Reflections: Information Session and Beyond

We attended our adoption information session a few nights ago, and it went exactly how I thought it would and completely surprised me at the same time.

On the drive on the way there, my husband-to-be asked me what I was hoping to get out of the session. At first, I didn’t really understand what he meant, because the only expectations that I had were that they would tell us about the process and how it works, and that they’d talk frankly about the challenges of adopting children with special placement needs. And so, I told him that I was just going to see what happened. Really, I was just hoping that I would come out of it a little smarter than I was on the way in. And I was also hoping not to be scared off.

It was a lot of information to take in, even though I felt as if I knew a lot of it already from my research.  I was pretty much engrossed, as were the rest of the people in the room. We listened to the social workers talk about the adoption process, tell stories about adoptive families, go over the paperwork we’d be required to fill out, detail statistics about how many kids are waiting for families, and much more. Every so often, I would look over at my fiancé and give his hand a squeeze — it was just so much to take in, but with every passing minute, I felt more and more sure that this is what we should be doing.

In the car on the way home, and in the hours we talked after we got home, we decided to apply, and to apply soon, and that we wanted to get into the September adoption class if we could.  This was the surprise!  Before the session, we’d both wanted to wait a little while before starting the process, and weren’t even sure that adoption was the way we were going to go, and now we just can’t wait.

In the days since then, I’ve been doing a lot of reading. The day of the information session, I bought a copy of Attaching in Adoption by Deborah D. Gray. I’ve almost finished reading it, and it’s been absolutely eye-opening for me. I had an impression for a long time that adopting a child who had been in the foster care system would be much harder than adopting an infant or child through private adoption or internationally–but the session, and this book, have taught me that all adoptions have similar issues that need to be worked through, to varying degrees.

I can’t wait to finish this book, and move on to the next book, or the next DVD, or the next class.  One of the seemingly-hundreds of documents we were given suggests that we keep track of all the research we’re doing, so we can tell the social workers about it during our home study.  I may end up going even further than that and doing little mini-reviews for this website, in the hopes that one day this will be helpful to someone else out there.

Right now, I am happy.  Happy, hopeful, and excited.  And becoming more and more aware of how much I need to learn, which isn’t a bad thing–I love research and learning, and am going to jump in to this with both feet.

Step two is done, and step three is in process.  Yay!

Step 2

I know, it’s been a while.  I don’t really want this blog to turn into a blog about everything in my life, though, and the baby-making process has been in a holding pattern, so I haven’t had a lot to say.  Which isn’t to say that I haven’t been thinking about this stuff a lot, because I have.  I just don’t really know what to say.

We are going to our information session with the Adoptive Families Association of BC next week, which is step 2 in the 16 step timeline that they’ve sent us.  If this is the way we end up going, this is what it will look like:

  1. Contact Adoptive Families Association of BC  (done!)
  2. Attend an information session (next week)
  3. Application to adopt submitted, file opened
  4. Intake appointment
  5. Register for Adoption Education Program
  6. Attend Adoption Education Program
  7. Training completed
  8. Homestudy commences
  9. Homestudy completed/matching begins
  10. Possible match is found
  11. Proposal package
  12. Pre-placement planning
  13. Pre-placement visits
  14. Placement
  15. Residency period (6-12 months)
  16. Adoption finalized

Phew.  It seems like such a long list of things to do, especially considering that step 3 involves filling out 7 different forms, including the incredibly heartbreaking Adoption Questionnaire, which is a giant list of all the special needs and risk factors that could be affecting the potential children we could be matched with.  We’ll have to decide if we’re okay with adopting a child conceived as a result of incest, for example, or with spina bifida, or autism.

It’s so heavy.  And hard.  I mean… if we were conceiving this child ourselves, we’d just deal with whatever cards we were dealt — but to choose a child with a particular special need?  Or, more significantly, not to choose a child because of a special need or risk factor?  How does one reconcile this sort of thing in their heart?  How do you not feel guilty saying yes to one child, and no to another?

And while we think about all of this, we also have to think about whether or not adoption is the right path for us–maybe surrogacy would be better?

If I had to decide right now, with no input from my husband, I would go with adoption.  A few months ago, I would have said surrogacy.  I am not sure when the change happened in me, but I am starting to believe that giving a home to a child that is already born would be better for us, and better for the child.

We’ll see where we are in a few months.