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This past Tuesday, I was reading the Midday Open Thread when I came across this gem:

These people are sick:

Conservative Christians have long joined hands to oppose abortion, often following the lead of the Roman Catholic Church. But evangelicals are leading the charge in adopting embryos, and encouraging people who have stockpiles of frozen embryos to make them available for adoption.

They could, of course, adopt actual children who need actual families and actual homes. If they actually cared about children. But it's so much easier to make an empty, symbolic point about the sacredness of test tubes, isn't it?

And I thought to myself, “Well, huh: Somebody at Daily Kos just called me sick.”

See, my wife and I actually have an eight-month-old daughter who came to us via "embryo adoption,” which from the other side is called “embryo donation” — a process by which a frozen embryo created by Couple A (or Couple A plus Egg Donor B and/or Sperm Donor C) is donated to Couple D or Single Mom E. From there, the embryo is implanted in the “adoptive” mom-to-be’s uterus. With luck, she then becomes pregnant and carries the embryo/fetus/baby to term, just like normal.

My wife and I also have an almost four-year-old son who came to us via traditional adoption when he was three days old. We adopted our son after trying for several years to have biological children — a process fraught with great sadness and, since we needed the help of reproductive medicine, great expense. When that route failed and we decided to adopt, we used all of what little savings we had left (and then some) to do so — but happily, 'cause our son is a wonderful, wonderful kid.

When he was two years old, our little man told us he wanted a brother or sister. The old-fashioned, biological route wasn't open to us. The traditional adoption route was also closed, because we just didn't have a spare $30,000 sitting around. (Did you know adoptions cost that much? They do. And often more.) After much research, we learned about a very under-the-radar embryo donation program. We applied and were accepted, and after a short time my wife went in to the clinic, where a team thawed a donated embryo, checked its health, and implanted it in my wife’s lady parts. Nine months later, she birthed our own little bundle of test-tube-baby joy, and our son had the little sibling he’d asked for.

“Adopting” an embryo had three great benefits for us:

1. My wife got to carry a child, which is something she'd been truly mourning not being able to do. (Did you know infertile women, even those who have been able to adopt, often have overwhelming feelings of loss at not having been able to carry a child? They do. That’s why many go through years of infertility treatments, just to have a shot at what most people take for granted as a basic human right.)

2. The cost of being impregnated with a donated embryo was between one sixth and one tenth the cost of a traditional adoption. I know it’s terrible to introduce the concept of “cost” when talking about your children, but when you’re a couple that’s not able to reproduce in the traditional way, for whatever reason, it’s a stark reality. Nobody is out there just giving kids away. Getting them is a long, difficult slog that drains your bank account and leeches away your morale bit by bit as the months drag by — because (did you know?) adoptions sometimes take years to arrange. We know one couple that waited four years before they were matched with a child. Imagine that.

3. The medical costs of pregnancy and childbirth were covered by our insurance, and, just as important, my wife was able to take paid disability leave after the baby was born — something she had not been able to do after our son came to us via traditional adoption. In order to spend time with him, she’d had to take all her vacation time, then go right back to work or lose pay. See, when employers don’t offer true maternity leave, most new moms can still arrange some time off via disability leave — to recover, physically, from the “disability” of pregnancy and childbirth and (incidentally, unspoken but vital) to care for and bond with her new baby. However, this option isn't available to adoptive moms. When an un-pregnant woman announces one day that she now has a child via adoption, her options are more limited — in our case, to taking unpaid FMLA leave, which was a nice Catch 22 considering that we’d just drained our bank account and gone into debt to pay for our son’s adoption. My wife could still technically take time off . . . but then we wouldn’t be able to pay our mortgage. Ah, capitalism. In our second go at parenthood, embryo adoption and the resultant pregnancy and childbirth allowed my wife to take six weeks of paid disability leave (using the insurance she’d been paying into for years), then as much unpaid FMLA leave as we could afford.

I'll add that the embryo we received had been donated by an anonymous couple who had also been through a long, difficult, and similarly expensive quest to have children. Once they did, they made the frozen embryos that were left over from the process available to people who were in the same situation they'd been in. It was a wonderful thing for them to do — and they had to pay for it, incidentally: The clinic charged them an annual fee to keep the embryos in their cryo state, until they were "adopted." Not a day goes by that I don't send a little karmic thanks out to those folks, because I have a beautiful daughter due to their generosity.

Summation: While I'm fully on board with lambasting religious wingnuts for their wingnuttery, especially when they're wingnuts of the "talk the talk without walking the walk" variety, good and otherwise thoughtful and intelligent liberals/progressives really need to consider the full scope of possible situations that led a couple to choose embryo “adoption” before using the word "sick" to describe them — to describe me. People in our situation hear the phrase "Why don't you just adopt?" an awful lot, and it's not only rude (walk a mile in my shoes, man) but doesn't take into account how difficult adoption actually is, psychologically, financially, and in terms of how little support adoptive families get from a system set up around traditional reproduction. Just be a little sensitive, OK? We weren’t able to simply have sex and get pregnant, but we’re still just like you. The fact that we want to have children, just like you, doesn’t make us “sick,” it makes us “human” — even if we’ve traded dictionary-definition “reproduction” of ourselves and our DNA for something else: the chance to love a child and bring it up in the world, teaching it what’s right and wrong and hoping that our liberal, tree-hugger, live-and-let-live, holding-these-truths-to-be-self-evident views rub off. Which, in a way, is also the purpose of this diary, ‘cause for people who are supposedly in favor of broadening the tent and embracing the under-represented, progressives can sometimes be just as insensitive as those on the other side of the aisle.

