I haven't decided how much I want to direct these posts to my adoption journey yet, but there's no denying it's a huge part of my life. Besides, there aren't a lot of male perspectives out there about infertility or adoption. I hope my readers don't mind my occasional push of adoption related info.
Last weekend, I spent a lot of time filling out our Home Study Questionnaire. This is basically several pages of questions that help you bring out your family experiences, family expectations, household changes, and any other issues that will psychologically affect your bringing an adopted baby into your home. Since we already had the demographic information out of the way from the application, this one cuts straight into what makes you tick.
When we met with the agency last February, someone asked how long the paperwork usually takes to fill out, specifically the HSQ as it is the most intensive. The answer was "I can't really put a time on it, but I've never known someone to fill it out all in one sitting." Yikes! This document starts as a 7 page list of questions without spaces left for answers. There's a sentence at the very top of the first page explaining that "one or two word answers are not acceptable." I haven't even read the specific questions I'll have to answer, but already it doesn't look easy.
Now that we're to that point in our application, I woke up Saturday thinking about it. It was just me and the dogs awake in the house, so I pulled up a fresh copy and started typing. First section: Motivation. Who initiated discussions about adoption? Why do you want to adopt? How long have you been considering adoption? So far so good. Pretty easy questions to answer.
Second section: Feelings about yourself, your parents, and your childhood. My first thought "yeah, I had good parents and a good childhood!" Then I read the questions. Tell me about your mother/father (personality, faith, relationships, etc.). How did they support you as a child? How did they nurture you as a child? What would you change about your childhood? How did they handle sex ed?
Holy cow, people, back up a couple of steps! Here I am on a leisurely Saturday morning, sitting in my favorite chair, trying to achieve some sort of relaxed state while trying to decide "how I want my children to view sex?"
Somewhere down the line I remembered why I was answering these questions. It's not just to appease the agency, or to go through the motions. I'm answering these questions because they are important. I remembered that we're talking about a child that is going to be born into a family who hasn't thought about these questions, who would raise a child that many would consider "deprived." And that child is going to be placed in a home like mine.
Through this, I realized another difference in biological families vs. adoptive families. Biological families can be started for a million different reasons, at a million different times, into a million different circumstances. There are so many great parents in the world, but sometimes families are started too soon by accident. Sometimes people think they're ready today, but maybe their circumstances change, or maybe they just haven't fully understood the responsibility involved. And once the ball gets rolling, you know you have less than 9 months to get your life in order.
With adoption, the child is given yet another gift: that their parents spent years preparing for them. Their parents spent countless hours thinking about the hard questions and the big decisions to come up with the best possible answers. Their parents even spent years putting huge amounts of savings aside, not just so that they could afford the agency fees, but also so that they can get their income to what it needs to be and practice their hand at tight budgeting. Their parents gave every ounce of hope toward that baby, so that when it arrives, it's the most exciting thing on the planet to them.
I don't know if this was by design or by accident, but I think the adoptive community got this one right. Remind me to thank them for making me think about the big decisions.
Always moving forward,