This month, with many of our thoughts focused on Mother’s Day, YSC featured a blog post on fertility and breast cancer, exploring options available to those who have experienced issues due to treatment. “Infertility After Breast Cancer” was a wonderful and informative piece, but in thinking about it – I wanted to share my own journey to becoming a parent.
I was diagnosed with breast cancer at 31, had chemotherapy and radiation, and I’m now on monthly Lupron shots and Tamoxifen. One of the hardest things my husband and I had to deal with was knowing my fertility would most likely be compromised. What we didn’t consider was the safety of coming off hormone treatment. The first oncologist I spoke to was happy for me to take a break from my medication after two years. I met with another oncologist who felt differently. Based on the aggressiveness of my cancer, the fact it had spread to my lymph nodes and was hormone responsive, his advice was for me to wait five years before trying to have a baby naturally.
This information was the catalyst for my husband and I to consider all the options available to us. I should say here that everyone is different. For some people taking a break from treatment and trying to have a baby or using frozen eggs/embryos or working with a surrogate is right for them. While we definitely researched these options, we felt adoption was the route for us. It means I can stay on my medication and, ultimately, we can become parents – the most important thing for us. Of course, not having a child naturally is a difficult thing to accept, but it might be an option for us a few years from now.
Before we decided to adopt, we met with friends who recently adopted a little boy. It’s so important to connect with people who have experienced and gone through the process. Their first piece of advice was to attend the annual conference of the Adoptive Parents Committee. We attended wonderful sessions and heard from both adoptive and birth parents on the experience. We really educated ourselves on the process and options available to us. A social worker’s advice was to leave the conference, go home, watch a silly movie, eat take out and not talk about adoption! It really helped by giving us time to process everything we’d heard. A couple days later, we went for a walk and I asked my husband “so, how do you feel? Do you want to adopt a baby?” His answer was a lovely “yes!” And so begins our exciting adventure.
Grace Foxton, YSC’s Northeast Regional Field Associate, has agreed to share her adoption journey with us, offering a glimpse into the process. As a young woman affected by breast cancer, she hopes her experience will help other young women with the logistics of the adoption process. Please stay tuned in the coming months as Grace checks in with us!