One of the problems with researching adoption and seriously considering doing it is that you very quickly start to hear all the horror stories - the children with attachment disorder, the failed adoptions, the people who've had a horrendous time with the application process, the cost, the intrusion into every aspect of your life. Above all, applying to adopt is a huge step into the unknown, and a bit of time on the internet very quickly shows you all the ways that you could fail.
There are also those people in real life who just have to share their stories of failed adoptions with you. They're probably the same people who tell horrendous birth stories to people who are newly pregnant.
But my oldest and best friend is adopted, and yesterday I was chatting with her. We hadn't spoken on the phone since before Christmas, so I was catching her up on where we're up to with the baby-making project. I told her how completely banjaxed I'd been by DH's reluctance to consider adoption, and we talked about that for a while.
Then she said, "The thing is, when you're adopted you DO belong to that family. And not just that, but if you're adopted, you know absolutely that you were wanted and that you're loved. Whatever else happens in an adopted child's life, you can't take away the fact that they're absolutely secure in the knowledge that they're the most precious thing in their parents' life."
She said it as if that was true for all adopted children, and I know from spending too much time on sad and angry internet sites that that's not the case. But it could be the case for us.
But more than that, I now realise that I just really needed to hear someone with first-hand experience of adoption actually saying that from the adopted child's point of view. And because she's my oldest and best friend, I know that she absolutely believes it to be true. And because I've known (and loved) her parents since I was 10, I know that in her case it's undoubtedly true.
There are so many unknowns, and the biggest of all is the question of whether we would be turned down for adoption on the basis of age. The crazy thing is that for a number of reasons, it would be easier for me to adopt on my own as a single person than it will be for DH and me to adopt together as a married couple. I think that shows a serious defect in the system.
If it comes to it, though, I really feel now that if we do pursue adoption, I will be pursuing it as a positive and real option and not just as the last resort after our attempts to have our own biological child failed. I feel excited at the idea of it, and although I know DH isn't there with me on that feeling yet, I think we could get there together.