I’ll leave you with a story that nicely drives home my overall point, links the struggles of the infertile with one of the major rights issues of our times, and gives you yet another reason to loathe Mitt Romney . . .

In 2004, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court had cleared the way for gay and lesbian couples to obtain marriage licenses in the state, but then-Governor Romney, then as now, had endorsed a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. Plaintiffs to the supreme court case repeatedly asked for a meeting with Romney to discuss the issue, then resorted to showing up at his offices and staging a press conference, a tactic that finally got them a sit-down. Plaintiff and lesbian mom Julie Goodridge was one of the participants, and her story had been widely covered in the national media — particularly the part where her former partner had been denied hospital visitation privileges following the birth of their daughter.

Here’s what unfolded toward the end of the meeting:

“I looked him in the eye as we were leaving,” recalls Goodridge. “And I said, ‘Governor Romney, tell me — what would you suggest I say to my 8 year-old daughter about why her mommy and her ma can’t get married because you, the governor of her state, are going to block our marriage?’”

His response, according to Goodridge: “I don’t really care what you tell your adopted daughter. Why don’t you just tell her the same thing you’ve been telling her the last eight years.”

“Your adopted daughter,” said Romney to Goodridge, who was in fact — and famously so — her daughter’s biological mom. The estimable blog Stirrup Queens had much to say on this point:
The adjective was wholly unnecessary, and in its glaring extraneousness, it feels inserted as a statement. . . . Goodridge [who was reduced to tears by the exchange] was upset that the details of her daughter’s life were completely rewritten by an adjective, but — to me — these recorded moments speak to something so much greater: the way the general public views assisted family building.

We are a generation that more than any other generation is charting a new path through assisted family building, and we’re doing this with only a flimsy framework of support and research in place. . . . [W]e do this because it is the way we reach parenthood if we want to reach parenthood; the traditional doors to parenthood closed to us either due to physical limitations or circumstance.  I am speaking about myself, and I am speaking about you.  I am speaking about the millions upon millions of people around the world who cannot build their family without assistance . . .

This is about humanity; about asking for a tiny corner of understanding in the general world where family building comes easy. . . . Overcoming the limits of biology is hard enough; we don’t need to add insensitivity to the burden.

Myself, my wife, our adopted son, and our adopted former-test-tube-embryo baby daughter all thank you for your attention. Now go get out the vote.

1:33 PM PT: First, thanks to everyone for reading, commenting, and recommending. Some follow-ups based on the comments:

1. Regarding those people who noted that the right’s interest in pushing embryo adoption is part of their overall attempt to limit reproductive rights, I mostly agree. I’m completely opposed to that agenda. I was just pointing out that not all people who do embryo adoptions are sick right-wing nutjobs.

2. I don’t pretend to understand the right-wing mind (groupmind?), but I’m fairly sure few if any people are adopting embryos with the intention of keeping the little proto-tykes in their test tubes, giving them a place at the daily dinner table, and setting a little non-birth-day cake out in front of them once a year. Embryo adoption is, by definition, what my wife and I did: receive a donated embryo with the intention of becoming pregnant, bringing the fetus/child to term, then raising it, worrying about it, getting mad at its poor choice of friends and tattoos, then sending it to college and hoping everything works out.

3. I’m not sure whether to be amused or depressed by the commenters who seem to assume that my children are white, or that my wife and I looked for white babies so they’d “look like us.” Y’see, I’m black. Actually, no, that’s not true, BUT IT COULD BE. What, do only white people write diaries on Daily Kos? Un-huh. This is a multiracial site. Getting back to the storyline (and absolute truth), I actually am a lily-white Irish-American, but my kids are not. Our son is African-American, and our daughter is Persian-American. When my wife and I began arranging our embryo adoption, we specifically asked the clinic not to match us with a lily-white embryo, because we didn’t want to people to look at our family and single out our son as “the adopted one.” That seemed unnecessarily marginalizing. One commenter above pointed out that most embryos available for donation/adoption are probably white because the pool of Americans seeking help with fertility is largely white, and I think that’s probably true, or largely true. The clinic we used has hundreds of embryos available for donation/adoption, but only a small percentage are non-lily-white.

Thanks again for the comments, and the discussion. And congrats to all those adoptive parents who commented — and of course to the non-adoptive parents, ‘cause I’m not about to treat you bio-parents any differently than I treat my own people. Oh and hell, you non-parents get some congrats too. C’mon, gimme a hug.

2:58 PM PT: Another quick update: I may be wrong here (and please, if I am, can someone offer some evidence? Links?), but some of the comments betray what I think is a major misperception.

The original open thread said "evangelicals are leading the charge in adopting embryos, and encouraging people who have stockpiles of frozen embryos to make them available for adoption." A number of people seem to believe that those evangelicals are just adopting the embryo as is, with no intention of growing it into a child. That, I'm pretty sure, is false. What they're doing is encouraging people not to destroy unwanted embryos, but instead to make them available to people who want to use them to become pregnant. And hey, bully for them. I think that's great, and it's worked out wonderfully for me and my wife.

I certainly don't buy into the whole "embryos are people too" (personhood) thing, which those evangelicals probably do, but in general (removing it from the larger anti-choice agenda) you could think of this like "creation care": If evangelicals want to encourage (not mandate) people to donate their stockpiles of frozen embryos (or, re creation care, be more responsible for the environment), what's wrong with that? Some commenters will say making embryos available means people won't adopt kids who are already born, but that's like saying men won't date brunettes if there are more blondes around. Of course they will. It's a personal choice you make, based on your abilities and needs.

