My Not News

The adoption process moves very slowly. The wait seems like forever, especially because the wait to have a child started way before the adoption process ever began.

Here’s my sort-of-not-really news.  We’ve moved up on the list.  In December of 2012 we were #25.  By July 2013, we had moved up to #12.  Now, in March of 2014 we are #6 on the list.  That’s my news.  Being a Special Needs adoption, the list isn’t as straight forward as a regular list.  For example, if there is something on our “would consider” medical need list that comes up before someone ahead of us, we could jump the queue. The woman at the agency (the sweetest woman in the world) told me that there are two people on the list above us who have specified “girl only”.  If by some miracle more boys come up, that means we’re actually #4 on the list.

Hearing the single digit numbers got me excited.  Things are moving. There is hope. The conversation with the agency brought me to tears.  I can do this!  But then reality set in.

Optimistically speaking (I’m trying to be optimistic), the soonest we would be matched would be August or September.  That is two full years after starting the adoption process.  There is also a chance that we could wait another year before being matched. The long wait also means having to renew our home study, re-do our police, medical and financial checks and re-submit our updated application to Vietnam.

I’ve also just learned that the time from match to travel can be from 6-12 months.  This broke my heart.  Even if we get our optimistic September match it could feasibly be the following September by the time we meet our child.  I’ll still need to get through at least another Christmas, school year, couple of birthdays, Mother’s Days, friends having more babies. There goes my optimism.  It’s just so much time.

For all of those positive thinkers out there, I need you.  I need your pep talks, your encouragement, your reminders that I CAN do this and that it will be worth it, your positives vibes to match me with a boy so that I can move up the list, your hope that it won’t take so long.

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“Ooooh so cute! I want to find a baby too!”

Maybe I’m just sensitive but….

This story is doing the social media rounds and it’s driving me crazy!  I need to get this out of my system.

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/28/we-found-our-son-in-the-subway/?smid=fb-share

I’m not calling total “B.S.” on the story. I’m not questioning its authenticity, maybe just it’s up-to-datedness.   I do think it’s spreading a false message about how adoption and children’s aid societies really work.

For the last 48 hours my Facebook page has been riddled with links to this article connected to comments like, “Oooh so cute!”, “I like babies, I want to find a baby too!”

It’s just not that easy!  I have read the story a few times now and I still find the circumstances so bizarre.  I understand this happened in Manhattan; maybe the rules are different there.  I understand this happened twelve years ago, maybe things have changed that much in just a short time.

Here’s how this story would have gone down here (in Ontario) and now.  I assume this would be the same for many other places.

A baby is found and someone calls 9-1-1. The child would then be placed immediately into foster care. To become a foster parent, one has to do home studies, trainings (in many places, P.R.I.D.E training) and be approved by the ministry.  Once the child is placed in foster care, an extensive search for the parents would take place.  Assuming the parents are found, charged and classified as unfit to parent, or signed away their rights, the child would become “ward of the crown”.  The child (probably no longer an infant) would then be put on an “adoptable” list.  Waiting parents who have gone through the same home studies and trainings, as the foster parents are now eligible to apply to adopt the child.  Children’s Aid in Ontario would make and effort to match a child of “light brown skin” with a couple of the same race, this is their policy.

A perfect parallel to this story is the story of baby Angelica-Leslie, found in a North Toronto stairwell on a cold day.

I’m happy that the couple in the NYT story have their happy ending.  It really is a dream come true.  I just don’t like the way the story has contributed to adoption myth and fantasy.  I don’t like the way it trivializes the long, painful wait and process.  Yes, I’m just sensitive.  I like babies.  I want to find a baby too.

Hey! We’ve seen this story before!
(source: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/619N55YT7GL._SL500_.jpg)

Step One!

Step One

Yay! Our home study is complete! What does this mean? It means that our adoption practitioner now sends our file to the adoption agency, who then sends it to the ministry who will then take 4 weeks to 4 months to approve it. On approval (if we are approved), they will send it BACK to our agency who will then translate our documents into Vietnamese and send them to Vietnam. Once our file is sent to Vietnam, and if our file is approved in Vietnam, we wait. Our expected wait time is 18 months to 2 years. (People tell me this will move quickly, but right now it feels like a lifetime. We will likely be adopting a toddler. This baby may already be born!)
In the meantime, there are more forms to fill out, letters to get from accountants and then all we can do is wait.
Step One is another small victory that I will celebrate.
(Now can I fast forward?)

A Picture of Parenthood

To apply to adopt internationally, my husband and I were not required to create a profile or write a “Dear Birthmother” letter.  In our case, the agency will use the information in our home study and any insight from communications with us to create the best match with a child.

When adopting locally, the process is much different.

To prepare for the A.R.E. (see previous post), my husband and I had to create a profile.  We weren’t sure that local adoption was the route we wanted to take, but we didn’t want to turn up empty handed and close a door on ourselves.

Creating the profile was a very interesting challenge.  It’s a strange combination of employment cover letter and an on-line dating profile but with way more weight behind it and way more heart and soul.

I have heard from friends about getting photo shoots of themselves rolling in fall leaves and playing in the park to help to create an image of fun, welcoming parents.  Being a “just in case” profile, we didn’t want to go as far as a photo shoot (this time).  Instead, we went through every photo ever taken of us to find our most “family friendly”, warm, “parent-ish” but also fun, most “ourselves photos. This was a little bit of a challenge but also a heart-warming experience. It was so nice to go through all of our photos, to see all the happy times we have had together and how much we have changed in just a few years.  It was a really good reminder of the positive things in my life at a time when life has been feeling negative and full of loss.

We managed to pull together some photos and write up some general information that painted a truthful and positive picture of us as a couple, us as potential parents.

I have to say; seeing it all on paper really confirmed to me that we’ll be great parents.  I was convinced by my own words.

Home Study, Second Visit (alternate title: Going Bananas)

I should probably know by now that I shouldn’t get nervous about the home study.  I know from being a teacher that impressions and assessments aren’t based on small details but rather a whole person.  Saturday was our second visit.  I, of course, decided that I needed to bake banana bread.  For the record – I never bake banana bread (or anything else for that matter).  I have probably baked banana bread five times in my whole life.

I thought it would be nice to have a snack – the visits go all morning long, we drink a lot of coffee and I’m not my best on an empty stomach.  Last time, I bought croissants (this is how I usually bake).  I figured that baking something would make me seem more motherly.

Baking was a bit of a failure.  The element burnt out half way through and after an hour and a half in the oven, my banana bread was 50% liquid.  I “broiled” it for some more time and the result was a chewy banana brick.

Did I have a plan B? Were there cinnamon buns in the fridge just in case? No.

I had a taste of my banana jerky and figured there was enough sugar in there that it would have tasted good even in liquid form.

To my surprise, the banana “bread” was a success.  It did the job of putting something solid in our coffee tummies and even though I didn’t come across as a Stepford Mother (which would be false advertising) I came across as a human being, willing to give things a shot.  These, as it turns out, are good qualities in a parent.

The visit was very relaxed.  A few more questions and answers about our interests, our strengths and weaknesses and our experiences.  Even the “home run-through” was not stressful.  I had imagined being quizzed on child safety and all of the hazards in my home, opening of drawers and cupboards while taking notes on a clipboard.  The “run-through” was actually a RUN through.  It took all of five minutes, a quick tour of the home and a “looks great”.

We’re half way through the home study.  What will I bake next time?

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This is a photo of my adorable yet underused apron.  I insist on wearing this apron when doing “domestic” things…because I’m a dork.