An Adoption Story from a Fertility Practice – Part 1
A fertility practice is an unlikely place to build a family through adoption, yes, definitely. But when I decided to write a blog in honor of National Adoption Awareness Month, it was with the idea of giving adoption a story, a personality, a face… rather than just explaining the process logistics. The story that always comes to mind when I think about adoption is a patient of RMA of Connecticut who became a friend of mine over 7 years ago.
Side note: I promise, I’ll also definitely share relevant and appropriate adoption resources. Look for those at the end of the blog!
Who Goes to a Fertility Practice to Adopt?
Well, no one, really.
But to quote Dr. Mark Leondires, the fertility doctor featured later in this story, “ART [Assisted Reproductive Technology] is medicine, science, and a little bit of magic.”
You’ve likely heard the “You can just adopt!” comment from well-meaning friends or family. But if you’re struggling to conceive, there’s no “just” about it. Most of us have our hearts set on feelings like passing on family traits, experiencing a pregnancy, seeing our partner’s nose on our newborn, and our parents snuggling their new grandbaby. There’s no “just” about finding your way from fertility treatment to adoption. It’s a process of letting go of one dream and becoming enchanted by another one.
This particular adoption story begins when a patient, Laura, came into RMA of Connecticut, completely committed to becoming a mom the old-fashioned way. You know, through IUI or IVF! Treatment cycle by treatment cycle, Laura learned to listen and trust herself and her doctor, Dr. Mark Leondires.
I’ll let Laura tell her story from here…
A Journey to Adoption – A Patient’s Perspective
From the Beginning: Fertility Treatment to Adoption
As a child of 5 years old, I knew I wanted to become a teacher… and as I got older, I knew just as strongly I wanted to be a mommy.
Motherhood was not coming easy for me, and after experiencing a few heartbreaking disappointments, a friend of a friend recommended RMA of Connecticut. My feelings when I walked into RMA of Connecticut was that I had come home, although a very different type of home. I was welcomed with open arms and hope started to grow again in my heart. The staff was amazing, and never did I feel uncomfortable or judged.
I did two or three IUI cycles… and perhaps four to five IVF cycles. Big numbers, right? I was determined to do every single thing I could to become a mom. I did everything Dr. L suggested. I especially appreciated his patience when I used humor to get through hard conversations and disappointing results. Once, he asked about how my injection went and as I was sitting on the examination table, I answered, “I don’t know why it went wrong, but it was like a scene from CSI.” He chuckled, and I knew I had caught him off guard. There were many times where a joke, good or bad, was exchanged, and we shared a laugh.
When I think of adjectives to describe Dr. L, two come to mind immediately —compassionate and direct. Two traits I really appreciated as I knew he would always tell me the truth. I knew he understood my physical and emotional pain. He didn’t even need to tell me; I just knew. I also know he did everything possible to help me conceive, and I did conceive a few times. However, those little souls couldn’t keep growing for me.
I still tear up thinking about the last time I was pregnant. Dr. L called me personally. I was driving and heard my cell ringing and saw the familiar number. I pulled over to listen to the voicemail. Dr. L called me personally to say that I was pregnant and, in the background, I heard people cheering for me. Who does that? RMA of Connecticut does. Who expects that from a fertility practice? Dr. L was doing his very best to be the savior of my Mommy Dream. My relationship with Dr. L was special to me. He took his time with me, and I know he was there, fighting along with me.
Dr. L sensed my sadness deepening and recommended a support group. I met with a very helpful fertility counselor, who suggested Ladies Night In led by Lisa Rosenthal and another fantastic lady, Carrie Van Ness. I did Fertile Yoga every chance I could get with Lisa, who became another wonderful support for me inside and outside the RMA of Connecticut office. I also met with an RMA of Connecticut nutritionist and acupuncturist. Whatever there was to try, I tried it!
The Talk that Ended Fertility Treatment and Started Making Me a Mommy Through Adoption
When my last cycle ended up in a miscarriage, Dr. L had THE TALK with me.
He knew that my husband and I considered adoption an option, and Dr. L. was honest about which road to take next to make sure that we had a baby and became parents. He asked questions: did we have the finances to try another cycle, would we then be able to pursue adoption, should we accept that we gave it our all and now use the financial resources we had left to begin the adoption process? He went a step farther and gave me the name of an agency near me.
