The International Council on Infertility Information Dissemination, Inc

Sara's Story: "Why don't you just adopt?"

Mother, father and newborn baby

When I heard couples discussing their attempts at pregnancy and IVF, I said, with contempt in my voice,, “Why don’t you just adopt.”  Yes, I was one of “those people”.

I was adopted, and it worked out fine for my parents and me. I believed that people choosing IVF were self-centered and arrogant about the necessity to pass on their genes to offspring. I admit I took the attempts to create a family through treatment personally—as if people who choose IVF were somehow disparaging or devaluing my non-biological relationship to my parents and sister.

Fast forward to the time when I stopped birth control and my husband and I attempted pregnancy. Clearly I was not ovulating. Our insurance mandated we try for 12 months before I referral to a fertility specialist. We visited different reproductive endocrinologists, attended informational sessions at adoption agencies and researched. In the end, money made the decision for us.

Our state mandates fertility coverage. Attempting pregnancy through medical treatment with insurance co-pays was easier to afford than adoption agency fees.  

After a year of trying, fruitless medicated cycles and IUIs, we began IVF. Now, we were “those people” taking what I used to call “extraordinary measures” to start our family. Our first cycle resulted in an early miscarriage and a diagnoses of poor egg quality. My diagnosis also included Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and hypothyroidism.  Our reproductive endocrinologist (RE) told us dramatic weight loss might improve my egg quality. Our RE believed that future IVFs would also result in retrieval of poor quality eggs. Those poor quality eggs result in non-viable embryos or end in miscarriages. We said,  Thank you and goodbye”. The result, we started our adoption journey.

Adoption today is nothing like it was 37 years ago when my parents adopted me. Mine was a closed adoption through Catholic Charities. It did not take that long, cost was much lower, and, whether they were ready or not, parents were handed a baby with no “instruction booklet.”. Closed adoptions cause damage to many members of the adoption triad. Today’s open adoptions, through ethical agencies, are much healthier better for all members of the adoption triad. At the same time adoptions consume time, money, emotionally draining and stressful.  

We spent more than two and a half years and thousands of dollars pursuing adoption. We laid our lives and marriage bare in the home study process. We poured our souls into our profile book. We were asked to consider cases of expecting mothers and babies in truly heart-wrenching situations. We me with expecting mothers who smoked, drank and abused drugs while pregnant. We watched as month after month, other waiting parents were chosen instead of us. The rejections we felt while we waited and hoped was personal and painful. Our agency explained we needed to be ready because adoption matches came up suddenly. When we were in the top 2 or 3 waiting parent finalists, we experienced a rush of energy and enthusiasm that “this time” would be our time. I bought a stroller or hang curtains in the nursery. I cut tags off of the carefully chosen gender-neutral going home outfit. Twenty months passed, exceeding our agency’s average wait time (by six months) for a baby. I was an emotional wreck and no baby. “Just Adopt” had me in therapy struggling to hang on. Even with the plethora of hormones, fertility treatments were not as emotionally draining.

I was an emotional wreck with a finished nursery and no baby. “Just adopt” had me in therapy and struggling to hang on in a way that fertility treatments, even with all the crazy hormones, never had.

For the sake of our emotional well-being, we asked our adoption agency to place our profile on hold. We simply did not want any more rejection. During our adoption wait, I pursued weight loss that our RE recommended to enhance egg quality. We went back to the RE who was encouraging, but said that the only way to know if my weight loss changed my egg quality was to try IVF again. I want to make it very clear that weight loss is not the answer for everyone. However, in my case it was. Our post-weight loss IVF brought us a beautiful baby boy.

After our son’s birth, we closed our case with the adoption agency. Our social worker, who was wonderful and supportive throughout the years we worked with her, agreed that our adoption journey had been particularly brutal. If the universe was trying to teach me a lesson for my previous self-righteous ignorance, it was karma overkill. I learned early n our journey not to judge the paths that others take. Our decision to pursue treatments, adoption, and then more treatments was how we, fumblingly, found our way in the dark. When dealing with infertility, all of the available options are filled with loss and pain. The choice as to which loss is endurable, which pain is most bearable, is highly personal. 




