Rebecca Gruenspan’s dream was to become a mother, something she’d wished and hoped for most of her life. So when she married at age 23, she thought her dream was coming true. But it wasn’t. Within a year, she was divorced. “I’ve never had a ton of boyfriends,” she says, frankly. “Yet, I always thought I’d marry and have kids young, like my parents did. But my marriage was a very quick hiccup.”
For the next several years, she had relationships but none serious. Her goal was to become a mother, and it was difficult finding a man who also wanted children. Then, in 2008, she began dating someone again seriously. “We dated about a year and I thought, ‘this is it,’” Ms. Gruenspan recalls. “I made it very clear I wanted a family. But yet again, the relationship fell apart.”
That’s when she decided enough was enough: she was going to have a baby on her own and started fertility treatments through intrauterine insemination. Surprisingly, after her first treatment, she was pregnant. “I did a home pregnancy test, which came back positive,” she explains. “I was just overwhelmed. I couldn’t believe this was finally happening!”
But her excitement didn’t last long. Her doctor broke the news to her that the home test was a false positive. She wasn’t pregnant. “That was the beginning of a lot of ups and downs,” Ms. Gruenspan admits. “I then went through 26 additional inseminations, with no results. My body was failing me.”
However, in 2010, Ms. Gruenspan found a new job and her insurance covered in vitro fertilization. She then found a highly respected IVF specialist – an hour and a half from her Edgewater apartment. Though her doctor tried every possible procedure, Ms. Gruenspan was told her chances of conceiving at age 40 were very slim. That’s when her doctor suggested adoption. After all, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, most adoptive parents did so due to infertility.
“I just cried and was grieving all the way home,” Ms. Gruenspan says. “Then, I had a moment of clarity. My entire life’s work has evolved around helping others, because I’m a social worker. I just realized all my troubles were necessary for me to get to this point: I was meant to a adopt a child!”
Her first step was finding an adoption counselor…someone to hold her hand and guide her through the process. Locating a counselor in Florida, Ms. Gruenspan sent the $3,000 fee, sight unseen. She had faith that this would be her first step. Within nine months, she was holding her son, Trey, in her arms.
“It was the most euphoric day ever,” Ms. Gruenspan gushes. “I never take a minute of motherhood for granted. I still pinch myself to make sure this is real! I enjoy waking up at 2am and going without sleep. I would do anything for Trey.”
Trey was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, in July 2011. On Valentine’s Day 2012, his adoption was finalized. Ms. Gruenspan believes this would not have happened had it not been for her consultant, who inspired her to start her own business, RG Adoption Consulting. “Having my own adoption counselor was like having an easy button,” she explains. “Now I can walk my own clients through every step of the adoption process: creating profiles, researching adoption agencies and providing support. After all, I’ve been through this process before.”
Her services include education and debunking several adoption myths. For instance, some prospective parents think the process could take years to complete, but that’s not always true. “So many factors are involved with adopting,” she affirms. “It matters if you prefer an open or closed adoption, meaning if you want the birth mother involved in the child’s life or not. It also depends where your child is born, as each state has different adoption laws.”
And adoption really is for anyone, Ms. Gruenspan says. She’s seen single women, single men and gay couples have success in the process. Plus, adoption consultants like Ms. Gruenspan provide a customized list of resources, complete with attorney and agency information that best fit their situation. She also guides them through the legal process, including home inspections, criminal background clearances and finances. “An adoption can cost up to $40,000,” she explains, “but there are grants available, even tax breaks. I also encourage my clients to do their own fundraising. But in the end, the monetary cost is so worth it. Nothing can replace the feeling of holding your baby in your arms for the first time. Yes, it’s an emotional rollercoaster, but never deny yourself that opportunity.”
Learn more about RG Adoption Consulting at www.RGadoptionconsulting.com.
Above: Rebecca Gruenspan & her son Trey | John Reilly Photograph