The Adoption Process Wheels Keep Turning…Ever…So…Slowly…
As I sit inside, watching the bad weather spiral outside, I thought, what better time than now to share a bit more about the headway we are making on the adoption front.
First, our most recent and probably most important lesson about adoption paperwork. Check and re-check all paperwork, even when we are not responsible for the finalization of said paperwork! Our agency is required to submit one document on our behalf, and it must be approved before the home study can start. Evidently they told us to fill it in incorrectly. This meant our documents have been returned without being approved, and we are officially delayed by about 3 weeks. Nothing can happen until this document is returned approved, so we sit and wait and are now hoping that it will be returned approved by Christmas. On the plus side, this means we have way more time to fill in our other paperwork. (Not that we need the additional time, but I’m looking for the bright side and this is all I can think of so I’m going to embrace it).
Second, our required medical assessments are done by our family doctor and ready to submit with the rest of the paperwork.
Third, our references have received their questionnaires to fill in. One has already filled it in and returned it. The other two are hopefully doing so within the next week. We don’t expect any issues related to our references as they all know how important it is to us that they return them promptly.
Fourth, our criminal record checks should arrive to us within the next few days. As neither of us have engaged in any sort of criminal activity, we see this as a required formality that doesn’t cause us any concern.
Fifth, mandatory adoption seminars are interesting. It was hard for us because we felt like we knew way to much information going in. Mr. MPB and I always do our homework, which means we know more than most people. I don’t say this to be arrogant, it is what it is and is very typical for the two of us. But, what it means is that while sitting there, there were moments of boredom. I started by answering questions when they were asked to the group, but quickly realized I was that annoying kid whose hand shot up to answer the question before the teacher actually finished the sentence. Needless to say, I didn’t like that person in school and I definitely didn’t want to be them now, so after a kick or two under the table from Mr. MPB I quickly smartened up.
Asides from being bored at times, the seminar was okay. We really didn’t learn anything too ground breaking given our extensive research. Our most significant observations and learnings from the day were:
- You never, ever complain about your social worker. For whatever reason, should you just not love them, you do not voice it as it will reflect poorly on you. Under no circumstances will your social worker change, and in fact, it will be a “significant red flag” if you voice any sort of concern. I never agree with a system where you cannot voice a problem with someone involved, so this irritates me. Not because we expect to dislike our social worker, but because what if we do? Honestly, I cannot even think of a good example of why this would occur, but I still think the system should be open a transparent and this clearly isn’t. While not said overtly, the message was very clear that there are power dynamics in the social worker / adoptive parent relationship, so we had better fall in line.
- All the hard questions that were asked were deferred and dodged. An example of one such question was: “when and how do you help a child understand really negative details about their birth parents should there be any – such as being a product of rape?” The response was, we will not go into that today, but should that occur it is definitely an age appropriate conversation and we can recommend some books on that subject. Seriously, some books? That’s the support that is offered? Hmmm…while it’s all great and dandy to help us with the easy stuff, but what if we are faced with the more difficult stuff? We know this is not something to worry about today, but it is definitely something to think about in terms of long term support from the adoption agency.
- One of our favourite parts of the day was meeting with an adoptive family and hearing there experience with a failed adoption. The heartbreak, the frustrations, etc. As this is one of our largest fears it was really informative for us to learn from there experience.
- Attachment is a significant issue for almost all international adoptions, as most often the children are 1 to 2 years old and coming out of institutions. Attachment works both ways – baby to parents and parents to baby. While the focus was on institutionalized children, we also discussed the importance of fostering early bonds for people like us who are adopting infants. The reality is baby-mother attachment starts I the womb, so baby-adoptive parent attachment takes a bit more time and effort. For infant adoption, this is minimal compared to those adopting older children from institutions, but it is still something really good to be aware of. The biggest suggestion they offered was that adoptive parents should not let anyone else help with basic care for the first few months. So things like feedings, diaper changes, etc. are always done by either myself of Mr. MPB. This is the best way to promote healthy attachment to form for everyone.
- International adoptions, including those from the USA, give us the opportunity to “turn down” a placement if it doesn’t feel right to us for any reason. The match process in the USA essentially lets the birth mother pick the adoptive parents, and the adoptive parents then have the opportunity to say yes or no. This means, we, as the adoptive parents are given the opportunity to review the birth mother’s medical file and therefore the child’s medical history with a local doctor before saying yes. This is really important to us and reinforced our decision to go to the USA.