Originally posted to Matt in Brooklyn on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 05:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Congratulations on your new arrival (19+ / 0-)

    I'm glad it worked out for you and your wife!

    I'm hoping whoever wrote that meant the church officials were "sick" and not the parents. It's not an either-or anyway; some can be adopted while others are used in stem cell research or what have you.

  •  Thanks for telling your story. (29+ / 0-)

    I think we sometimes forget that if we are "pro-choice" there are both conventional and unconventional choices which can be made!

    :)

  •  Congratulations (11+ / 0-)

    on your new little family. I have two daughters, older teens now, but once sought help from fertility doctors after 'just having sex to get pregnant' didn't work. I'm happy for you.

  •  congrats! I didn't ready the original diary (13+ / 0-)

    but i think we do have to be wary of the motivations of the religious right. They've proven time and again that they will exploit even good things like embryo adoption to put an absolute end to any other choice for women and families.

    there's nothing wrong with adoption or even embryo donation/adoption.

    but the right has a demonstrated history of trying to advance one thing that is good only to diminish the thing that is the target of their derision.

    Look at what's happened with public education. Who doesn't think parents should be able to choose what's best for their child's education? To send their kids to the best schools regardless of where they are and to have the absolute right and final say in their own child's education?

    Who would oppose that?

    Nobody.

    But the real agenda is to dismantle the public school system. But you can't go out and say, "We hate public schools" so you have to approach obliquely and find ways to diminish and ultimately defund the public schools.

    The right has done the same with government in general. They run up deficits then come back to claim they need to reduce entitlements because we cannot afford hem. Why? Because until recently, no sane person would suggest killing medicare, medicaid, social security, food programs, etc. So they have to find ways to kill these programs obliquely.

    So while, as progressives and pro-choice (and IMO pro-life) activists, we react mostly to the WHO and not the WHAT. because it matters. These people don't give a hoot about embryo adoption other than the ripple effect it would have on the availability of other family planning options.

    You know this and so do most other aware people. And that's why, I'd imagine, the mention of it got the reaction it did.

    Anyway. congrats again on your lovely family. I'm childless by choice but it's so great to hear that you've got two lovely little ones and that your wife was able to physically give birth. It's heartwarming.

    For the record, I am not a member of Courtesy Kos. Just so you know. Don't be stupid. It's election season. My patience is short.

    by mdmslle on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 06:38:28 AM PDT

  •  A lot of ignorance out there. (7+ / 0-)

    Very glad to hear your happy ending!



    Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

    by Wee Mama on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 07:54:36 AM PDT

  •  Snow White Babies (0+ / 0-)

    ...because goodness knows, the most important thing in life is making sure white babies are adopted.

    America, we can do better than this...

    by Randomfactor on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 08:07:30 AM PDT

  •  As an apotive parent myself (29+ / 0-)

    I think that the purpose behind the original diary was not to denigrate the concept of embryo adoption the way you and your wife did it, but the concept of "adopting" these embryos with no intention of ever making a baby.

    I would also like to point out that there are tens of thousands of children waiting to be adopted by anyone who is not insisting on an infant.  I would encourage anyone contemplating adoption to consider these children.  You will find that it less expensive that adopting an infant, as these children are harder to place and so not so expensive to adopt.

    (They're still expensive to raise.  My daughter wants a car, my son a new laptop...)

  •  I have thought about this a lot. (15+ / 0-)

    A female in my 40s who never had children, and didn't really want them, it's nevertheless easy for me to sympathize with your story. And the garbage you've taken, "Why didn't you just adopt again?" breaks my heart.

    Some people say such stupid, hurtful things "with the best of intentions," you want to smack them.

    Forgive me for saying something not really on the topic of your diary, but tangential to it. I'm voicing a pet peeve of mine, related to reproduction.

    There are people who want children, perhaps such as your wife and yourself, who turn out to be great parents. Then there are many other people, unfortunately, who want children, and then can't raise them well. It's an endemic disease in our culture. I am not really talking about poor single mothers who lack the economic means to bring up a child--although that, too. I am talking more about the rich yuppies I came across when I used to clean houses for a living. They'd go to pains to conceive, and then proceed to park their child in the garage like a fancy car. You can't fool a child born into these circumstances. Unconsciously at least, he or she knows he or she was unwanted. Just because he doesn't grow up to be brutal and commit violent crimes, doesn't mean he won't attain prominence as a sociopathic politician who bleeds the economy dry.

    We desperately need a family-friendly culture. And we need a full range of non-politicized, objective information available, from which people can make good, responsible choices about children and parenting.

    Thanks for the diary.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 08:24:45 AM PDT

  •  One very sad / scary benefit of adopting an (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Happy Days, glorificus, joynow

    embryo over a child is the chance of the biological parents wanting him/her back. After all the struggles to adopt a child, imagine then having to fight to keep your child. That's one reason over-seas adoptions have become so popular.

    I suppose it's possible someone might want their donated embryo back, but that seems remote AND unfeasible in court.

    •  better than it used to be (3+ / 0-)

      To avoid these situations, termination of the birth parents' rights is now normally finalized shortly after birth.  There are still a few cases of fights involving birth fathers disappearing and reappearing, but the adopting couple knows the potential legal issues when they adopt.   Courts do not generally look favorably upon birth fathers who appear out of nowhere.

