This week’s interview is with Marcy Hanson, blogger and author of the book, No Maybe Baby. Marcy was kind enough to share her experience with foster care and adoption. Enjoy!
Q. Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Marcy, and I’m a wife, an adoptive mamma, a nurse, writer and infertility/adoption advocate. I live in Western Washington (read Twilightville, and no I haven’t seen any vampires). I love to go to the beach and hike in the mountains, and writing has been my lifeline.
Q. How long did you try to conceive and what challenges were you facing?
We tried for almost 12 years to get pregnant. Initially we didn’t know what was wrong, and all the doctors told us that we would get pregnant. They were wrong. I should own stock in EPT and ovulation kits for all that we tried. Ultimately we concluded that I had PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) and insulin resistance. My hubby’s test were all inconclusive. I always thought there was more to it than that, but could never really get a doctor to listen to me.
Finally, enough was enough and mentally and emotional I couldn’t handle the trying and disappointment any more. After lots of prayer and soul-searching, we decided that I would have a hysterectomy. When my doctor came out of surgery, she told my husband that she didn’t know how I had lived like that for so long-I had endometriosis covering my entire abdomen, one of the worst cases she had ever seen. His response was this: “She kept telling you guys, but no one would listen.” I often wonder if I had had some one who really listened to me, if I would have received the treatment I needed and could have become pregnant.
Q. You ultimately ended up building your family by adopting four children- three out of foster care and one from birth. What led you to this decision?
There were so many things that pointed us towards adoption. First and foremost, it had always been something we had wanted to do. Adoption is not a replacement or a band-aid for infertility, and shouldn’t be looked at as such. If you’re building your family through adoption only because you can’t get pregnant yourself, you’ll be in for a lot of heartache. For us, we always wanted to, so it was a natural progression.
As for adoption from foster care, we decided initially to go that route based on my work experience. I had worked in a group home for young girls and then as a children’s mental health case manager. Most of the kids I worked with had been in or were currently in foster care. And the need and want was always the same: they just wanted a stable family. For us, it was a no-brainer. These kids needed a family, we could provide that. So we did!
As for the private adoption, that was a blessing that literally just landed in our laps. We weren’t looking and had decided that a baby would likely never be a part of our life. He was a total surprise!
Q. Did you enter into foster care knowing you wanted to adopt, or did the decision come after you had been caring for the children for awhile?
Yes, we entered in knowing we would only adopt. We actually made that very clear with our social worker. After my experiences with the kids I worked with, I knew that I couldn’t love and nurture a child and send them back into the system. What we could do was help get them out. So when we were licensed, we went straight for the adoption license as well.
Q. What should my readers know about fostering?
It’s hard. It’s not a fairy tale. No matter how horrendous that child’s life has been, they will want to go back. Because it doesn’t matter what their parents have done, they are still their parents. When kids are scared, or angry, or confused they often act out in anger. They don’t know how to process what is going on in their lives, and the only person they can take that out on is you. That said-they need love. And consistency. And someone who just shows up. There will be moments when you don’t think you can go on, and you’ll see a glimmer of hope. It is hard, but it is worth it.
Q. Tell us how the adoption experience was different when you adopted a child at birth.
It was totally different. Our oldest was nearly 8 when she moved in, and the twins were 3. They had that many years of upheaval and change, and then are just expected to fit into a family. With the babe, he’s never known any different. And he has really brought our family together. It has been a uniting experience between all my kids, and has altered all of our relationships. Also, it’s given us a chance to do those “first” things we never thought we’d be able to. I’m the only mommy he’s ever known. And we got to name him. And change diapers and get up at night. And see the first tooth and hear the first babbles. It’s such an amazing experience.
Q. What should my readers know about adopting from birth?
Our story is not typical. It was relatively fearless, as I knew the biological mom would not try and take him back-she couldn’t otherwise CPS would step in, based on her prior history. But, its a totally different relationship with her also. I don’t know my older kids’ birth parents, and I know her. She texts me and I send her pictures. It’s a semi-open adoption, and you need to know what your boundaries are and what you’re comfortable with as far as open or closed when you do adopt.
Q. What surprised you most about adopting?
How many other parents are adoptive parents, and how many people I know that are adopted. It’s amazing how many people find out you adopted and then share their own story of adoption.
Q. Anything else you’d like to tell my readers?
Adoption is hard, but it’s also beautiful. These are the children of my heart, and I can’t imagine my life without them. Adoption will test your faith and your relationships. It will bend you and stretch you more than you know. And it will make you a better mamma because of it. Don’t let anyone tell you you haven’t experienced the pain of childbirth-that paper pregnancy and the struggle with infertility far meets the requirement.
Many thanks to Marcy for sharing her story with us. Please leave a comment to let her know you appreciate her sharing, and be sure to check out her blog.
Disclosure: The Amazon links in this post are affiliate links. If you purchase after clicking on my links, I receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you).