Thursday, May 27, 2010

New Normal

I'd like to introduce you to my son. His name is Ryan Kaon, and he is from South Korea. He doesn't resemble me much ... but I think in the long run he'll be quite happy about that. He's the best person I've ever met.

Let's see ... how to condense the events of the past 7 months into a paragraph or two. The trip to Korea was great - and our time there was enjoyed immensely. Seoul is a beautiful city, and is huge. We covered quite a bit of ground in the two days we had to ourselves prior to meeting our son ... and we can't wait to go back.

We met our little Kaon (pronounced Ka-Own) on the third day of our trip. Our case worker joined us for a cab ride through the mess that is Seoul traffic to the foster family's home (one of the ubiquitous high-rise apartments that outline Seoul). How incredibly surreal to be halfway around the world, in the most foreign of places, jet lagged, and on our way to meet a little boy who would become a permanent fixture in our lives from that moment forward. Weird! The door opened, and there was this little boy with a fistful of his foster mother's shirt, clutching to her for dear life ... he looked at us and seemed to instantly recognize that something about us was different. Tensions were high all around - we were quickly ushered into the cramped little apartment (after removing our shoes, of course) - we sat on the floor and were handed glasses of orange juice. Little Ryan stared at us with a very concerned look the whole time these brief preparations were made.

Then, they set him down, and eventually he crawled over to each of my wife and I while our case worker translated his daily habits from Korean to English. Everyone's tensions subsided, and Ryan began to smile, laugh and cautiously approach my wife and I for ~5 second visits before returning to the safety of his foster mother. Eventually my wife got to pick him up and hold him for a good long time. The most touching part of this experience was the obvious love and care his foster mother (and foster brother ) had for him - this was completely unexpected - but it completely blew me away. Our little boy has been in the best of hands since the day he was born ... as I've said in other forums since we got home, he is so fortunately unlucky.

We left the apartment after about an hour, forever changed. Our "gotcha" day was two days later. A quick signature on a form was followed by a worried little baby being passed into my wife's arms. We were quickly rushed to the elevator by our case worker ... the elevator doors opened ... Ryan's crying, babbling foster family gave him one last hug and kiss, his foster brother kissed him on the foot (transforming my wife into a sobbing mess) - we got in the elevator and the doors closed on the image of his foster family saying good-bye. It was exactly that fast, and that blurry. Polarized emotions and extremely bittersweet all around.

The elevator arrived at the ground floor and we exited as a family. Unsure of what to do next. Unsure of how we felt. Just like any family that leaves the hospital for the first time with their newborn infant.

So, all in all it was an overwhelmingly emotional experience, but in the most positive of ways. We are so fortunate to have had the opportunity to have that experience and to enjoy all of the experiences we have before us.

We've been home nearly two months. The flight home was horrific - Ryan screamed for ~12 of the 14 hours we were en route! Borderline traumatic at the time, but sort of funny now. We all got sick as soon as we got home ... which sucked worse than I can even describe ... a rough start indeed. But, after recovering we found ourselves in the most sweet of situations - we were at home, with our son, as a family.

Ryan has become more comfortable every day. He smiles, babbles, is close to walking, and seems to be very content. We are really lucky in how well he has handled the transition ... he sleeps through the night, and eats everything we give him. Our new normal is coming into increasing clarity every day, and we really like the view.

It's crazy that we're already through the entire process. It seems like just yesterday that we met with the adoption agency for the first time ... totally unsure of if / when we would actually pursue adoption. Now it's all behind us and we're able to confidently say we made the right decision. As you can see in the pictures, he is such a happy little boy ... we'll do our best to help him over the inevitable rough spots associated with adoption, and to provide him a solid, unshakable foundation that he has not yet come to know in his short life. And we'll enjoy the ride from beginning to end.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, November 13, 2009


I'm surprised by the influx of comments - thanks everyone! Here's a picture of the little guy ... I think he's a good looking boy.

I'll provide updates as appropriate, but there won't be much news until we travel to Korea to pick him up. We will be quite busy with paper work and documentation over the next several weeks after which we will wait for the U.S. and Korean governments to do their thing. We expect to make our trip to Korea in February or March of 2010. It's going to be a long wait but we're excited about the certainty of the whole affair. Before our travels, we'll have a baby shower and nesting and possible home buying, etc. - all of the stuff that parents-to-be partake in, and all the stuff my wife is thrilled about finally being able to participate in. And, I'm really excited about participating too.

