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All’s Fair in Love & Waahh!

After each losing a few battles on the way to our adoption, my husband and I both ended up winning.By Corey Halls

My husband, Erik, and I are back to battling. When we were going through infertility, it’s all we did. He wanted to try in-vitro fertilization. I wanted to be done with anything medical. (I won that battle.) Then, when we first turned our thoughts to adoption, I pictured a baby girl from China. He wanted a child who would “look like us,” so we wouldn’t be a “walking ad for adoption.” (He won that battle.) We finally agreed on the Republic of Georgia, because we’d be able to adopt a baby from there as young as four months old. But then they had a revolution and stopped international adoptions. (We both lost.)

Then Erik wanted to adopt from Russia because he liked the culture. I waged a strong campaign for Kazakhstan, because I liked its standard of care. (I won.) There were even battles during our six-week stay in Kazakhstan. I wanted to ask the caregivers if we could dress our baby in one of the cute outfits we’d brought with us instead of the little blue sweater they put her in almost every day. He thought that request would be weird, uncomfortable, and hard to communicate. (He won.) I wanted to walk around the city and explore, so I could tell my daughter about the beautiful place where she was born. He wanted us to stay safely in our rented apartment. (I won.)

But when we finally returned home with our daughter, Siena, we agreed. We agreed that if we had changed anything—a medical procedure, the timing of our paperwork, our choice of agency, anything—we wouldn’t have our daughter. We agreed to spend the money to feed our baby the “best” formula, since her early nutrition had been questionable. We agreed to put her to bed promptly at 7 p.m., following the advice in a book I read. Our daughter is two now, and all three of us still agree that we’re addicted to her pacifiers and aren’t ready to give them up just yet.

So now we’re talking about a second adoption. We agree that we can’t spend another six weeks in Kazakhstan; that we’ll adopt domestically. But there, the agreement ends. I don’t want our “Dear Birthmother” letter to sit for a year in “the book,” along with those from other hopeful couples; I want to advertise and find a birthmother immediately! I figure, why not put up an eye-catching billboard on the busiest freeway in the city? Erik thinks it’s weird to advertise, and doubts that any birthmother would respond to a single ad, when she could go to an agency and have a choice of families.

I want an attorney and a no-frills homestudy. Since we’re already parents, I feel that we don’t need any of the classes the agency requires nor to be walked through the homestudy process. He feels our current agency isn’t all that bureaucratic, compared to the first agency we considered.

I express my concerns in a loud voice, with grand gestures, and by jumping around in frustration. He stands there calmly, talking in an even tone, trying not to look at me like I’m unstable.

Will we come to an agreement on how to proceed with our next adoption? Sure. Will it be fun? No. Will all this battling make our marriage stronger? Possibly. Will we get a perfect child in the end, no matter who wins which battles? Definitely.

Corey Halls and her family live in suburban Minneapolis.

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