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!