{ Our journey to Helpusadopt.org }

By Becky and Kipp Fawcett

What you are about to read is a detailed account of what we went through to have a child and how we created Helpusadopt.org. You may find it sad at points and overwhelming at others. Our story is not uncommon but our outcome certainly is and the road was definitely challenging. Thousands of families experience similar circumstances each year, but without the financial resources, their end result is drastically different. Building a family through adoption is a privilege not a right and brings with it seemingly insurmountable financial challenges. Many families experience financial ruin and others simply cannot afford this process at all. As a result, they live a childless life.

Our experiences made it impossible to turn and look the other way. The emotional journey to our son gave us a glimpse into what "almost wasn't" and now, we are using this knowledge to help others overcome the incredible financial hurdles that they encounter along the way to adopting a child. Helpusadopt.org will begin to provide a financial solution to this nationwide struggle. We went through the journey again adopting our daughter, Brooke, which you can read more about here.

After a year of trying to get pregnant at age 32, I asked my OBGYN if I should go see a fertility specialist. His answer was no. "Just relax and give it some time, maybe in another year if nothing happens," he said. I went to the specialist anyway and it's a good thing I did. Our infertility issues were so complicated that we skipped the use of oral stimulant drugs and inseminations and went straight to In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). We chose our infertility doctor by reputation. We had heard that he was aggressive in his practices and had a high rate of pregnancy. The fact that his office was two miles away would prove to be convenient when I started to have daily appointments/bloodwork/ultrasounds, sometimes five days in a row.

1st cycle
Our first cycle cost $16,500 (Doctors fee $7,500, Lab fee $4,000, Drugs $5,000). Our insurance covered nothing.
The drugs (hormones and stimulants) gave me panic attacks.
The small shots (that Kipp administered) in my thighs gave me bruises.
The big shots (that Kipp administered) in the back of my hips made it hard to move and hard to stay still.
There were countless doctor visits, ultrasounds and blood work.
Once I was "stimulated" and had produced enough eggs, there was an "egg retrieval," a surgical process.
The eggs were then fertilized and monitored in the lab. Not all of the fertilized eggs survive; the ones that do are transferred back inside. I was sent home for 24 hours of bed rest.
Two weeks later: Positive pregnancy test.
The next week we had an ultrasound and a due date.
A few weeks later we had a heartbeat.
At 12 weeks I was considered a "normal pregnant woman" and had seemingly cleared the danger zone.
We had a miscarriage at 14 weeks. Everyone knew.

2nd cycle
We tried again 6 weeks later. We incurred the same cost. We followed the same drug/injection protocol. There was a retrieval and transfer, just as before.
Two weeks later: Negative pregnancy test.

3rd cycle
We took some time to unwind and tried again a few months later. We incurred the same cost. We followed the same drug/injection protocol. There was a retrieval and transfer, just as before.
Two weeks later: Positive pregnancy test. I was pregnant and the due date was my father's birthday.
We had a miscarriage at 12 weeks, which was the day before Becky's 35th birthday.

4th cycle
We incurred the same cost plus $4,000 for acupuncture. We followed the same drug/injection protocol. There was a retrieval and transfer, just as before.
Two weeks later: Negative pregnancy test.
New development: Did produce enough good fertilized eggs for a frozen cycle.

5th cycle
I continued with acupuncture $4,000. Having a frozen cycle of eggs saves on both the doctors fee, lab charges and drugs. This time the cost was only $8,000 and slightly less invasive.
No retrieval necessary. Only a transfer.
Two weeks later: Positive pregnancy test.
Miscarried at 10 weeks. December 23rd 2004.

Total cost: $82,000 (after tax dollars)
We drained our savings.
We had just enough money left for an adoption.

January 2005

It was time for plan B. We got three referrals and met with three adoption attorneys by January 17th. We were terrified. We felt all alone. Even those who loved us most couldn't help us or make this any easier. There were so many uncertainties and no guarantees. We could only feel secure in knowing that the lawyer we chose was quite capable, an adoptive parent himself who had been doing this for over 20 years. We chose our lawyer and signed the paperwork on January 18, 2005. Our adoption was going to cost approximately $40,000 (after tax dollars).

Our lawyer, home study, social worker visits, birthmother's lawyer, birthmother's monthly expenses, birthmother's medical expenses, birthmother's counseling, airline tickets (at a moments notice), hotel, car rental.

We spent the next 75 days doing paperwork: financial paperwork, criminal background check, child abuse clearance, a full day seminar with a home study group, a social worker visited our house several times, we both had physicals, and we assembled our profile "book" to be sent out to birth mothers.

April 1 our book started going out.
One week no calls.
Two weeks go by no calls, three, four, five, six...
Every time the phone rings we jump.
At nine weeks a birth mother chose us. We had a conference call. We liked her. We decided to move forward with the match. She went to the doctor, heard the heart beat again and changed her mind.

Two weeks later another birthmother chose us. We had a conference call. We decided to move forward. Then we were given some additional information about the situation and decided not to pursue this situation.

We kept waiting. On September 14th we got the call. You've been chosen and her due date is November 7th-Kipp's birthday. The sign we'd been wanting. She was having a boy and was due in 6 weeks.
We had the conference call.
We arranged to go meet the birthmother two weeks later.
We met her.
We liked her. She liked us.
We created a nursery.
We found nurses for when we came home --- neither of us took a maternity/paternity leave since we'd been away for three weeks.
We stayed in touch with the birthmother.
We packed our bags.
We got the call the morning of October 29th.
We were able to get on a flight that left Philadelphia in 2.5 hours.
A friend gave us a ride to the airport.
We arrived and rented a car.
We drove an hour to the hospital.
Becky was in the delivery room.
Our son was born.
We called the baby store and had them ship up the car seat and porta crib --- the thought of traveling with these items and no baby yet was more than we could bear.
We stayed in the hospital for two nights.
The birth mother had 48 hours after his birth to change her mind.
We were all discharged and went to our hotel with Jake.
We lived in this hotel for three weeks while the legal work for both Maine and Pennsylvania was completed.
We couldn't leave state lines for three weeks.
We rented our car for three weeks.
We had a dog sitter at home for three weeks.
We did laundry in communal coin-operated machines for three weeks.
Kipp's company gave him three weeks leave with pay.
Becky owns her own business. Her clients were very kind while she was away.
We got a call one November afternoon telling us that we could come home.
We called the airline and were on a flight 1.5 hours later.
We flew back to Philadelphia and we were home.
It took 46 months to have our first child.

Our adoption process was unusually quick, although it didn't feel quick while we were going through it. Jake's adoption was finalized in Pennsylvania October 12, 2006 (almost a year later) and then we had to apply for an amended birth certificate from Maine (three months of waiting) and once we had that, we could apply for a social security number (two months of waiting).

At every life changing juncture we counted our blessings to be able to pursue both IVF and adoption on our terms. We were, and still are, very fortunate. We asked our adoption attorney what we would do if we didn't have the money to pay for this. We asked the question "What if someone can't afford the lump sum of adoption at this point?" And the answers we found all led to the same options: go into financial ruin or don't have a child. These answers were unacceptable to us. We looked at each other and knew that instant that when the time was right we would change those options. We were going to do something to help.

We dedicate Helpusadopt.org to the countless parents waiting to adopt and to the thousands of birthparents selfless enough to let us adopt your children. And of course, to our children Jake and Brooke and two very special women whose kind hearts will never be forgotten.

Read about our journey to adopting our second child, Brooke.

Becky & Kipp Fawcett

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