Posted by: perchancetodream | June 15, 2009

Q&A

Since I got my daily video workout in early today and know already that tomorrow is going to be a heavy work-day, I thought I’d give a quick update on the adoption thing.

First off…Bulgaria has just passed official legislation whereby parental rights are automatically terminated if the parents have had no contact with the child for six months.  Whether this means that children younger than 12 months will finally be available for adoption is a question that only time can answer.  But it is certainly a step in the right direction.

For our part, we’re still drowning in paperwork.  I just sent my clearance paperwork off to Washington DC today.  DC has been a particular worry for me.  I used to consult for the government (the District not federal) and know what a mess it can be.  Even finding out what form to fill in, has taken weeks but SW has been assured that I’ve filled in the correct form.

Of course, one of the things on the form was that I had to list every address I’ve lived in for the last 18 years.  Ok…but I haven’t lived in DC in the last 18.  So I threw those on to.  Even the house that is no longer there, having been torn down i.e., condemned.

I don’t know if all of you can list every address you’ve ever lived at but I can’t.  There is still one short-term abode in Brooklyn that I’m missing and will just pretend didn’t exist because I can’t find the address.  Now, those of you who know me in real life know that I’m a sentimental fool.  I don’t throw things away.  I have every letter that some of you have ever written me! 🙂  And thankfully, some of those were written to the now-condemned building.  I KNOW that some came to me in the missing Brookyln apartment but those letters seem to be AWOL.  I suspect that they’re in a friend’s attic in Boston (you know who you are) and some day she’ll allow me to pay her children to go through the boxes for me so that I can throw out the 90210 video tapes and….whatever else is in there.  But in the meantime, I’ll just pretend that I never lived at that other place.

The absolute hardest part of the home study process (aside from dealing with multi-national international  law in our case and our somewhat dippy SW) is the personal questionnaire.  “Describe your childhood” it directs you. “Name your family’s 3 strengths and weaknesses and what you’re doing about them”.  It doesn’t really ask these in a logical order either.  So half of the battle for me was to reorganize the questions into some logical order so that I could answer them sufficiently.

It was a bit like a job interview: “What is your greatest weakness?”  No one is going to say “I don’t get along with co-workers” or “I’m lazy”. The answer in my case (which is actually honest) is “I can be too much of a perfectionist.” See….it’s a negative AND a positive.

These questionnaires follow on the heels of our “thoughts about adoption” questionnaire.  While this one made a heck of lot more sense, we were told that there were no right or wrong answers.  Yet the questionnaire was slanted. “How”, it asks “will you integrate your adopted child’s heritage into your own?”.  Well….see….we’re a bit full up on heritage at the moment.  We have enough issues with US and UK and my being a bit of a lapsed Jew and hubby being a proud Scot to keep us busy.  Yes, if we were adopting a 10 year-old who was aware of their own culture, I’d be all over learning the Bulgarian holidays and recipes.  But with an under 3 year-old…..????  When they get curious we’ll explore it together.  In the meantime, I think they’ll have enough to keep them occupied.

I don’t mean to be flip.  I think that heritage is extremely important. But one step at a time.

I don’t know how those answers will go over.  Same for the ones about birth parents which is touchier-than-touchy subject. Will I help my adopted teenager try to find their birth parents when they ask?  Yes, probably.  Do I want to exchange photos and letters with those birth parents right now when my eventual child has been languishing in an orphange?  No, I think that they gave up that right.

But each set of parents and kids need to find their own path.

The other really fun bit of this is the letters of recommendation.  I’m sure that most people who adopt are either (1) living neither at least one set of grandparents (2) have a local close-knit group of friends that the child will be welcomed into.  We of course have neither.  Hubby’s family (who would be thrilled by any form of parenthood that we choose) live about 4,000 miles away.  My family – who will also be happy – is about a 10-hour drive.  Hubby’s friends, who don’t even know that we’re moving towards adoption or were ever trying to get pregnant – live mostly in other countries.  Mine are mostly on the East Coast and while accepting and supportive, probably aren’t going to be here to serve as a welcoming committee.

So we need letters from a member of each of our families (trust me, this is going to be a process) and well as from three friends.  One would guess that they want these to be mutual friends. But…hubby has friends of whom I’m an acquaintance (and they don’t know we’re doing this) and I have friends of whom hubby is an acquaintance.  So we narrowed it down to (1) one of my best friends who is a parent of two wonderful daughters, and adoptee herself and whose sister has adopted twice.  She will be the voice of wisdom friend in this and is thankfully, a fairly creative writer (and the same one storing all my stuff in her attic). (2) One of my oldest college friends, who is the father of 2 IUI-conceived children who has written something close to a dozen of these letters and whose beautiful prose (thanks to him being an English Prof) will hopefully masque the fact that while he knows me very, very well.  He’s never met hubby. And (3) a friend we both adore but to whom neither of us are emotionally very close.  That being said, he’s thrilled to have been asked and would make a wonderful “uncle” to our future child.  Also he lives in an obscure place that we might eventually settle in so that seems to fit.  We will owe all of these people (only 2 of whom are readers of this blog and one of whom is my dad) for a long, long, long time to come.

Anyhow, so if this blog is quieter than usual it’s because of the daunting amount of non-work related papers currently filling my desk.  In some ways, progesterone shots were easier.

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