Tuesday, 14 September 2010
I could have written this post a year ago (minus a few added details and experiences/complications). Meaning that, after lots more thinking, learning, doing, waiting...we're pretty much (stuck) in the same spot/rut.
I believe I have stated previously that our adoption process started off with a (good) bang: found an agency following years of casually browsing the adoption options and putting off the whole having a family thing, started our homestudy (this burst of initiative came after realizing that there was no reason to do adoption "second", since adoption was for sure something we wanted to do...while there was always some uncertainty about taking the plunge when it came to bio kids), and then were excited to see our agency open a country program which seemed even more perfect for us than the one we had initially planned on joining.
The way things started to unfold, along with some other really neat events (like randomly starting an Africa Bag sewing blitz on a dull long weekend, then selling 60 bags to Facebook friends within one week after posting the bag photo album, plus a generous donation or two), very much affirmed the direction we (thought we) were heading. Even after some set-backs, certain things, like my opportunity to take severance from my full-time job and begin a very flexible EI-insured (yay, parental leave) part-time job (with time to adapt before becoming a parent), finally finishing my master's degree, some good-looking future changes to Geoff's job, etc., seemed remarkably consistent with our goals/plans/projected hypothetical time-frames/laughable assumptions.
But of course, along the way, the country program we chose closed.
So we signed up for another one through the same agency. Then that program started showing warning signs of closure (ok, more than that - it was all but finished).
Then the agency went bankrupt.
Then we felt pretty disconnected from any sense of what to do.
Then we signed a new retainer with Imagine for Ethiopia, because it seemed like the most viable option, and we had a pre-existing interest in the Ethiopia program from early in our adoption adventure, and for some other reasons which make the program and country appealing.
Then we realized (and Imagine confirmed) that sibling referrals were few and far between, and that our age range was way too restrictive (which is ok, since we were planning to change that anyway and had not started our homestudy update).
Then we decided to "check out" public adoption by attending a provincial event profiling children available...especially since we had become comfortable considering a much broader age range.
Then we had a match (which also had lots of possible "signs" this was potentially "meant to be" - and it was practically an international adoption from Africa right here in our own province)!
Then we spent the summer doing pre-placement visits (got as far as setting a placement date) and homestudy updates and private PRIDE training (apparently that is necessary for public adoption even though we started the homestudy in 2007, before it was required for international or private adoptions). (At the same time, Geoff was given his expected promotion...with an unexpected pay reduction - how does that fit with our stay-at-home, possible home-schooling dreams and values???).
Then we surprised ourselves and everyone else by deciding not to proceed with our matched child/ren...just after, of course, doing church and family events and introductions all 'round (long story there, but I will briefly say that we have experienced a bit of the all-too-familiar scenario where if certain questions we asked early on had been answered in full and...accurately...we could likely have saved everyone lots of time, $$, and other inconvenience/disappointment/frustration). Anyway...
So, now we have a homestudy update and are approved for the public adoption system in Ontario.
And we have a file with Imagine for Ethiopia (not updated, and would need another homestudy update for that).
And our Ethiopia travel account/additional agency fees fund is pretty much drained...on top of the $$ not recoverable from the bankruptcy (who knew public adoption could be so expensive, even though it's free?).
(And...I'll just whisper this, because it's not a super-huge thing...but still...our little adoption experience this summer makes me more aware, I suppose, of some potential realities. This whole thing is a bit scarier now. I still believe in it. But it's a bit scary.)
And we have no idea what we're doing. Our CAS worker would like to meet and chat about our thoughts and plans. I'm not sure we have many. I haven't ruled out Ethiopia at all (in fact, that would be fantastic even if we adopt publicly first). And some sibling referrals this summer (actually...see...siblings...that is one thing we are still pretty sure about) were encouraging.
There you have it. And I am pretty sure I could be stuck with no idea indefinitely. Things that can seem like arrows pointing one way, or affirming one thing, can turn out NOT to be anything at all (or at least, not what they seemed to be). I'm back to my usual not knowing whether waiting and doing nothing is the wise choice - just letting things "happen" (if/when they do), or whether acting in small doses, with careful consideration, is necessary and right. If I am pursuing/hacking away at a path of my own making, then I want to be re-directed. But I am not certain how to pick up on direction/re-direction, and don't want to miss out because I wasn't paying attention or doing something I needed to be doing.
Anyway, this is not really a sob story. Picture me more with a question mark (big one) over my head, and a quizzical look on my face. I know that to so, so many of you, this is a very familiar (and maybe only mildly difficult) trajectory. I continue to be thankful for the (mostly electronic) adoption connections with others living their own stories. I root for you all. And, like reading a gripping novel, I eagerly anticipate learning how things unfold...for all of us.