Jane Liou Li, 44, has a busy life. She works in finance; she’s the mother of 8-year-old Tanner. But, what takes much of her time and energy these days is what she calls “my fertility journey.”
Li suffered several miscarriages before giving birth to Tanner. Fortunately, the pregnancy and delivery were uneventful. Her efforts to have another child, however, did not go as planned.
She tried IVF, but when she encountered problems after two-and-a-half cycles, she terminated the procedure.
“I was not getting enough eggs, maybe four or five,” she explained. “That’s not a good number to start with.” She reasoned that the $5,000 cost for genetic testing was too high for just a few eggs.
Initially, she considered using a donor egg, and actually had a potential volunteer. When that did not work out, she and her husband George decided on adoption.
That was two years ago, and they are still waiting.
There are so many choices to make, she explained. Do you want to foster a child or adopt a child? Do you use a local or international orphanage?
Li found that stipulations varied by country and orphanage. Some specified age and even religion of the adoptive parents. In the U.S., birth parents can choose the adoptive parents. Li chose not to go that route. “I didn’t want to market myself,” she explained.
Li was born in Taiwan and decided to adopt from an orphanage in that country. She and her husband wanted a sister for Tanner. They specified a girl between the ages of four and six. The choice has been made, but it takes numerous steps ─ and time ─ for that to occur.
The couple works with an agency that negotiates international adoptions in Taiwan. They underwent two days of training and evaluation by a social worker. The application is extensive. It reviews employment status, income, education, history of alcohol abuse, and police record. The child’s medical records required review by an adoption specialist from The Johns Hopkins Hospital.
Public entities weigh in. The application must be approved by the Secretary of State and the Taiwan Embassy in Boston and New York.
Li and her husband travelled to Taiwan to meet their prospective daughter and conduct a hearing with a judge. At this point they are waiting for the judge’s final ruling. The orphanage has applied for a visa and passport for the child. The last step is U.S. Immigration.
The good news is that they now Skype once a week with their daughter, so a relationship is being forged. If all goes well, they will be united with her in the spring.
Li is quick to offer advice. “It’s a tough process,” she warned. “There’s tons of paper work and copies of copies.” She relies on the support of her girlfriends. “It’s good to have someone to lean on,” she explained. “I don’t feel as alone.”