Tag for Stories From The Heart section


Barbara's Story: The journey was a long one

From a blog post Oct 2015
My dearest Leon, the Journey for you was a long one and a short one all at the same time. This journal I’m writing is a little different than the one I wrote for the Penguins, the embryo we adopted, and the triplets because you are the child that we get to hold in our arms every day and love on you and kiss you every day. I cannot picture any other child in our life and any other child to call us Momma and Dada.  However, it was quite the journey to get you.  Dada and I first talked about adoption when we were engaged.  We talked about how we wanted someday to adopt as part of our family-building process.
Dada and I were married in 2007. We hoped to start a family right away. However, it took us almost eight years of marriage for you to make us finally a Momma and Dada. In 2010 we started to talk about domestic adoption but the cost seemed to put that process out of reach. In 2012 doctors told us we would be unable to conceive.We explored about donation and decided to try that pathway to becoming parents. The cost was less.  Eight embryos transferred never resulting in a take-home baby. After our second failed embryo transfer we decided to start looking into domestic adoption  At that time we still had one embryo left and still wanted to move forward with that transfer while continuing to pursue private domestic adoption.
           In January 2014 we started a home study, asking friends and family to write reference letters, getting a letter from our doctor saying we are in good health and so on. In March 2014 we had our home visit with the social worker. Our home study was completed in April of 2014 and it was time to make fliers and try to get the word out that we were looking to adopt. We also held a few fundraisers to help with the cost of domestic adoption. 
            Dada and I spend one weekend in June driving all over Washington and Oregon posting flyers saying we were looking too adopt.  We made up business cards to pass out and put up with our flyers and we mailed flyers to friends and family in other states to put up where they lived. We made a blog page and a Facebook page. We wrote letters to Women’s Shelters, lawyers and gynecologists. We sent letters to any place we could think of to let people know that we are looking to adopt. We were not able to raise much money and received no responses.  We were also trying to move forward with our last embryo transfer but my doctor in Seattle was not letting us move forward at the time.
While waiting I bcame pregnant with triplets but miscarried all three at 8 weeks. Then three weeks after the miscarriage, our lawyer in Seattle called and said that there was a baby girl that was born that morning and the parents were looking to place her up for adoption. Our lawyer asked if we wanted our profile to be shown and we said yes. Then the next day our lawyer called and told us they picked another couple.
A month later, our lawyer called saying another baby girl was born that morning and did we want our profile shown: we told him yes. That baby was born early and had to stay in the hospital for a while, and it took her birth parents a week to decide to parent her.  Around the same time we got a call from someone that saw our Facebook page. She said she was pregnant with twins lived in North Carolina. She told us they wanted an open adoption. With living so far away we did not know how that would work having an open adoption so we said no. I found out later from a Facebook group that the North Carolina birth mom was a scam, and never even was pregnant. We also had two other people try to scam us
            In January 2015 I was getting ready for our last embryo transfer.  I had to get my body ready for transfer. On January 15, 2015 the same day as one of my RE appointments, a special little boy named Leon was born.  While we getting ready for the transfer we also got a call from our lawyer that there was a 16 year old expectant mother that was due the beginning of March was looking to place her  baby for adoption and he was wondering if we wanted our profile shown we said yes. Even though we were weeks from doing our embryo transfer we thought we would try for both. So on January 29th we went to Seattle for our embryo transfer.  We found out that the embryo never made it through the freezing process and when it thawed it was no longer viable. 
The next day we got a call from our lawyer and found out the expectant mother that was due in March and picked a family with another agency. Then a few weeks later we found out that our home study was only good for a year and was 2 months from expiring. So Dada and I had some thinking to do of what we wanted to about our home study.
            On March 9th, our social worker who had been working with us for 2 years now and knew us well called me. She told me she had a friend with an adoption agency in Missouri and her friend was looking to share couples profiles to some birth parents of a 2 month old.  Leon, that little baby was you. She also asked if we want the agency info to e-mail our profile. We thought since the agency was willing to show our profile without signing with them beforehand we had nothing to lose. Our profile was shown the next day on Tuesday the 10th and Wednesday the 11th we get a call from the agency saying that the birth parents liked our profile and want to meet us and only us. Our social worker asked how fast we could get to Missouri from Washington State. As soon as I got off the phone I called Dada's School. We met at the agency the next day, then they put you in the car we had rented and we followed them to the mall. The four of us hung out at the mall with you for 4 hours. Your biological mom and I even picked out an outfit for you.