Thanks again for all the support - and for those still going through infertility struggles, remember that what you are reading and seeing here is the worst possible outcome you can have. We haven't gotten our child yet, but the pain and struggle of trying to conceive already feels like a distant memory. The moral is: It will be okay. In fact, it will be even better than that ... but good luck with your efforts none the less.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


We are going to be parents.

Our referral for a 5 month old Korean baby boy came this week. With a stellar medical history and no indications of any reasons for concern, we have accepted and now embark on the stack of paperwork to legalize the matter.

Pictures to come - but we're looking at 3 - 4 months of processing time prior to making our trip to Korea to pick him up. I haven't seen my wife this happy since our first year of marriage. It is a good week, indeed.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Last One

HAS BEEN A VERY LONG TIME SINCE I WROTE - here's one final post on where we are, and where we're going.

We have officially kicked off the process for adopting a child from Korea. We have chosen an agency in Troy, MI (who shall remain nameless as we're told they're not crazy about the concept of blogging) We submitted the pre-application ($50), then the formal application ($500), then the $2,000 required to get the home study started. So far it has been pretty straight forward - they sent us a big pack of paperwork to fill out - we promptly applied our script and prose, and sent it back. Data requested included financial information (assets, liabilities, income, etc.), health records (for which we had to have complete blood work and physicals, which entailed a young male doctor handling me roughly about the private parts, again ... seriously, do doctors really have to be so interested in junk all the time?), reference checks (which are currently in process), biographies, a questionnaire on why/how we will be good parents, and a few other odds and ends. We are now waiting for our social worker to contact us to get the home study process rolling. So far, the process has been pretty straight forward and painless.

Along the infertility highway, we heard a lot of folks talk about the point we are at, and the relief associated with just giving up on the whole baby-making concept. I'll tell you that they were right - we haven't looked back since we made the decision to adopt, and it feels pretty damn good. A burden has been lifted, we have a sense of calm and peace with things, and we're no longer worried about what the next cycle will, or will not bring. I only wish we had made the decision sooner. I have steered clear of this blog in an effort to put the past behind us, and I intend to steer clear of it in the future. We're moving forward, and we're happy about it. We'd like to put the past on the shelf for a while, and leave it behind.

We still get a lot of "I know someone who adopted and found out they were pregnant right before they got their referral", which is annoying, but sort of comical because everyone who tells you that thinks they are so clever - they have good intentions, but yeah, we've heard it like 200 times. Across the board, however, our news has been greeted with extreme delight from everyone we've shared it with. When you tell someone you are in the process of adopting a baby from Korea, it almost always catches them by surprise before they respond with a very sincere "That's really cool - great for you guys." Seriously - people dig it when you plan to adopt from Korea. We expect a similar result after we actually have our baby - we will forevermore be those two white people walking down the street with a Korean baby, and most intelligent people will think "They must have adopted - how nice." And we will walk down the street knowing that we are two white people who adopted from Korea, and we will think "We adopted - how very nice indeed."

Thanks to everyone who has read this lame blog ... I've enjoyed your comments and support. And to those of you who are still in the running to overcome infertility, I with you good luck, but recommend you relax and realize that the worst possible outcome really isn't that bad after all - my wife and I are an example of that. Besides, we would welcome you to the club - we will need help saving all the South Korean babies from that crazy Kim Jon-Il son-of-a-bitch ...

... and that's the line with which I end the blog "IVF - A Husband's Perspective"

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

More difficult than we ever expected

It's been a while since I've posted - we've been living in the "end of the road" malaise for the past several weeks, trying our best to accept our new reality and move on to adoption. I must say that personally, I am handling it quite well. My wife on the other hand is having a very, very difficult time. It breaks my heart to see her so down, and I worry about her every second of the day.

We have been getting educated about adoption and have sort of narrowed our choice down to Korea. The primary reasons have to do with age restrictions (my wife is only 28 and most countries require both adoptive parents to be at least 30) Korean infants are available, are raised in foster care (as opposed to orphanages) and the wait times are reasonable (6 - 18 months) All of these criteria are important to us, thus our preliminary decision.