As for my overall opinion on the value of the seminar – I suspect for most couples it would be very valuable. And it would have been more valuable for us to have attended 6 months ago when we were first considering adoption. That said, the few tidbits we picked up made it worth our time and we are happy we went.
And, the last adoption related update is that one should not put their hand up when an adoption agency asks for volunteers. I of course have volunteered. I am really excited to help out as I’ve been looking for a different type of volunteer activity, and this fits the bill. And more importantly, this is a great avenue to network with many more adoptive parents and birth parents. And of course it won’t hurt to make a positive impression with the agency.
If you like this post, please feel free to share it and please return to myperfectbreakdown.com to follow my journey.
Lol. You two sound like us- know-it-alls who need a kick under the table once in a while. Interesting that Canadian adoption doesn’t allow you to turn down an offer if it isn’t a good match. Wouldn’t that be in the best interest of the child to be in a home that is a good fit? What is wrong with our country!
I totally deserved the kick under the table! Thankfully Mr. MPB didn’t kick me too hard, just enough for me to notice. 🙂
I think there are ways you can say no to a local adoption, it just seems to be really frowned upon. But honestly, as we aren’t doing a domestic open adoption, I’m not 100% sure on the exact details.
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Make copies of EVERYTHING. Our paperwork has been lost so many times. They will lose one page out of a group of pages we turned in together. How? I have no idea. It grows legs and walks away.
We have also had the issue of having to re-do paperwork that was filled out incorrectly at their direction. We have had paperwork sent back that needed to be notarized even though we filled it out in front of them and notarization was never mentioned.
I do not understand how things grow legs and walk away, but I’m really not surprised to hear that it happens! Thanks for the great idea – we will absolutely photocopy every single document.
You made me laugh! I tend to be the over informed one in class too and have to remind myself that no one likes a no it all 🙂 I’m glad the class wasn’t a complete waste of time. I hope you get that form processed by Christmas too and that there are no more delays going forward!
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I can only imagine what it would be like to have a bunch of us super knowledgeable people sitting in a room together in a seminar on RPL – we wouldn’t be able to keep our mouths shut!
And thanks for your hope – we can absolutely use it! 🙂
That would be hilarious!
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Whoa, the social worker thing is crazy! I do not like that at all. That just does not sound like a good relationship if the social worker has all the power. I mean, it’s not as if infertility/loss doesn’t already leave people feeling powerless enough. Grrrrrr. And the question-dodging is also annoying. I’m glad you at least got something out of that seminar, but I’m still annoyed for you haha. I’m sorry the process is sooooooo slow. I wish I could blink and you’d be holding that beautiful baby in your arms!
Ya, the social worker relationship is totally crazy. I really don’t expect problems on the social work front, but I dislike that we have no avenue to voice a concern if we encounter one. It just feels wrong and unfair.
I can’t believe how quickly things are moving so far! That is SUPER exciting. You two are doing a fabu job at getting everything in order and learning everything you can. I am just so impressed! Super crazy about the Social Worker thing, I wouldn’t be too thrilled to not have an option to switch if there was a conflict. Hugs, friend! Looks like things are moving along and you are doing well! XOOX
Thanks for your encouragement and excitement! When I get a response like this, it makes me smile and think about how exciting this all really can be!! I am still pretty hesitant to embrace the excitement, but you do make me smile and that’s awesome! Thank you. 🙂
Did he really kick you under the table? That made me chuckle!! When you were talking about if/when the child asks the circumstances of their adoption…are the adoptive parents given that info?? I didn’t know that was shared information, the reasons why they were given up for adoption in the first place. Does it maybe make a difference whether you are doing open or closed adoption? (sorry so many questions, that piqued my curiosity.) What will you be doing in your time volunteering for the agency? I think that will be great for you, in whatever capacity! 🙂
Yes, he did kick me under the table. Not hard, thankfully. 🙂
I cannot speak to closed adoptions as we are not going through that process, but in respect to open adoptions we have to select things we will accept or not accept. The details are pretty amazing – product of sexual assault/rape, family history of specific mental illness, age, premature, amount of specific drugs at various times during pregnancy, amount of alcohol at different times during pregnancy, race, etc. The idea is that while the agency is counseling birth mothers about there decision, the birth mothers will provide honest answers which will ultimately result in a match with our criteria or not. The level of questions truly are amazing and make you think about things you had never thought about before.
