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! ūüôā
  • 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. ūüôā
  • 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. ūüôā

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Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork

I get the feeling that the stack of papers on our dining table is just the beginning.

We got an email back from our social worker on Monday, and finally had some time to sit down together on Wednesday to fill in the few blanks we had left. ¬†And now it’s done! ¬†I’m going to scan everything for posterity, and then mail it off today.

Aaaaaand then back to the waiting. ¬†Waiting for my newest round of adoption-themed Amazon purchases to arrive, waiting for our social worker to process our paperwork, waiting for our wedding to be over and done with (one month to go, so there’s a little stress on that front).

This isn’t really a complaint. I know there will be a lot of waiting, and I am actually happy about it. If everything happened in close succession, there wouldn’t be time to process and think and plan and research. Which are things that I love doing, and things that¬†need to happen.

And so. Time to redirect our focus back to the wedding and honeymoon, for the time being. ūüôā

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 fianc√© 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.