The Young Boy I Met

In May I met a 14yr old boy at an adoption party. He was awesome, but I was holding out for a sibling group. I decided to look into him again recently and just today discovered that he’s been placed with a family. It is always bittersweet to hear about placements of kids you’re interested in – but I’m so glad he has a home now.

I’ve inquired about lots of kids over the past several months. Most of them from the public website. None have panned out yet. The trouble is that the kids on the website are the “hard to place” ones, who’ve been resorted to marketing tactics to find them homes. We don’t get to see files for the majority of the kids in care. We as adoptive parents have to leave our lives in the hands of a social worker – a stranger – and hope that they’re doing everything they can to match us with a child and expand our families.

It’s hard not to feel like you’re just another file sitting on someone’s desk. Usually, you are. I contact my social worker once every couple of weeks to ask questions and make sure we’re making strides in the direction of our end goal. What is that saying… the squeakiest wheel gets the grease.

In the meantime, I sit and I wait and I hope for a child to bring noise and laughter and life into my home and into my heart.

It’s Almost Go-Time!

I’m really quite excited to start my life as a mom. It’s taken a long time to get to this point (my best friend calls it “the most overdue pregnancy ever”). I first applied to adopt in April of last year (2013), but I had spent my whole life thinking about it first. It took six months to receive the first phone call saying that they had finally reviewed my application. After that things thankfully seemed to go faster (though they really didn’t). I’ve been through two very long weekends of training, filled out massive amounts of paperwork (repeatedly), I’m now onto my third social worker (intake worker, home study writer, and now the permanent adoption worker), and last month I was finally approved to adopt!

In between all of the appointments and paperwork, I’ve painted both of the kids rooms, the laundry room and the basement. I’ve torn down and re-built a fence and a deck, I’ve attended several meet-ups with other adoptive or prospective parents, and I’m managing the blog for a new non-profit organization started by one of my new friends. Things have been really busy preparing for my new family; I guess you could say I’m nesting (and drinking more coffee).

My social worker said that my file has been getting a lot of attention due to my wide age-range, so I don’t think it will be very long before I’ve found a “match” and will get to bring them home. I’m spending the interim period saving up for my parental leave and trying to finish off a few projects around the house. I also have a couple of weekends planned at the lake for good measure.

Wish me luck, and keep your eyes open for big news coming soon!

After Tomorrow

There’s only another four-six weeks before I expect to hear from the social worker about scheduling my first home visit / interview. After that, I expect the process will seem to go a lot faster. I’m already feeling the nerves kick in from time to time, as I realize there’s only a month left of my life as a single girl, free as a bird. After that first contact, I think it will seem so much more real. Despite my nerves, I still feel good about my decision to adopt. A little panicky sometimes, but I think that’s probably normal when one is on the verge of making a permanent and life changing decision.

I have great news. I’ve reached the last chapter in closing out my Dad’s estate, and I will use my inheritance to purchase my own home… a home where I’ll raise my children. In all likelihood, the timing of my home purchase and adoption will coincide, and I must admit that I’m a bit nervous about taking it all on at once. I hope I have a few months to settle into home ownership before I have to settle into motherhood as well.

I’ve been doing as much as I can to prepare for motherhood. I’ve read a few books. I’ve thought about the logistics. I’ve told my family, and I’ve asked for their support. I think my mother and I have finally found a place to bond. I asked her outright if she’d be able and willing to support me (emotionally, as well as with things like after school and emergency care) and her response was an enthusiastic “absolutely!”. I’ve never heard my mother so excited about anything I’ve done. I truly believe she’s going to flourish in the role of a grandmother. We’ve had some pretty in depth conversations as of late. I’ve been able to open up to her about my fears and concerns, and about the practicalities and obstacles I’ll face as a single mother, and for once she’s actually encouraged me and provided me with support and suggestions. Mom’s never been like this before. It gives me comfort knowing that my family will be backing me fully, and that me and my children will have the supports we need. After all, it takes a village…

Friday Night In

As I think about my decision to adopt, there are certain concerns that jump out at me. I’m trying to deal with them one by one, identifying and weighing my options, trying to find the best solutions to each. The concerns I have are pretty typical I think… can I afford this? What about the logistics? Will I be able to find after school care or babysitting? Will I have to move into a house with more bedrooms? Should I stay in the city or go back to the ‘burbs? Where are the best schools located? And the list goes on…

But my biggest concern is when will there be time for me? What about my Friday nights when I like to hit the take-out aisle of the grocery store and curl up on the couch at home in front of the TV, after a long week at the office? I don’t think I could function now without my night to stay in and veg, so how will I function once I have kids?

I do not intend on being one of those mom’s who says “once you have kids there’s just no time left for you!”. I firmly believe that to be a good parent, you need to be good to yourself, and that means taking breaks. Lots of breaks. I’m lucky enough to have an incredible support system in the making. I have already informed my mother that she’ll be my free after-school care (one down!), but she’ll also be there for me if I need some time off once in a while. There’s no reason my kids can’t go to Grandma’s for a weekend once a month, or spend the day at the zoo with my cousins, or once they’re comfortable enough, to have sleepovers with friends. I’m certain there’s another mom out there willing to trade sleepovers once in a while.

As for those Friday nights, I think the answer to that problem is to embrace it by making it a fun thing for the kids. “Children, Friday is our family night in! We can order pizza and watch movies until mommy falls asleep!”

The Road to Motherhood is Paved with Paperwork

Last week I submitted an application for adoption. Tonight I attended the orientation presentation. Sometime over the next couple of weeks I will submit a criminal record check, and the next phase of paperwork. In 8-10 weeks I will have my first home visit with a social worker, who will ask some very invasive but necessary questions and then schedule me for “training” which will likely begin in September. After that point, more home visits are scheduled and a report is prepared and submitted for approval. If I “pass the test” then I will be eligible to be “matched” with a child (children). This process could take any length of time, but I am hopeful that my openness to sibling groups over the age of six will increase my possible matches. Once a match is found, I am given full disclosure of the child’s background and current state, and visits with that child’s doctors, foster parents, teachers, etc. will take place. If at that point I am confident that this is my child (children) then I will meet the child and we’ll spend a week or so visiting and becoming familiar with each other, and then I will finally move them into my home. After approximately a 4-6 month period, the final adoption papers are drawn up and submitted to the court. Once the order is granted, I become that child’s permanent guardian, and everything from their birth records to their last name is changed to reflect mine.

I am scared shitless. I am also really, really looking forward to it.