      You have the power to change America. Yes We Can. Yes We Did. Yes We Will.

      by CA Pol Junkie on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 08:50:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Lots of needless fear on this topic (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ramara

      There are never any guarantees in life, and that is the most important thing to remember when opening your heart and home to a child you didn't make from scratch. Even bio kids aren't guaranteed to stay with you -- some fetuses die in utero for no reason whatsoever, some babies are born too soon, some full-term babies don't live a week. When you've traveled down the long winding roads of infertility, you learn to lighten your grip on "forever" or you end up going a little bit crazy.

      If a birth parent changes their mind and decides to parent, then yes -- it's incredibly sad for the adoptive family, but how marvelous for the child to be raised by genetic parents who really want to parent! And, as the previous poster noted, the laws have decreased the time that an adoptive family is in limbo, while still providing birth parents the time to make a well-considered decision.

      Adoption should never be about making the adoptive parents whole -- it's about giving the child a home where they are wanted and loved. One of the great benefits of domestic open adoptions is that children have double the number of people to love them --  genetic parents who give the child they created a sense of personal history that the child would lose in a closed adoption (as is the case in most international adoptions), and adoptive parents who are in the right space (one hopes) to give them the love and stability they need.

      Whatever happens in the end, the focus should always be on what's best for the child. And, as with many things, the more you learn, the less scary it becomes.

  •  Congratulations on your two lucky - very wanted - (6+ / 0-)

    children!

    My impression of the "embryo adoption" scheme was not that the people wanted to give the embryos life, but that they wanted to stake claims to them "as is" and leave them there. I think "sick" works for that attitude. A bit like the symbolic baptism of Anne Frank, say.

    We all understand that freedom isn't free. What Romney and Ryan don't understand is that neither is opportunity. We have to invest in it.
    Julian Castro, DNC 4 Sept 2012

    by pixxer on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 08:27:27 AM PDT

  •  I'm an adoptive parent too. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tardis10, cosette, ladybug53

    There are many paths to becoming a parent.  Embryo adoption is just as legitimate as other ways.  But unfortunately, I do think the religious right tends to have a corner on the embryo adoption world.

    I'm so glad it worked out for you.  My biggest concerns with it is that some less ethical parents won't disclose the circumstances to their embryo adopted child, which will lead to terrible loss and betrayal when/if  they find out that they are actually adopted.

    It is an attractive option to many families because they can control the prenatal environment and because the birth certificate shows them as the original parents.

    Complicated, isn't it?!

    Corporations are driven by the bottom line, not by concerns for health, safety or the environment. This is why we need government regulations.

    by the dogs sockpuppet on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 08:29:49 AM PDT

  •  I've walked that mile too... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pale cold, ladybug53, Oh Mary Oh, joynow

    I know your pain. Congrats to you and your wife for going far beyond what most people would do to create your family and raise your children. People like you are more 'pro-life' in deeds than most Christian conservatives can claim.

    Even those who make a 'daring decision' like Mrs. Palin and Mrs. Tebow. We've made that decision FOUR times (paying off only ONCE), and my wife has never wound up in a Super Bowl ad.

    Beyond "Why don't you adopt?" I also know that you've likely heard "The test was uncertain," and "These embryos may not be feasible," and "I recommend reduction or termination," which is not a doctor bloodthirsty for abortions, but a doctor doing her job.

    This is an unbelievably grey area of human biology, which is exactly WHY we cannot hamstring the job of doctors with laws based on someone else's queasiness, religious or not, with legitimate medical procedures, ranging from birth control through IVF and ICSI all the way to abortion, yes, even for women who 'just weren't careful'.

    We cannot demand she have a 'reason' we agree with. That's why it's called a right.

    They want to adopt embryos not because they want to bring them to term, but because they are queasy about discarding barely-viable embryos. That's sick, but not in a bloodthirsty way, just in a hopelessly naive one.

    I believe I've totally smashed my soapbox.

  •  I have one daughter who was (5+ / 0-)

    adopted and another who was "half-adopted" via sperm donation.  All the ways to make a family make equal sense to me and I am glad you were able to do this! I agree with you that we sometimes get on our high horse over here without really understanding.  Thank you for helping everyone understand a little more about the financial and emotional difficulties of infertility.  My daughters are both 20 now (they came 4.5 months apart!) but I still remember how painful going through that period was.

    The GOP -- Hating Women, Gays and People of Color since 1854

    by Former Chicagoan Now Angeleno on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 09:42:40 AM PDT

  •  It's so sad that adoptions cost that much as we .. (6+ / 0-)

    tried 15 ago to foster and transition into adoption and found that barriers, both financial and other state and local laws (and DSS craziness in our county) were outrageous and to much, and we just gave up.

    Biologically it didn't happen for us either when we first married, and opted not to go down the path of fertility solutions and of medical tests to determine just where and who was the issue.

    I know my wife privately once in a while laments that we didn't have the family that she had hoped for, but we do a lot with kids via 4-H and other organizations as well, and always have kids around to enjoy our farm environment.    

    Such is life.

    “The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.” — Marcus Aurelius

    by LamontCranston on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 09:57:34 AM PDT

  •  "Did you know it costs that much to adoopt"? (7+ / 0-)

    Oh, yes, we do, from personal experience.  Your mileage may vary ("nine months... more or less").

    In addition to not exercising "what most people take for granted as a basic human right", adoptive parents get to go through a number of detailed scrutinies which you didn't mention: "home visit", fingerprinting, background criminal check, financial resources sifted through, etc., etc.  That's after they have likely spent money, time, heartache, and emotional resources on various enhanced methods for trying to get pregnant the usual way.  These are also not imposed on biological parents.

