Our first home study visit has been scheduled, finally. It’s taken longer than I thought, as there appears to be a backlog at our agency. I wonder if it’s due to summer vacations or more people pursuing domestic adoption since so many international programs have encountered delays and closures — e.g., China, Vietnam, Guatemala — leaving many waiting families and children in limbo. Or maybe infertility is on the rise. Or maybe Bran.gelina has convinced everyone to “just adopt.” You know, because it’s so easy. Yeah, that must be it.
Whatever the case, our agency seems quite busy. We submitted our application a month ago, and we just got a call this week from the social worker to schedule our first meeting. Given all of our schedules, we were unable to coordinate meeting for a couple of weeks. So, two weeks from today, on 8/8/08, we will meet with our caseworker in our home for two hours. We will talk about how and why we came to adoption and explain how we are “fit” to parent. And we’ll show her where the fire extinguishers are.
We are gathering the necessary documents, which is proving to be harder than we thought. I like that there is something within our control, a list that we can check off. But the initial application was cake compared to this, and I imagine the home study will be a relative breeze compared to the actual wait. I’m sure I’ll have plenty of time to write about the hard wait and all it entails, and then of course there will be all the tough issues that arise in adoptive parenting, I know…
Yet for now, even the simplest task seems daunting. Getting a medical form completed by our doctors, for instance, is hard because neither of us have seen a general practitioner in years and it would take months to get in as a new patient. Thankfully, my RE’s nurse is a wonderwoman and agreed to help with mine (who cares if my RE is not a GP?). Now M just needs to find a new doctor (who will see new patients) and get squeezed in for his official clean bill of health, soon.
Then there’s our housing situation. We live in an ideal place for children, but unfortunately we don’t own our home. So, we’re trying to get some assurance from our landlord that we have some stability here, since we don’t have an extra 2k to do another home study if we have to move before a child is placed with us. Just one more thing to worry about.
Then there’s the matter of our references. We thought about who would be good and listed three strong references (non-relatives) in our application. They could have easily written glowing letters about what wonderful parents we will be. But the agency requires a form, not a letter. The form asks specific questions about our psychological well being and whether the person would place their own child with us if needed. Now I’ve written before about how we’ve withdrawn (and here) from a number of our friends with young children in an attempt to escape our pain, friends who may have otherwise made great references. We have kept a distance, especially from those who have not been supportive, while we’re dealing with these very personal issues and crises.
But adoption is so invasive and there is no personal or private anymore. Everything is fair game, on the table, subject to scrutiny and judgment. This is cause for discomfort, since I’ve kept a “wall” around me for years, for a lifetime. It’s not that we have anything to hide. I suppose I just have to get over it. “It” being any resentment I may have for being stuck to deal with this messed up system for the chance of a child. “It” being the fear we may encounter at each step, where we must take yet another leap of faith. I know this process is a means to an end, and it all requires hard work.
Oh, there is so much more. I’m trying not to be overwhelmed. I’m educating myself, reading a lot about open adoption, anticipating the benefits of a truly open relationship with our child’s birthparents. We’re trying to decide whether to sign with the consultant/facilitator and undertake her extensive process to help us navigate through the maze of domestic open adoption and all it encompasses. We’re trying to overcome our concerns about “marketing” ourselves, about mis-matches, about running out of money, about everything.
Anyone who says “just adopt” can just bite me.