So while I was trying to think of something new to say, I remembered several conversations that I have had recently where I attempted to explain the possible things that could happen from here. I am not sure that I did a great job during any of those conversations, so I thought I would try to formulate a little explanation of the different scenarios that could happen (as I understand them). So here we go.
Now that we are on the wait list, our short profile has gone up on our adoption agency's website and a paper copy of that short profile now sits in a big binder with the profiles all of the families who are waiting to adopt (approximately 100 families). One of the things that could happen is that a birthmother could be working with our agency, decide to look online and select a few families that she would like to look at more closely. She could then let her counselor know and her counselor would then get the longer profile books of those families and the birthmother would then look through those. Alternatively, a birthmother might be given the binder of short profiles to look through and select a few families from the binder that she would like to look more closely at. Her birth counselor would then get the longer profile books of those families for the birthmother to choose from.
Another possibility is that there could be a birthmother with a situation that some adoptive families might not be willing to work with. For example, the birthmother might have had drugs or alcohol at some point during the pregnancy. In that case, the birthmother's counselor would enter into a database the conditions of that woman's pregnancy (alcohol use, mental illness, etc.) and she would also enter the characteristics of an adoptive family that the birthmother is willing to work with (same-sex couples, stay-at home parent, etc.). A list of families would come up that match both the birthmother's requests and the conditions of her pregnancy. From that list, the five or six couples that have been waiting the longest will be presented to the birthmother.
One last possibility is that a woman contacts our adoption agency from the hospital. What I love about our agency is even if a birthmother contacts the agency after a baby is born, our agency still believes that the woman needs several weeks of counseling so that she can make the decision that is best for her and that she can be fully informed of the process. In that case, while she is making decision the baby could go to the onsite nursery at our adoption agency. That way, every knows that the baby is being well cared for (by baby cuddlers that have to wait on a two-year wait list in order to get the much coveted volunteer position). During this time, the birthmother is going through the same process as any other birthmother would to select an adoptive family.
No matter how an adoptive family gets chosen to be presented to a birthparent, our adoption counselor will always contact us first. She will give us as much information about the birthparent as they have and then we can decide if we want to be presented or not. If it is a situation that we feel comfortable with, then we will say yes, but if something about the situation feels uncomfortable for us for some reason they we say no and then we are not presented. Once we agree to be presented, our agency assumes that we are willing to go forward if we are chosen.
So the birthmother looks at the longer profiles and selects one family. The other families are contact and they are put back onto the wait list. Our adoption counselor told us that she would email us and let us know if that were to happen. They have some great language to deal with this stuff. She would let us know that we have been "released" and then ask us if we want to go right back into the waiting pool or take a few weeks off.
The adoptive family that is chosen would then have a match meeting with the birthmother. Both the adoptive family's counselor and the birthmother's counselor will be present at this match meeting. There could be multiple match meetings or just one, depending on the situation. At these meetings there will be discussion about the type of openness that everyone feels comfortable with going forward. There will also be plans made for what will happen after the baby is born (if the baby has not been born yet).
It's a lot to keep track of, right? Even though I feel like I have it all down, there is still so much that I know I won't understand until we have to really deal with it. I just thought I would try my best to explain the process as best as I understand it. I figure that these are things people want to know. So that's all for now. I will try and think of some more interesting stuff to write about for the months (years?) ahead!