Wednesday, October 31, 2012
The Last Paragraph
I have lots of good news to report on the adoption front. Our application is IN! Like really, really in. This includes checklists, questionnaires, a profile of the child we wish to adopt, our financial profile, our health profile, tax returns, our marriage certificate and a security clearance. Phew! The only thing we're waiting on is our reference questionnaires (which have been received by all 3 of our references, and I'm sure have been/will be sent in very soon!).
Oh ya, but there's one more thing we're waiting on. I'll be honest here. The last thing outstanding item falls to me. It's our dear birthparent letter.
The. Dear. Birthparent. Letter. The DBL. Our story. Our best foot forward. Our photos. Our lives/hopes/dreams/plans all wrapped up in a couple pages. Our letter has been written and reviewed and reworked and reviewed again. Bob and I are happy with it. The social worker is happy with it. That is, with the exception of one small thing. One teeny tiny last paragraph that we need to write to sum everything up. 5-10 last lines. This is the paragraph that discusses the relationship we are willing to embrace as part of our open adoption.
Not so long ago, this paragraph seemed like a distant thought, a far-off concept that we would broach in the far-off future. Well, turns out the far-off future is now. Like this week. Here we are, faced with the big question - what level of openness are we wanting for ourselves, for the family that will be giving us a child and most importantly, for the child that we will welcome into our lives?
I wish I knew. I wish I had an idea of what this is all going to turn into, how the relationships that we're about to develop are going to unfold. What the impact of our decisions now are going to have on the many lives that we're about to be connected to, including our child.
Which brings us to the stand-off with this one last paragraph.
Open adoption is the only legal form of adoption here in Alberta. This is something that Bob and I are okay with, although I know many people have their issues with it. I get that. The concept of intertwining lives with people you don't know, especially when they centre around placing/receiving a BABY with what are currently strangers, is scary. I get this. All of it.
However, we are okay with this. I don't know what exactly we are okay with, which is what I'm trying to sort out so that I can put it on paper for a birthmom to read when she is selecting a family for her baby. That is, hopefully selecting US to be the family for her baby.
No matter how a child comes to us, we want them to have a strong sense of identity. We want them to always know who they are and where they come from. We believe that a strong foundation is the starting ground for any child, to help them work through life and turn into healthy adults. I don't know what this means in terms of relationships with the birth family... Emails and photos? Regular visits? Irregular visits? Phonecalls? I don't know. But the thing is, I need to put it into words, into black and white print, so that we can let an unknown birthmom know that we are open, we are willing, we want OUR child (everyone's child) to grow up strong, happy, healthy and secure. And most of all, know that they have always been loved.
I don't know what to write. The paragraph stares at me in draft form, waiting to be crafted into something legible and appealing to a mom who, I can only imagine, is about to make THE most challenging decision of her life. One that will impact her life, and the life of her unborn child, forever. Our lives forever.
Everyone says to be honest, but what does that even mean? How can I commit to a relationship when I don't have any context or knowledge of the circumstances? I freaking hope that there is some sort of destiny or fate or sense of god that will weave its way into this story. Some a-ha moment for the birthmom or for us where she feels connected to us through a couple paragraphs and some photos where I look motherly enough and Bob and I are smiling just enough (not too much, not too little, just enough to look real) and we all just "know" that this is what is meant to be. If that's even real, I don't know.
So ya, that's where we're at with all of this. It's up to me now, to craft the hours of discussions that we've had with so so so so many people about this into 5-10 sentences.
Wish me luck. I super duper need it. This glass of red wine is only doing so much here.
Listening to: Kung Fu Fighting - Carl Douglas (watch it! You'll freaking love it.)