    Let me tell you, we are "certified" so to speak, to be parents, unlike bio parents.  Got the paperwork and public documented  records to prove it!  Qualify to buy a house?  You ain't seen nothin' yet for scrutiny.

    Others often have no clue.  The "grocery line" questions can be interesting, coming from strrangers.  Your own family and close friends can send some doozies, too.  I could write a book (or a short article), and many have.

    I have no idea of what you went through to do surrogate/embryo implantation/whatever to get to where you have your second child.

    Congrats.

    Torture is Wrong! We live near W so you don't have to. Send love.

    by tom 47 on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 10:02:38 AM PDT

    •  I know its very hard, I have a niece and nephew (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joynow

      who adopted. And its very expensive.
      They had a rough time--they paid for a young mother's pre-natal and birth costs, only to have the woman leave the hospital early with the baby and disappear.

      But after having a friend who essentially lied about the great state of her marriage (NOT) because she couldn't afford in vitro and didn't want to risk multiple births, I'm okay with extra scrutiny(25 years ago, so costs were lower).  This friend did not provide a stable home for her daughter, even though she tried to hide the marriage problems from the girl. Was the girl better off than with the birth mom? yes. Can we always predict divorce or other "causes" of single parenting? No. Is single parenting bad? no. Are feuding, immature and/or abused parents bad for children?YES. But should we do what we can to screen parents when we have the opportunity? IMO, yes.

  •  An interesting and thoughtful diary (6+ / 0-)

    Thanks for the peek into an issue that's new to me.  My initial reaction to the news headline would have been a snort of disgust -- but you've showed me that my knee-jerk reaction would have failed to consider some very real families who need and use these services.

    Eye-opening!

  •  I'm glad things worked out for you! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    splashy, slouchsock

    Congratulations to you and your wife.

    But I have one objection. I just don't get that the public should, directly or indirectly, cover the expense for massive interventions to have children because a woman (and/or her spouse) doesn't feel "complete" or "fulfilled" if they don't bear a child. Suppose folks feel "incomplete" or "unfulfilled" if they don't have plastic surgery to look better, or a new car? That we can't have everything we want in life is a given, and not bearing a child is hardly a life-threatening event. It's not society's responsibility to somehow make everyone's lives "complete" or "fulfilled".

    That said, I honestly think that the public should cover the cost of adoption. Finding a loving home for a child definitely is a societal good, and should be totally subsidized.

    Democracy - Not Plutocracy!

    by vulcangrrl on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 10:18:22 AM PDT

    •  I think . . . (4+ / 0-)

      . . . you may have misread what I was saying, or maybe I wasn't clear. I never meant to imply that there should be guaranteed public funding for fertility treatments. But I do believe firmly that parents who adopt (especially when they adopt newborns) should be entitled to the same job-based (or, using the Scandinavian model, government-mandated) short-term maternity leave and disability leave options as parents who give birth themselves.

      •  Even "non-public" funding costs the public (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ladybug53

        If an insurance company covers fertility treatments, then all the other people paying into that insurance plan pay the costs of those treatments, either in higher premiums or reduced availability of other care. IMHO if people want to have a child through fertility treatments they should not expect me, as a taxpayer or payer of insurance premiums, to subsidize them. Just as I would not expect them to pay for my facelift or other lifestyle medical choices.

        I totally agree with you that adoption benefits should be the same as childbirth benefits. I've worked for several companies who gave these benefits to adopting couples and even helped subsidize the adoption cost. I don't understand why adoption is so expensive, though. You'd think all those fundie groups that throw millions of dollars into anti-abortion activism would spend some of that money helping children that are already born to find homes.

        Democracy - Not Plutocracy!

        by vulcangrrl on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 12:48:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I could support maternity/paternity benefits (0+ / 0-)

        but I think it isn't really a fair use of disability benefits.

        I understand it as a work-around for unfair rules, though.

        Very thoughtful and informative diary.

    •  where did you get this idea from? (4+ / 0-)

      it's nowhere in the diary, and it's nowhere in the law. the public treasury isn't paying for this:

      But I have one objection. I just don't get that the public should, directly or indirectly, cover the expense for massive interventions to have children because a woman (and/or her spouse) doesn't feel "complete" or "fulfilled" if they don't bear a child.
      those fees (invitro fertilization, etc.) are paid either by the individual(s) or, if they're lucky, their insurance company. technically, since those payments are deductible, as expenses of the period, by the insurance co. on it's tax return, you could make this argument. having made it for this, however, you'd have to then make it for every illness or accident treatment covered by insurance. do you really want to go down that path?
      •  no, paying for an illness is not comparable (0+ / 0-)

        to paying for infertility treatments.

        People DIE without medical care. They may grieve without children, but they can have whole and fulfilling lives without being fertile.

        I agree with vulcangirl that we would be better off if adoption costs were funded, and if we had enlightend parental leave possibilities.

