When Michiganders come to Phoenix in the winter time to avoid the cold in their home state, they’re called “Snowbirds.” I think we’ve been to Michigan enough times in the last year to be considered Sunbirds! I admit the cool weather of Michigan is welcoming. This time we’re not leaving temperatures that are terribly hot this time but a few weeks ago we left 100 degree weather for temperatures about half that high. We’re currently on the plane for our last trip in the foreseeable future, where we’ll celebrate with one of my oldest friends as he gets married.
I had a pretty frank conversation with both our caseworker and last week’s adoption education class teacher about some of my frustrations with the process. Though I didn’t perceive the teacher as being particularly receptive, we both felt that we learned more in this class than we had in previous classes. During this session, they brought in a birth mom and adoptive parents to talk about their arrangement, their entire process, etc. Last night we had dinner with friends of DH from high school who adopted their little girl a couple of years ago. Their situation is almost exactly opposite of the arrangement between the family we met in class. I find that I am continuing to appreciate hearing the varying perspectives, though our situation is more than a little different than a traditional adoption.
We had a great visit with a couple other parents in the class. It was nice to just share our fears, our hopes, our specifics about our journeys, etc. We did chat through some frustrations with the class and I think we discovered some common denominators and frustrations, as well as the source of some of those frustrations. (One huge one is that all the teachers use the term “open adoption” but they all mean very different things by it). I did come out of the meeting with a greater appreciation for an open adoption with contact. K (another adoptive dad who has a lot of my same fears) had similar broadenings of understanding. We looked at each other and wondered if they’d put something in the water.
One thing we appreciated learning was the perspective of the adoptive parents with regard to the birth mom. They see ministering to her as a lifelong commitment. Most women place their children for adoption because of some loss or painful circumstance. While our situation will be different, insofar as these children aren’t born out of unplanned pregnancies or in to dangerous situations and the genetic parents will not have carried and birthed these children, it did give us new compassion for birth parents in traditional adoptions in general. I think our hearts were enriched that night, even if the specifics with regard to situations are different.
Our third (of four) homestudy visit is this week. We’ll see how it goes.
One update on the potential embryo match. Our meeting with the genetic parents was canceled. Illness prevented them from traveling to Arizona (they were going to be here for vacation-they don’t live here). They are hoping to reschedule (their vacation), at which point hopefully we’ll still get to meet them. If they don’t come out and we don’t meet them, I don’t know what happens next. I don’t know if they’ve decided yet.
Waiting is hard, to be sure, especially now that the timeline is indefinite. I was so looking forward to our meeting. I don’t like ambiguity. I like deadlines and structure. Ah well, parenting is about flexibility, right? I was reading an adoption book and they pointed out that adoption waiting is particularly hard because unlike pregnancy, there is no Estimated Due Date and no maximum time allowed. I thought that was a good comparison. Considering we’ve only been at this a few months, I can’t complain about waiting, but it definitely did remind me to steel my heart for the months (years?) ahead. I’ll update when/if I have news.
On our end we’ll still submit everything to Nightlight when we’re done (soon, hopefully!) because we’d use them regardless of if we match with this family. I think that will be a nice mental hurdle. In the mean time, I’m starting to think about our profile letter, which will eventually be given to prospective genetic families and ultimately kept by the one(s) we match with. So that’s exciting, but a little stressful. How do you describe all the important details of your life in a few paragraphs? How do you “market” yourself as a potential parent? I’ve seen car brochures longer than the recommended profile length!
So that’s it for us. When we return from Michigan, my SIL, her kiddos and her pup will be waiting for us. We’ll enjoy a visit with them for a few days and then we’ll be working on the final preparations at home for the home visit.