Wednesday, December 3, 2008

One down

Our first homestudy interview ended about an hour ago. This was my individual interview and I was worried about not having DH with me, but it was not bad at all. Our social worker said that because our profile questionnaire was so detailed, he didn't have as many questions as he usually does. For once, my overly detailed writing style paid off. A pat on the back to me! The interview lasted about an hour and 20 minutes.

He had some questions about our support network. We have a great one between my parents, my sister and BIL, and lots of friends. He asked if there was a possibility I could get pregnant and how that would affect our adoption plans. I stopped him in his tracks when I told him we were preventing. But I also told him that if we stop preventing, I have a less than 1% chance of getting pregnant so it is extremely unlikely. And of course, we would never consider disrupting the adoption because I got pregnant. Apparently, that's not always the case. He told me stories of adoptive parents "sending kids back" when the pre-adoptive mom got a BFP. I was shocked!

A big topic of conversation was the limits DH and I have in terms of special needs. All kids who are in foster care have some kind of abuse and/or neglect in their backgrounds. That combined with the sometimes impermanence of foster care placements can lead to kids having emotional, behavioral, and intellectual difficulties. In my state, applicants who adopt from foster care are asked to fill out a sheet listing lots of special needs and to indicate which they are open to. DH and I have decided that we draw the line at hurting animals, acting out sexually on other children, and starting fires to burn things down (as opposed to starting fires to experiment-yes that is an option and we decided that sometimes kids play with matches-it doesn't mean he's a pyromaniac). Also, we feel that a child with intense medical needs wouldn't be a good match for us since we both work and don't know if we can deal with all the additional doctors appointments, on top of the large number of doctors appointments kids require anyway. However, we are open to children with a myriad of other medical needs including prenatal drug exposure and various physical disabilities, ADHD, learning differences, behavioral issues, etc.

It feels uncomfortable to pick and choose these things because it's not something parents get to do. Most people get pregnant, have a baby, and deal with whatever issues that child ends up having. It makes me feel a little less like a "real" parent to say I'll take this but not this. But then again I think to myself that I would have a lot more control over my child's formative months and years if I conceived him, delivered him, and raised him from birth, than I will by adopting from foster care. Maybe I should just accept this little bit of control as a gift. Mostly this process feels uncomfortable because it feels like we're discarding some kids, saying some aren't worthy or lovable, and who wants to feel like they're doing that to children? However, I also know DCF wants as few disrupted adoptions as possible and the best way to ensure that is for people to be honest about what they can and cannot handle. And we only have this choice now. Once we adopt our child, we'll be like any other parents. Whatever issues arise or whatever we need to do for our child, we will.

We also spoke about age and gender. We're open to a child of any age from birth to five years old, although we've perused profiles of six-year-olds and thought "maybe. . ." I'm open to either gender because I figure that if we got pregnant we wouldn't have a choice. However, I know DH would prefer a boy and I'm fine with that since I don't have a preference of my own. Also, there are more boys in care and more people want girls than boys so preference for a boy should decrease our wait time a bit.

The last subject we discussed was legal risk. In foster-adopt terms, a legal risk placement is one in which the child is not legally free for adoption. DCF has decided that their goal for the child is adoption and are moving toward a termination of parental rights (TPR) of the birthparents. However, there is not a guarantee that TPR will be granted by the court. It more than likely will be, but there is always the risk that the court will order the child to be reunified with the birthparents. A child who is legally free for adoption has already been TPRed so reunification is not a possibility. Younger children are almost always legal risk. Older children are more likely to be legally free. DH and I have a lot of talking to do about this and I don't really know what we'll decide.

I guess a lot more was covered in the interview than I realized. I am just so relieved to have that step done. DH has his individual interview scheduled for late next week. Then it will be two down.


Torina said...

I hated those forms of what kind of disabilities would you consider. There is such a HUGE spectrum when it comes to various things. We did basically the same as you, no kids that hurt animals, started fires or acted out sexually. Not that it made much difference. Oh well. My kids are still great.

As for six year olds...they ROCK! My boys, since turning six, are BLOSSOMING. They are learning how to read, starting to lose teeth, helping out with household stuff like cooking and cleaning (and they think it is fun, yeah, so awesome). It is SO enjoyable each day just to watch them learn new things. I only had them for a month while they were five, but I definitely think that the deeper into six they get, the funner they are. Oh, and they are into having conversations about stuff. Yeah, so you might be talking for 10 minutes about superhero costumes or muscle cars but it is still way fun.

Good luck for the remainder of your homestudy! Have you read Toddler Adoption: The Weaver's Craft? Good book for the age group you are interested in adopting.

Me said...

I like hearing these posts from you Karen. As I've written before, although I'm not interested in adoption at any point in the near future, if we are truly never able to conceive, I do seriously consider doing foster care and/or foster-adopt at some point (a long ways) down the road. So your thoughts and insights are invaluable.

Lost in Space said...

Wow, Karen!! That is alot of information. From one anal detailed person to another, I am so happy your extra diligence helped and paid off so well for you.

I'm sorry you are struggling with picking and choosing different conditions. I can only imagine how difficult this task is. I agree with your attitude in that it is a little bit of a gift. You have struggled so much already just to get where you are.

I hope your DH's interview goes just as well next week.

Barb said...

I identify SOOOOOOOOOOO much with all the things you said.

I hope my detailed (and overly verbose ;-) writing style will pay off for us eventually too.

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