This is a story in multiple parts. If you are just joining me, start at the beginning.
There are certain circumstances that make a baby “high risk” and therefore less desirable to many adoptive families. Adoption agencies seek out families that are willing to adopt those children and offer discounts to help with the process. We looked at the list of “high-risk” factors and determined that many of them were simply stigmas today and not deal breakers for us. Some examples of things that we accepted as possibilities: a baby born with HIV, or Hepatitis C (both very treatable). A baby with no prenatal care. A baby born addicted to opioids. When we finished our trainings, our home study and home visits, and were approved, we knew we were waiting for a baby who would likely spend weeks in the NICU before we could bring them home.
Every bit of this was perplexing and emotionally draining.
We completed our home study in June of 2018. We then became an actively waiting family. At that point we had to meet with the marketing team to create our profile and video. Yes, you read that right. A marketing team. For our adoption.
That process was possibly more frustrating than anything else in the entire experience and made me feel downright ridiculous many times. And after almost two months of pulling photos, posing for new photos, choosing colors and layouts, and filming video clips….we never ended up needing any of it! More on that later on. By the end of July we had submitted all of the content for our profile book (a glossy 8×10 brochure all about US!- CHOOSE US!) and for our profile video (which we were told most prospective parents hate making but birth mothers really appreciate being able to get a sense of who you are “live”).
We filmed us dancing in our kitchen, at our swing dance classes, doing a cheesy intro with our cats. We had a photo shoot of us together to use as the cover image of the booklet. A LOT of people helped to make these happen (thanks to all of you–you know who you are). We watched a lot of other couples’ videos and spent a lot of time asking ourselves why someone should choose US. And how do we explain that?
We knew at this point we were in for a wait of about a year, minimum six months if we were really lucky. And we wouldn’t hear anything at all until our profiles were ready, because those are what they use to show prospective parents to birth mothers.
We were told that typically the process goes like this: a pregnant woman (possibly with her partner) decides to make an adoption plan, then she is shown 3 profiles for prospective parents where her desires for parents match the prospective parent profile. The mother or parents review the paper profile and then the video and decide on a family. They get to choose if they meet the prospective family or not. Once they make a choice, the prospective family (us!) is contacted and we get to review all the info available. If we also agree, then we are matched. Once you are matched, the birth family has all the control in how involved you get to be (and rightly so).
We got comfortable with the idea of an open adoption during our home study and we were hoping that we’d at least get to be present at the hospital when our child was born. Beyond that we didn’t know how involved we could be, but we were hopeful. We spent a lot of time discussing our dream scenario (going to ultrasounds, befriending our child’s birth mother, getting a phone call when she went into labor, exchanging holiday cards yearly, etc). As it turns out (spoiler alert), none of that went how we’d hoped or expected.
The next installment- Part 4- THE CALL
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