        •  yes, it is. (0+ / 0-)
          no, paying for an illness is not comparable
          to paying for infertility treatments. People DIE without medical care.
          SOME people die, without medical care. the vast majority of medical care involves non-fatal, though very uncomfortable illnesses/injuries. it is the rare individual who'll die, if they fail to get anti-biotics for a sinus infection. in fact, with or without anti-biotics, a normal, healthy person will recover within two weeks. that is a medical fact. but it's damn uncomfortable. at least 50% of all visits to a dr. aren't necessary, but they are covered by all health insurance companies. there is no treatment for the common cold, yet every mother will bring their child in, to have it diagnosed as a common cold, not-treatable, because that's what they've been taught.

          most injuries don't require professional medical care. if kept clean (to avoid infection), they'll heal on their own. i could go on, but presumably, you noted the pattern developing here. oh, btw, people die from pregnancy too, or had that not crossed your mind? and i'm not even sure how many health insurance policies actually cover fertility treatments. the ones that do probably have higher premiums to begin with. presumably, you read the benefits section of your policy, and chose a plan that doesn't cover things you don't agree with.

          here's the real economic issue:

          if health insurance companies didn't cover pregnancy/related costs, most would be out of business in a heartbeat, because that's probably the primary reason most young people get health insurance to begin with, reproductive services. take that out of the benefits equation, and your pool nearly vanishes. with ACA in full effect, they will still opt for plans that cover those costs, vs those that don't.

          in fact, the more i think about it, the less logical her original comment is. there are many illnesses/injuries, resulting from conscious actions taken/not taken by individuals. most injuries are the direct result of exactly that. to use the "logic" employed by both of you, health insurance benefits should be strictly limited to those illnesses/injuries which the beneficiary can prove they were in no way even partially responsible for. because really, why should you be paying for the treatment of a child's broken leg, resulting from him climbing a tree (which he was told not to do by his parents), and falling out of it? and let's not even talk about the burns from deep frying that thanksgiving turkey!

          the same thing goes for every other type of insurance: auto, home, property, etc. that being the case, you've pretty much eliminated the reason for having insurance to begin with

      •  I know one couple whose insurance paid for (0+ / 0-)

        invitro. They worked on Wall Street. (Their bonus was more than a decade of my earnings so my guess is they were well, well paid salary wise. No idea if the clerks or janitors would get same coverage.
        They got 3 in vitro attempts per policy and do have 2 children now, also lost premature twins very sadly

        My sister had a tubal ligation reversed and her EQUITY (actress) insurance did cover some part of it, but she paid the bulk, 10K.
        That would be tough for me. I'd be tempted to say "You better do your homework. I paid 10,000 for you!"

        I birthed a son at 18 and got 2 daughters the easy way, I married their custodial dad. The kids were 18 months apart...and were 5, 6,7 when we married. People would say it must have been hard when they were all babies and I'd nonchalantly say it was a breeze.

        Another family member had a long, sad struggle with infertility. They turned to other things and all of a sudden they had 3 baby boys...let's see if I can get this right. A sister tried in vitro and then an adoption that seemed to have fallen through did occur and it turned out the in-vitro worked and then the mom turned out to be pregnant and for the first time carried to term.

        However families come or love can be shared, blessings.

        Then there are the many studies that show that children actually lower level of happiness... or better put show that childless are happier than childed!

        Which leads to final story... a woman really, really wanted a child with new husband. Difficulty was causing great angst. She was trying to explain the importance of it and said a child was creating something with love...
        and it dawned on her
        she wanted to create something with love. That didn't mean a child... and she went on, creating many things with love, not children.

        That love energy can be used many ways.

  •  First off (0+ / 0-)

    Congratulations on the birth of a healthy child!

    Second: Is it that expensive to adopt a child of color, say a black child who is not an infant?

    I can understand wanting to have children that look more like you, and this was a good route to do that, especially if your wife wanted to have the experience of pregnancy.

    The thing is, the right wingers want to force the idea that there should be no choice, that embryos are to be carried and born, regardless of how much it hurts the girls or women. They are not about the embryos, they are about driving girls and women into dependency on men with money, so they can be abused, used and killed at the  whim of the men, like domestic cattle.

    That's what makes their push to make embryos have the rights of born people.

    Women create the entire labor force.

    by splashy on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 11:00:19 AM PDT

    •  Black infants are available for adoption without (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ladybug53

      years of waiting; in fact, they are often available immediately, according to friends who have recently been through the process. There are also more than 500,000 American children languishing in foster care, eager for loving parents in forever homes.

      I always saw myself as going through the process of having children, too. But sometimes life has other plans; my health didn't allow it.

      I'm sure these beautiful American children waiting to be adopted in hospital nurseries or foster care homes--many of them, children of color--saw themselves as having wonderful parents. Life had other plans.

      My amazing AA nephews & I have spent a lot of time together since they were babies. NEVER has anyone been rude enough to question our biological connection. In fact, when they were little, I often got mistaken for their mom.

      Ho'oponopono. To make things right; restore harmony; heal.

      by earicicle on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 11:18:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  WTF? I don't like wingnuts, but I have (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AppleP

      never seen it suggested that there should be forced adopted-embryo pregnancies, much less forced adopted-embryo pregnancies that risk the mother's life.  Seriously, where did you hear that?

      You don't have to agree with them, but Wingnuts have individual choices too (they fail to see the irony in this, of course), and those choices should be respected.  If they believe that embryos should be adopted and want to do that in their own families, more power to them.  I'm not going to judge other people's reproductive decisions and neither should you.  That's what being pro-choice means.

  •  Well, Kossacks should know me by now. (0+ / 0-)

    I fully support the notion of embryo adoption.  In fact, parents should have the civil right to shop for desired traits for their offspring.   Embryos could be screened for well known genetic defects.

    The argument against this idea of conscious evolution of the species is based in fear.  There is the fear of making mistakes.  Well, you have to break a few eggs...

    I am a believer in trans humanism.

    Human beings have a unique opportunity to design the housing for human consciousness by human will.  For example, human consciousness could return to the sea having evolved complex souls on dry land.

    Hey!  If humanity has this power, then,  who is to say that it is not divinely granted to our unique species?  Human beings have big brains for a reason.  Who is to say that reason is not divinely granted?  

