Checking Boxes

Progressing, actually progressing, toward adoption.

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So we are progressing in the many Things we Must Do to legally qualify to adopt. Most of these things involve paperwork.

We are actually pretty decent at this.

We were not always decent at this.

paperwork by anomalous4
{image by anomalous4 on Flickr}

We used to be pretty terrible at it, actually. Not only did we have trouble identifying or maintaining key pieces of paperwork, but we also used to get really irritated with each other if one or the other had dropped the ball on whatever documents we were looking for.

You do that for five or ten years and you start to develop a system for maintaining documents, and a lot of patience for each other when dealing with document-heavy requirements.

Right now, specifically, we are collecting things like date of birth of every family member under the sun. Medical clearances – basically doctors’ statements that we are fit to care for children. Addresses for the last ten years (more challenging than you would think…). And lots of financial info.

The financial verification stuff will be doubly useful to us as we are also about to begin the process of getting a personal loan. Adoption is expensive (in the range of a luxury car) but it’s not really the amount itself that’s the kicker, it’s more that it’s all due at once, and generic financing options don’t really exist. Most who adopt either do huge amounts of fundraising ahead of time or go into debt to cover the cost.

We are not fundraisers. Also, we have the income to handle the debt. In fact, we have saved quite a bit towards our budget already. Turns out we ARE able to save money when properly motivated.

All this means that the timeline toward having a child in our home is actually… there. It’s not a dream anymore, we are steadily working our way toward a finite reality.

THAT is kind of bizarre, especially after almost 10 years of pipe-dreams. Takes some getting used to. In a good way.

Course Correction

I have been using “I” for a lot of posts recently, mostly because it’s easier to write, even when what I really mean is “we.” In contrast, today is definitely a “we” post, even though it gets tricky to write.

The foster-to-adopt process started for us back in early November of last year when we attended an orientation meeting hosted by Child Protective Services (CPS) in the nearest major city – about two hours away. We drove to the city on a Saturday morning and spent the day listening to workers talking about the basics of the foster and foster-to-adopt process. It was a lot of information we already knew but it was a worthwhile trip to get some faces and some personal accounts of how things play out.

Since then, Hubs and I have been on our own, filling out lots and lots of paperwork and trying to anticipate what the needs will be so we are at least somewhat prepared. Our previous experience with government processes (plus a lot of reading about foster/adopt through the state CPS system) means we are aware that there will be “emergencies” where someone somewhere dropped the ball or forgot about us and we will have to scramble to make up the deficit.

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[image source]
Our human contact since that orientation meeting has been abysmal. Combined with the mountains of deeply personal paperwork that just keeps on growing, the whole experience thus far has been discouraging on the best days, but mostly deeply troubling.

Hubs and I have had multiple conversations about this, especially as the holidays approached and sailed by. Neither of us feels any kind of peace about the process; most days we feel increasing anxiety and unrest. There’s a growing thought that we are working hard to become part of a system that will certainly ignore us throughout the whole process (years) and will probably be a malign presence in our life.

This isn’t a good option for us. With the information we have right now, this has become a situation where we need to take a step back and look for better, healthier options for us and for any kids who might come into our lives.

Of course, gloriously, this means more waiting on our part. Whatever our next step is will cost a LOT more money, so we need to adjust our approach and squirrel some cash away. (When I say “some” I mean “a lot of.”) Until then, we will keep on keeping on, and continue to hope for some kind of miracle that will wipe out all this agonizing and planning and being responsible.

Until then. BLERG.

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NOT Things

Although the concept of adoption has only very recenlty popped up on this blog, it’s been a subject of conversation for a long time in our house. We’ve spent the last two years gearing up for this journey ahead of us, and my personal opinion is that it was time well spent. Something to be said for a good long rest on what you think you want – it doesn’t change the hardships ahead of you but does make the foundation, the footing, a bit more sound.

I feel the same way about relationships and marriage, on a related note.

UNLIKE our marriage, we struggled with figuring out whether or not we even wanted to adopt. There are many things about adoption that are foreign, uncomfortable, and frightening to us for a variety of reasons that I may or may not delve into at some point or another. Mostly, we have no point of reference for it. All the human beings we know who were involved in adoption are parent or grandparent aged now; none of our friends are walking this path.

We knew from the start that we weren’t really into international adoption. Then we started investigating domestic adoptions – in the States there are two options: 1) private adoption via a licenced adoption agency which “matches” first-moms and their babies up with adoptive parents  or 2) state adoption, through the child welfare system. We probably would not even have looked at state adoption if not for the significant difference in cost.

But then when we started looking closer at the two options, adoption from the state system very quickly became the “front runner” option for us. I might get into that someday, too, but listing our reasons feel too much like a criticism of other’s choices to go a different route. Mainly that’s because it ultimately came down to what we were the least uncomfortable with. And that’s not really the same as what we were most comfortable with. You know?

We know so little about this whole process and what it will mean for us, emotionally, financially, and in terms of our ability to parent long-term that it’s ALL uncomfortable to an extent. There are approximately six million, two hundred fifty-five thousand, three hundred twelve things that can (and will) go screwy as we traverse this rocky road ahead of us. It’s strange to start with measured thought and a recognition that this is all very scary and unknown and uncontrollable. What’s AWESOME, though, is the realization, after weeks or months of marinating on it, that whatever comes it totally worth it.

I’m good with an uncomfortable process if it means we get to be parents.

There are many advocates out there for different approaches and different facets of the adoptive process. I may get there someday.

Right now, I just want to be a mom.

not things | a post from sundriedtomatoe.wordpress.com

We went through a ginormous pile of paperwork and then mailed it out this weekend. It’s our first official entry into the never-ending hole of government-generated paperwork.

I’m not trying to brag or anything but I’m REALLY GOOD at paperwork.

So that’s something.