Adoption and Family,  Health

When Christmas Means Heartache #OHIP4IVF #onpoli

The Christmas card sent to all MPPs in Ontario on behalf of Conceivable Dreams
This Christmas Eve post is for all those who wait. For those waiting to adopt. For those waiting to conceive. For those waiting to go through IVF, in vitro fertilization. For those trying desperately to save the money to be able to afford IVF. For the kids too in foster homes waiting for families. Waiting is the hardest state.

When everyone is busy reflecting on the past, or casting an eye on the coming year, I think it is important to note the people in waiting. This Christmas, while you celebrate with family and friends take a minute to think about those who are waiting. In a perfect world all families would be healthy, every child would have a home and every parent that desired, and had ability to be a parent would be just that. Family is the reason for the season and while happiness and joy should be the standard, I know firsthand that many struggling with infertility, and many waiting to adopt, will spend a part of their holidays struggling. Many will put on a brave face at family events and then go home to cry in private. Surrounded by visions of family, pregnant relatives and sometimes even well meaning family members who ask inappropriate questions, their holidays will be emotional and difficult.

I have never been good at waiting. One particular Christmas 12 years ago when everyone in our inner circle of friends and family was either pregnant or enjoying their young families, sticks out as the hardest holiday ever. We were married nine years by that time and we were waiting. Waiting to see if we would still by some fluke or minor miracle magically conceive a child. And we were waiting to adopt, waiting for the call that seemed it might never come. Everyone around us was expecting. And when everyone around you is expecting and you are not, well you notice it even more. Waiting is the hardest state.

There is a picture in one of my old photo albums still floating around my house. It looks like this: My husband, myself, two cats and a Christmas tree. I suppose now 12 years later, I can see what is good within the picture if I break the pieces apart. Nice house, nice tree, decent clothing. Two skinny people who were young and fairly attractive. And the intangibles only I can see: a good marriage, a decent new house, good jobs. I was skinnier then, I had fewer grey hairs and more disposable income. We bought nice clothes when we wanted to, and we took trips when we felt like it. What you can’t see in the picture is the space that infertility takes, the energy, the exhaustion, the emotional upheaval, the financial toll. And the anxiety of adoption. The fact that nobody, from the federal government on down to provincial governments, has ever taken adoption as equal to giving birth. From the leave that is given to birth families, we are shortchanged, as are our children. Did you know adoptive families don’t get the same time for maternity and parental leave as everyone else does? This despite the fact that our children often come to us with special needs, or trauma. Despite the fact that in reality our children need more, not less time to bond with their new families. Did you know too that the cost of IVF – in vitro fertilization is not covered by the Ontario health care system unless you have both tubes fully blocked, which is the case in a very small percentage of infertile couples? And did you know that despite the recommendations made three years ago in the Expert Panel Report on Infertility and Adoption, none of that has been implemented for infertile couples. And while the Ontario government started to implement a few of the adoption recommendations, they missed the mark entirely on adoption subsidy. The Ontario government implemented adoption subsidy for children who are adopted as sibling groups together at once and for children adopted over 10 years old. That was what they call an example of a policy that benefits no one. In practice in Ontario in any given year at most 16 kids over 10 are adopted.

Here is the reality of adoption: 25 % of our children struggle with lifelong mental health issues. Most struggle with grief and loss. As many as 80 % of our children adopted from foster care have special needs. They need extra care and where they were once Crown wards it is incumbent on government to provide the best possible outcome for our kids. That saves money as more children move into permanent homes and leave foster care. Funding IVF saves money (when a single embryo is transferred and a maximum of three rounds) for those who require this procedure. Right now we have people transferring multiple embryos in an attempt to increase their chances because they have remortgaged their homes to try to have a baby. In reality we know now that single embryo transfer provides the best chance of conception. Multiple embryos transferred lead to risky multiple births and potential maternal health risks as well. Health care costs spiral when that happens. Funding IVF saves money. None of this is brain surgery. Saving money and building healthy families should be the goal of each and every political party in Canada.

Over the years, when we were childless, I buried myself at holiday time in work. I volunteered, many years, to work the Christmas Day shift. It was extra money and I could attempt to avoid the family questions or discomfort. No doubt many of the people I know who are still waiting will do the same. My heart goes out to them. This year in 2013 as we head towards another election in this province my wish is for all those who wait. Now is the time to hold Ontario party leaders accountable. Now is the time to dictate what we don’t want to wait for anymore.

Let’s take this year 2013 to make change happen. Rally together as infertility and adoption communities to make change for all Ontario families. Waiting is not good enough. Families should not have to wait. Children should not have to wait.

Let’s take this year to make it known we don’t wish to wait any longer. Happy New Year! Make it count.

To find out more visit our adoption page at http://www.canadiancoalitionof adoptive
or visit

And to get involved or for support follow the #ohip4ivf movement on twitter.
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am a member of the Conceivable Dreams Blog Team. I believe strongly in this issue. I receive compensation as community manager for this group. My opinion is all my own.

Mom of two beautiful active girls, traveller, fitness junkie, social media consultant, and keeper of the sanity.