Waiting for the lullaby
Longing for a baby, couple founds Delayed Lullabye to help others adopt
In middle school Jennifer Schultz and Doug Thorson dated and discussed in a new-love kind of way their future kids' names. It has been 15 years and they are now searching for a baby so they can fulfill their dream of becoming parents.
Jennifer was raised in Storm Lake by her parents Larry and Carolyn Schultz and she also graduated from Storm Lake Public High School in 2003. Then in 2011 she became Jennifer Thorson when she married her high school sweetheart Doug Thorson. They hoped to have a child shortly after they got married, but after four rounds of in vitro they chose adoption because having their own biological child was no longer an option.
The process has been a long and extremely emotional path, but Jennifer explains their story as, "a fun and outgoing couple that's missing the final piece to our love story that started back in middle school."
"We keep our eye on the prize and we are wanting a baby more than anything in this world and will do what we need to finally be blessed with a baby," says Jennifer. Both have the ability to take care of a child with Jennifer managing radio stations and Doug being an electrician.
For the following six months after the couple were married they tried to have a baby, but eventually went to the doctor because attempts were unsuccessful. The doctors said, "It was a small problem."
After going to the doctor the couple would try in vitro four times, each time costing $20,000. The process of in vitro takes an egg and sperm and fertilizes the egg outside of the body, then it is inserted back into the body where it is supposed to make its way to the uterus.
Going into the fourth round of in vitro the couple decided if it didn't work that time then it was the last time trying the fertilization process. Their next option would be adopting a child.
What happened with Jennifer was the fertilized egg was in the fallopian tubes and the tubes ruptured, resulting in an emergency operation where they had to be removed.
"We weren't going to do this anymore and put my body through this so we went to adoption," says Jennifer.
Adoption doesn't guarantee a couple will receive a baby either. The biological mother has an approximately one-month window after having the child to decide whether they want to keep the baby, according to Minnesota law.
In May of this year it was decided adoption was the route they would take. Before a couple go through the process of adoption it is recommended they use an agency. The couple chose Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota because they "felt comfortable and accepted by them."
Shortly after the couple took education classes that are required, and then moved onto the next step, home study, which they are currently doing. Jennifer expects the home study to be done by the end of September and be able to adopt by October.
Before any of this can begin the parents wanting to adopt have to pay. Adoption itself is expensive at a cost of $21,000 and this doesn't even include the price of having a baby placed with the parents. That costs an additional $4,000 to $6,000. Instead the couple will be placed on a waiting list that has 60 other candidates in the pool.
The couple had already spent a ton of money on in vitro and didn't have that type of money laying around. There are some grants, but people who have paid $20,000 for each in vitro fertilization are put in the same pot as people who haven't paid high amounts trying other methods. The likelihood of being chosen is very slim. The Thorsons had already paid $80,000 and by the time they paid another $21,000 wouldn't have any money to raise the child. Nor did they have $21,000 laying around.
Jennifer and Doug decided to raise the money themselves.
"Delayed Adoption" was the tag line the couple came up with to start their Facebook page and raise money. Jennifer says they got huge positive feedback from people when they talked about raising money themselves, which is a route many people are taking now due to how expensive the process is.
At this point Jennifer and Doug are ready to adopt and are just waiting to get all the steps done before they are legally considered "able to adopt." In order to find a baby to adopt they plan to put advertisements in the newspaper and make post cards in order to find someone needing to place an adoption.
They are still anxious though because Lutheran Social Services told them it can take anywhere from six to 24 months to find a birth mother.
After the long process Jennifer and Doug are very concrete in their decision and say, "We came to the conclusion we don't really care where our child comes from, whether it's growing in me or coming from another woman because we are ready to be parents."
Jennifer says, "The penny after what we need will immediately start the charity of what I'm trying to create in order to give back to local area couples doing the same thing."
Delayed Lullaby has become more than just an opportunity for the Thorsons to raise money for their own adoption, but they have become so emotionally invested in the process and understand the difficulties and complexities that they want to help others.
At this point it isn't the companies providing adoption services that really make the whole process difficult, but it is the policies and a lack of help for people who really need it. Jennifer believes, "when you have proven you cannot have children there needs to be somewhere where you can get help in those situations."
Anyone interested in adoption, or who needs help in their own adoption process, or would like to donate to the cause can contact Jennifer and Doug at firstname.lastname@example.org.