Tracey and I never thought we’d be writing this article. As small business owners, enmeshed in hard work, few holidays and constant “issues”, children never really seemed a priority. We both loved kids, but the idea of a family just didn’t seem feasible.
By the time we seriously started thinking about a family, Tracey was in her late 30s and I was well on the wrong side of 40. When we started really trying, things didn’t go according to plan.
After the standards tests had identified some fertility and health issues, we sat down to review our options.
This is where the adoption option came in.
To be honest, I knew I could live without kids and so could Tracey. However both of us wanted to take on the responsibilities of parenthood and we felt we had a lot to offer. We also felt we deserved some of life’s rewards that children can bring.
I probably wouldn’t have considered adoption but Tracey insisted we investigate it. To me, the thought of raising another couple’s child seemed a little unnatural. I’d heard that there was a huge baby shortage in NZ and I knew we could afford neither the money or the time to travel to Russia. I was also a little leery because I’d heard that all NZ adoptions were now “open”-meaning that birth family members could have “access” visits with “our” child.
There was another big factor at play here-Tracey is herself adopted. There was a real sense of trying to complete the circle. To give a child a chance at a better life just as Tracey had been given.
We made the decision to “give it a go”
We knew early on that our chances of success were slim. We found out that fewer than 100 Kiwi children were adopted by Kiwis per year, despite several hundred couples being on the waiting list.
We found out that an overseas adoption could cost $20-40,000 and involve being away from the business for long periods. Not an option.
We discovered that we would need a “Warrant of Fitness” from the state Adoption Unit before we would be even considered for the waiting list.
We learnt that my age (46) was at the upper limit and would probably count against us. Tracey’s weight problem was also a big issue. We were told that many birth mums would be put off when viewing photos and that we should consider the fact that Tracey’s weight mean’t she might not survive to see our child to adulthood.
We had to fight to even get accepted onto the programme. Tracey had to get her doctor to vouch for her good health several times and provide a letter from her gym before we were taken on.
We were very reluctantly accepted and were bluntly warned that we had a even lower chance of success than most couples.
We did have one advantage though-we are legally married, still an absolute requirement for adoption in NZ.