We went to two meetings with adoption agencies yesterday - very exciting, but equally sobering. I knew this process was expensive, but when they plainly stated it will cost about $30,000 to adopt from Korea (comparable for domestic) it sunk in just how financially challenging this is going to be. I'm a financial nut ... I am very rigid about paying off debt (car and student loans), funding retirement accounts and sticking to a monthly budget. I do ALL of our finances so I have a very good idea of where we stand and what we can take on. Bottom line is this: $30,000 is simply too much for us right now. We have the cash, but it would put us so severely behind on a number of other goals and add so much stress to our lives that I am really uncomfortable moving forward with adoption at the current time. So, I have no choice but to strongly urge my wife to defer our adoption plans until we are on more solid financial footing. Fortunately I have a good job and we can get to solid financial ground in relatively short order (~8 months) but needless to say my wife is taking it unbelievably hard. Last night she sat on the couch and cried for the entire evening. I went home for lunch and her eyes were red and swollen. She is devastated not only by the diagnosis of our bleak chances at conception, but even more so at the potential three year wait we have ahead of us before we receive an adoption referral. I fear she is already depressed, and that it could get worse, and the worst part is that I have no idea how to help her, to give her what she needs, to maker her feel better. I'm giving it my all, and I will continue to do so, but calling it difficult is a huge understatement.

I've always thought that difficult times are an opportunity to prove your decency as a person. My role in this one is to be a good, supportive, patient, understanding husband, regardless of how my wife handles it. I'm doing my best, but it's hard to not feel like it's good enough.

We've wasted over half of our marriage and nearly $30,000 trying to concieve ... I need a break from it, and need to enjoy life for a while. It seems the only thing that is going to snap my wife out of this is a baby - right NOW - and here is where my best efforts will always fall short. The road ahead of us appears to be long and jagged.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


We had our post-failed-IVF-#2 meeting with our Doctor this morning. Dr. Mersol-Barg is a good man. I'm not keen on putting names into my blog, but I'd like to mention his, since he inserted so much compassion into the process. He took the edge off of the whole thing in a big way. We have no regrets about our decision to pursue the second round, and we have full confidence that if anyone was going to get us pregnant, it was Dr. Mersol-Barg. If you're in Southeast Michigan, and looking for infertility care, we highly recommend him (and we've been under the care of three doctors, so we know)

Anyways, the meeting revealed little we didn't already know. There is a "chronic egg issue" - they knew it as soon as they "cleared" the eggs following retrieval. The eggs had a yellow color, which is something embryologists don't really understand ... it might have something to do with cholesterol, but nobody really knows. Bottom line: Given this egg issue, assisted reproductive technologies can do little to help us.

He talked for a while about donor eggs. Prior to going to the meeting we sort of agreed that we weren't really interested in them, but as Dr. MB states, until you're on the edge of the cliff, you don't really know what you will decide or how you will react. He said it was his duty, and responsibility to describe the options we had available to us. Now that we're taking in the view from the cliff's edge, donor eggs are something we are going to leave on the table for the time being. I want to clearly state something: I have no "need" for a child that is genetically tied to me - that is not the reason for considering donor eggs. Technologies for egg freezing have improved drastically in the past 12 months. Our clinic is doing a trial in this area and they are seeking participants. We are candidates for this trial, and could receive some economic relief by participating. The process could commence very soon, and offers some very attractive odds for success, and eliminates variables out of your control when pursuing adoption (i.e. health screening, drug records, healthy pregnancy behaviors, etc.)

We have some talking to do, and some decisions to make. There are a lot of things to consider with either option ... how do you handle telling children of donor eggs about the nature of their "coming into the world"? Similar questions abound for adoption.

The choices are certain to be difficult ... but as the Bachelor Jason "Douche Bag" Mesnik states, this process is about tough choices. We are still going to pursue adoption, but, we might explore this donor egg thing a little bit too ... I'm leaving the decision to my wife, as I am completely at peace with any route we follow. My wife and I want a family - we know now that the path we have to follow to get there will be unconventional. Now we need just pick the flavor of unconventional we like best.

Will keep you posted.

Monday, March 2, 2009

No Go

On Saturday morning our Doctor called to say that 2 of our 4 embryos had deteriorated: 4 less 2 equals 2. Of those two, one was borderline acceptable and the other was not much better. He gave us a 5% chance of pregnancy if we transferred that day (which was day 3) We opted to hold off until day 5 (today) - this morning's call confirmed that the final two had arrested leaving none to transfer. He's calling it "a serious egg issue". We're calling it "the end of the road". Adoption, here we come ...

There's really not much left to say ... we're clearly disappointed, but we're surprisingly okay. We went into this knowing our odds were pretty grim. Even though we've fallen on the less desirable side of the fence, we at least have some certainty ... our goal is to get educated about adoption and move forward in the weeks ahead. We're expecting it to be an adventure, certain to have its own ups and downs, but at least at the end of it we will be parents, and will be able to give a great life to somebody who might otherwise have had to grow up in difficult circumstances.

As for this blog, I'm going to retire it and start a new one with more details on the journey we are about to begin ... more to come later, but for those of you who have read, commented and encouraged, thank you. I hope your path ends as you hope it to.