Sunday, August 3, 2014

Happy Anniversary

I'm a few days late, but I would like to take the time to announce that as of August 1 this blog is now one year old. At this time last year I made the decision to start blogging about my experience with infertility. As a man I knew I would be a rarity in the infertility community. Many men stay silent on the topic of male infertility. I did not want to be one of those men. I wanted to raise awareness about male infertility and the fact that there are many of us who have a strong desire to be parents the same way that women do. I set out to prove that there are many men who do want to be good husbands and fathers. I wanted to prove that there are men out there that are not afraid to show feelings when it comes to this issue. I wanted to show my emotions in a very raw and real way. It was one of those rare men is not afraid to cry about my struggles as an infertile person. In doing this I knew I would be violating the male  code of being strong and silent and not showing emotion. I had hoped that by starting a blog of this nature I could compel other men who were infertile as myself to come out of the shadows and not be afraid to share their feelings. 

After one year I have decided to reflect upon whether or not I have fulfilled the original mission of this blog. Perhaps I have in some ways, and an in other ways maybe I have not.  I hope that as I continue to write this blog, I will be able to continue to raise awareness about male infertility. 

At this time one year ago, I was taking 100 mg of Clomid a day. By this time the emotional side effects of the Clomid had taken their toll. Some have likened it to a man acting like a woman who was going through PMS. I found myself getting emotional at things that otherwise would not have affected me. Neither my wife or me had permanent employment which only further strained our marriage and made our future look all the more bleak. I felt worthless being childless and jobless. I had no idea how we were ever going to be able to build a family. Nonetheless, I still had hope that something was going to work out.  Given the situation with my sperm count, which was nonexistent, we immediately decided to embark upon what I like to call the nuclear option of fertility treatments: IVF. We had no idea how we were going to do this. I can remember thinking to myself that I would never want to be an adoptive parent. I remember crying at the possibility  that I would never see my wife pregnant.  I remember going so far as to say that I would carry the child myself if I could! I wanted to be a biological father in the worst way. I remember the arguments we would have over various family building options. I remember one particularly bad argument where I wanted to pursue a donor embryo. With the donor embryo, you're adopting but get to experience all of the symptoms of a regular pregnancy complete with a baby bump. Upon hearing that this was an option I can remember crying tears of happiness.  Thought to myself how wonderful it will be if we can do adopt and still get to have a pregnancy. I was looking forward to being able to take maternity pictures with my wife and show them off on Facebook along with ultrasound photos. Eventually I capitulated and decided to forgo the possibility of a donor embryo. Things have gotten so bad at one point I had people telling me that I was lazy and did not want to work. I had people that indirectly suggested I was not cut out to be a parent. I was crushed!  Things actually got so bad that my wife and me separated for two days. I can only say that I was under the influence of Clomid at the time. 

Eventually things got a little better. I finally got a job and after much prayer and thought we decided it would be better if we adopted. Upon deciding to adopt I thought that I would be mourning the death of a biological child I will never have. Thankfully, I was not sad. We had such a peace about adopting that there was never any sorrow about having to forgo fertility treatments.

The months after that were spent deciding on what we should do with respect to adoption. We had a lot of work to do as far as research. Are we to adopt internationally, domestically, or adopt through foster care. Those  were some pretty rough months but by January 2014 we had finally settled on an agency and commenced the homestudy a couple months after that. 

I am grateful to God that a year later things are 110% better than they were a year ago. Yes we are still childless, but I've got steady employment, we have an adoption agency and the homestudy is done. I am off Clomid and in a great place emotionally and spiritually. We have applied for adoption grants. We are at a point now where we know there's not much else we can do but wait. I am amazed at the progress that we've made in just one year. I can only give the glory to God for this amazing progress. 

One of the reasons I haven't posted here in a while is because there hasn't been that much happening.  The only news that I have to share other than the fact that our homestudy was approved is that I have applied for grants to fund our adoption. We are  waiting to hear back about these grants and whether or not we will receive any money. If we can't qualify for any grants, then interest-free loans will be the next thing we try to seek. As a last resort I will apply for an unsecured loan through my credit union. I hope I do not to have to apply for any more loans that carry interest. I am trying to minimize financial strain as much as possible as we build our family.

I want to thank all of you that have visited and continue to read my blog. Your loyalty means a great deal to me. Please continue to spread the word about this blog. And please do not hesitate to reach out to me with any questions or comments.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

APPROVED!!!

As of right now, we have been officially approved to adopt!

If you had asked me a year ago if this was to be the case, I would have said you were crazy. I was less than six months into my infertility diagnosis as was trying to see if drugs would help me produce sperm. I had my heart set on a biological child. In roughly one year, we have made so much progress. I am in a better place, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.  I have a peace about childlessness right now and know it is in God's timing. The waiting is not bothering me at this time. I have done all I can for now. The only thing left at this point is to seek more funding sources for phase two. I hope to secure some interest free loans and/or grants from non-profits organizations.

