M and I are knee-deep in the baby-making game, and trying desperately to get in deeper, but the damn hurdles just keep piling up. I have had fairly intense baby fever for about a year now, and through talking and planning and charting and researching and all that jazz, we've decided we should be able to start actively trying this September, barring any further obstacles. For most couples, this is the point where they get to sit back and wait to have lots of unprotected sex. Not us. No, we're making appointments with lawyers to discuss donor agreements, the politics of birth certificate completion as related to second parent adoptions, and the extra special challenges posed by living in a red state. We can't take any steps toward the adoption itself until after the baby is born, but we have to chart the whole course now because it literally dictates how we go about getting pregnant in the first place. No point doing something now that will only complicate our lives down the road. One of my favorite parts is that everyone you talk to gives you a different "fact" about the process. There is an enormous deficit of public information about second parent adoption in our state because everyone is afraid that if the opponents find out what few rights we do have, they'll start chipping away at those. So, the best I've been able to find out - all off the record, of course - is that if you get plugged in to the "right" attorney, who knows how to get you on the "right" judge's docket on the "right" day, your adoption will "probably" be approved... but then you have to join the secret society and share the information with no one under penalty of... lord knows what.
So once we figure out how we're going to handle the adoption, that will point us in a direction for the getting pregnant part, and let me tell you, there is no more information available on that, at least not on insemination in the way we hope to do it. The whole "hush-hush" part of this is driving me nuts. I've done all I can to get ready for this, or at least I will have by September - I have a couple more doctors appointments between now and then. I've charted my cycles for the last six months, I bought a fertility monitor for extra help, I've researched my benefits through work, picked an OB, and worked on accruing paid leave. M and I are both doing a good job on our grand checklist of all things we want to accomplish personally before launching into this. We're good to go. The problem is that there are so many factors that are beyond our control, and it's so hard to plan for them when the only way to even get information is to pay an attorney to whisper the details to us.
Here's another big source of my bitterness: Let's say I get pregnant, and the conception occured in a way that should work fine with a future 2nd parent adoption. The next thing we have to do is file a bunch of papers with the court so that M can be "granted custody". LOL. You know, of the baby she's been feeding, diapering, and caring for since the day it was born? Once she is granted custody, we can arrange for a home study. What first time parents feel ready for a home study immediately after bringing a new baby home?! I'll be surprised if we're able to stay showered and dressed for the first few weeks, let alone keep up with the dishes and the dusting. Can you imagine if heterosexual parents had to go through this? That law would be overturned so fast, and in the meantime, they'd be yanking babies out right and left. OK, (that particular) vent over. Let's say we're super proactive and get the home study done and filed within the first couple of months. We still have to wait until M has had custody for a minimum of six months before the adoption case can even be heard. Keep in mind that throughout this whole time, M hasn't been able to take a single day of maternity leave, since technically, she does not have a new baby at home, and I've had to keep the baby on my non-profit's crappy health insurance, even though we consider ourselves to be married and M's health insurance kicks @ss and has way better dependent coverage. (M's insurance doesn't have domestic partnership coverage, so I'll never be able to get on it.) Once the adoption is final, M will THEN become eligible for maternity leave, but by that time, our baby will have to been in day care for months and it won't make any sense for her to take it. It's not like this everywhere. If we lived in California, any child born into our domestic partnership - no matter how it was conceived - would be OUR child from the day it was born.
I know that once this is all over, it will be worth it. Our "labor pains" will just be a little more complicated and extended than most people's, but forgotten about just as easily. I am *surrounded* by pregnant women right now, which just isn't helping me. Out of my 10 closest coworkers, two are currently pregnant, one more is actively trying, and another returned from maternity leave this week. Needless to say, we haven't talked about much but babies and pregnancy in a loooong time. None of them have given a second thought to the questions M and I have to answer or the hoops we need to jump through. I just wish we could have a little "oops", and nine months later, a baby that is OURS where both our names go on the birth certificate on day one. I wish we could take that baby home from the hospital and that would be it. I wish the only professional intervention needed to make our family was a doctor to deliver the baby, instead of also needing a lawyer, a judge, and a social worker. ::sigh::
OK, I'm hoping that getting that out of my system will free something up. Bitterness isn't an emotion I want to hold onto for long, and it certainly is not productive, which means I don't have time for it right now. M and I have a family to build, and that is going to take a significant amount of energy for a while. :-)