Co-founders: Erica Walther Schlaefer and A.J. Schlaefer
We are adoptive parents who also went through years of infertility treatments. We paid over $20,000 for medical procedures to try and conceive a child. We were not successful, and after a lot of heartache and grieving we decided that we simply wanted to be parents.
We began our research regarding adoption, and then moved on to choosing an agency and applying. Our oldest son came home from S. Korea in June of 2008. And in 2011 we adopted another baby boy from Korea. After going through both processes we understand that there is an over-abundance of information that can be confusing and daunting to decipher. It is difficult to know where to turn first. The financial implications alone can seem insurmountable. We ended up paying nearly $70,000 to have a family. If we did not have help or the ability to finance a portion, we would not be parents today.
Having a family is fundamental to the human experience. It should not come down to the size of one’s bank account. Our goal is to provide emotional support, educational tools and financial support in the form of grants to those pursuing adoption or Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) to try and conceive. We hope to ease some of the burden bestowed on those who desperately want to be parents.
“We know who we are but not what we may be.” – Shakespeare
The tears I have cried over the past three and a half years have been for so many things. We were young and in love, newly married with thoughts of the future and the children we would some day create and love. We bought a new house with four bedrooms and a big yard in preparation for building our family. Shortly after moving in we found out that getting pregnant would not be easy for us. We both had medical issues, but the doctors made it seem like with a little help, it would happen.
And, so it began. The doctor’s appointments, the blood draws, so many that I had bruises and scar tissue on my arms. The simple oral pills to help us get pregnant quickly moved on to injectable drugs that had ill-feeling side effects. To all of the invasive “procedures” and the constant hope that maybe this time it would work. But, it never did.
We kept one-upping the medical intervention, as most people who have infertility issues understand. Part of it is the doctors fault, it is a billion dollar industry. But, I cannot lay blame on them because I wanted so badly to get pregnant and I was willing to take it to the next level, any level. You find yourself clinging to a hope that a life will be created and flourish and all the joy will begin. It always starts out small and then snowballs uncontrollably into a constant desire to become pregnant. Every failed attempt is a failure at having a “normal” life, of having what seems like something that comes so easily to everyone else.
Every procedure, operation, poke and prod disintegrated our hearts and souls a little more each time. Our vision and dream of our green eyed, curly haired baby became so faint we could no longer see it. Envision a helium balloon that slips from your hand and you jump up to retrieve it, but it floats away- up, up into the sky until it becomes a small dot and then disappears altogether. The unlikelihood of parenthood was smashed in our faces and a deep internal question must be answered. It must be solved or infertility will consume your entire life. The loss of the dream has to be reconciled or your spirit will rot, your marriage will fail, your life will lose much of its meaning.
People adopt for many different reasons. Ours happens to be intertwined with the very devastating condition of infertility. Ours was a path filled with medical intervention and hope and pain until we realized that life is too short to continue trying to conceive our own child. We married each other to be together and we needed to begin enjoying life again. Parenthood was always our goal; we knew we would love any child that became our own.
But, this is a reconciliation that comes in its own time. Our hearts needed to mend and our minds needed to catch up with our hearts. For some people it never happens. For others it may take years and I am sure there are so many couples out there feeling this internal struggle with what their future holds as individuals and as a couple.
We were forced to ask ourselves what we would do with our lives if we could not be a mom and a dad. We were forced to picture our future without school projects or hand made ornaments or singing songs in the bath tub. It is an abyss of grief that is very hard for people to comprehend unless you have first had experience. Infertility is a life altering condition and it is the most profound thing I have every dealt with. The somersault of emotions has turned our life upside down and inside out. But, I have matured, become more sensitive to others, found even more reasons to love my husband, and clearly have been through an experience that has changed me forever. It has changed us forever.
I never believed when people said things would work themselves out. The grief grayed my vision of the future and stabbed at my heart on a daily basis. And, here we are on a new journey and there is joy again. There is a future that we can see and it is filled with loving our new child and creating the happy and warm life that we’ve waited three and half years to do. A bedroom will become a nursery and a house will become a haven for a new loveable baby boy.
We had a failed pregnancy last year. If our baby lived to full term he would have been born in March of 2007. However, somewhere in the world our baby was born- on March 21, 2007 in a hospital in Korea. He was waiting for us and we were waiting for him and we did not even know.
For more excerpts about our story visit http://PFM Blog