Childless couple attempting to adopt on rejection, 'emotional scams' and their heartbreak at declining a newborn with Down's Syndrome
Author Jennifer Gilmore speaks out about the adoption process in Vogue's October issue
20:31 GMT, 18 September 2012
A woman who was unable to conceive naturally, has spoken out about the hardships of the adoption process.
Jennifer Gilmore, who lives with her husband Pedro in Brooklyn, New York, describes that their quest for a child has left them emotionally and financially exhausted.
After a string of failed pairings with birth mothers who picked other families or were discovered as frauds – playing the system for financial or emotional gain – Mrs Gilmore reveals that the biggest heartache came when they declined a newborn with Down's Syndrome.
Keeping strong: Jennifer Gilmore (pictured with husband Pedro) has spoken out about the hardships of adoption
Mrs Gilmore, who has written a book based on her experiences titled The Mothers, contributed a first person article to the October issue of Vogue.
The accomplished author was diagnosed with a form of inflammatory bowel disease in her twenties and was told after a number of surgeries that it was unlikely she would have children.
Two years after getting married aged 35, the Gilmores started trying for a child, but after suffering a miscarriage and enduring five rounds of IVF they realised they would have to look for other options.
Three years later they decided on domestic adoption, which meant they could raise the child from birth and the child would also have some knowledge of their birth mother.
But after signing on and creating a profile with a national agency Mrs Gilmore describes that she and her husband were 'left open to heartache'.
Mrs Gilmore has written a book based on her experiences
Giving a frank insight into the journey
that ensued in her magazine article, she states: 'We were blind to the
way open adoption leaves those who are unable to have children wide open
'When each relationship was cut, out lives unraveled. My husband and I grieved. We fought. We stopped trusting others and ourselves.'
After two years navigating various stages of the adoption process the Gilmores still hadn't had any joy.
As well as being turned down by birth mothers they were also alarmed to encounter women who had set up fake profiles which took advantage of those desperate for a baby.
Mrs Gilmore writes: 'These are not birth mothers at all but women who are either exploiting those who will do anything for a child, for money, or, I would find, were after emotional support.'
However after searching far and wide they found a suitable match in Missouri and started preparing for a new addition to their family.
They had selected baby names, purchased items for the nursery and when they were told their little girl was two weeks early they boarded a plane and flew almost 1,000 miles to St Louis.
Once there Mrs Gilmore describes that they were both 'overwhelmed' and spent time talking to the birth parents and thanking them before visiting their new daughter in intensive care.
But once there they were informed that the newborn had a number of complications including an obstructed bowel, methadone withdrawal and a genetic disorder.
Mrs Gilmore describes that while they became more open to options as time went on, special needs was never something they had never considered.
It's estimated around 18,000 domestic adoptions take place every year in the U.S.
Once inside the theater a nurse informed the couple that their adopted daughter had Down's Syndrome, and highlighted that a single line on the palm of her hand, instead of three, was an indication of the chromosomal condition.
While Mrs Gilmore says that she has a friend who has a Down's Syndrome child, who is the 'light of her life', she and her husband were not 'equipped' for the undertaking.
She adds: 'When we called out lawyer to tell her the news, she would assure us there would be another family for her… I did not think yet that our journey to have a family could – and would – continue.'
Despite Mrs Gilmore's experience a 2011 Adoptive Families survey, found the majority of respondents were matched with a birth mother in less than three months, and 40 per cent were matched less than one month before their child was born.
It's estimated around 18,000 domestic adoptions take place every year in the U.S,, each costing between $20,000 to $40,000.