Posted on 11/26/2017 in Adoption | comments
The home study is almost done. I had the last of the three visits with the social worker almost two weeks ago. Friends have shared with me that they’ve spoken with her and that she seems to like me. Which is nice; obviously it’s a good sign when the person writing a report that can put a halt to the entire proceedings seems to think you’d make a good parent.
Now that I’m closer to actually starting the placement process I’m experiencing moments of hope and excitement. But, because this can be a long process, I keep pushing those feelings back. I keep thinking, “there are a ton of positive, good adoption stories. Why couldn’t one of those be yours?” And I think about the odds, which makes me wish I had been better at math. That’s not really how it works, though is it?
There’s no amount of logic that will make this go faster, that will ensure that if and when I get a child that I get to keep the child. When you spend your whole life hoping for the best but planning (and expecting) the worst, allowing the seed of hope to flower is a dangerous, potentially painful thing.
Still, all those words aside, I ordered this today.
Throughout the years I’ve stitched a number of birth announcements for other people. This would be the first time I’ve made one that I intend to keep. In the past, dong something like this has taken up to a year and since this process can take up to 2 years, I clearly may have more than enough time. I always say that I’m not superstitious but there is a part of me that worries this might be jinxing things. Still, after doing birth announcements for friends’ babies, I can’t imagine not having one for my own and once I have a child there’s no way I’ll have the time (or energy). It’s essentially now or never. I’ll just have to make sure I manage the feelings. That there will be feelings is a given. I just have to make sure I let the good ones have equal or more time than the scary, anxious ones.
Posted on 7/19/2017 in Adoption | comments
Trainings are required in the adoption process. Three to be exact; two pre-adoption and one post.
I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned it (a sign that these posts are far and few, no?) but I’m finding this process to be quite a lonely one. It’s not daunting in the sense that it’s complex but it has a lot of parts.
Parts that would be nice to be able to divvy up. Whenever I go down that path I try to stop myself and just accept that this is the way things are. Easier said than done at times, as most things tend to be. I hadn’t considered that I would be the only single person at the trainings but that’s how things have shaken out. I have to say, sitting by yourself, having no one to literally lean on or someone to whisper to or do the exercises with hasn’t helped that lonely feeling. When I mentioned that, someone said, “But you’re lucky. At least you don’t have to consider the person you’re with wants this as much as you do. You can make decisions without having to check with anyone.” So, grass is greener I suppose.
At the end of the training last week the trainer asked how we were all coping with the wait. One couple said they’re doing a lot of shopping, albeit mostly virtual at this point. They look at cribs and decide which one they’ll buy when it’s time. But they did share that they have bought a few clothes.
I found myself shaking my head and I spoke up and said, “Oh, I can’t do that. I’m coping by just focusing on the paperwork. Obviously I’d like this to end with a baby but I don’t know if that’s really going to happen so I don’t think too much about all those concrete details. I cope by not thinking about it. Because you can’t really promise that, right?” And this is where my voice broke and I found myself tearing up a little which, even in a room full of people who have experienced their own heartbreak(s), was still embarrassing. “I mean, I know you can’t guarantee anything but it would help so much to know if this is really going to happen.”
“It will really happen,” she said. “You will get a baby. You may have to wait a long time but you will.”
I don’t remember what I said but I remember nodding and thinking, “You can’t really say that.” But that may be a lifetime of protective factors coming in to play. Years of working in fields where one is taught to not over promise, to hedge and leave room for having to walk back whatever.
I’m supposed to believe that some day a birth mother will look at my profile and specifically say, “I pick her.” Maybe that I’m single will be appealing, or Latina, or the mother won’t have any set criteria and if I’ve been waiting long enough, I’ll bubble up to the top.
In the meantime, I’ll complete my paperwork, wait, and continue to not shop, virtual or otherwise because, really, who knows what will be.
Posted on 5/4/2017 in Adoption | comments
I had the first of three visits with the social worker yesterday. To prepare for it, I spent some hours on Sunday and a frantic hour or two on Tuesday night, trying to find a place for all the things I have. Why is it that I always seem to have more stuff than I have actual space for? I know this isn’t unique to me but it certainly feels as if I’ve gotten better about letting go of things. And yet, here I still am, surrounded by things. Though, I do have to give myself a little slack - although I’ve gained a whole apartment, I’ve lost an office. So there are several bins worth of “office” stuff that sat on shelves, waited to be used in drawers, etc. While I now have a home office aka hopefully the kid’s room one day, the available space is taken up with craft supplies and there is no room for many sets of folder tabs. I’m not quite sure what I thought I would be tabbing when I bought those things but that’s neither here nor there.
The visit was only an hour and wasn’t meant to cover much business. It was a chance to meet each other, go over the process a bit, and an opportunity for me to ask some initial questions. I suppose I was nervous; how could one not be when someone is judging their ability to care for another human being? But I didn’t feel that nervous. Not because I’m not petrified that I won’t get a child. Because when I stop to consider that notion I break out in tears. Having spent much of the last couple of years fighting back tears I can tell you I’m pretty tired of it so instead I’ve settled on not thinking too much about it. I can’t say I really feel Zen about it all but I’m pretending to be. Whatever will be, will be. It helps, I suppose, that this part of the process is just a lot of document gathering. The home study could take three months or more, it all depends on how quickly I move along, setting up the references, getting finger printed, writing my bio, etc. I’m obviously doing all of this with the hope that there is a child at the end of the process but the sheer bureaucracy of it all also serves as a bit of a balm. Maybe once I get down to simply waiting for that phone call, then it will all seem really concrete.
