Overcoming Barriers To Domestic Adoption After Infertility
Entering the world of adoption was intimidating. We didn't know anyone who had gone through it and had many assumptions about what adoption was. In negotiating the learning curve, we realized the ability to distinguish good information from bad is paramount to a successful and ethical adoption. The month spent out of state during our son's adoption was poignant, teaching us the lesson that adoption is difficult because it starts at a place of love and loss.
These experiences had a profound impact, shaping our desire to give back to others who were seeking clarity in the way we had. Choosing to focus efforts in North Carolina, we realized that there was no existing nonprofit resource providing independent, one-on-one training about the domestic adoption process and financial support specifically for those who had been treated for infertility. We felt that our efforts should actively help fill this gap and, in 2011, established the nonprofit, Noah Z.M. Goetz Foundation.
Named in honor of our son, Noah Z.M. Goetz Foundation's education and grant programs empower clients in their decision-making process, opening up perceived barriers to moving forward with domestic adoption. Further, as an independent nonprofit that does not partner with adoption agencies, we are able to provide unbiased information to clients, helping them find the best options for a successful adoption.
Holly and Clark: A Success Story
When Holly and Clark contacted the foundation in 2012, they had already struggled with infertility for several years and were pondering just what "having a baby" versus "parenting a child" meant to them.
"What we came to realize was that, at the most basic level, what we really wanted was to have a happy and healthy baby to whom we could give ourselves as parents," Clark says. "The biological path that we had always assumed, and in which we had become so invested, was in fact only a path to what we most deeply wanted—it was not the destination. With this realization, we began to open our minds to the idea of adoption. This involved the process of letting go of the idea of biological parenthood, in parallel with trying to learn more about the nature of adoption, and the details of how the process works, all while trying to separate fact from myth."
Seeking to understand the process, Holly and Clark enrolled in the foundation's Domestic Adoption 101 education program module upon the recommendation of their fertility clinic. This enabled them to begin exploring the idea of adoption and gain the confidence to arrive at a decision that it was the right option. In October 2012, they started their adoption journey by enrolling in the foundation's education program module, Domestic Adoption 102, to guide them through the process.
"The education program [Domestic Adoption 101 and Domestic Adoption 102] cut through the confusion and gave us everything we needed to know in an organized and understandable way," Holly says. "It also gave us the confidence of knowing that we had a trusted resource we could go to with questions and concerns that might come up along the way. The foundation understood what we were going through on a more personal level, and gave us support and gentle encouragement as we made our adjustment to pursuing what we really wanted."
To help ease expenses, Holly and Clark applied for and received a foundation grant, making them the first couple to benefit from both the education and grant programs. Holly and Clark welcomed their daughter Avery in February 2014 and are actively involved in the foundation's community.
Since the establishment of the foundation, eight North Carolina couples who had previously battled infertility have successfully completed the adoption of their child, and incredibly, within less than one year.
Further, the Foundation has successfully:
- Awarded nine grants of $1,000 each to North Carolina couples, easing the expense burden and bringing recipients added peace of mind during their process;
- Administered our Domestic Adoption 101 education module to 48 North Carolina couples who have learned about the process enabling them to determine if they wish to pursue adoption; and,
- Administered our Domestic Adoption 102 education module to 12 North Carolina couples who have learned how to successfully navigate the process and realize their dream of parenthood.
Nathaniel H. Goetz is chief operating officer and co-founder of Noah Z.M. Goetz Foundation, helping couples living in North Carolina who previously battled infertility achieve their dream of parenthood through domestic adoption. To learn more, please visit: www.nzmgfoundation.org.