Sunday, April 29, 2012

Unexpected Bumps

So there has been some silence since the home visit.

Let me begin by saying that our home passed all inspection.  Frankie, miraculously, was on excellent behavior and spent most of the visit chewing happily on her treat ball.  All the things that I could have thought to worry about turned out to be not a worry at all.  Our adoption counselor loved our home and all the fire safety items that we have put into place seem to have done their jobs.

That was the good stuff.

What I didn't know to worry about was what turned out to be the most stressful part of our process thus far.  Several months ago, we sent our adoption counselor a draft of our profile/dear birthparent letter.  We never heard back from her about it and we assumed that all was good.  So we began putting the profile into a book on Shutterfly.  We spent hours arranging the text and pictures until they were exactly where we wanted them.  We shared our profile with friends and family and felt incredibly proud of what we had done.  We felt that it so very accurately reflected who we are as a couple and we happy with it.  We even ordered one copy of the book to make sure that it looked good.  In our minds, we were done.  One more thing to cross off the list.

Well, apparently we are not quite done.  When our adoption counselor arrived at our home, we all sat together at the dining room table and we went through some of our paperwork.  After going through a few forms, she took out our profile draft that we had sent her and told us that she wanted to go through it with us.  For the next thirty minutes (or so) she proceeded to tell us all of the many things that were wrong with the letter.  Seriously, she said not one positive thing about our profile, but instead went paragraph by paragraph explaining what we had done wrong.  Her overall message seemed to be that we sounded too happy.  Truly.  She actually said that our letter was too upbeat.  She suggested that we want to focus on some of the struggles we have been through and also talk about our parenting ideals.  To be honest, there were things that she said that made a lot of sense.  However, there was just too much criticism to really be that effective.  It is not that she was criticizing our writing, it was almost as if she was telling us that we should portray ourselves as something that we are not.  She wanted us to focus on our struggles and we want to focus on all the good that is in our lives.  That is who we are.

As I sat there listening and taking notes and trying not to cry, I reassured myself that it couldn't possibly be as bad as I thought.  I am notorious for not taking criticism well, even in its most constructive state.  I figured that when all of this was over, Carla would tell me it wasn't as bad as I thought. Nope.  Turns out that Carla was just as annoyed as I was.  We both couldn't believe that this woman had our draft for three months and was only now saying anything to us.

Our adoption counselor finally stopped.  We finished the home visit.  She left and Carla and I went off to drown our sorrows in milkshakes and margaritas.  I got some wonderful advice from my mother (thanks mom) and we both decided we needed to just put the letter away for a while.

I now have a few days of distance from the whole thing.  I can now think more clearly and rationally about the whole thing.  Carla and I have both decided that THE most important thing for us is that our letter accurately portrays who we are.  We hope that our adoption counselor likes our letter and we will make some changes to ensure that happens, but more than anything we need to be who we are.  We need our letter to show the real us and we have to know that a birthmother will choose us because of that.

So, we will keep working on the letter.  Our deadline to be on the wait list is no longer the start of May.  Hopefully we will be there by the start of June.  Though we are ready to be done with this phase, we are somewhat at the mercy of our adoption counselor.  She now has to finish our homestudy report (which she has 30 days to complete) and only then can we move onto the waitlist.  So until then, we will continue to work on our profile and fill out the last few remaining pieces of paperwork.  I will try my best to be patient and know that someday we will be done with this and it will be worth it in the end.


  1. Ugh. Sorry about the critique. I can see how having a letter be too many bunnies and rainbows might be off-putting for a birth mother, but why should you focus entirely on the hard parts of your life? Surely they want their baby placed with a happy, loving family, right? Good luck finding a balance that your counsellor will accept that doesn't hide who you are!

  2. What??? How frustrating to only get the feedback months after you turned in the draft. And it seems like basic communication skills 101 to include some positive feedback when you're also offerring suggestions for improvement. I'm sure there were lots of great things about your profile and it would've been helpful for her to mention them. What is her concern about your portrayal being "too upbeat"? What does she think a birthparent will think if s/he reads a profile that's too positive?

  3. Jessica, I saw your name on someone's Facebook page and wanted to see how you are doing. I see you still have that infectious smile. I am so happy that you found someone who makes you happy to spend your life with. Good luck on your journey to adopt. You'll be a great mom! I wish you a wonderful life full of love & happiness! Pat Roberts. (formerly at Green Trails)