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Ashburn woman releases memoir on perseverance, motherhood and the adoption of her daughter

Lauri Velotta-Rankin of Ashburn has published “Sheer Willpower: A Mutiny to Motherhood.”
Lauri Velotta-Rankin has a pretty regular Ashburn life. She lives in Brambleton with her husband and their daughter who just started kindergarten. It’s the suburban, family-friendly all-American dream. But it took an arduous while for their dream to be fully realized.

“We moved into this neighborhood filled children and families, and we planned to add to that. But, we were one of the many couples out there who were dealing with infertility. We didn’t realize we’d have the difficulties that we had.” Rankin said.

So she and her husband began to look for other options. First, they sought foreign adoption. However, the system was unpredictable and hard to navigate, and after a failed trek to Morocco with an adoption agency, they tabled it.

Then they sought in vitro fertilization, or IVF. Rankin had two miscarriages.

“During the multiple rounds of IVF, I learned that I had endometriosis,” Rankin said.

Endometriosis is a condition that affects the female reproductive system and can cause infertility and, in more severe cases, chronic pain.

“With infertility, it’s really difficult to figure out next steps,” Rankin explained. “And it feels stigmatized too. No one really talks about infertility. You’re stressed. Finances come into play because every other avenue is extremely costly and you have to plan for it while at the same time they are unpredictable. There is no guarantee for success.”

But, she persevered and decided to pursue domestic adoption. At the time, her husband worked for the government and she was a government contractor, and they were able to tighten their finances in a way that was still manageable, save the money and do the research to do so.

Lots of research.

“I had checklists and an Excel spreadsheet with everything in it,” she laughed. “We went through an adoption law firm. After everything that we had been through before, it was a relatively smooth process. Her biological parents live in the northeast. They viewed our profile online, we spoke to them on the phone, and we established a relationship with them. We emailed. And they selected us. When the baby was born, we got a call in the middle of the night to travel up there to meet her.”

She continues, “Every state has a different law for how long you have to wait after the baby is born. You don’t get to just show up, sign some papers and leave. You have to stay in-state for a certain period of time, during which the biological parents could change their mind. We felt pretty strongly that they wouldn’t, but you can’t know for sure. We were at a hotel with a newborn for about a week not knowing if we could take her home with us. It was agonizing, yet we knew it would be going in, and we were committed to it.”

Rankin and her husband eventually got to take their daughter home with them. She’s five now, and she’s aware of her adoption story because they have an “open adoption,” in which the biological and adoptive families keep in touch with each other. They got their happy ending, but also a happy start, because they’ve got their daughter’s whole life ahead of them.

After figuring out how to become parents, now they get to figure how to be parents. In a similar but much happier fashion, you can do your research and prepare and be ready to be parents, but it’s not until you’re actually in it that it’s really real.

“It was hard to stand at neighborhood parties and listen to neighbors talking about childhood eczema and new pairs of shoes for toddlers and how many of my neighbors were pregnant and how many kids were around,” Rankin said in an interview with the Times-Mirror. “It was hard seeing that against what we were going through. It was a feeling of isolation.”

She coped by writing it down. Recently she gathered her journals and notes together, hoping her story might help others who may be experiencing something similar.

Rankin recently self-published her memoir, “Sheer Willpower: A Mutiny to Motherhood,” through Amazon. Visit SheerWillPower.com to read a sample chapter.

Contact the writer at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or on Twitter at @MsSophieDesmond.


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