Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Walking on sunshine

I just got off the phone with our counselor, and we are officially approved for adoption!  I feel like an enormous load has been lifted off my shoulders.  The sun is shining, the Nugget is napping, and all is right with the world.

We are not in the pool yet - steps keep getting added to our path:
1.  Local counselor waits for notarized copy of homestudy report (should take less than a week)
2.  Local counselor mails the notarized copy to primary agency (maybe 3 days?)
3.  Primary agency looks through report, adds it to their file, and puts us in the waiting pool (about a week)

For those not familiar with our agency's waiting process:
1.  We wait until an expecting woman/couple chooses us.  This could happen the same day we enter the pool, or it could take years.  Likely, it will be somewhere in between.  We won't really have any news (lots of friends and family ask monthly, which is nice, but unnecessary) until we are chosen.  We have set certain parameters that keep expecting families who are not a good fit for us from viewing our profile; I won't be sharing those specifics on the blog since they are intensely personal.  Expecting families also get to choose their own parameters that screen out waiting families who aren't a good fit for THEM, so not every family approaching the agency will see our profile.  
2.  We could be chosen after the baby is born and need to leave within hours OR we could be chosen with up to time left to go in the pregnancy (3 months max).
3.  Either way, there are 2 adoption planning sessions with the expecting family and ourselves.  The sessions allow us to get to know each other, ask questions, voice concerns and opinions, and decide on the type and amount of contact we want.  Both parties have the option to back out or move forward after each session.  The sessions will be combined into one monster session if the baby has already been born.
4.  The laws about the final adoption decision depend on whether the baby is born in WA or OR, but the birthfamily has a certain amount of time after the baby is born/after they sign adoption consents to decide to parent.  This happened to us once while waiting for the Nugget.  While I wouldn't choose to have that painful experience again if I could help it, we do fully support the birthfamily's right to change their minds, as placing a child is a HUGE life-altering decision.  I can honestly say now that I'm glad we had the disruption, because the Nugget was so meant to be our son. 

So here's my adoption "deep thought" for the day.  I'd like to share some current adoption language.  I believe strongly in trying to use the current language, because some of the old language carries negative connotations for the adoptee, the birthfamily, and the adoptive family and the tiniest change in language can show respect instead of shame.  I don't mean to make anyone feel bad for using the old language, just providing resources for what to say if you know someone adopting or making an adoption plan.  Language is always changing, but here are the terms du jour:

SAY:
1.  Birthparent, birthmom, birthdad, birthfamily, birthsibling; some prefer lifegivers or first family...if you have friends who are adopting and don't know what term they like, just ask them!
2.  Made an adoption plan:  indicates that the birthfamily cared about and provided for the child through adoption
3.  Was placed, was adopted: defines the adoption as a life event, not the sum of the person  
4.  Decided to parent:  an adult decides his/her role in the child's life, the child is not property

AVOID:
1.  Real parent, real family, real sibling:  nothing hurts an adoptive family more than assumptions that their love is not "real" 
2.  Was put up for adoption:  According to adoption professionals, this term harkens back to the Great Depression, when children were actually "put up" on train platforms because their families couldn't feed them.  Families seeking to adopt would pick a child off the platform
3.  Is adopted:  defines the person 
4.  Gave the child up for adoption/decided to keep the child:  conveys the old attitude that children are property

Some of the language has changed even since the Nugget's adoption 2 years ago.  We are saying "expecting families" until the baby has been born, because during adoption planning, the woman/couple has not made their final adoption decision yet.  This change is still a little awkward for me but I'm doing my best!  Adoption planning used to be called "mediation" but it sounded like the parties were at odds with each other when really they are working together for the sake of the child.

2 comments:

  1. Congratulations, Annie! I know you are going to get the perfect baby to join your family. :)

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  2. I'm so excited and making room for friends in the pool! I hope there are four of you come August!!!

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