            Later that night your birth parents called us up and we went out to dinner and a movie while you stayed with your grandmother.. It was good night but I was tired and had trouble staying awake during the move. Dada and I wanted to give your birth family one last full day with you before you came to be with us. That Sunday night we texted Liz at the adoption agency and she text your birth parents to see if we were still on for the next day to sign parental right termination papers. On Monday, March 16th, we get a text from your birth mom 25 minutes from signing saying that your birth dad could not sign and want to find a way to still parent. Our hearts were breaking at the news. We had already fallen in love with you so much. But not only were are hearts breaking for us, we were also sad  for you because we know with all our hearts that we could give you a better life than what you your birth parents could give you. I was not mad at them; we could not be because we know that having to place a child up for adoption has to be one of life's most difficult decisions.
Hours after being told that your birth parents would not sign the papers, your birth mom called and told us they were on their way to the lawyer office and asked if we could come back and get you.
We showed up at the adoption agency before your parents came with you. They had to meet with their lawyer and had schedule to meet with the agency afterward. We waited for them to be done with their meeting and signed papers with our lawyer while we waited because the lawyer shared an office with the adoption agency. That night your birth parents came to our hotel and brought your clothes and some other things to take home with us.  
            The next morning you had your 2 month checkup at your pediatrician in Missouri and your birth mom met us there. The appointment was made way before adoption plan was in place.  Then on Wednesday the 18 of March we went to court to be able to become your legal guardians. The gal at the agency thought that since our FBI finger prints were over a year old we needed to redo them so we could get clearance to move you out of Missouri. So Dada and I went to a place that we could do it electronically and have results and clearance within hours. We got Dada's prints back right way. However, mine where a different story as they had been throughout this whole adoption process: my prints came back unreadable. So we had to do them again and do them a third time too. Because we knew that they would be a problem, we keep calling the company to see if we needed to do them again. We did the prints three times and all three came back and the company even ran them a fourth time and they still came back unreadable.  So we went to  the State portal office and they told us all they could do was try to get me in to do a background check by using my name but that it would take 8 weeks. We were told that we could not leave the state with you until we could get my FBI background check to go through. Missouri said that they were ok with the fact my background check was 13 month old but they are afraid that Washington was not going to be ok with it. Not knowing what else to do, we e-mailed our lawyer in Washington to see if he could be of any help. He told us that Washington had a rule that the finger prints need to no more than 18 month old so we were good. Because of my fighting with my finger prints, we stayed in your birth city until Friday the 20th . That night we drove to St. Louis thinking that we would just return the rental car and stay in a hotel in St. Louis until we were told we could take you out of Missouri. However, it turned out that I had some friends from back in college who live in St. Louis and saw on Facebook that we were in Missouri, so they offered to let us stay with them, so we kept the car and stayed at their place so we did not have to pay for a hotel.
            Then on Friday March 27th we go the call that we had clearance to leave the state with you. However, we had a hiccup: the Missouri Child Division had been called when you where one month old. We did not know what it was about, just that there was a concern about you.  After you had been placed with us, they went back to the house to check up on you without knowing that you had been place with us and that we had court papers for you. So we had to drive you back to your birth city so they could see you in person and see your court papers. After we cleared stuff up with Child Division, we took you to Cincinnati, Ohio to meet Cousin Drew and Aunt Megan. We stayed at Drew’s Nana's house and you used Drew’s crib at her house. Because of the extra four hour drive back to your birth city, we did not get to Cincinnati until one am Cincinnati time. We end up staying and hang out with Uncle David, Aunt Megan, Cousin Drew and Drew’s nana until Thursday March 31st because that when the cost of airplane tickets had gone down. You cried the whole flight home to Seattle. That was the only time you have ever thrown such a fit. We end up getting into Seattle really late the night of the 31st. Aunt Tracy picked us up from the airport in our car and we took her home. We were going to drive straight home that night but the pass was closed and no one we know had a crib for you to sleep in so we had to get a hotel that night. The next morning when we woke up the pass was open so we were able to get on the road and take you home to our house. So Mr. Leon, of all days to bring you home, we got you home and April 1st : April Fool’s day.
We had to wait 6 month to be able to finalize your adoption. We had to meet with our social worker for three post placement visits. She wrote report for the courts in Missouri to see and knew that you were doing great in our house. In that first six months, we had Meet and Greet parties for people to meet you and everyone one fall in love with you.  We face time a few time with your birth parents and you and  Momma even got to fly to South Carolina so you could meet your 5 cousins and your Aunt Karie and Uncle Steve in August. You fell in love with their cat Dixi.  After we got back from South Carolina, our lawyer in Missouri called and told me that Dada and I needed to sign papers and get them notarize so we could finalized your adoption out of court. We chose to finalize out of court so that we could stay in Washington. The judge had to wait for you to be in our house for 6 month before he could sign off on your finalization. On September 18th, 2015 while you were napping in your crib, Dada was at work teaching high school and the daycare kids where in the house happily playing, Momma got a e-mail form our lawyer that your adoption was finalized and that you legally had our last name.  
            Leon, Dad and I love you with all our hearts and we are so lucky that you are our son and that you are forever ours.