News of you approval makes this just about the best Father's Day weekend I ever had. Last year, Father's Day was bittersweet for me since it was my first as an infertile person and my wife was not with me. Having the news of our approval at this time makes the weekend more bearable and enjoyable. I will always remember that I was officially approved for fatherhood on Father's Day weekend. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Friday, May 30, 2014

Male Infertility: Guys Deny It; Wives Carry the Burden May 29, 2014

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/male-infertility-guys-deny-wives-carry-burden/story?id=23910816

The link about is to a great story on male infertility. I am an exception to the title. In my case, I did not deny my condition and I even carried most of the burden.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Adoption and the Campaign for Parenthood

The path to parenthood continues.  We have had our first homestudy visit. The visit consisted of a joint interview and walk through our home. We did well in the interview and the only thing we need to do to prepare for the second interview is purchase a car seat (which did Saturday) and make sure that our water is no hotter than 120 degrees (the social worker will bring a thermometer and test this on her next visit). The second visit will also include separate interviews, one with my wife and one with me. I cannot be within a earshot of the interview which means that I will have to take a walk around the block and have my wife call me when she is done.

The home inspection just checked to make sure we had first aid supplies, a fire extinguisher,  CO and smoke detector, and that hazardous materials, medicine, and sharp objects are stored properly (either elevated or locked up). The interview was basically a repeat of questions asked on our application. Among other things we  were asked about our parenting style, how we as a couple resolve arguments, and they even asked questions about the open adoption book we are supposed to be reading.

After the visit concluded, I remarked about how I felt like I had just taken part in a presidential debate. It was somewhat exhausting and the stakes were high. The more I got to thinking, the more my political side began to rear its head. If that sounds strange, let me explain.

In my former life, I ate slept and breathed politics. I have both a BA and MA in political science, I was a delegate to the state party convention, I served on the platform committee of the state party, I was a caucus chair in the local party, etc. I have volunteered on many campaigns, I have been employed by a State Senator, County Supervisor, and done legislative work for a private organization.

Please humor me!

Why do I tell you all this? Because I have come to the conclusion that the adoption process is like a presidential campaign. First, you need seed money to get it off the ground. next you need to get together your campaign team which in the case of adoption, is your agency and/or attorney, the person who will be designing your profile, and maybe your therapist. In all of this, you need to be finding sources of money to fund your campaign.  If you can rake in big bucks, you can really ramp up your outreach to birthmoms with a website and other extra to publicize your desire fora child. The homevisits are the debates, where you must "defend" your "record" and "taut" your "experience". getting approved for the adoption after the homesutdy is like winning the primary and formally clinching the nomination of your party. I can picture myself saying something like "Mr. Chairman, fellow delegates, and my fellow Americans, with a deep sense of gratitude and appreciation for awesome responsibility of the office, I enthusiastically accept your nomination for ...." (I know that sounds dumb and cheesy!!)  You need to have a good design team and run a slick campaign throughout the adoption process. Your message needs to be clear and resonate with the "voters" you are trying to reach (young birthmoms). After you are approved to adopt, you are in the general election campaign. You cannot afford slip ups as you march toward victory in November. Winning the general election involves being matched with a birthmom and making sure that the match does not fall through. between that and finalization, you are parent-elect ( like president-elect). Finalization is inauguration day. You take the oath of office and officially get sworn in.

My campaign slogans will be:

"Ready to parent on day one."

"Experience fertility can't buy."

I was thinking about a campaign commercial that sums up my feeling on marching toward parenthood. I found one which I have posted here. It has parallels to my own life leading up to this adoption campaign. When I first got married, we were in debt from the wedding and my reckless spending as a single guy. Also, my wife had just been diagnosed with epilepsy. We had to work toward getting both epilepsy and spending under control. With our experience, we can handle parenthood. We are a couple whose time has come.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Further Progress

At long last our adoption profile is done. I would show it here, but then Infertile Male's identity would be shown--and we can't have that!! Now, we must have it printed. We will probably do about 55 copies to start.  These profiles will be shown to birthmothers. If a birthmom likes us, she will select us.

However, we cannot go "live" until our homestudy is done. After our homestudy is completed, then they will begin showing us to birthmoms. As far as our progress on the homestudy, we have all our documentation in except for my wife's pay stub and a letter from her neurologist discussing her epilepsy and its impact on her ability to parent. The social worker is currently looking over our paper work and will schedule our interviews and home inspection soon.

I recently bought a fire extinguisher, carbon monoxide detectors, and a small first aid kit.  During the home inspection, they will look for these things. We must begin to think like parents. We recently took all our household cleaners and other dangerous substances and moved them to a higher shelf in our hall closet. When the inspection takes place, there are a few items we will move or hide. We need to get in the mind set of child proofing our home.