Saturday, July 28, 2012

What Happens Now?

So it is a little harder to find things to blog about now that we are just waiting.  I am sure down the line there will be more thoughts and emotions on the waiting and the time spent on the wait list, but at the moment I am just so relieved to be done with the paperwork phase of this process that I haven't experienced too much angst about waiting (not to mention that it's only been a few weeks).

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!


Monday, July 16, 2012

A One-Day Baby's Room

So what does a couple do once they are on the adoption wait list? Well, this couple starts to put together our one-day baby's room.  Look, we know that there might not be an actual baby in this room for a long time, but why not start getting the room ready any way.  At this point, I know that there will be a day when we bring our baby home and we want the room to be completely ready.  So we have begun the first steps in turning our second bedroom into our baby's room. Here is how the room used to look (well, there wasn't always a ladder and painter's tape, but you get the idea): 

The first steps were to remove the hideous ceiling fan that has been in the room since before we moved into the house and then to paint the walls a more gender neutral and baby friendly color.  This was the result: 

We then changed the window blinds that had also been there since we moved in and were decidedly ugly. We also moved back in the bookshelf that is the only piece of furniture that will be staying in the room.  We even put in the first few books that we have for our baby's book collection! Thanks to sister and sister-in-laws for contributing to the book collection.  This is where we were after those steps:

The most exciting addition came in the mail today and was put up on the walls after only a few hours.  We decided that we wanted to add a vinyl wall decal to the room and after a bit of searching (mostly done by Carla) we found the perfect one on Etsy.  We ordered it and it was delivered today.  I can't say that it was the easiest job, but once we got the hang of it, it really wasn't that bad.  So here are the final results: 

So that's where we are at! I love the way that everything has turned out so far.  It is nice to know that whenever our baby does come home, he or she is going to have one adorable room to come home to! 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Two in One Day!

Ha! I don't think I have ever posted twice in one day before, but I just got really excited about the fantastic counter I just added to the blog.  It's over there -------> on the right hand side.  Please notice that the icon even has two women inside of the heart (thank you Lilypie for being so progressive).

I haven't yet decided if having a device that counts the days we have been waiting is a good idea or not, but I am willing to give it a go.  Besides, I find it completely adorable! Luckily, these things are as easy to take down as they are to put up. So if I decide that it was a bad idea, down it goes, and then we all pretend like it was never there in the first place.  Okay? Okay!

Clearly, summer break has left me with an excess of free time.

Online Profile is Up!

Yesterday we received another exciting email.  Our online profile went up.  It was so wonderful to be able to go onto our adoption agency's website and see our profile there with all of the other families waiting to adopt.  It was the first thing that we could see with our own eyes that proved that we were really on that wait list.

It has been a really interesting week as I have found myself mentally adjusting to the idea of being on the wait list for real.  It is a strange thing to think about and while I know that there will be many months ahead, I also know that at any moment from this point out, our profile could be shown to a birthmother.  

And now I learn to deal with the uncertainty.  There is a lot of it ahead.  There is no due date. There is no way to plan because any plan that we try to make is based on nothing more than wishful thinking.  So I will learn to sit, be patient, trust that our baby will find us when the time is right, and hope that there will soon come a day when I won't feel the need to look at our online profile fifty times a day! 

I can feel my own mind trying to wrap itself around what this all means.  I can feel my emotions trying to settle themselves down.  I can feel myself trying to temper my excitement because I know how long we still have to go.  I think for now, I just have to let myself feel whatever comes and not worry about how I am supposed to be feeling.  It seems like a good plan for now.  

Our giant binder of paperwork that no longer sits on our kitchen counter!

Yesterday evening, I happily put our giant binder of paper work away in the closet.  It is so nice to know that we are done with it for now.  It continues to feel wonderful to know that we don't have steps to take right now.  We just learn to sit back and wait.  

I imagine that from here on out, these blog posts will be a whole lot less exciting.  I imagine there won't be much to report, but I am sure that I will think of something.  It's been so wonderful to be able to share our journey thus far with so many people.  It has been wonderful to feel the support when I needed it and to have people to amplify our excitement when I have needed that instead.  I like to think about the day when I will get to tell everyone that this is it, we did it.  But until then, I will rejoice instead in describing to you all of the inane things that I come up with to worry about.  

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

No Longer Waiting to Wait

This morning we got this email...