Tag for Stories From The Heart section

NIAW 2016, Sara's Story: The path takes you where you were always meant to be

I never fully believed stuff like this, back Then. Sure, it sounded good. But Now... Now I know how true it is. The path takes you where you were always meant to be. In this moment tonight. Rocking baby boy. He's just finished a bottle after waking up crying. He shouldn't be hungry yet, but he spent all evening crawling and pulling up and smiling a gummy grin of pride. So that left no time for much milk. So I hold his 21 pound, solid frame firmly in my arms. Like I've said before, he just fits. As he sucks the last few drops of his bottle, his eyes close. His head twitches and nods back and forth, cradled in the crook of my arm. He's got one hand by his face and the other casually folded behind his head. He's taking slow, deep breaths. He's 7 months, wearing 12 month pjs, and his tone little belly sticks out between the shirt and pants. His head nods and twitches some more. His hair is getting lighter. And thicker. It sticks up more on the left side than the right, no matter what I do to it. His skin is soft. His lips are perfectly rounded and at rest. Until he starts "sucking his fake paci". If I had him Then, would I notice each detail? Would I appreciate him as much? I'm certain the answer is "NO"!  If things happened the way I hoped so many times, I wouldn't be here. Now. 

I wouldn't cherish and savor each day with him. The way I am tonight. The way I have done each day since the day in early August when I first saw his little face.  I wouldn't have endured the amount of pain I did, that whittled me to my very core. That revealed my anxiety disorder. I would be a neurotic, impatient, frustrated mom were I made a mom Then. I'm treated Now. I feel like I can handle anything.  I wouldn't have the relationships I have Now. My sisters in embryo adoption. Fellow recipients. My son's special genetic mom. (And genetic extended family- he's not an only child after all). I hated waiting. I hated the suffering. The sacrifice. The running on a hampster wheel that never seemed to result in anything positive.  I'm here Now. I'm where I'm supposed to be. 


So how did we get to Now? What was the Then all about? My husband and I decided to not have biological children together to avoid passing a hereditary neuromuscular disorder. We tried donor sperm with 3 IUIs- no luck. We became certified foster parents. It wasn’t a feasible plan with the way our local foster care office handled referrals. We applied for waiting children through the foster care system with no response. We then sought domestic infant adoption. Because, you know, as everyone says, “Why don’t you ‘just adopt’”? We were on a waiting list of nearly 50 families when only 7 placements were made in a year. Our profile was shown once but the mom never placed. We applied for private adoption situations. Nothing panned out.

My husband says he could have kept waiting. But I was losing hope. I was desperately grasping to anything I could. I researched day and night. Other agencies. Private networking.and then I discovered embryo adoption. It’s not legally “adoption”, but in our situation, that feels like the correct language. And one of the most well-known embryo adoption clinics in the entire nation was mere hours from our house.

So we dove in. We transferred. Negative. We transferred. A devastating miscarriage. Our money was gone. Our strength was nearly gone. All 7 of our embryos we initially adopted were gone. We rematched. One final chance. This was it. It had to work.

