Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A conversation

It started out simply enough.

Jeremy was cleaning the kitchen after dinner. Brody and I were in the living room. I read out loud to Jeremy that Sarah Jessica Parker was expecting twins, via a surrogate.

We talked about it for a minute and then he said, "Yeah, we have to sort of think about what we're doing, if we ever want more kids."

And here he told me a year ago he was done. Which I remind him he said. And which he denies.

In any event, I explain, it costs $1700 to have initial testing at a reproductive immunology clinic in California, and then probably $400 a month in medications while pregnant (even with insurance, Lovenox ain't cheap) and another $500 a month in testing fees to test my blood every month pregnant to make sure my natural killer cells (the ones that kill the pregnancy) don't spike. And if they do? IVIg treatment. Also not cheap. And the fees are this much because my insurance will not pay for out-of-network treatment/testing/doctors.

Jeremy revealed that he thought that all the treatment we did before and during Brody, including a trip to Mexico for lymphocyte immunization therapy (LIT) would basically still be in effect. Nope, I said, it stops after you stop taking the meds and basically wears off.

"Well," he said, "I always sort of wondered if all that treatment wasn't what caused Brody's problems."


Still, I always knew he blamed me for Brody.

Which is what I say to him, in a completely normal tone of voice. (This entire conversation was in a normal tone of voice. Which I find odd, but there it is).

What? he said. What are you talking about? I don't blame you.

Well, I explain, if it wasn't for me having recurrent miscarriages and having three big auto-immune issues, (categories 1, 3 and 5) then we wouldn't have needed the treatment, and you blame the treatment for Brody.

I go on. If it wasn't for me having this, we would be right now planning another child.

He clearly regrets what he said.

Probably because of my stupid tears during which I explain that no other family did any of the treatments we did while pregnant with their Vacterl child, and, by the way, Brody is healthier than most Vacterl children.

He really really regrets what he said.

And we are left with an economic reality. Too much money for me to get pregnant, and too much money for us to adopt.

That's why we have a plan to be out of debt in five years, he says.

I'll be 43 in 5 years, and Brody will be almost 8, I say.

That's perfect, he says.

I roll my eyes. It's not perfect. Not by any stretch. We can't afford to adopt because of the treatments we are paying off. Not to mention the $30,000 in outstanding medical bills from after Brody was born.

I always wanted two, or three, children. Brody would be such a good big brother. I want more children. At least one more.

Jeremy reveals during this conversation that he has researched waiting children in Colorado. He shows me the webpage with all of their faces. He fancies a sibling group.

I tell him that in order for that to occur, the state requires that one of us be a stay-at-home parent.

Which we can't afford because of all of our debt.

There are no good answers.

Jeremy is still hopeful and trying to make me feel better about this....situation. He says he is not sure that he even wants another child. I call bullshit on him, because he tortured his sister, mother of one, for years to have another child so her son wouldn't be an only child. That was before he had one of his own and realized the responsibility of it all, he says.

Not to mention, he says, Brody might resent a child we adopt, or have biologically, who does not have his medical concerns.

I tell Jeremy that I think Brody might resent us if we don't give him a sibling because of his medical issues. Which is what it boils down to, right? Well, the cost of my medical issues and the cost of his medical issues.

At some point during this conversation, Jeremy, and then Brody, climb into my corner of the couch and we are huddled on top of each other. With no good answers and no good options and nowhere closer to another child than before.


Anonymous said...


I can give you lots of adoption info if you choose to pursue that. I did adoptions for many years. I can't believe CO requires a parent to stay home- never heard of that before.


Anonymous said...


I can give you lots of adoption info if you choose to pursue that. I did adoptions for many years. I can't believe CO requires a parent to stay home- never heard of that before.


Stacy and Jon said...

I have racked my brain trying to think of a solution for you. I think you are correct, unfortunately, about the stay-at-home requirement for a foster-to-adopt situation. Plus, I have been reading up again about attachment issues in older children--it is a full-time job in itself to get proper treatment for that. I'm going to call you.

SaRaH said...

I don't know CO law, but I know several adoptive families in the midwest where the parents both work outside the home. Additionally, some of the adoptions are subsidized (monthly payments to help with the placement) and adoption costs were covered. There MUST be a way to have the life you desire. Because I know it's out there seeking you.

Christine said...

Thanks ladies. Just to clarify, in order to adopt kids through the foster care system, the state requires one parent to be SAH. This does not apply to other adoptions - just the "cheap" version.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Write this book. It will be a best seller and you'll have new options.

Kristin said...


I'm sorry you are going through all of this. I wish I had some answers for you, but I don't. I also want to adopt someday, but it will definitely be a LONG time away. Seeing as though I highly doubt I will ever get married again, I don't know how many places will let you adopt, being a single parent and all, but I do know that feeling of not wanting your child to be an only child. I really hope that some answer to it all just falls in you guys lap (or lots of money, right?!) :)

Robyn said...

I don't have a child with Vacterl. And I don't have the same infertility issues that you do. But I know about wanting another child and not being able to have one, and I know about debt. I feel some, if not all, of your pain, Chris. You are an excellent mother, and you have love to give, and you just want another little one to share your love with. I understand. Completely.

Not all adoption agencies require a stay-at-home parent, particularly if you do a public adoption. I know lots of single people, as well as working couples who have been able to adopt. I wonder why that agency has that requirement? Public adoptions are also waaaay cheaper. You might research it?

One thing I think you are wrong about. I don't think that Brody will resent not having a sibling. I don't think it's a good idea, actually, to have another child just to NOT have an only. I know LOTS of happy only children who don't resent it at all. I know some people who have siblings who would really rather they did't. I know LOTS of people who really dislike and/or don't get along with their siblings.

I requested prayer about my desire to have a second child, and received this. I'm not really sure if you pray, but I'm passing it on to you to put to good use, if you wish:

We turn to You Lord in prayer for (((Chris))) and her husband. We pray Your will be done, Lord and that they may clearly be able to discern Your will and submit to it.

Lord if it is Your will we pray that they may be able to overcome their secondary infertility. We pray for their dream of a second child to be realized. Grant to them wisdom, strength and direction.

Thank You Lord for hearing our prayer.

In Your name we pray. Amen

Christine said...

Thank you Robyn. That is a wonderful prayer. And the public adoptions - with children already in the foster care system whose parents have had their parental rights terminated - are the ones that require a stay at home parent.

Luckily, the crackerjack adoption sleuther Stacy, of Stacy and Jon of the April Fools Day adoption trickery, is researching some less spendy options.

Also, I may just start writing the book so I can make gobs of cash and go on Oprah, Ellen, etc etc.

Thank you to all of you, from my heart to yours.