out to see us so that is where we are currently.

Would love to hear from anyone in a similar situation or anyone further down the process who can relate to our stage and how we are feeling with things at the moment.

Thanks for listening to my waffle! Xx

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    Offline itsonlybridge

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    Our new journey to become a family 2017
    « Reply #1 on: 10/01/17, 14:12 »
    So a few days on and we have completed and returned our application form to the VA of our choice and meanwhile also contacted a couple of others to be sure we are making the right choice.

    I have been doing quite a lot of reading including a book by a lady telling the story of her adoption process. I wish I hadn't started it as it was the most negative account ever!

    It seems to be quite the norm for many people to specify 0-2 initially and for the social services to pull a face about it. They are obviously keen to recruit adopters for children aged 4 and above and children with disabilities or learning difficulties. We are setting our parameters from the outset and although we are flexible and will consider outside of that bracket, we are not cut out or equipped to deal with some of the disabilities and issues children face and it would be unfair to pretend we are. So I am already feeling defensive before we have even begun (which I didn't plan on) in readiness for that conversation with our sw if and when it happens...

    It has been refreshing to read some of the adoption stories on here and see things from the perspective of people who are and have been through this. Everyones journey will be very different but our values and experiences that have led us to this path seem to be very similar.

    I have been on these boards for longer than I care to remember through natural fertility and then IVF and I feel as though I am working my way lower and lower through the forum list... I felt a pang earlier when I scrolled down past natural fertility, IVF, end of the Road, Moving on and then down to adoption right at the bottom... but then on a positive note, the parents section is the next one down  :)

    My mindset has shifted massively in just the last week alone and DH has said the same so that's positive as we really feel this is now the right path for us.

    Hopefully we will have an appointment with a SW soon to move along with the process.... if we get accepted that far!

    Offline Tictoc

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    « Reply #2 on: 10/01/17, 20:32 »
    Hi Bridget - yes a lot of social workers will tell you 0-2 is almost impossible but that was all we were looking for. We were turned away by a few LA's and by all VA's when we said this is what we were interested in. However, after much fighting to get someone to approve us we were matched with a 12 month old, then with a 9 month old and finally with a 11 week old (through foster to adopt).

    Would you consider foster to adopt? There is a risk it might not convert to adoption which is obviously very hard to get your head around but it really does yield benefits for the baby.

    Offline itsonlybridge

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    « Reply #3 on: 11/01/17, 12:52 »
    Hi Tictoc, thank you so much for your message, it's really good to hear that things worked out so well for you and gives me hope.
    Did you go with an LA or VA in the end?

    I'm not sure we would consider foster to adopt at this stage as the thought of going through the whole process to be matched with a little one who could then be taken away fills me with dread, particularly after the year we have already had. However like you say, it would be very beneficial to the baby as we would be their second family as opposed to potentially their 3rd, 4th or more! I think I would consider it more if we already had a little one so maybe it's an idea for the future.

    Did you have concerns with the 11 week old as to any medical issues that might show up as a result of their background? I feel terrible saying it but I do worry that as much as I would love to adopt a young baby, they could develop severe learning difficulties etc that we are not equipped to deal with and they wouldn't show until the developmental stages of their lives.

    How long did you have to wait to be matched after you were approved? Sorry for all of the questions but thank you for your advice xx

    Offline Tictoc

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    « Reply #4 on: 11/01/17, 14:45 »
    No problem - that's what the forum is for so ask away. We went with an LA in the end as VA said they were unlikely to place children so young.

    First time round we were matched about 4 months after panel. Second time we went to panel in June, were matched beginning August and he moved in mid August (faster than expected to get ahead of holidays). Last child is birth sibling of our second youngest so we were approved in case plan became adoption.

    If you do foster to adopt you assess each situation individually - some placements would have more risk than others but even if no risk of them leaving you is initially seen a birth family member could come out of the woodwork and be suitable so you definetly need to know if emotionally you could cope.

    I guess with any baby, birth or otherwise, you can never know what might develop. He appeared healthy, the medical s a looked after child have are far more detailed than a birth child would have but really I guess until they all reach school age be won't really know if any have learning difficulties. When we started this journey we wouldn't have chosen that but now they are our kids and we love them so we will just have to deal with whatever life throws at us. Unfortunately you are going to have to accept a level of uncertainty with adoption. It's seem so overwhelming when you are at this point in your journey but once the kids are home it's just part of your life.

    My sister has all birth kids and her second oldest is suffering quite badly with autism - nothing diagnosed in families from either side so who would have predicted that.

    Offline itsonlybridge

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    « Reply #5 on: 11/01/17, 18:53 »
    Your journey has given me real hope Tictoc  :) and you give some very good advice so thank you. I have taken it all oboard  :)

    You are absolutely right it is a bit overwhelming at the moment but I'm sure things will settle once we get used to what we are dealing with a bit more.

    How very true, you really have no idea how your own children will turn out so why would it be any different with adoption really.. They are the same risks really for both when you think about it.

    Well our agency have said it will be up to 10 days before sw calls to make appointment for initial visit so settling down for a wait now xx

    Offline Dawn86

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    « Reply #6 on: 12/01/17, 19:17 »
    Bridget, I'm at an earlier stage than you so nothing particularly useful to add. But I did want to reply and say I'm so sorry about your twins. Big hugs. X

    Offline itsonlybridge

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    « Reply #7 on: 13/01/17, 13:12 »
    Dawn thank you for your kind words. I have read your diary and you are certainly not a 'coward' for feeling that you are at the end of the IVF road!