We transferred two beautiful blastocysts (five day old embryos) on a Wednesday. I started feeling queasy on Saturday. I got a positive home test on Sunday, two beautiful pink lines. Due to Thanksgiving, I had to wait til Friday for the nervewracking beta news. Yep! Very pregnant, if there is such a thing. Pregnancy after a miscarriage was very difficult. I hated ultrasounds, even the one where I heard his heartbeat the first time and the one where I found out his sex. I had a stubborn SCH (subchorionic hematoma- common in FET pregnancies) that caused ongoing panic.I muddled through pregnancy, trying to stay in one piece.

Four years after we began the journey to be parents, lots of tears and money and shots later, they placed a nearly 9 pound, perfect baby boy on my chest. He lifted his little head and peered into my eyes. Everything I went through melted away. He was here. He is mine. He has healed me. Those years were dark. I would hate to relive them. But it was worth it. He is worth it.


To read more about my journey, including my very open relationship with my son’s gracious and wonderful genetic family, please check out my blog- Although we live across the country, we’ve met up 5 times in 8 months. We’ve stayed at each others' houses and met each others' extended family. It’s been a beautiful dance to develop a relationship with the family we owe ours to.



Tag for Stories From The Heart section

Words have Meaning: Respectful Adoption & Person First Language


adoptionWords Have Meaning

I first learned about the use of Respectful Adoption Language (RAL) from Patricia Irwin Johnston more than twenty years ago. RAL refers to attribution of “maximum respect, dignity responsibility and objectivity when working and communicating about adoption. The term was introduced originally by a social worker named Marietta Spencer.

          Some may think this is about political correctness. It is not. Some words in different settings and scenarios have the ability to be emotionally charged and not in a good way. For example asking a mom if the child in tow is their “natural child” as opposed to what – an unnatural child? Or asking, “Is that your real mother?”  Really, use of RAL can diffuse the emotional overcharging that comes with adoption.  Use of RAL validates that those carefully planning an adoption placement are thoughtful and practical people trying to made the best child-centered plan for the baby in question. After all, the adoption triad while a happy event for the intended parents may be devastating for the mother who places her child with an adoptive family. There is always loss within the adoption triad (even if it is not evident). It is common for many individuals to throw language and adoption terms around without thinking or necessarily having the “real” and complex family experience of adopting a child.

The application of respectful use of language is really common sense (which appears to be often in short supply).

What Constitutes a Family?

Historically people are considered members of a family when there is a “blood” relationship or strong social link to the other family members. (i.e. marriage between men and women, father and mother to children, siblings and their offspring) but an adoption links parents to their child by love and the law. Have you ever heard anyone a relative by saying, “this is John’s adopted son Harry”? Or worse having a parent introduce their child by saying, “This is our adopted daughter, Karen.” Would anyone introduce their child by qualifying their introduction with, “Hello, this is my vaginal birthed child, Jeff.” or “This is my vasectomy failure daughter Jesse.”?  I think not. These are introductions suggestive of relationships are abnormal or not as genuine as “blood relationships”. Asking anyone if someone who raised them is their “real mother” is disrespectful and filled with negativity. Because my younger child is not white (like her sibling and parents) and has a disability, we are often asked, of we knew she had disabilities before we adopted her. As if to suggest maybe we could return her and get a refund!

Family definitions change as people become more enlightened. Any two people that make a commitment and chose a life together are a family. It matters not whether they decide to live childfree, give birth to half a dozen children or adopt a child. Making the decision to parent is based on intent.

Person First Language Parallels Respectful Adoption Language

A relationship exists with person first language and respectful adoption language. Those who have a disability are often referred by their disability label (autistic, wheelchair bound, disabled). This type of language can attach a disability to the person and ignore the individual personalities and characteristics that make that person who they are. Instead of incorporating their disability into their description, (Autistic) putting the person first (young man with a diagnosis of autism) emphasizes the person and not the disability. Person first language was adopted by psychological community to try to de-stigmatize persons with disabilities. There is a parallel with person first language and RAL.  Paying attention to person first and respectful adoption languages makes us think about our words and reflect on them. Words have meaning and should carefully select words to convey meaning.

Labels can degrade and objectify people. They can dehumanize and humiliate too. People should not be labeled. When meeting a person the only expectation should be who that person is as an individual.  Family-building through the act of adoption (and those with disabilities) all want the same thing as the rest of the population. We all want to be treated with respect and dignity. If we label people as “adopted from (you fill in the blank) or wheelchair bound or intellectually challenged, we handicap their prospects by having already defining them with some type of negative language. Keep expectations high, select words carefully and enjoy everyone as a unique individual by using respectful adoption and person first language. 

