Adoption Archives

I've wanted a family for as long as I can remember. Since the hysterectomy in 2015 (needed to treat the endometrial cancer) left me unable to have children, I'm going to attempt to adopt a child. Entries detailing the adoption process and related moments will be tagged with this category.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Are you supposed to promise that?

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.

0 comment(s) | Filed under: Adoption

Sunday, July 09, 2017

What do you write about when you’re afraid to write?

For almost as long as I’ve been blogging, I’ve tried to be careful about what I write about work. When you’re early blogging memories include the knowledge of how the phrase “being dooced” came to be, you learn (or at least I did), to be vague when writing about work - if one even chooses to write about work at all, that is. Add to the already healthy fear of being fired for publishing things online that should best be kept to the confines of the work environment the very real fact that things went downhill quickly during the second half of the last year and that provided no incentive to get back to blogging.

Well, to be clear, all of 2015 and 2016 were anxiety producing both personally and professionally. When I found the new job and moved into my own place in Virginia, with the anticipation of things calming down (and having a personal computer again) I had this idea that I’d be able to turn some of my energy to the blog - both the content and the infrastructure.

I did start writing again, somewhat, as the archives show. I thought, with the start of the adoption process that I would maybe even write about that. But as I work through the (sometimes lonely) process of answering question after question, compiling document after document I find myself worrying about putting too much online. I don’t worry about there being anything technically wrong with my application. I’m not rich by any means but I could afford the care of a child with careful budgeting. That doesn’t set me apart from basically much of the child-having population. I have no worries about the background checks coming back with anything as there isn’t anything to come back. So that really only leaves the faceless, nameless people out there who will be gathering all this information, reviewing and assessing/judging me on my ability to be a good parent. I’m worrying for nothing, I know. The stuff I’ve posted on here, the stuff that’s online isn’t scandalous or even all that interesting and yet, pitted against couples wanting babies, two income families that might be better able to care for a child with less stress or worry about finances, I worry about sharing anything that could land me on the “Does she really think we’d ever pick her?” pile.

And so I don’t write. With not writing about work and not writing about the adoption process what does that leave?

I suppose I could tell you that I’m finally getting around to watching The Wire. Because, why not wait until I’m no longer living in Baltimore to finally get around to watching this iconic piece of entertainment centered around the city I called home for about 6 years? I’m sure that I’ll be able to add a voice to the hundreds of thought pieces already on the web! And have you heard about this actor named Idris Elba? He’s easy on the eyes no? I’m sure he’ll be going places.

Or I could tell you that my latest podcast obsessions right now are Denzel Washington is the greatest actor of all time. Period and Criminal. Because I seem to be the queen of catching on to old content, the Denzel Washington podcast stopped updating back in April, having discussed all of Washingtons oeuvre. But I have about two years worth of content to listen to so no new shows is hardly a problem. By the time I’m done I’m sure I’ll be able to find some other show that was hyped ages ago but that I am just now hearing about.

There is a an abundance of content to immerse oneself in through books, tv, etc that there is just no way to stay on top of everything. Thank goodness for archives, I suppose.

I still haven’t dug into my collection of books as I’ve wanted so that’s still on the to do list. Maybe I should make better attempts at writing at least brief of impressions of what I read; that would help with adding content to the blog and keep the writing muscles in shape. Plans plans plans. Never a shortage of those either!

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Thursday, May 04, 2017

How does one ace a home study?

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!)

2 comment(s) | Filed under: Adoption

Sunday, April 16, 2017

And so it begins

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.

1 comment(s) | Filed under: Adoption | Dailies

Friday, March 24, 2017

To Date or Not to Date

I decided in January to restart the online dating profiles even though I’m having doubts about trying to date. That’s nothing new, though. Every time I restart them I feel the same way. I don’t get out enough to say that I’m going to try and meet someone while I’m out and about so the online thing has been a go to for decades now and each time I do it with mixed feelings. This time, however, the ambivalence is fueled by more than the usual weariness of having to dig through superficial, typo-filled messages (assuming they are longer than “Hey” that is). This time, I don’t know how to answer the “Want to have children” box. So I’ve left it blank. I do, as we know, want to have children. But as we also know, if I can build a family, it’s going to be by going the adoption route. Most guys online that still want to have children are assuming that they’ll have them the old fashioned way. Perfectly natural thought so I’m not blaming them. It’s just awkward, is all I’m saying.

I went on a couple of dates earlier in the month. Prior to meeting the guy in real life, he actually asked me the kid question. I hesitated but then decided to share that I was hoping to adopt. He indicated that, although he’s raised a child, he wouldn’t be opposed to doing it again. “That’s promising,” I thought at the time. Several days and conversations later, I said something that clued him in to the fact that I was exploring adoption now, rather than waiting to find a guy, get in to a relationship and THEN adopt.

“Oh,” he said. “So this is something you’re doing now?” “Yes,” I said. “Is that a problem?” He took a beat and then said it wasn’t a problem. We talked for a few days and then had the two dates. Ultimately, I decided there wasn’t enough chemistry there to continue dating but the exchange about children just validate my insecurities, I think. Younger guys who want kids aren’t necessarily going to embrace the idea of not having their own biological children (generalizing here, obviously) and older guys who’ve had kids, biological or no, aren’t exactly jumping at the chance to raise more kids.

Maybe I’m just complicating my life by trying to date but, really, the adoption process could take as long as 2.5 years and, honestly, I’m a little tired (again) of being alone. It’d be nice to have someone in my life who cares about how my day went, someone to go on walks with, the movies, etc etc. All the boring, mundane, vitally important things that make up our days. Obligatory single woman disclaimer required here, right? I can do all those things alone. I do all those things alone just fine. It’s just, I’ve hit another time in my life when I just don’t want to. I’ll keep at it for a little while longer but it’s hard to have a great deal of enthusiasm about it all right now. Which doesn’t bode well for great results, does it? Oops.

3 comment(s) | Filed under: Adoption | Dailies