    We all reach a point where we have to draw a line and everyone will reach that point at different times depending on their circumstances, and some will not need to reach that line because it will work out for them. We are all on an individual and unique journey.

    For those of us who managed to achieve a brief pregnancy, the line may possibly be drawn sooner because the emotional trauma of miscarriage certainly takes it's toll. I have been through 5 miscarriages in 13 years and I just don't feel I can go through it again. This decision comes with it's own mix of feelings from guilt to selfishness and uncertainty about the next step, but it is a step I feel I need to take for my own sanity as much as anything else. I have already become more prone to stress, agitation and being snappy in recent years.. what sort of a person or parent would I become if we continued the IVF rollercoaster on a relentless journey with no ETA. It is a draining, soul destroying process that I can now say I am now glad to see the back of, but it has taken a while for me to get to that stage. DH was there way before me.

    I now feel as though a weight has been lifted, a few friends have commented that I suddenly seem to have a 'light and airy' aura, and it feels as though a great pressure has gone. My shoulders have literally dropped and I don't have thoughts and doubts gnawing away at my frazzled brain. I'm sure there will be future challenges and worries, but they will be different and towards a more positive outcome rather than an uncertain one.

    I find these forums and my diary invaluable for offloading and getting things out of my head, it really helps me to work through a lot of worries and uncertainties, particularly when reading back through past posts, and its wonderful to have the support of each other on these boards.

    You will work through your mixed thoughts and emotions as time goes on and you will also find a renewed sense of strength before long. Sending you positive vibes and hugs xxxx








    Offline itsonlybridge

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    « Reply #8 on: 13/01/17, 14:05 »
    I've been gathering my thoughts today and jotting down some issues that are currently to do with whether an LA or VA will be better for us, and age range. I have written the pro;s and con's from my experiences so far and this is what I have concluded!

    LA

    LA have children waiting within their remit so their adopters take priority over VA adopters with being matched and so more chance of being matched with a younger child than with VA.

    VA

    VA have access to a wider pool of children as they work along side most of the LA's in the country.

    Because VA has access to children nationwide, it is more likely to be matched with a child outside of your area which I think would be beneficial. In the even that we have met our childs birth parents, the last thing we want is to then 'bump into them' in the supermarket at a later stage, or to have to avoid a certain area for that reason.

    VA are dedicated soley to adoption unlike LA who also deal with other areas of child welfare, so they are able to offer a more personal service and work 'for' the adopter to find the right match as quickly as possible.

    VA will accept adopters 6 months after IVF if they feel the adopter is ready, whereas all LA's have told us 12 months standard.

    VA do not try to put you off or refuse to take you on when you specify you would prefer a younger child but instead explain the reasons why there are not so many younger children available to adopt.



    I think I have talked myself into going with VA then!!  If anyone has any views or any pro's to add the the LA list please feel free. the more information the better.

    Today I have spoken to Adoption First who are a help centre for adopters. I discussed my thoughts and the lady I spoke to was wonderful. She took the time to give me a full explanation of several things that have made me begin to see things slightly differently.

    When foster to adopt was first mentioned to us by the VA sw, we dismissed it straight away because of the risk of the child being taken back to the birth family etc. Having spoken to this lady today, she explained that Concurrent adoption and Foster to Adopt are slightly different and that thought should be given to each if we are certain we want a younger child in the 0-3 bracket. This is what she told me.

    Concurrent adoption
    This is where a child or baby are removed from the birth parents and placed straight with an adoption family but no adoption order has yet been agreed. The aim is to always try and place the child back within the family when it is possible as adoption should be the last resort. The risk here is that a family member could come forward or the judge could decide to give the parents some time to 'sort themselves out'.  The child could therefore potentially be given back to the parents. The risk is small though because the only time concurrent adoption is considered is when the family have a history of issues and it is pretty certain that the judge will give an adoption order. Obviously it's still not a guarantee.

    Foster to adopt
    This is the same process as concurrent adoption but there is less risk as the court has already agreed an adoption order but the application is still being processed so it is yet to be finalised.
    The chances of anything happening to change the order at this stage are very slim as it is extremely rare for a judge to go back on an adoption order because by that time, all avenues will have been explored to try and keep the child within the birth family. There is obviously still a small risk.

    She explained that although a lot of people just don't want to take the risk at all, the percentage of children that are taken back after being placed in concurrent adoption or foster to adopt is tiny.

    Children being placed into Foster to adopt or concurrent, will be given to adopters straight from the hospital at birth or from the care team soon after removal from the birth parents.

    Children who are not placed in concurrent or foster to adopt familes, will be put into foster care until an adoption order is granted by the court and then they will wait for a match to an adopter which could mean they are in foster care for sometimes years before a family is found. This is why there are rarely very young children available through the main adoption route, as most babies and younger children will go straight to concurrent adopters or foster to adopt families.

    This makes so much more sense now!! Foster to Adopt is something I am going to discuss with DH tonight now I have this invaluable information.

    Feeling a lot more positive about the whole thing now which can only be a good thing.

    Offline Perkins2

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    « Reply #9 on: 13/01/17, 20:11 »
    You seem to be going about this in the right way, very levelled. I wish I'd met people that had gone via the VA route as I might have had a better understanding of it. Just to add a bit of confusion in the mix - our LA takes adopters after 6 months of IVF but our social worker said it's her own personal preference for people to wait a year.

    F2A, concurrent planning.....there's so much to get your head around isn't there!