The IEP Team Says They Will "Consider". . .

A schoolgirl in front of a blackboard considering all the synonyms for the word consider.

What Does "Consider" Actually Mean: More than you ever wanted to know about what the word consider means.

By Brice Palmer

As if there were not enough things about how school districts interpret various regulations in the IDEA and Section 504, the word “consider” seems to be one of the most irritating roadblocks we face during IEP and 504 meetings.

You present your information, participate in the meeting, you show the Team members your independent evaluations and other information about your child’s disability and what happens?

The school says, “thank you – we considered it.”

The information you gave to the school falls into an education records dark hole.

The word consider appears in the IDEA many times and I will not catalog them all here. Each time the word “consider” appears in the IDEA, that word is connected to some sort of action.

Two examples:

IDEA 2004 tells us that in developing the IEP, the IEP team shall consider:

1.  the child's strengths

2.  the parent's concerns for enhancing the child's education

3.  the results of the initial evaluation or most recent evaluation

4. the child's academic, developmental, and functional needs. ([1])

Another example is connected to independent education evaluations at either public expense or parental expense. 34 CFR § 300.502(c)-(d)[2] requires the school district to give consideration of independent educations obtained at public expense or the parent’s expense. The IEE must meet the school district’s criteria.

So what does the word consider mean? That word is a verb, and has two forms.

Form 1. The district must consider a parent’s independent evaluation. This form of the verb is connected with action. (Transitive verb)

Form 2. Ms. Sped considers me to be a pain in the neck.

According to Black’s Law Dictionary, the word consider means to think about, or to ponder or study and to examine carefully.[3] (Intransitive verb)

As far as I can determine, each time the word “consider” appears in the IDEA and the federal regulations that implement the IDEA, the word consider is used to signal action.

These are some synonyms for that form of the word consider:

analyze, appraise, assess, be attentive, cerebrate, cogitate, confer, consult, contemplate, debate, deliberate, devote attention to, digest, evaluate, examine, gauge, heed, inspect, mark, meditate on, mull over, muse, notice, observe, pay attention to, ponder, pore over, probe, reckon, reflect upon, regard, ruminate, scrutinize, study, take into account, think about, turn over in one's mind, weigh

The other form of the word consider is also a verb, but it is used to indicate thinking about something (I consider the IDEA as a good law). Another example is “I consider Mr. Palmer to be a pain in the neck advocate”.

For those who want to know, the English word consider comes from an Old French word, considerer. It means to "reflect on, consider, study. And the old French word considerer comes from the Latin word, considerare, which means "to look at closely, observe".

What have hearing officers and courts said the word consider (in the action sense) means?

Here are five illustrative decisions and one decision that limits the amount of consideration.

Community Consolidated Sch. Dist. No. 180, 27 IDELR 1004, 1005-06, the court said,

"[T]he failure to receive and consider parental information, including evaluations they may obtain, directly denies parents the pivotal role they should enjoy in the development of their child's placement. This role includes not only providing evaluations or other information, but discussing such information. Consideration of such outside information also ensures that a program is individualized and provides a check on the judgments being made by school officials regarding the child."

Deal ex rel. Deal v. Hamilton County Bd. of Educ., 42 IDELR 109 (6th Cir. 2004).

The court ruled that the school district denied parents of a student with autism the opportunity to meaningfully participate in the IEP process when it placed their child in a program without considering his individual needs.

The 6th Circuit concluded that although the parents were present at the IEP meetings, their involvement was merely a matter of form and after the fact because the district had, at that point, predetermined the student's program and services. It found the district's predetermination violation caused the student substantive harm and therefore denied him FAPE. Remedy: Private school tuition reimbursement. (The District Court in Deal ex rel. Deal v. Hamilton County Bd. of Educ., 46 IDELR 45 (E.D. Tenn. 2006) subsequently determined that the district's eclectic program was substantively appropriate.)

Briere v. Fair Haven Grade Sch. Dist., 25 IDELR 55 (D. Vt. 1996).

