Particularly for those of you who are just finding out about our adoption plans, but also as a summary for those who know already, I want to provide a bit of background about what we are doing and why we are doing it!
I have always wanted to adopt - literally since late childhood, at least. I have four adopted cousins, and grew up with two close friends who were adopted. My desire has been to adopt from Haiti or Africa, and Geoff quickly grew attached to the idea as well! Of course, we married young, and had plenty of time to think about whether & when we wanted children. Over the years, we became wrapped up in renovating, master's studies (my fault - it was only supposed to be 3 years - really!!!), and so on, and kept procrastinating. In August 2007, during one of my sporadic adoption-related Google searches, I came across a nearby Ontario adoption agency I had not seen before (check out http://www.imagineadoption.ca/). In October they were offering a free information session. Well, we registered - it was free, so what was there to lose? During this session we learned that in January 2008, the Ontario government would be implementing 9 weeks (3 hours/wk) of mandatory parent education training at a fairly significant cost - that was, unless you had started your homestudy in 2007...Now, those who know me well know that I am a sucker for education, so while we would have been quite happy to take the classes, the cost savings were appealing, and the thought of adding that time to an already overloaded schedule (think: thesis, sick dog, ongoing renovations, etc.) seemed daunting. So, we got some names of local homestudy practioners, found one who could meet with us in late 2007, and all of a sudden we were taking action! (By the way, the perpetual student/occupational therapist side of me needs to stress that we really do value the education part & have been doing lots of self-study on all kinds of adoption and parenting-related issues - I absolutely believe it is essential to be well-informed and well-prepared). Anyway, a little external boost always helps me...just like an assignment deadline...(explains some of the thesis delays...few deadlines). Since then we have felt confident about moving forward, and I am even coping ok so far with the thought of serious travel (not totally my thing - but I think my backpacking experience last spring helped me toughen up a bit in that regard). So that's the "rationale" and story of how we got into this.
When we tell people we are planning to adopt "children" from Africa, they are always curious to know what that means! Geoff & I both feel strongly about adopting siblings so that our children grow up knowing at least one blood relative. While there is a small chance that our children will have a living parent, there are no guarantees that we would be able to have or maintain contact (although that is sometimes possible), and some children are, of course, "double orphans" (meaning that both parents will have died). I must admit that the thought of coming home with two little people I've just met seems a bit overwhelming, but we are sure that this is what we want to do! We plan to adopt either twins (under 5 months at time of referral) or siblings (the oldest no more than 15 months at referral, youngest no more than 5 months). We have not specified gender, as we are open to any combination of boys and/or girls! Before children are referred, they will undergo medical testing to rule out serious conditions (like HIV), and they will live in an transition house run by our agency, or a partner orphanage, until we are able to pick them up.
Well, that's our story so far...