Also, my two cents on closed adoption is that they almost never exist in Canada or the USA anymore I suspect because its hard to keep the details closed from a legal perspective and more importantly it really isn’t in the best interests of the adopted children. Closed adoptions only seem to happen with children who are institutionalized in countries like China, Ethiopia, Russia, etc. (But this is just my opinion, I could be wrong).
Interesting!! I had no idea that some of those were “options” for you to choose. In a way it seems kinda strange, on the other hand I guess some people just wouldn’t want to deal with the repercussions of some of that? It’s a lot to think about! I had no idea if they did closed adoptions anymore or not, I guess things have probably changed a lot since back in the day. I love your posts because they always just really make me think, and so much info! Thanks again!
It is actually rather fascinating the questions we are currently facing. I often think the questions are somewhat cruel to be forced to think about, yet at the same time I absolutely understand why they are asked. Honestly, if we didn’t have a say in the drug and alcohol consumption levels we wouldn’t even consider adoption, so I really do understand the importance of being honest on what we can handle.
As for the closed, I should add that I believe here they do exist in the situation of older foster kids who have been removed from there homes. So, a very different situation, and one that I really don’t know much about.
And, thank you for your kind words about my posts. I’m touched. 🙂
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I loved reading about what you took away from the seminars. I have a friend that recently adopted internationally and I remember her telling me that no one did his changing, feedings, or even really left the house for a couple of months. Too many people coming up to meet him would have been too traumatic. They only had their parents meet him at first and then slowly introduced aunts, uncles, and cousins a few months later. He is thriving right now. It’s so awesome to see how much he has grown and changed. I can’t wait to see how everything unfolds for you as well! xo
The attachment stuff is pretty interesting to learn about, particularly if someone adopts a slightly older child. Thanks for sharing!
We have decided one of the greatest things we will experience is the first few weeks in the USA before we can return to Canada – we will have time just the three of us with no interruptions. I think it will be such a blessing and a great way to bond as a family. 🙂
How frustrating to have the paper work returned!!
Absolutely! Frustrating is a very polite word for what I actually said when I hung up the phone. 🙂
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I would be a little turned off with the social worker power relationship too. I’m a person who likes to voice my concern and comments, and I know it would nag at me if I couldn’t. I would be irritated too!
And I”m sorry your paperwork was returned and is delaying the process. But it’s better to find out now then a week or two from now, so at least you are taking care of it as soon as possible.
Much luck to you and Mr. MPB as you navigate these waters.
It sounds like we share the same perspective of the power dynamic and voicing concerns. I’m not one to simply dismiss concerns, but I guess I will have to be with this. Maybe if any arise, I’ll save them all up and submit a letter once the adoption is finalized! 🙂
Thanks so much for your encouragement!
I’m really sorry to hear about the delay in your paperwork approval. How annoying. I’m glad you got some things out of the training. It frustrates me that you’re not allowed to give constructive criticism or feedback about your social worker. That really doesn’t seem right. At any rate, I’m glad things are moving forward and wishing you all the very best!
The delay is super frustrating, but we will survive and most importantly we learned a very valuable lesson! And, thanks for reaffirming that I’m not the only person who finds the power relationship with the social worker odd!
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I do volunteer work with foster children and have to work with foster care social workers. The first one I worked with was good. The one I have now is . . . frustrating. Wishing you all the best! ❤
Arg, that’s so frustrating! It would sure decrease my motivation to volunteer if I was working with a frustrating team.
It is frustrating, but the kids are important. ❤
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The attachment recommendations are interesting and make total sense. Bonding is such a complex and fascinating process, particularly when one part of the equation cannot verbalize their needs. You’ll do great though. I have no doubts.
I have to laugh at Mr MPB kicking you. Reminds me of when M and I were on a museum group tour and i asked a question. She looked at me like I had made a pass at the elderly tour guide. She simply dies when attention is called to her.
Haha! I love the story about M. I think it’s so funny how our partners react to us in public.
And thank you for the kind words. My hope is that if we can survive RPL and the adoption process then we can survive most things a child will throw at us. 🙂
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