The court ruled that the IEP was significantly defective and the school district limited the parent's right to participate in IEP formulation by refusing to discuss the placement proposed by parent, delaying scheduling an IEP meeting for 23 months, and failing to finalize the resulting IEP for another year. Remedy: Private school tuition reimbursement


DiBuo v. Bd. Of Educ. of Worcester County, slip no. S-01-1311 (Nov. 14, 2001)

The US District Court (Maryland) ruled that an IEP team's failure to consider the private evaluations submitted by the parents was such a serious violation of the IDEA that failing to consider the parent’s evaluations established that the school district denied the student of a free appropriate public education.

However, according to one court, consideration can go too far.

D. v. Manheim Township School District, No. 04-4535 at page 15, (E.D.Pa. 9-27-2007)

The US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania said,

“Thus, plaintiffs' argument is only compelling if, in requiring the IEP team to "consider" the severity of a student's disability, the regulation requires that the team formally and explicitly deliberate over the taxonomy of the student's diagnosis. This interpretation would betray the sensible understanding of "consider."

“The Oxford English Dictionary defines "consider," in its transitive form, as follows: "to contemplate mentally, fix the mind upon; to think over, meditate or reflect on, bestow attentive thought upon, give heed to, take note of." Oxford English Dictionary Online (2nd ed. 1989). This definition does not suggest that an object of consideration must be articulated and actively discussed. One may "consider" a factor relevant to a decision by bearing it in mind and allowing it to inform and shape one's reflections on a matter.”

Thank you for this interesting question. I hope this little article answers your question about what the word consider means in special education.

As you deal with the school district, remember that words have meaning – sometimes more meanings than we realize.

DOWNLOAD this article as a PDF

Brice is a special education advocate who works with parents across the country. He has practiced, taught and written about special education advocacy since 1995.  His articles have appeared in The Beacon Journal, published by Harbor House Law Press, Autism Asperger’s Digest, published by Future Horizons, Inc., Family Focus, the quarterly newsletter published by Families for Russian and Ukrainian Adoption (FRUA), and various articles appearing at Some of the Wrightslaw articles are: Do the Documents Speak for Themselves? How to Prepare Your Case, Learning To Negotiate Is Part of the Advocacy Process, and How and Why to Tape Record Meetings.

Brice lives out in the woods near Benson, Vermont.  Your can reach him by phone at (802) 537-3022.

Ask Brice a Question on the the Educational Expert Forum  

Sign-up for any of the 24 part Series of Workshops online - Next meeting is April 1, 2015 at 7: pm ET


[1] Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition, page 103; Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy, 2nd edition, page 164.

[3] Black's Law Dictionary Free Online Legal Dictionary 2nd Ed.,


When Talk Isn’t Enough: Easing Trauma’s Lingering Shock (Link)

An Interview transcript with Bessel van der Kolk, MD conducted by Ryan Howes

As therapists, we inhabit a professional culture that stresses the importance of being accommodating, tactful, nonconfrontational. It’s part of our job description to get along with people, play well with others, and not rock the boat. Nevertheless, there are times when a therapist with a sufficient sense of mission who genuinely cares about underserved clients needs to stop worrying about rubbing some people—particularly the powers that be—the wrong way.

Constancy and Permanence: Introduction

Photo of Holly van Gulden

This is the first in a series about "Constancy" and "Permanence" as it applies to child development. These video clips are good for any parent to watch but should be of particular interest to parents of children who were adopted from foster care or internationally. Many children have been traumatized and as a result experience attachment struggles. Since 1985, Holly van Gulden has been teaching and counseling adoptive and foster parents and training adoption professionals. She has worked throughout the United States, England, Scotland, and Canada. In addition, for over fifteen years, she has codirected Adoptive Family Counseling Center.
We highly recommend this series for educators who want to understand children with attachment and trauma issues.


Go to the next Video - Constancy 1


Constancy: Video 1: What Makes Constancy?

Constancy: Video 1 with Holly Van Guilden


Go to Constancy Video 2

Constancy: Video 2: Where does it start?

Holly Van Gulden explains where constancy starts.


Go to Constancy Video 3

Constancy: Video 3: What is a common symptom of a lack of constancy?

Lying is the most common symptom of the lack of constancy. And it makes perfect sense for a child who has experienced loss and early trauma - Watch!


The video clips go from Contancy 3 to Video 5. We have not located the missing video in the sequence. If someone has a link to the video, please contact us.

Go to next video: Constancy 5