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Nearly Approved: Adoption Update

Nearly Approved: Adoption UpdateI know, “nearly approved” is like “almost pregnant.”

Still, we really are nearly approved, and I’m itchy to talk about it.

Over the last several weeks we completed the final major part of our application to be approved to adopt: the home study. As I think I’ve said, this isn’t what you might think it is if all you know about adoption you’ve learned from sitcoms – a social worker doesn’t show up at our house unannounced, looking for stray toxic chemicals, neglected pets, and dusty baseboards.

Here in British Columbia there are particular requirements for the home study. At least one meeting has to be at our house. The social worker has to meet with each partner separately at least once (if you’re applying as a couple, which obviously we are). There’s a minimum length of time she had to spend with us. There are particular topics we had to cover.

We ended up doing all of our meetings at our house. We talked about all manner of things: our relationship, our childhoods, how we came to decide to adopt, our work, our hobbies, our friends and family, our religious and spiritual beliefs and practices, our anticipated approach to parenting, and more. We adore our social worker, so these conversations were completely stress-free and enjoyable.

And now she’s writing up what will essentially become a dossier about us. Once the agency approves it (and there’s no reason they shouldn’t), our file will become available to birth mothers creating an adoption plan for their child.

In sum, we’ve completed our application. It took about six months. It can often take longer, but our flexible schedules allowed us to take the first four-day workshops that were offered (they’re only offered a few times a year) and to schedule our home-study sessions in a fairly concentrated period of time. (If you’re itching for me to jog your memory about the rest of the requirements, here’s the paperwork bit: initial application, four references, forms from our doctors, criminal history checks from every state or province we’ve lived in since reaching the age of majority. I think that’s it. It doesn’t seem that daunting from this side of it all.)

What happens once we’re approved? We wait to be chosen. Hopefully we’ll be chosen soon. And as you can see from the photo, above, I’ve been struck by an inclination to knit (and crochet, and maybe even to sew).

Which brings me to a note about superstition, and another one about cause and effect.

A note about superstition: I may not practice the religion I was born into, but its culture is my culture. And part of Jewish culture is a (usually) healthy dose of brutally practical superstition. Jews don’t have baby showers before a baby’s born. We hold off because of the slight-yet-devastating chance of something going horribly wrong. Of course, we attend baby showers when they’re thrown for other people (though I admit I’m often uncomfortable due to my congenital superstition; I do my best to hide this from pregnant people at showers).

The superstition goes so far as to demand that no crib be set up, and no baby items be kept in the house. My in-laws will hopefully be game to keep a box in their basement for us. When I finish the simple hoodie blanket in the photo, I’ll leave it at their house. Now, yeah – if it’s years before we’re picked, we may need to add a second box.

The only thing we’re going to purchase ahead of time (aside from, um, yarn) is a car seat. Because it’s possible we’ll become parents on a day’s notice, and I really don’t want to have to go shopping when I otherwise will want to focus my full attention on freaking out. The car seat will live in my in-laws’ basement, too.

Jews have a natural baby-shower-like milestone when babies are eight days old – the bris (circumcision) or baby-naming ceremony. We will have what I’ve begun thinking of as Day 31. A birth mother has 30 days from the birth of the child to change her mind about making an adoption plan. I think this is a very good thing. Still, as an adoptive parent, I imagine that 31st day will be one of unanticipated emotion (or, perhaps I’m anticipating it now…). That’ll be when we’ll want to celebrate.

A note about cause and effect: Based on some comments I’ve received (by the way, every single comment has been enthusiastic and supportive. I love you all for that), I feel I must clarify that the baby that will come into our lives will not be a blessing (a joy, a wonder, a momentous change in our lives for which we’ll be forever grateful and loving – yes, it will be all of those things to us). There will be nothing supernatural about their coming into our lives. In fact, this baby will join our family only because their mother spent months and months of her life agonizing over the best decision to make for them both. Her decision will come about for her own reasons, and that we’ll become parents because of it, that we’ll rejoice and feel lucky and overwhelmed, that we’ll be overcome with emotion, all of that will not be a blessing. Our joy will come from her pain, no matter how happy we’ll be. Unlike getting pregnant, having kids through adoption means some people will grieve while we celebrate.

Ok, now it seems like I’m ending this post on a downer. I don’t intend to. I just don’t want to gloss over the hard parts because the happy parts are so shiny and cute.

I’ll distract you with thoughts of baby knitting! It’s so small and quick!

