I made a portfolio. I thought it was great.
But THEN, I went online and started cruising OTHER potential adoptive parents’ portfolios and realized that mine was, in fact, not great. It was average, at best.
This could not stand. So, beginning Christmas Day, after all the festivities had wrapped up, I told The Hubs he needed to prepare himself to hold down the fort solo for the next few days. I was doing this thing again, only this time I was bringing my “A” game. I left him with a to do list and a dazed expression on his face as I disappeared into my office. As I closed the door I think I heard him say, “Wait, I thought you already…” His confusion was understandable, but the past was the past and there was no time to explain that we were not entering The Pool with a mediocre portfolio.
The portfolio is not a portfolio. It is a gigantic book, generally created using software such as Mixbook or Shutterfly, where you need to encompass the whole of your lives, via photos, to be presented to potential birth mothers. In our case, the challenge was making sure E was represented, but was not the focus of the book. This was kind of hard, since he is the center of our lives and there are virtually no pictures from the past three years that do not have him in them. I think this says something about us as parents, though. We are good parents! We take our son on vacations and to local activities and to have new experiences and we do everything together as a family. When, God willing, we add another precious being to the family, they will take their place next to E as the centers of our world, our equally loved and adored children. If there is one thing we have learned from loving E and being his parents, it is that the love we have for him is not based in our genetic connection. That could not possibly be less of the reason that we love, adore, and cherish him. That is why I can say with complete confidence that when we are chosen to adopt a baby, that baby will be loved beyond what could even be described through words.
Sorry about the tangent. I’ve been trying to find the right words to put into our “Expectant Mother” letter, and those may have been some of them. But back to the portfolio. From Thursday night until Tuesday night I spent 53 hours creating our adoption portfolio/giant book. Most of Saturday was spent celebrating a late Christmas with my brother’s family, so only about four of the hours fell on that day. Otherwise, I have been here, in my office, creating a glorious portfolio that I believe accurately represents my family in a way that is both realistic and positive. I edited each of the 132 photos I included to have the highest resolution so they do not appear pixelated in print. I chose color themes for each page spread based on the “vibe” of the photos and the clothes we are wearing in them. I followed a checklist that I made for myself to make sure that every important event and person in our lives was properly represented. I included anecdotal captions that leave no doubt how goofy this family can be, which is a very high level of goofy. Most importantly, I contacted a number of family members and begged them to search their photos for any that might have ME in them, the forgotten one that is not in any of her own family photos because she is always the photographer. (Take note, Hubs. The winds are changing.)
I submitted the adoption atlas last night at 7:30. My adoption coordinator at the agency has to approve it before I can order up copies. Consequently, I’ve been checking my email every fifteen minutes to see if she has responded yet. Hold on, I will check again. Nope, no reply. Yes, I realize it is unrealistic to expect a person to review an entire dictionary of information and then to also respond to me with feedback in 17 hours, when the time frame we are dealing with is 7:30 PM-12:30 PM. I KNOW.
And yet, you can bet the farm I will still be checking every fifteen…ten minutes, until I hear from her. I can hear The Pool calling, and it wants my Atlas!