Update: I wrote this original post on Dec.3 but somehow it didn’t get posted! I’m happy to say that after another week or so of excruciatingly revising and editing my autobiography, I finally deemed it of high enough quality to submit to the adoption agency. That thing kicked my keister and taught me a lesson about being overly confident when it comes to writing! Sadly, our background checks have still not been completed! I don’t think it helped that they most likely sat at DHS vacantly, discarded during much of December as employees took their Christmas vacation days.
On December 2nd, my husband and I reveled in triumph at the two inch high stack of adoption paperwork we had completed. Our agency, who is lucky to have one heck of a thorough and detailed office manager, provided us a checklist of every single thing we needed to complete or create in terms of documentation, and for this I am tremendously grateful. So off I marched to the post office, clutching my stack of paperwork. I opted to use the self serve machine rather than stand in line. This is something you should not do. YES there is a line winding and curving for a third of a mile inside the post office. NO you will not encounter a line at the self service machine. The reason for this is that the machine expects you to know how much insurance to buy for your package, or whether paying extra for overnight delivery is worth it. If you do not know these things, the machine will not help you, nor will it pity you, and you will hang your head in shame and join the line inside the post office, which became a half mile longer while you were screwing around with the much “quicker” self service machine. Heed my warning.
Anyway, the giant pile of paperwork was completed! This was a huge deal! Once that stack is turned in, and the FBI runs your prints to ensure you aren’t an axe murderer or a tax evader, you are assigned a social worker and join The Pool. The Pool is where you want to be. It takes a lot if work to get there, but once you are in, potential birthmothers can officially view our portfolio and have the choice of picking us, as the family they give their child. As of this writing we aren’t in The Pool yet, but our swimsuits are on and we are ready to go! The reason we aren’t in yet is because I’m an idiot. One of the items we needed to complete was a 2-3 page autobiography about ourselves. John began writing his ahead of time, and commented that it was surprisingly difficult. I scoffed at him. How hard could this actually be? 2-3 pages, I could bang that out in half an hour! I used to be a writing teacher, after all. Maybe this assignment was difficult for other people, but it would be a piece of cake for me.
Sadly, but not unexpectedly, pride cometh before a fall. This autobiography was the hardest assignment of my life, and I once wrote a thirty page thesis on Mabel Walker Willebrandt. I kept writing draft after draft, starting over anew and then picking up again on older drafts, after realizing they were better than the drivel I was currently churning out. It was the most vicious of the vicious cycles. Our agency had even given us a decent outline to work with, instructing us to describe:
- Our childhoods
- Our marriage
- Our parenting style
- Our religious or spiritual beliefs
- Our lifestyle
- Our motivation to adopt
- Our significant life experiences, good and bad
What I found is that nothing causes writers block quite like knowing that the piece you are attempting to write is destined for the hands of the social worker who will decide whether you are ready for The Pool or not. It strikes terror into the hearts of even the most cheerful writers. How do you discuss significant life events that hurt so bad you didn’t know if you were even going to be happy again, WHILE making sure that you are communicating that the event made you a stronger and more empathetic person after making it through the pain? How do you describe a happy childhood without making it sounds like you grew up with the cast of Family Ties? How do you explain your existing parenting style when you are really supposed to be theorizing what it is like to be a parent for the first time? How do you convey that yes, we genuinely, truly, from the bottom of our hearts want to grow our family through adoption, and that it isn’t just a “fall back” because the fertility treatments weren’t working?
It took me a good long time to come up with the answers to the above questions. As someone who considers herself an insightful person, who communicates her feelings honestly and transparently, this particular assignment served me a big ol’ piece of humble pie. Honestly, I think it’s good to eat some of that once in a while. So, for those of you waiting with great anticipation to know where we are in the process, here it is! 1) All paperwork, every single sheet, has been submitted and approved! Yee haw! Next up…
2) We wait for the results of our background check to come back. They are going to come back clean as whistle, and it sounds like they will be ready as soon a couple days from now!
3) After the background checks come through, we are immediately assigned a social worker who will come into our home and investigate from the bottom to the top to make sure we don’t have any of the following: loaded guns laying around haphazardly, crack pipes sitting out on coffee tables, a pyramid of empty beer cans decorating our front window.
4) A social worker will be visiting, and in addition to checking out the house, she will interview John and I as a couple for about two hours, and then each other, separately, for an additional hour each. She will observe our son doing his thing, and I really hope that day that his “thing” isn’t exclusively speaking in monkey talk.
We our moving right along and hoping we get to hop in The Pool soon! I will do a much better job of updating my blog in the future to keep everyone updated on our journey to our new son or daughter (or both–how awesome would that be?)
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