Decisions, decisions... or The fun of international parenting decisions - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 05-18-2010, 09:26 AM - Thread Starter
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My partner and I are American expats living in Australia. We're at the point in our relationship where we're starting to seriously think about kids. We also eventually want to return to the US, since that's where the family we care about lives.

Now, the original plan was to wait until we moved back to the US (Washington State) and adopt. Adopting is not an option over here, as a) only one of us would be the legal parent in NSW and b) the waiting lists are pretty long. However, if I put a baby in my tummy (or my lady puts one in hers), we would both be considered the moms by the NSW government and everybody's happy. Which, from what I understand, is the case in Washington, too, so long as we get a domestic partnership.

With me so far?

The main issues here revolve around money, from how I see it. If I go with IUI, it's likely to be more expensive here than in the US (especially if I get donor sperm, since there's a shortage on here). If I go with a known donor and do at-home insemination, well, the cost will be the same, I'd imagine. (Aka nil, save testing/legal costs.) Birthing would be waaaay cheaper here, since I'm covered by Medicare and can do it at a public hospital at no cost to me. (Plus no guarantees I've have good insurance in the States!) And adoption is expensive no matter which way you cut it.

The other issue is financial stability - if we move back and find it hard to find jobs and it's just the two of us, that's not insurmountable... we can eat Top Ramen for a few months if we have to. That's not so easy with a kidlet in tow... although we do have a bit of a support system back home and no one is likely to let us starve.

I know this is a bit of a tricky and complicated situation, but... does anyone have any thoughts? Has anyone gone through something like this before? (Longshot, I know...)

Man, I envy my friends who can just go off the Pill and not give it a second thought... ;D
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#2 of 7 Old 05-18-2010, 10:10 AM
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Tough decisions for sure!
A few questions.....

Do you have any known donor (KD) candidates? If you do, that could factor into the whole equation....For example if you move back to US and KD is in Australia then you'd have to ship the swimmers (which I understand can be pricey when its international, although I have no personal experience w/that) and time it all out right.

Have you checked the job climate in Washington for your fields of employment? Is it possible for either one of you to arrange employment prior to moving back? Also, I am fairly certain some states who don't acknowledge same-sex relationships may offer pregnant women/single mothers some sort of state assistance insurance coverage, i have no idea what the criteria is for that in which states, but it might be worth looking into as a back up plan if you move back to US end up pregnant without a job (like if your partner has a job, but you are not joined in a legal union)

Also, for what its worth, I think a support system (both emotional and financial if necessary) is important when having children, for the parents and the child. I do not believe family is only defined by blood relation though, so while you mention having a bit of a support system back home, how is your support system is Australia?

I do not envy the position you are in, but your conundrum is certainly intriguing.....full of things that made me go Hmmmmmm
Good Luck I hope you find the decision-making help you need here!

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#3 of 7 Old 05-18-2010, 05:06 PM
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Ah, and then there's the dilemma of citizenship!

I am giving birth in the US, I am Canadian and started trying before I moved here.

One of the reasons I chose this particular university is because I knew the health insurance offered full coverage for infertility, including IVF, and I knew I might need it. And I did.

My kid will have US and Canadian citizenship, and I saw that as a plus, though I did consider moving home to Canada part way through my pregnancy to take advantage of much, much, much better parental leave, but I couldn't find a job in a few weeks, so I gave up on it.

SPBC Finally a Papa! Elise Ember Soleil - 10/3/10 - 4:09 AM - 6 lbs 8 oz My daughter eats donor milk! Human milk for human babies!
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#4 of 7 Old 05-18-2010, 07:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for your thoughts, guys

Jen, you make a good point about the support system... I really don't have much of one over here, outside some friends and possibly my partner's aunt and cousins (although probably not, since they're of the Crazy Christian persuasion and barely recognize our relationship of almost a decade...) But back in Seattle, I have my partner's parents, my brother, and scads of good family friends.

Oh and Washington has domestic partnerships that are "everything but marriage" - which means I don't think I'll be eligible for any kind of single mom assistance.

I've got a couple of prospective donors in mind... one's in the States, one's in Australia, so obviously I can go with one or the other depending on where I live. (Or circumvent that entirely and just go for an anonymous donor.)

And FtMPapa, you also bring up a good point about citizenship. I'm thinking about getting dual citizenship here (I'm eligible now, I just have to do the paperwork/interview), so that should mean citizenship for my child either way. The other half is already a dual citizen, but I'm not exactly sure what that would mean as far as immigration is concerned if I carry...
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#5 of 7 Old 05-19-2010, 11:02 PM
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Hello {from Melbourne}

Such big decisions for you both. We spent a while considering some of those what if's and were particularly stuck on the money stuff...

In the end, we realised that there is never a 'right time' to have babies and for us, while we're still very broke, long-term renters and ricocheting off student poverty and debt, now seemed as good a time as any. Babies don't need much more than love and boobs and we figure that our family income will build as our kid(s) grow up.

Our DS was conceived with KD sperm at home, so cost us nothing and I really believe that it was the right way for us to go, regardless of where we sit financially. I would think that choosing to conceive with a KD in Australia might hold some issues in terms of the kids/KDs access to one another if you do move back to the US. Not necessarily a deal breaker but worth considering...

Also, I would think that regardless of the child's parentage on their NSW birth certificate, for you both to be recognised in Washington, you'd still have to get your domestic partnership.

And you're right - there really are no reasonable adoption options here. It's not something I ever spent a second thinking about.

In terms of support, family can be good but often aren't. We've spent the last 17mths, since the birth of our DS, being very surprised and disappointed by our families who have offered us very little support. We do however have a few close friends who we consider family and their support has been invaluable. Building community is the most important factor.

Anyway, what I really wanted to say was just do what your heart feels is right. I'm so glad we had our DS when we did and not when the time seemed right...I imagine the 'right time' when we're financially secure and better established won't be until I'm into my 40's which would create a whole new set of issues. No matter what you choose though, you'll always find a way to make it work!

Good luck. It's a wild and crazy ride but it's so much fun!

One gorgeous solstice babe 12/08, two smitten mothers - mothering consciously with conscience and compassion. Birth & Postnatal Doula. Student Midwife. Expecting #2 November '12.

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#6 of 7 Old 05-20-2010, 01:11 AM - Thread Starter
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Mujer -

Thanks so much for your point of view!

It's funny... I'm so hung up on the "financially stable" aspect of things, but then I think back and realize that my parents had me three months after they graduated college in an expensive hospital birth (no insurance!) and with my dad's huge college debt! And then my brother came along 20 months later! And yet we had food on the table and all the love we could handle... regardless of the lean years!

Plus looking at my savings account... I'm pretty sure that "financially stable" describes my situation right now! ;P

And I hear you on the family issue - to be perfectly honest, I'm skeptical that the other half's parents will be all that accepting, especially considering their less-than-stellar track record. (And this goes double if I carry the kiddo...) My parents will be awesome (Mom's been hinting at wanting grandbabies for YEARS), but they live in Chicago and are planning to be living on a boat in the next five years! So much for babysitting!

Lots of things to think about. ^_^
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#7 of 7 Old 05-21-2010, 11:49 PM
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