On Friday, we successfully navigated one of the many hurdles on this route to embryo adoption. Grandma came up to watch the kids while hubby and I went down to Austin to interview two clinics. And we chose one!
Even with military discounts for the initial consults, we still had to shell out big bucks just to talk with the doctors. We talked to the first clinic for maybe a half hour - full price, we would have had to pay over $400. Can you believe it? And all we did was talk, no exams or bloodwork or anything.
I think both clinics would have been competent in their handling of the embryos and of our future embryo transfer(s). They have some differences in their methodology, but both cite extensive studies/years of success to back their practices.
Clinic one was eventually eliminated for a number of reasons. 1. The clinic itself gave off a very pretentious vibe. 2. They publically advertise their services to those seeking "alternative parenting options". 3. The doctor was impersonal and somewhat cocky. 4. The doctor insinuated that she would not have allowed us to transfer all our embryos last time (Cora and Mac were two of three blastocysts) as she doesn't transfer more than two blasts, thereby forcing us into the position of having to refreeze an embryo. The latter is something we're going to great lengths to avoid.
Clinic two is a smaller family run operation. I originally cancelled our appointment here because their embryo transfer program would have just been too expensive for us. They called me back and said they would meet or beat their competitor's prices. And, while I don't have a complete price list yet, they have followed through on their word thus far. The doctor was very personable and genuine and made sure to answer all our questions, regardless how far past closing time we kept him.
In the end, the decision was very easy. We were dissatisfied with clinic one when we walked out the door and felt no hesitations whatsoever when we walked out of clinic two.
Choosing a clinic was our last step before entering the matching stage with the Snowflake Program. Next, I'll have a phone interview with one of their social workers to determine our specific matching criteria. I imagine we'll be "matchable" by the end of January and have been matched by the end of February. Our contracts can't be formally executed until we submit our next big payment (please, tax refund, cover these costs!!) but we've historically been matched very quickly, so February isn't an unreasonable estimate.
I've mentioned before that the Snowflake Program lists what they call their "Waiting Embryos" online. These are embryos that are a bit harder to place, due to genetic disease, small number of embryos, etc. Families adopting embryos from this list are eligible to apply for the Babushka fund, with awards ranging from $2000 to $5000.
I've often "fallen in love" or at least "fallen in interest" with sets of embryos on this page, only to have Bryan shake his head wryly at me. Yesterday, I discovered a new listing, a set of embryos that we both are interested in. Providential timing?? Based on the limited information posted publically, "Timothy and Cathleen" provide a promising match. And, of course, there's the added incentive of a scholarship (if we qualify).
This past week I was really struggling with a sense of hopelessness, that we'd never find the funds, that we'd hate both clinics, that things just wouldn't work out. Thankfully, God took mercy on me and took the time to pat me on the back and say, "Chin up, kid."
I still don't have the foggiest idea what our family will end up looking like, or where we'll get all the funding, but I feel like things are looking up!