Monday, June 29, 2009

Another Possibility

We decided to submit our homestudy today for another child. It's an almost four year old child who is legally free for adoption. He came up as part of a matching process through a local organization that helps promote adoption from foster care. It turns out that he's being placed from the same office at which we did our MAPP training. His worker was one of our MAPP trainers. I don't want to go into lots of detail but this little guy has lots of food allergies and intolerances that would need to be accommodated. DH and I have several friends who have children with food allergies and special diets. We see our friends do it and feel that we could handle it.

The hitch is that there's a possibility of a kinship placement so we may be out of the running already. I'll keep you posted.

A Happy Surprise

I wrote before about how my district has two completely different maternity leave policies for those who adopt a child vs. those who birth one. Women who give birth can use up to 40 paid sick days toward a maternity leave. Women who adopt can't use any paid time.

I brought the issue to the attention of my union because it was pointed out to me by the administration that the reason I was denied was due to contract language.* Most involved in the union were completely unaware of the distinction that our contract made between adoption and birth. The policy has been there for a while, but few have tested it and all believed our administration had the discretion to offer more leave to teachers if they chose. There was a lot of outrage and disbelief and many apologies.

Well, this was a negotiation year and I just found out that our new contract will include a maternity leave provision for adoption that is exactly the same as that for childbirth. We're not getting much else due to the state of the economy, but this was one language change that our union pushed for and that our school committee completely supported.

What does this mean for me? It means that if DH and I get a placement during the school year, I'll be able to take 8 weeks of paid leave, using 40 of my 120-odd sick days. It means that we won't lose two months of income and DH won't have to work like a dog to make up for that. It means that I won't feel like a second-class citizen compared to my coworkers just because I'm adopting. It means less resentment, less jealousy. It means I will get to spend time with our new child, easing the transition, without worrying about money. It feels like a validation of our way to build a family.

Of course, if we get a placement this summer then I won't have the opportunity to use any of this paid time since I'm already off, but that's a trade I'd be more than willing to make.

*I know there are lots of different opinions about the advantages/disadvantages of unions, but I've always been a union supporter. It's a result of my working-class background. However, I am not someone who has ever worked only to a contract. I take pride in my profession and have always gone well above and beyond what was required, as do all the teachers I know. That's why it felt even more like a slap in the face when the contract language was used as a reason to deny me paid leave.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

How Easy It Is

Isn't it always the way that when you think you're doing fine, something happens to knock you back a little?  Well, it feels that way to me anyway.  I've been doing really well.  The hellish, baby mega-shower/goodbye party turned out to be not so hellish and not so mega.  Two of the moms-to-be didn't come, there was lots of good food and good drink, and the focus ended up being more on my friend who is leaving than on the baby part.  Even a pregnancy announcement earlier in the week from yet another coworker (I kid you not-apparently I work in Fertility, USA) couldn't break me.

Until tonight, when I saw an update on Facebook from another former coworker, now a SAHM who occasionally substitutes at our school,  about her baby bump.   I suspected she was pregnant, but nobody actually told me. In fact, several people denied it so I figured my instincts were off.  Maybe I wanted to be wrong.  You see, this is #2 for her.  It's also # 2 for another one of the pregnant coworkers, due in September.  Besides being pregnant with a second child, the other thing the two of them have in common is that they both got married the same month I did.  We planned our weddings together, talking over lunch about dresses and flowers and honeymoon locations.  Our anniversaries are weeks apart.  In fact, we all have four-year anniversaries coming up next month. . . and they're both, BOTH, on their way to having their second child while I'm still waiting for our first. 

It's at times like these when I feel like there's something damaged inside me, something that I keep pretty well hidden. And then an unexpected pregnancy announcement from a particular person happens, hits the tender spot,  all the pain comes up again, and I can't keep hiding it.    I'm revealed to myself for the wreck that I am. 

I'm just so tired of it all.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

We Said No

We decided to not pursue the possible match with the little girl from my last post.  After speaking with her caseworker, it became apparent that she has multiple significant delays beyond what we feel we can handle.  I have to believe that the right family will be found for this little one and that our child will come our way eventually.  It makes me sad that this child's life will be forever affected by her mother's choices when pregnant with her.  She deserves better, but we don't feel we're the ones who can give it to her. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

We got a call

but don't get too excited for us yet.  DH talked with our social worker this afternoon.  He was calling about a two year old girl.  It's a legal risk situation, but we can deal with that.  Remind me to write a post about what "legal risk" means when adopting from foster care.  The part that's holding us back is that they suspect she has fetal alcohol syndrome.  There's some testing going on now.  We're trying to get more information.  Given what I know about fetal alcohol syndrome, I don't know if we can take that on.  I need to go do some research.