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Marianela

So happy about the “nearly approved” part!! We will live up to your superstition and leave at our place anything we feel like buying for you little one. And if we are in town, please expect us at your place on that 31st day!

Dawn E

Great post. Great news. Great sentiment. I find nothing to be “down” about in putting voice to the bittersweet feelings adoption can bring. Your compassion shines through here and reminds me once again how very lucky a child coming into your life will be. LOVE.

Yay!! You're right, there is definitely a gravity to the process of adoption, but I am excited for you!

plainsight

I think you put it perfectly, Kim, and your sensitivity to the birth mother's struggle is something I'm sure adoptive parents often feel, but you don't hear about it so eloquently. Great post!

futuregirl

I can't wait to hear all about it! Yay!

haley

Thank you for sharing your process! I don't know anybody who's adopted and I've found it educational and uplifting to read (via your blog and twitter) about what it's like legally and emotionally.

I hope you're able to provide a little one with a loving home soon!

karlia

I am so excited for you! I understand the superstition about not talking about it, but I try hard to not be superstitious. I love you discussion of the process. It's a good thing they don't evaluate all prospective parents like that…hardly anyone would be approved, least likely me. I was fortunate enough to be blessed with my own happy accident, and she has made all the difference in my life. I am sure you will be approved and your blessing will be no accident, but a child chosen for you by God. I hold you in my prayers, praying the approval comes quickly so you can go on with the rest of your life. Thank you so much for sharing.

Ann Marie

You're ready…and articulate! We're not Jewish, but didn't have anything prepared either save for the car seat and a suitcase (we had to travel about 2 hours after the beeper went off)! Here the waiting period was much shorter, but our friends threw a wonderful party for us which our son attended almost a month after he was born. All best wishes to you!

tamdoll

Been lurking, but I wanted to say that I hope everything works out smoothly for you and that when day 31 comes around you can relax and celebrate.

Cassie Hale

I really enjoyed your blog entry today. I'm so glad you pointed out that despite the joy of adoption, someone is grieving. As a former counselor in crisis pregnancy intervention, the family (mom, dad, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc) of the one giving up the child often goes through a deep process of grief they have to bear alone. Thanks for pointing that out, and I wish you all the best! Knit away, girl!

Dave Jensen

Thanks so much for sharing your story – my wife and I are just getting started on our adoption application, and I am encouraged by your post. Best of luck!

pixie

ahh indeed, I was not raised religiouse by any means, but my mother being Jewish instilled many fun superstitions in me even if she didn't mean to (she even throws salt over her shoulder when she drops a fork but she won't admit doing it). I have tried to explain to my MIL that we did not name our babies before they were born, but because some friend of mine mentioned she “knew the name” before the baby was born (and dude I have explained 9839280409832498 times even to close friends just because I like the name doesn't mean it IS the name, no name until baby is born no matter how much I like it!) and yet NO ONE BELIEVES ME, it caused a large argument and over 6 months of not speaking with said MIL, all because of an unwillingness to believe we did not name my child before she was born! Le Sigh.

Laura

Kim, for me, as an adoptive parent and one who's worked in the adoption community, you are a breath of fresh air. Much about adoption and a family coming together is joyous. But adoption would not exist without some element of loss – for the birth parents and for the child and perhaps others. A healthy awareness of that is a good thing and allows for a more honest process. Congrats on getting through most of the process and good luck.

Cleo Fan

The basement is ready!!
XXOOX

kristi

My sister and brother-in-law welcomed their second daughter into their family through an international adoption. I know that the process of deciding what path to pursue when you actively (and sometimes tenaciously) have to seek parenthood is challenging. And the wait for the “big event” can be trying. Do try to enjoy this time, the two of you, separately and together.

Guy

home study?!? I'm having a flashback to our own adoption process 8 yrs ago. I can tell by your description of the “blessing” that you are ready. My very best wishes to the both of you.

harriet

Just making the decision to adopt and doing what's required is the most important step! Congratulations! So excited for you (even though I don't know you ;) I'm still knitting my baby blanket and Theo is 9 months old. BTW, we had a “welcoming party, one month after he was born, and it was super fantastic.

harriet

Just making the decision to adopt and doing what's required is the most important step! Congratulations! So excited for you (even though I don't know you ;) I'm still knitting my baby blanket and Theo is 9 months old. BTW, we had a “welcoming party, one month after he was born, and it was super fantastic.

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