We both got the same answer: We needed more information. So, I called our local office and was informed that adoption orientation was the first Saturday of each month and all my questions would be answered then. I called the Monday after the first Saturday. We had almost a month to stew, speculate and freak ourselves right out. I've never had so many anxieties before...and I am an anxious person! We were scared about openness in the adoption (mine is closed and I like it that way...so openness is new for us), we were nervous about failed adoption(s) and how we'd deal, we were nervous about home inspections (my parents told me horror stories), we were nervous about the general HARDNESS of it all, but we were most nervous about the financial aspect. We had no idea when and even if we would ever be able to afford it. I can honestly say it is the biggest fear I've ever had. Even bigger than dying. Like a lot bigger.
As the day approached we found out that Spencer could only take the morning off of work and that he would have to leave me in my most likely crushed and desperate state and go to work while I took heavy seizure meds and cried myself to sleep. And no, I'm not being dramatic. It was a definite and likely possibility. We were so keyed up that I'm pretty sure we could've powered our house just on our nerves. Spencer's brother came over the night before, after working a long day then attending to his church callings, to give both of us a blessing. We had a long talk and he gave us beautiful blessings, but I still didn't sleep a wink.
And then, it was here. The meeting was at 9 am. We pulled in the parking lot at 8:45 and said a prayer, then held sweaty hands and tried to breathe normally. We walked in and a friendly woman told us to wait and the adoption director would be with us in a minute. Soon, other couples filed in with the same strained looks on their faces. The clock on the wall ticked loudly...9:10...9:15...9:17....9:25. I looked around the room and noted to Spencer that there was so much toe-tapping, nail-biting, twitching, sweating, and clock-glancing that I wanted to video record it. They should NOT keep prospective adoptive parents waiting half an hour. I don't think I could possibly describe the nervous tension in the room. FINALLY at 9:27 a woman ushered us into a room and apologized sincerely for the delay. We went around the table and introduced ourselves and told our situations, and then all of our questions were answered. ALL of them.
After the meeting we thanked the presenter and spoke with a few couples briefly, then went to our car. As soon as we left the doors of the office I broke down and started bawling my eyes out. We stood by the car while Spencer hugged me and cried a little too. Then he asked me, "Why are you crying, Baby?" and I said, "Because I'm so happy!" and he said, "Me too!" Then, we just stared at each other and I said, "We can do this..." I don't know if I actually believed it yet. And he said, "We can TOTALLY do this!" Then we laughed and hugged and jumped up and down...right in the parking lot. It was one of the happiest moments of my life.
So, after that dramatic story...I bet your wondering what we learned. We learned a lot, so I'll break it down into my favorite key points:
- The intake fee is $1,000 which covers your background checks, home inspections, etc. The rest of the money is due after placement and is affordable to us. It will take us a while to save up the 1,000 dollars for the intake fee, but we are confident that if we continue to put the Lord first, he will provide us with the appropriate means at the appropriate time. Our goal is to have it by the end of the summer.
- Home inspections are SANE and scheduled. They do one pop-in but they check for general safety and happiness in your home...not dust bunnies. And they don't inspect your brick like they did my parents'...which was a relief since we have siding. ;)
- The adoption coordinator has worked there 20 years and has only seen two, TWO, 2, failed adoptions. Two. T-W-O. (Don't leave me a comment about how you know someone who had a failed adoption. Please don't.)
- The level of openness is negotiated between your birthmom and you. They all vary. Usually the relationship is like that of a family friend and decreases over time. I don't know what I want...I just want my baby to be happy. That's all. And I want to buy our birthmom stuff. I love her already.
- After you pay your intake fee and the home inspection takes place, you are approved and then can create a profile and wait for a birthmom to pick you...which means you're basically pregnant. You might be pregnant for two years, but STILL!!!!!! You're IN!
- It's not horrible. It's beautiful. There will be hard aspects I am sure. Mostly the waiting. But the adoption process itself will not be a trial. It will be magnificent.