It was December of 2008 and we tackled our home study paperwork right away, scheduled appointments to get physicals so that our physician could sign off that we were healthy enough to be parents, and made appointments for our fingerprinting. We pretty much had to tell our life story, where we met, how long ago, when we were married, what we love about each other, who our families are, and how we were raised, if we had ever been in therapy, or in trouble, and many other questions. Some people find it very invasive, and it is. It is hard to swallow that adoptive parents have to go under the microscope when there are plenty of unfit parents out there who are never questioned on their abilities to care for a child properly. However, it is also comforting to know that these measures are taken to protect the children that birthparents selflessly place in the care of total strangers (at least in the beginning). Now – as a note, not all birthparents make these choices themselves, and not all of them are making wonderful decisions, but for those who make an adoption plan in the best interest of their child, they are selfless, period.
While filling out the home study paperwork, we realized that a lot of these questions were really helpful for us to talk about. We were asked questions about who would care for our child in the case we both passed away, what our child rearing philosophy is, and the support system surrounding us. As I was speaking to a friend about adoption earlier, I decided to pull up the homestudy that was done on us, and read it again. It was really quite nostalgic to look back on, and read our child rearing philosophy, and all of the wishes and dreams we had for our child, as they are currently playing out.
The day of our actual home study visit, I had been busting my rear end to get the house in 100% spotless order. I was exhausted when the caseworker came over, and I was starting to feel a cold hit my system. When she came over, she toured the house (not even all of the rooms, but the common rooms) and asked to see the room the baby would be in (it was an office at the time). We went over many of the questions we had answered in our paperwork but in more detail, and chatted with her like an old friend. It was really a breeze, but we were really glad when it was over too. We could clearly see that the social worker was on our side, and wasn’t looking for negative things to point out, but rather honesty about your life, and how you work through things and interact.
When it was over, I passed out, and I think I may have even slept the weekend away (our visit was on a Friday). Next up was creating our profile book.
A profile is designed to introduce yourselves as a couple to the prospective birthparents. You are often told to write them a heartfelt letter explaining who you are and many times what promises you have for them and their child if they find a connection with you and ask you to parent their child. It was REALLY difficult to convey to someone in photos and words who you are as an individual, and who you are as a couple. I researched a ton of other profiles, picking the things I liked best from them, and noting what I didn’t like. I created our profile from scratch and tried to keep it short and sweet, but fun. We really wanted most of the photos and words to speak for themselves. One thing I noticed is that many people address their profiles to the birthmother only. I didn’t think that was fair. There are also many situations where a birthfather is present in the picture and we wanted to be sure he also felt included in the process. We addressed our letter to the expectant parent(s), to leave it open. Also, a mother doesn’t become a birthmother, until she has placed a child for adoption, so it is really hurtful to some people to use that terminology. To avoid confusion, we will continue to use the term birth mom (because our daughter’s mother did place her for adoption) even when speaking of her birthparents before they signed consents for adoption.
One of the fun activities we did, was ask several people around us to come up with some adjectives that they thought described us individually. The fun part was seeing that most people used the same words to describe us, and it helped us feel like we were conveying our true personalities to our audience. So on the pages where we told the expectant parents about us, we included a little blurb of how our friends and family would describe Mrs. Lucky, and how they would describe Mr. Lucky. Then we also took the time to describe each other, and we put that in there. Personality is so hard to truly convey through photos and brief words that we hoped this would help them get a clear picture of who we truly were as individuals.
We showed photos of our families, our home, our pets, our vacations, our hobbies, and our goofy side.
We ended the profile thanking them for taking the time to get to know us, and our thoughts, prayers, and best wishes through this very difficult process.
Once our profile was submitted, we were ready to go on the waiting list with our agency.