|This is the picture of the day we met our daughter over ten years ago now.
People often ask me how the process was and when they hear we adopted domestically they are astonished. I often say: Have you seen our beautiful girls? I could never complain about either one of our adoptions. We got two gorgeous daughters, we got to be parents and we found a great community of friends in the process over the last decade and we have found a passion advocating for other families.
Part 3: This is part three of my series in honour of adoption awareness month. I have also been running several adoption specific giveaways, so stay tuned for a great one today also from Deborah Brennan, a good friend, adoptive parent, adoption advocate, and the author of Labours of Love http://www.laboursoflove.ca/ Brennan wrote the book about Canadian adoption stories and now she has created a thriving business of lovely adoption jewelry, cards and gifts
(When we left off last week, we had completed our adoption course – which is now more intense and called PRIDE, a mandatory training required by all parents before they adopt or do foster care.)
We had completed our course and we plunged headlong into the homestudy application, a process with home visits and paperwork and doctor’s citations that indicate whether you are well enough to parent or do foster care. The paperwork was devastating in some ways. I knew social workers would be looking at our assets and abilities, but I wasn’t really so prepared for the paperwork that was child specific. There were pages and pages of sheets asking us whether we could be accepting of a child who was blind, or one that was hearing impaired. Could you manage one with multiple sclerosis? A child in a wheelchair? A child with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder? A child with encopresis? Enuresis? (soiling themselves) A sibling group? What race? What gender? What age? Could you accept one that had regular visits with birthparents? How about birth relatives? And on and on. It felt like shopping for a child and I hated that part of the process.
Eventually we were approved, and then began the wait. It seemed endless. We dared not get our hopes up. We were waiting to know what age our child would be also, so we couldn’t get a crib ready, or set up a nursery. We wondered if the child would be two or three. If so then we wouldn’t want to buy a crib because the child would need a toddler bed. The process of waiting was awful. I had been working and not telling anyone at work that I was planning to adopt when suddenly I got sick again. The Crohn’s disease caused a partial blockage- lots of pain – and surgery was probably going to be needed. I was off and waited several weeks with surgery pending. I didn’t really want to do anything to ruin our chances of adopting though. Eventually I decided to call the CAS worker and tell her I had been sick. I visualized being approved, matched with a child and then landing in hospital right away and didn’t want that to be how we started parenting. So I told them to put the application on hold for a time.
I had been keeping busy painting the baby room. I painted big cartoon characters all over the walls and then I painted a palm tree and a beach and put even more characters like Arthur and Blue’s Clues on the beach. I planned and tried to make that room a happy place where any child would feel at home and able to relax. I free handed the alphabet near the ceiling so it looked like a border and drew the eye upwards. Jim marveled every night at how much paint I used and I think he was a bit mortified thinking of all the coats it would take if we ever had to paint over it. Anyways, I landed in hospital and surgery was scheduled and at that point our homes study was active again. It was the night before my surgery when the phone beside my bed rang. The social worker Mary was on the other end. It was July. A baby had been born. She was healthy and beautiful, and most remarkable of all, out of all the families possible and there were at least 20 others ready and waiting, her birth parents had chosen us. I wondered how this would work, given that I was in hospital. But Mary assured us both that the baby was safe in foster care and would be meeting us as soon as I got out of hospital and was ready. Needless to say the idea of meeting my new baby girl sped my recovery. Three weeks later, post-surgery, I was sitting in my living room, on the love seat with my husband when we met our baby. We were nervous beyond belief and excited and thrilled and thinking too that somehow this was going to go sideways and someone would at last moment decide we had been wrongly approved. But moments later, with a little bit of help, because we were all thumbs, we lifted our baby girl out of the infant carrier and held her for the first time ever. It was more than worth the wait. She is still one of the two greatest gifts we ever got. She is the one that made us parents.
This week we are giving away this gorgeous necklace thanks to Deborah Brennan. It spells out AdoptionisLove. I will draw for this one at end of the month also: Nov. 30th. (This giveaway is now closed)
1. visit her web site at http://www.laboursoflovedesigns.ca/ and then come back here to tell me what you like over there.
2. Tell me why you want to win and what adoption means to you and leave me your contact information. That’s it!
Next week: A Tale of Two Adoptions – Adopting Again