So many people have been asking me about our journey through adoption, that I thought I would start sharing my experience.
It all began one day last year after the earthquake in Haiti. Mark turns to me and says "You know our family isn't complete yet." I just looked at him and said "According to my body it is!" Mark has always wanted a large family and I did too, but due to complicated pregnancy and deliveries, it would be unfair to risk my health and the health of my baby.
After that phone conversation, Mark plants a seed in my head and heart by telling me he wants to adopt a baby boy. I just laugh and tell him OK, get the information and get back to me. A few weeks later, he has a mountain of information about international, domestic, public and private. "I want a baby boy from Canada" he tells me. Ok, so who am I to argue...
I call Catholic Children's Aid and was invited to an Information Session a few weeks down the road. I call our adopted grandma 'Omi' and ask he to come babysit for us, which is a rarity since Mark and I don't leave the girls very often.
The Information Session was HELL. It was a large group of all white families asking basically how fast they could get an all white baby? One couple even asked if they could adopt a French Canadian baby. I'm sorry but isn't that just a white baby that speaks French? Maybe I'm not as hip to that culture. It also was difficult to listen to others talk badly about the biological or birthparents. I even asked about co-sleeping and CCAS does NOT allow families to co-sleep with children. Great, what do I do with the 2 kids I already have that are sleeping with us? And on top of that, I still had a nursing toddler (EGADS!!!!). After that first meeting, I remember I was sick to my stomach. I felt horrible and I couldn't explain it. I felt empty.
We then were able to start the package of paperwork we were given. We had to supply the CCAS with updated physicals, our tax information from the previous year, all our financial information, police reports, and 2 friend references and 2 family references as well as one reference who knew us both. There was a massive booklet, called SAFE (everything is about acronyms) asking about our childhood, teenage years, young adulthood and present day. It asked about styles of parenting, discipline, our parents and whether we wet the bed (ok so maybe that was made up). We also had to fill out a form about the type of child we wanted, made me feel like I was ordering a car. I understand that it helps CCAS understand what we are open to regarding special needs and race.
That summer our Social Worker (SW) called and wanted to make an initial visit to the house. She came one morning and we went immediately to the playroom so that CC wouldn't be tempted to nurse (heaven forbid). She asked us basic questions such as "Why do you want to adopt". SW also wanted to make sure that I was going to be staying at home, it was very important to her that I was a stay at home mom. We talked a bit about the process and that was it.
CCAS called us later in summertime inviting us to PRIDE (http://www.adoptionbasics.ca/adoption_homestudy.html). We were a bit nervous and worried because it is a 9 week 3 hours a week course. What in the world were we going to do with our girls? Fortunately, we have a great support system and are surrounded by amazing friends and they were able to step up and help take care of the girls.
I'm not going to lie, it was much like parenting 101. Some of the people there were as clueless as could be. I was amazed how many of them were under the believe that racism is dead... Uh hellllo?????... We began to relax, even though EVERY week CC cried the entire time we were gone... Mark and I had fun, laughing on the inside at some of the silly things that was said and had our own inside jokes. It became like a date for us, well a really lame date, but we had fun!
Our PRIDE worker was our initial and will be our SW for this adoption. She is funny, laid back and an adoptee herself. We had one more homevisit, she came and we filled out a questionnaire about how crazy our family is, well not really, but it was a multiple choice questionnaire about who is on drugs, crazy or a bad influence. I was truthful about my family; my dad is a hippy, my mom is a granola crunching tree hugger, my sister is a granola crunching tree grower and my brother is the golden child. I didn't say nothing about Mark's family... What can I say? That I will have genetic testing when it's time for my kids to get married??? LOL
The SW met with me at her CCAS office. She wanted to get to know me. We talked about my childhood, my family. And how weird is it that her hubby grew up for his teenage years in WS NC... Fortunately he didn't know my dad or uncle (phew) or she would never let us near a child :) JK dad if you are reading this.... At the end she looked at me and said, "I think you are amazing" WOW... That made me feel, well, amazing... Cliche I know... It was justification, and through everything I desperately needed it.
SW came 3 weeks later to visit with Mark alone. CC and I were downstairs playing while they chatted about his life and his goals. It was much shorter than mine and I'm sure she didn't tell him she thought he was amazing :) That's ok, I think he's amazing, sometimes... :) She also wanted to see the house, check for safety etc. She was happy with what she saw.
Our last visit was scheduled for after Christmas, SW wanted to meet Nia. I could only imagine what Nia would say. She is rather out spoken and you never know what will come out of her mouth. Good and bad...
The meeting went well, Nia told SW she was excited about having a baby around and showed how wonderful she can be with CC. We told her the baby room was almost finished and she was happy. SW said it could be anytime that a baby becomes available, so it was a good thing that we had the room ready.
As for now, we completed a profile, basically our life on paper with pictures to show other SWs or expectant mothers planning on making an adoption plan for their baby.
Now we just wait... And as CC said yesterday "It's so hard to wait for this baby"...