  •  Excellent diary. "Choice" should include (5+ / 0-)

    ALL choices.  And people should, well, STFU about someone else's personal decisionmaking process.  I have cringed at every comment on this diary that intimates, ever so subtly, that perhaps the diarist shouldn't have wanted a white infant (is that even true?) or should have pursued a nontraditional adoption or whatever.  

    To those people, I say:  You are either for choice or you are not.  It is not acceptable to opine about which choices are superior to others.  It is not acceptable to question or second-guess someone else's reproductive choices.  That makes you not much better than the anti-abortion wingnuts who think they know the best choices for everyone else.  

    Yes, I know; the wingnuts want to make their opinions the law of the land, and you all are merely voicing your opinions, but that's not the point.  The point is that if you are really for choice, you should not question the diarist's choices in any way.

    To the diarist, congratulations on your lovely family.  Your diary was very enlightening about things I didn't know too much about, especially the family leave issues. Thanks for your information and insight!

  •  Some replies, comments, and criticisms in response (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pandoras Box, Oh Mary Oh, slouchsock

    First, thanks to everyone for reading and commenting. Some follow-ups:

    1. Regarding those people who noted that the right’s interest in pushing embryo adoption is part of their overall attempt to limit reproductive rights, I mostly agree. I’m completely opposed to that agenda. I was just pointing out that not all people who do embryo adoptions are sick right-wing nutjobs.

    2. I don’t pretend to understand the right-wing mind (groupmind?), but I’m fairly sure few if any people are adopting embryos with the intention of keeping the little proto-tykes in their test tubes, giving them a place at the daily dinner table, and setting a little non-birth-day cake out in front of them once a year. Embryo adoption is, by definition, what my wife and I did: receive a donated embryo with the intention of becoming pregnant, bringing the fetus/child to term, then raising it, worrying about it, getting mad at its poor choice of friends and tattoos, then sending it to college and hoping everything works out.

    3. I’m not sure whether to be amused or depressed by the several commenters who seem to assume that my children are white, or that my wife and I looked for white babies so they’d “look like us.” Y’see, I’m black. Actually, no, that’s not true, BUT IT COULD BE. What, do only white people write diaries on Daily Kos? Un-huh. This is a multiracial site. Getting back to the storyline (and absolute truth), I actually am a lily-white Irish-American, but my kids are not. Our son is African-American, and our daughter is Persian-American. When my wife and I began arranging our embryo adoption, we specifically asked the clinic not to match us with a lily-white embryo, because we didn’t want to people to look at our family and single out our son as “the adopted one.” That seemed unnecessarily marginalizing. One commenter above pointed out that most embryos available for donation/adoption are probably white because the pool of Americans seeking help with fertility is largely white, and I think that’s probably true, or largely true. The clinic we used has hundreds of embryos available for donation/adoption, but only a small percentage are non-lily-white.

    Thanks again for the comments, and the discussion. And congrats to all those adoptive parents who commented — and of course to the non-adoptive parents, ‘cause I’m not about to treat you bio-parents any differently than I treat my own people. Oh and hell, you non-parents get some congrats too. C’mon, gimme a hug.

  •  a couple of comments (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Oh Mary Oh, joynow

    1. congratulations to you and your wife. how the children came to your family isn't nearly as important as the fact that you wanted them to be a part of it. they'll know that in a heartbeat, and screw anyone else who thinks they have some right to opine on it.

    the impression i got from the article was that these religious kooks are "adopting" the embryos, not to actually have children, but to keep others from doing so who truly want them. that is sick.

    2. you raise an interesting point, the cost/time of adoption. why does it cost so much, and take so much time? is there a legitimate reason for this, or is someone profiting from it? if they are, it's illegal, it's tantamount to selling children. my wife's cousin and his wife went your route, except they ended up adopting, after the in vitro didn't work. they adopted two brothers, who were (i believe) a couple of years apart, something like 2 & 4 when adopted. even though neither was an infant, the costs were in the 10's of 1,000's.

    someone is profiting from this. adopting parents should only be paying the actual costs (administrative, medical, investigative), not lining someone else's pocket. cut that cost to a reasonable amount, and i suspect you'd see more adoptions. as well, it seems to me the burdens imposed on prospective adoptive parents go well beyond reasonable, and border on trying to keep people from adopting. clearly, the state (us) have a reasonable interest in ensuring, as reasonably as possible, that prospective adoptive parents are fit, but most states have gone way beyond that. there are people who hold top-secret security clearances, who wouldn't qualify for adoption. that is just ridiculous.

  •  Consider Foster/Adopt as well, please (4+ / 0-)

    It's not $30,000, in most cases if you adopt a foster child it's completely free or close to it.

    Kids in the foster system are in the greatest need of loving capable parents, and there are rewards in adopting this way that are completely unique. I understand the desire to have biological children or adopted infants (we have bio kids of our own as well as our adopted) but at the same time, there isn't a gigantic need to find willing adoptive parents of infants in this country. Babies get adopted, fast. Foster kids, on the other hand, kids in the "system" are often stuck in limbo without permanent homes because of the circumstances that put them in the system in the first place, and when bio parental rights are terminated, they're often "too old" (even as toddlers) for the "market" for adoptive parents.

    Consider the difference you can make in a child's life, forever, and what you're doing for both your family, your community, and your country. You can get training in the foster system and will always have the power to make a decision about whether to take in a given child, and foster social workers can work with you on your level of comfort about issues that may be in the kids backgrounds.