I admit that I was devastated leaving his office, but what more could I have done? Did I wish I was rich and could keep on trying ‘til my body got it right? Yes, but I knew I had to be realistic. And realistically, there’s a part of me that is still heartbroken. I love my daughter with all my heart, but I still feel broken. I was not relieved the cycles were over. I was a fighter and wanted to stay in the ring. My last pregnancy ended in August. By September I started researching agencies.
Then the thought finally came to me, “it’s happening… I’m becoming a mommy.”
Adoption, Full Steam Ahead!
We visited three adoption agencies. We chose an agency by December (less than 4 months after THE TALK) and started attending their mandated workshops. We understood this process could take a year or more, so we were prepared to wait. We had to write essays about ourselves, start an album about our life for birth parents to choose, and pay fees. The paperwork seemed endless.
At the end of January, we attended another workshop and were unaware we were being observed by one of the social workers. We were among many couples who attended that workshop, but I was the one to receive an unexpected call the following day.
Long story short… we were presented with a situation about a baby soon to arrive and were we interested?
YES!!!! A million times yes! What takes most people months or years, we were lucky enough to have happen in 3 short weeks!
Less than 2 months later, I was grading spelling tests and got a call around 9 pm. “Hi Laura! You have a beautiful baby girl!” We held Simone, our daughter, for the first time on Valentine’s Day.
I knew that adoption required a lot of money, time, and patience. But for us, unlike fertility treatment, it ended much more quickly than we anticipated or expected and with the best result of all—our daughter in our arms and home.
I wish I had been more of a traditional success story for RMA of Connecticut, that my fertility quest to carry a biological child had ended differently, but I know I am a success in a different way. While I wish I could have tried more cycles, I know my daughter, this specific, beautiful being, was meant to be in my life.
I am her mommy… as much as if I had been pregnant, carried her, and given birth to her.
Moving from Fertility Treatment to Adoption
Our families don’t always come about in the way we first envisioned. Sometimes we can’t even imagine the twists and turns our journey will take us on. Frequently, it’s letting go of the original vision that we had that puts us onto our right path to become parents.
And sometimes, it’s actually our fertility doctor who holds our hand on that path, past fertility treatment, as in this story, to a happy and successful adoption story.
Next, it’s Dr. Mark Laundries’ turn. He shares his perspective on this exact story with Laura, and you’ll see a well-rounded picture of how truly special this family-building journey was.
An Adoption Story From a Fertility Practice – Part 2:
Additionally, we would like to share a few upcoming events and adoption-related legislation.
Adoption in the News
In NY state, mainly due to Assembly member Pam Hunter, a law has been signed by Governor Cuomo so that adoptees will be able to obtain their original birth certificates when they turn 18, finding out the names of their birth parents. “There are over 123,000 children and youth waiting to be adopted who are at risk of aging out of foster care without permanent family connections. (AFCARS report)” Read more here.
Every Child Deserves a Family Act. There are 10 states that have adopted discriminatory bills, prohibiting LGBTQ+ people from fostering and or adopting children, while only 8 states have passed bills prohibiting discrimination.
“The Every Child Deserves a Family Act (ECDF) would prohibit federally-funded child welfare service providers from discriminating against children, families, and individuals because of their religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and marital status. It also ensures that children and youth in foster care receive the identity-affirming, culturally competent care they deserve.”
If you feel like adoption might be in your future, here are some other helpful resources to consider:
A couple of adoption support blogs we like –
Relevant and Trustworthy Adoption-Focused Websites –
Want to learn more about what’s it like to work with an adoption agency?
About Lisa Rosenthal
Lisa has over thirty years of experience in the fertility field. After her personal infertility journey, she felt dissatisfied with the lack of comprehensive services available to support her. She was determined to help others undergoing fertility treatment. Lisa has been with RMACT for eleven years and serves as Patient Advocate and the Strategic Content Lead.
Lisa is the teacher and founder of Fertile Yoga, a program designed to support men and women on their quest for their families through gentle movement and meditation.
Lisa’s true passion is supporting patients getting into treatment, being able to stay in treatment and staying whole and complete throughout the process. Lisa is also a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist, which is helpful in her work with fertility patients.
Her experience also includes working with RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association and The American Fertility Association (now Path2Parenthood), where she was Educational Coordinator, Conference Director and Assistant Executive Director.