This is the email I received first thing this morning from our adoption counselor!

For the past few days I have been checking my phone first thing every morning to see if we received this exact email.  We had not heard anything last week, so yesterday we sent an email just checking to see where we were in the process and then this morning I found this lovely email waiting for me on my phone.

Carla was already downstairs and so I jumped out of bed and literally ran down the stairs.  Those of you who know me well know that I don't really ever run.  So Carla knew something was going on.  I was so happy to be able to say, "We did it! We are on the wait list!"  It was such an incredible feeling.  To know that we no longer have to fill out any forms, we no longer have to wait for any more feedback on our profile, we no longer have to wait for approval.  It was truly a moment of pure joy.

Luckily, Carla had the day off today so we have been able to spend the day being excited together.  We started off with a trip to our old neighborhood for breakfast.  I got to call my family on the way to breakfast and share the good news with all of them as well.  They couldn't have been more excited.  It is such a wonderful thing to be able to share with people.

After breakfast, we headed to our favorite bookstore.  A while ago, Carla came up with a fantastic plan to make our long wait a little bit more bearable.  She suggested that once we were on the wait list, we would each get to pick out one book each month for the baby.  That way, every month we had to wait would bring us closer to having the children's library of our dreams.  Since today was our first official day on the wait list, it seemed like the perfect day to visit Women and Children First Bookstore and begin our collection.

This book store is a little piece of heaven for me.  It's one of those places where you feel like the people who work there have actually read a vast quantity of the books that they sell there.  The selection is delightful and there are handwritten book reviews posted throughout the store.  It is also the first place where we went to purchase books about adoption.  As soon as we walked in to the store today, we headed to the back of the store where they keep the children's books.  Standing there was one of the owners of the store who happens to be the same woman who helped us in August of last year to find the adoption books that we needed.  I stopped to tell her that she had helped us many months ago and that we were now back because we were officially put on the wait list today.  She was wonderfully excited and flitted around the store pointing out books that we should buy.  We told her about our plan to each buy one book for every month that we were waiting.  She loved it!

And then we spent time looking through many books to find the perfect ones.  I pretty much knew that my first book was going to be a Todd Parr book.  Todd Parr is a wonderful author of children's books.  Each of his books aims to make children feel good about who they are.  I often buy his books for friends who have just had babies.  They are nice and short and are filled with brightly colored pictures. They also each carry an incredible message of self-acceptance.  Coincidently, one of his books The Family Book was recently banned from a school district in Erie, Il because it contained the offenseive sentence, "Some families have two moms or two dads."  So, what book did I buy?  That's right.  My first choice of books was, The Family Book by Todd Parr.  So it turned out that we each actually chose two books today!  We were too excited to settle on just one.  So here are my picks:

The Family Book and The Okay Book both by Todd Parr
And here are Carla's picks:
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle and Mama, Do You Love Me? by Barbara M. Joosse
The store owner laughed at us as we stood there with four books instead of two, but we left happy!

We then headed over to one of our favorite places to shop for things for our house and we picked out the first piece of art for the one day baby's room.  Here it is:
I absolutely adore it and can't wait for it to one day find itself on the walls of our baby's room.

Speaking of walls, as I type this post, Carla is upstairs starting to work on the job of painting our second bedroom.  It will be the first official step towards turning it into a nursery.  We figured that painting the walls was a good step.  One that wouldn't make us sad that there wasn't a baby there yet, but one that would also help us feel prepared for the day when there will be a baby.  So our blue walls are turning into beautiful yellow walls as I speak/type.

So it's been a big day over here.  Trust me, I know that there is along way to go in this process.  I know that in some ways, the months ahead are going to be much more difficult than the months that have just passed.  But I also know that we must rejoice in each small step toward becoming a family of three.  We began this process many months ago and it feels incredible to be officially done with the first phase.  I do not know what the future is going to bring us.  I do not know what else we will go through, but I know that I feel a wonderful sense of relief that we are no longer waiting to wait, we are instead just waiting.

I also want to thank all of you who have provided some much needed comfort over the past few months.  My frustrations hit an all time high and I felt so lucky to have such incredible people around me to vent to.  It also makes me feel so confident that I will be able to make it through whatever comes next because of the people that I am fortunate enough to have in my life.  So thank you all for giving me that confidence.

And now we wait.