Intake… complete!

We had our intake appointment today, and I have a few thoughts that I want to get out before I forget them:

  • Our intake social worker is awesome. We want to keep her! She says normally we’d get passed along to someone else after our AEP (Adoption Education Program), but that she is going to try to keep us. So, the feeling is mutual. She was friendly, obviously educated on queer families, and we spent nearly two hours with her, chatting and going through her checklists.
  • We made a few missteps in our Adoption Questionnaire, but that’s to be expected — the terms aren’t explained very well, and we get to resubmit the form after our AEP anyhow.  We learned a lot today about access orders and polysubstance addictions, let me tell you.
  • She recommended us to the AEP, and we’re starting in October! From the AEP website:

    The AEP-Online takes place over 13 weeks and covers the legal, social and emotional aspects of adoption. Because the program is online, lessons are taught through a variety of media and assignments can be completed at your convenience.

  • Our AFABC support person forgot to send us one of the forms we had to fill out, so we did it on the spot. Oops, guess that criminal record check is pretty important! 🙂
  • She explained that the fact that neither of us has lived out of province gives us an advantage — there’s extra paper for if you have, and apparently it’s a giant pain. Glad to have dodged that bullet.
  • We’re almost a third of the way through the process!  Eeee!
  • I wasn’t surprised by any of her questions, even though she asked a lot. Research saves the day! She told us what the homestudy process was going to be like, and I didn’t learn anything new. She asked about our mental health, our employment, the number of bedrooms in our house, pets, other people living with us, and the big question: why adoption. I’m going to do a post later on about why we have chosen to adopt though this particular path, because it’s pretty important.
  • I *was* surprised by my reaction to her question about concurrent planning — this is where you foster a child with the possibility that it will lead to adoption, with no guarantee. There are a few situations where this could happen, such as a mother leaving her newborn in the care of the ministry who has no living family, or if a child is being placed due to a disrupted adoption. Initially, I had a strong negative reaction to this idea, for the same reasons I don’t want to be a foster parent. How would I feel if I become attached to a child, only to have to give them to someone else? But as our social worker explained more about it to us, I realized that it could be a possibility. Husband was surprised that I was even considering it, but I really am. More research is required.
  • She encouraged us to look at each of the “yes or no” options on a case by case basis, rather than ruling things out from the start. Some of our “no” answers turned into “maybe” answers before we even got out of her office, which feels right. If, for example, we said no on our form to a child with ADHD, we may be missing out on the right child for us, because they would never be matched with us, and there are a lot of conditions that present like ADHD but may be something else entirely, like abuse or trauma.
  • I am so excited. 🙂
  • Oops, one more thing: since we are open to adopting a Metis or First Nations child, we need to take another education program through Indigenous Perspectives Society, called the Adoption Online Course. It’s a hefty financial commitment, but we’re going to do it. We’re also going to take a number of other courses through AFABC in the fall.

I am sure more will come later — we don’t start our AEP until October, and I plan on doing a bunch of research in the meantime, especially about concurrent planning and the homestudy process.

So. Excited. 🙂

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Ominous and Looming

We are married. 🙂

We had a perfect wedding day (aside from the heat, aarrghh) — we were surrounded by our nearest and dearest, who unfailingly supported us, made us laugh, cried with us, and danced their tails off at the end of the day. I could go on forever and a day about how wonderful the day was, and how lovely our mini-honeymoon was, but there is something even bigger than that, ominous and looming: our adoption intake appointment, which is in 5 days.

I know that it’s just a “getting to know you” appointment, and I know that we just have to be ourselves, but I am nervous. This is step four, and (hopefully) step 5, in our 16 step process. I want it to go smoothly, I want to like our social worker, and I want us to show her the best parts of who we are: but the whole idea just makes me go all quakey inside.

If anyone out there has gone through this, can you offer some words of advice or encouragement? There is a dearth of blogs for people who have gone through the adoption process through MCFD in British Columbia, and I feel as if I am casting around aimlessly in my Google searches.

Sad face

Today, I am making a sad face, because I know that we have so much waiting ahead of us, and I just want to move forward right now.

Here are a few things I am reading while we wait:

There is more to my ‘sad face’ right now, but it feels too complex to spell out in words. My heart is full and happy, but there is a longing that makes the corners of my mouth turn down from time to time. This is one of those times.

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!