    I am here to say that foster kids are "normal" though: you have pretty much the same chances they'll have problems and issues as your "own" biological kids, which is to say there's a 100% chance something unexpected will throw you for a loop as a parent. That's what parenthood entails.

    Some people are intolerant, and I CAN'T STAND people like that. -- Tom Lehrer

    by TheCrank on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 02:12:22 PM PDT

  •  Horrible and insensitive. (0+ / 0-)

    I'm too mad and insulted to write.

  •  Here is the ad I would like to see. (0+ / 0-)

    I would like to see an ad where Romney morphs into a penis. Everyone would get it. What an insufferable dick.

    "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

    by shmuelman on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 04:40:17 PM PDT

  •  Trials and tribulations... (3+ / 0-)

    I have gone the gamut myself here. Two early miscarriages, and one pregnancy was not completed (22 weeks)  because of a horrific and lethal bone defect.  That anniversary is coming up soon, always a somber day.

    But here I sit anyway with four beautiful kids, and they didn't "cost" me the adoption fees nor the atrocious price they charge for reproductive intervention.

    Yes, many children need homes, and it always blows me away that they make adoption so expensive for average people.  Good families are out of the running because they aren't rich.
    Lack of maternity leave for adoptions, as you pointed out in many cases is just ludicrous.

    Those who are  unable to conceive pay a price in many many ways.

    Congrats on your beautiful babies. :)

    It is generous for people to donate extra embryos, very selfless.
    But I also wish that couples with frozen embryos were allowed to donate them for stem cell research.  Imagine the other families that could receive medical miracles in a different way?

    And BTW, I have been sneered at and attacked here at kos for having 4 kids.  Some people just know everything. Yanno.
    Stuff happens. And I am pro choice all the way.

    Fuddle Duddle--- Pierre Trudeau.... Canadian politics at......A Creative Revolution

    by pale cold on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 05:16:07 PM PDT

  •  Adoption doesn't cost (0+ / 0-)

    $30,000.  Adoptions vary by the birth mother's need and adopting parent' ability/willingness. Total fees for my daughter's adoption were $3,800.  She's a blessing and the best thing that ever happened to me.

    -approaching Curmudgeonry with pleasure

    by Calfacon on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 05:44:07 PM PDT

    •  Well, clearly *some* do because the diarist (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Flying Goat

      paid that much. Perhaps it doesn't have to cost that much, or some states/some circumstances allow for less-costly adoption.

      I have not experience with it personally, but it seems like it is complex and varied.

    •  That's incredibly rare (0+ / 0-)

      Adoption from foster care is the only way I know that might be that affordable. Private adoptions arranged directly with the birth mother might sometimes fall into that category, but there are the lawyer fees to factor in, plus private adoptions often involve the adoptive parents providing some financial support for the birth mother, such as living expenses or medical costs. And when you go through an adoption agency, as we did, you're looking at tens of thousands of dollars immediately. International adoptions are often more expensive, as documents must be translated and certified, and many countries require families to make two trips to the country before the adoption can be finalized. It's wonderful that your adoption didn't run into the 5-digit cost, but your experience is certainly not the norm.

  •  Congratulations! (0+ / 0-)

    You're so lucky to have two beautiful kids.  It's great that your wife was able to paid leave after your daughter was born, and ridiculous that new adoptive parents don't get paid leave.

  •  After our daughter was born (4+ / 0-)

    we donated the remaining 10 embryos.

    I hope they make many other couples happy.

    My wife was Catholic and her church disagreed with our reproductive decisions.  The Pope can suck my left toe.  I am more pro-life than he is - and I am pro-choice.

    Watching Mitt's strategy is what it looks like when you try to put an etch a sketch in a centrifuge.

    by AppleP on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 07:05:04 PM PDT

  •  thoughtful and thought provoking (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    slouchsock

    I'm old with a bunch of kids and g'kids so the topic doesn't affect me much but it did make me think.

    I'm so anti-rightwing that I guess I assumed the wingnuts were adopting embryos to "protect" them or somehow bestow personhood on them. Not meaning to give them life. I mean, could someone adopt thousands of embryos to take ownership and keep them from being discarded?

    Your experience never entered my mind so I appreciate the diary.

    America could have chosen to be the worlds doctor, or grocer. We choose instead to be her policeman. pity

    by cacamp on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 08:50:25 PM PDT

    •  Nope, they couldn't (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cacamp

      Fertility clinics that have embryo adoption programs don't hand random people a vial of frozen cells -- they thaw the embryos and transfer them to a woman who has been put through a very thorough medical screening process and has undergone a rigid schedule of hormone treatments. People who adopt through someplace like the National Embryo Donation Center, also have to go through a home study, just as if they're adopting a non-frozen child. It's quite a process either way.

      •  After a certain amount of time the embryos will (0+ / 0-)

        lose viability, though. It's a case of use it or lose it.

        "I believe more women should carry guns. I believe armed women will make the world a better place. Women need to come to think of themselves not as victims but as dangerous." Anna Pigeon

        by glorificus on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 10:47:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  thanks for that info, (0+ / 0-)

          i wondered about that.

          •  I read about this in an article (can't remember (0+ / 0-)

            where) that discussed the morality of parents creating multiple embryos and then when their family was complete, either donating for adoption, donating for research, or just letting them degrade.

            A number of couples interviewed would rather let the embryos degrade than give up their "children" to other people.

            "I believe more women should carry guns. I believe armed women will make the world a better place. Women need to come to think of themselves not as victims but as dangerous." Anna Pigeon

            by glorificus on Fri Sep 14, 2012 at 07:59:30 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

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