The conversation seemed fine; I tried to not focus too much on the note taking. But maybe the nerves finally got to me when she asked me if I was aware and agreed with the agency’s stance on corporal punishment. I laughed and nodded. Yes, I said. I’m aware and have no problem with agreeing that I will not use corporal punishment to discipline a child. I felt the need, then, to explain the humor; that ended up being a couple of minutes of me telling her that pretty much anyone that knows me knows how I feel about corporal punishment. Thankfully she didn’t find my laughter weird. Or if she did she didn’t say anything about it. Which is a good thing because I let out another laugh when she asked me if I keep any firearms in the home. If the idea of me being armed isn’t the most ludicrous thing ever, I don’t know what is.
Let’s see, I won’t go into the answer I gave but I want to note the questions she asked. If I don’t write them down, with my memory being what it is, later I’m liable to think she asked what my favorite color is and my views on Pluto being deemed a non-planet.
- Why did I decide to adopt?
- Why a domestic adoption over an international adoption?
- Have I told my employer about my desire to adopt?
- Have I considered how having a baby will affect my day to day life?
- Have I given any thought to the costs that I am taken on, post-adoption?
- Did I consider adopting an older child?
- General questions about my home, employment, family makeup and health.
- Have I ever been to a therapist?
I think that covers the questions she came prepared to ask. There were others that were follow-ups to information I shared with her. During the second visit we’ll do a more in-depth interview though I’m not sure what else there is to ask. During that visit she’ll also do a walk through of my apartment. I guess I could have saved myself the frantic dash to put stuff away in the bedrooms. But, hey, at least this way I’m ahead of the game for the next visit, whenever that may be. If I want it to be any time soon, I need to get on the ball with completing the documents. As they say in El Salvador, a ponerme las pilas! (Gotta put the batteries in!)
Posted on 4/16/2017 in Adoption | comments
I partially completed the first application in the adoption process a few weeks ago but I held off on submitting it because I had a question for the oncologist. Really, I just wanted validation. I’ve often been accused of over thinking things, or being too concrete. I can’t deny either accusation as they are true. One of the sections in the application, naturally enough, is about medical history and one of the questions ask about any current treatments. I knew even before starting the process that I would have to talk about the cancer and the treatment done to get rid of it. When I went to the information meeting the agency folks made a point of saying that most health issues won’t necessarily rule anyone out but I’m a worrier as we know. I’m a worrier and I’m an over thinker and I have this need to be transparent so despite the fact that I was 99.9% sure that my follow ups don’t qualify as treatment I needed/wanted the oncologist to validate that so that I could fill the application out accurately.
With that visit done last week (and two years cancer free) there was no reason to delay submitting the application so submit it I did. Over the weekend I was told it had been approved and that I could now submit payment to get assigned a social worker and schedule the home visit. Sending the payment makes all of this a bit more real though there’s still a part of my brain that’s not quite processing that this is the way that I may be building my family. Maybe that’s just the heart and brain’s way of insulating themselves from possible disappointment. There’s certainly been plenty of that in the last couple of years. The thought of more makes my heart tired.
But, chin up, as they say. Hope is the key to so many things.
One very tangible thing to this process starting is that it’s a good motivator to get my apartment organized. All of the furniture is in but I still have to find a place for a great many tiny things and put the dining room table together. I’ve been a bit slower than anticipated in getting all that done but I certainly can’t have someone do a home visit with all this silliness laying about. It’s going to be a little bit of work but it’ll feel good to be able to complete a tangible, doable task.
Posted on 2/11/2017 in Adoption | comments
Folks who have been reading me for a long time (or anyone who’s ever had more than a passing conversation with me) know that I have longed wished to have children. I kept putting it off because the time never seemed right, the money was never enough. When I was in a serious relationship, the topic would come up, I’d get excited and then things would just not work out. And, well, we know what happened two years ago (or if you’re new, the Cliff Notes: cancer resulting in a hysterectomy, resulting in infertility). I don’t even consider these last two years as lost years. I wasn’t in an the emotional space to try to follow up on an adoption.
Hell, I’m still not 100% sure. Having raised my sister, been a nanny, had countless babysitting gigs has taught me that raising a child, doing it thoughtfully and well, that takes effort and energy. The idea of doing it alone, it’s scary. This is definitely one of those moments where I think a little fear is a healthy thing. It proves to me that I know I’m not going into this blindly.
With my 45 birthday coming up in 2018, I’m at a point where, if I want to try and adopt a baby, I have to start the process now. So I went to an informational meeting. As I waited for the speakers to start, I looked through the packet until I got to the page that I was searching for. One that I was already quite familiar with as I would regularly look at the information on the agency’s website. It was the table detailing the cost of the home visit, the adoption, and the additional services. The numbers hadn’t changed, a good and a bad thing. They’re still high but, hey, they haven’t gotten higher so that’s something, no?
Part of my brain listened to the information and part of my brain did basic math. What’s in savings, what I’ll be getting from the job I’ve just left, what might need to be borrowed. I felt deflated. It all just seems so daunting. And then I heard a baby laugh. The speaker announced that a previous client was here to talk to us about her experience. Naturally, she’d brought her baby along. As soon as I saw the tiny person I knew. I knew what I’ve always known. There’s no way I don’t try this. The cost of the adoption is scary but this is why I moved in with friends three years ago. This is why I’ve cut back on everything that I could possibly cut back on, to pay down the debt I’d accumulated. I wanted to get to a place financially where this would be possible.
For as long as I can remember I’ve said there is only one regret I never want to have and that’s to not have tried to build my family. I used to say that way back when the possibility of my body failing me was never even considered because why would it?
The mother shared with us that she’d tried IVF and that with that process the question is all about the “if.” What if it doesn’t work the first time, the third time, the seventh time. She then said that adoption is all about the when. There’s no if. It’s just the waiting, waiting, waiting until you get the call. I don’t know how true that is, but I know this.
I want to believe it.