Thursday, April 15, 2010

The screen

As an adoptee and adoptive parent, people are always asking me questions about adoption. The most common question I get is, "How does the process work?" People ask this naively, thinking I'll have a single sentence answer for them. I've gotten a little better at summarizing, but my "short" answer is still a paragraph long.

Now that it's over, I'll share an example of what just happened to us last week.
On the Thursday before Easter, as we were driving to my parents' house, we got a phone call from the agency. A birthfamily had seen our letter and requested our profile. For reasons I won't disclose on the blog, the agency needed to check with us first and find out if we were ok being presented to this family. We had to decide within 12 hours. After some research and planning, we decided we were open to being presented. Our full profile, along with I don't know how many others, were presented to the family on Friday. That was the easy part.

The hard part is that then we KNEW that someone was seriously considering us to be parents for their child. That if we were chosen, we'd need to pick up our things, cancel all our plans, and be in Oregon for nearly a month...probably in less than 3 weeks. We sat and waited, prayed, checked in the with counselor, tried to eat and sleep for 13 days. Then we finally got the email that another family had been chosen. Roller coaster ride over.

Everyone deals with the ups and downs of adoption differently. For me, hearing the answer brought equal parts disappointment and relief. It's the constant limbo of the adoption process that's hardest for me. We could be being looked at by another family right now, anytime...but I'm always gladder not to know about it. I appreciate that our agency screens us for particular situations, but that intense window of wondering and waiting is a very difficult place indeed. More so because you really don't want to tell anyone unfamiliar with adoption when you're being screened. Just more news you might have to take back.

Imagine if they had a waiting room for potential lotto winners. "You, Mr. and Mrs. Brown, may have won the lotto. Please sit here and think about what you would do if you won, what you would need to change and get in order. We'll let you know when we know anything." That, my friend, is what it's like to be screened.


  1. Great description of this part of the process, Annie. As someone who earned frequent flyer miles on this particular roller coaster during our wait, you captured some of the feelings exactly. xo, Meg

  2. I agree with Meg - great description. And very short, for those that aren't aware of the process. Of course, we all know that it's much longer than a paragraph, and we too have been on the same ride. Luckily, now, we get the notification that the ride is over. Before, you were just left sitting in the car wondering if you should get off. While I'm sorry that this situation didn't work out, you know from experience that the perfect situation is out there, getting it's hat and coat on, ready to come meet you! Sending love and baby dust!
    B ":o)