mother, baby

We had our first home-study session for adoption yesterday.

Contrary to what we’ve all seen on television — a social worker shows up to a home unannounced on the day the vacuum broke and the neighbour’s kids trashed the place and the dog’s vomiting and there’s Fruit Loops everywhere and one of said neighbour’s kids has a black eye from walking into a doorknob and your hair hasn’t been brushed in three days because you had the plague and you curse profoundly when you open the door — well, it’s not like that in reality.

People keep assuring us it’ll be fine, and nobody seems to believe me when I tell them we aren’t worried.

In reality, the tough parts – the part of judging – is pretty much over. The agency has already read our references, criminal background checks and doctor’s assessments. We’ve already sat through the four days of mandatory workshops. The home study is a series of discussions during which our social worker gets to know us, and upon which she bases her write-up. The write-up is what a woman looking to place her infant for adoption sees when she’s choosing a family. Sure, something might come up that gives the social worker pause, but we’re not actually concerned we won’t be approved to adopt.

The session yesterday took place at our home (which we did not feverishly scrub down in a panicked frenzy), and it was relaxed. Cleo played her part perfectly, except for her timely flatulence. At least we weren’t flatulent.

I get the impression there’s stricter regulation of adoption in B.C. (and possibly all of Canada) than there is in the U.S. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

In B.C., there are no private adoptions; all adoptions are arranged through one of six agencies. We don’t prepare a dossier ourselves; the social worker prepares it. There’s no exchange of goods or money between the chosen adoptive parents and the pregnant woman – no paying of medical bills (which in Canada isn’t an issue anyway), no paying rent, etc. This absence of the exchange of money is what makes me comfortable adopting. There’s a lot of room for ethical disaster when money and children are transacted, and it’s very, very important to us that every party to this adoption is acting in the best interest of the child and in the best interest of a happy and healthy life for everyone involved.

Anyway. During each of the handful of home-study sessions we’ll have, we’ll cover different topics. Our childhood experiences, schooling, work life, religious and spiritual beliefs, parenting philosophies, home life, etc.

Yesterday we just got to know each other and we talked about how we came to decide to adopt. During the conversation, the social worker asked me what my experience with infertility was like, and I described the physical trauma and the emotional stress. She asked how I felt over the years as I’ve watched my friends get pregnant, and I told her that aside from one isolated pang of jealousy, I’ve felt only happiness for them.

This is the truth. I’ve wanted to adopt since I was a teenager. I don’t feel a burning need to procreate. I’ve always assumed I was an outlier for this. And yesterday, the social worker confirmed it. She told me it’s extremely uncommon for a woman not to really grieve through infertility.

And you know, it’s pretty sweet to be told by an experienced professional that I really am different. It’s certainly why I find pretty much all the adoption blogs I’ve come across to be unsatisfying to read. I mean, there are other reasons to find them unsatisfying. Some are terribly written. Many are a lot about god. Most are about a burning need to have kids.

But I just want to have kids. I want to have a bigger family. I want to show a child the world and I want to nurture them and work hard to make them happy.

And I’m okay not getting what I want.

Which doesn’t mean I’m not crazy excited about adopting. All it means is that I don’t relate to the desperation I know so many people feel. I respect and appreciate it, but I don’t share it. I’m a little on my own, which I don’t mind. On my own, I mean, with my understanding and supportive partner, with our wildly enthusiastic friends and family, and soon, I hope, with a daughter or a son.