I realized the other day that this journal has been long (sometimes very very long) in information about specific events, or emotional issues, or weird people sitting next to me at the fingerprint office, or things of that nature, but we’ve never really taken the time to give people a good idea of what the process looks like.

Here, then, is the high-level overview of the whole process, including how far along the path we already are:

  1. Decide to adopt Done!
  2. Decide on an adoption “path” (domestic/international, open/closed, infant/child, etc) Done!
  3. Find an agency to work with Done!
  4. Our agency’s specific steps
    1. Attend the informational seminar in Portland Done!
    2. Submit paperwork, fingerprints, documents, etc Done!
    3. Meet with counselor for Intake interview Tomorrow!
    4. Homestudy process – in-home interviews with counselor (2-4 months)
    5. More paperwork – biographies, photo collages, letters of recommendation, etc. (2-4 months, simultaneous with step 4)
    6. Preparing our home and lives (2-4 months, simultaneous but nearer the end of with steps 4 & 5)
    7. Jumping in the pool! (Early next year?)
    8. Waiting for the call… biting our fingernails… obsessively checking our voicemails… (could be 3 weeks… could be 3 years.)
    9. The call!
    10. Meeting the birthmother and making sure that this is the right fit (This “usually” happens 3 months before the birth, and can take a few appointments before everyone is comfortable. It could, however, happen in just a couple of hours, if the birthmother first contacts the agency after the birth and the process is accelerated.)
    11. Mediation – establishing agreements, attending any additional counseling, figuring out details. (Shortly after step 10.)
    12. Birth!
    13. Legal stuff that I probably should have been paying more attention to during the seminar, but I dismissed as “I know I’ll forget this, so I’ll study it again when we’re closer to the date” (Few days, most likely)
    14. Baby time!

So! That’s a rough outline of the process. Obviously, the only things set in stone so far are the very first steps (deciding to adopt and the adoption method we’ve chosen), and it could turn out that when we meet our counselor tomorrow, it just feels like a bad fit, either from their perspective or from ours, and we’ll have to start again at step 3 again. (I actually had a bad dream the other night in which Betsy and I were at a restaurant, and our waitress recognized us and let us know that the whole adoption community was abuzz about how angry our counselor was after finding “that little website of yours”.) But based on the information I’ve gotten from them so far, I’m feeling pretty comfortable that we’ll be able to work together pretty well.

So, we’re on to the next step tomorrow – the intake interview with our new counselor, who will be our guide the rest of the way. Wish us luck!

We met yesterday with my parents to celebrate Father’s Day, and met with Betsy’s parents last weekend. For both sets of parents, we got each of them a present, and warned them to not jump to the obvious conclusion when they opened them up. When they opened them up, a copy of The Grandpa Book and The Grandma Book were inside, which gave us the opportunity to let them know about what was going on.

It’s interesting to finally be able to start talking about this with people. We’ve been working on having children biologically for about 18 months, and we’ve kept everything silent through that time. I’ve had a lot of people ask me about when we’re going to have kids, and the best response I could give was a forced smile and a “when the time is right”. For myself, there’s a definite sense of relief for us to be able to come out of the infertile closet and start talking freely.

It’s still not the easiest thing to talk about, though. When you have a planned pregnancy, the reactions are almost always going to be positive and excited. With adoption, the conversation is simultaneously letting someone know about a loss in your life while sharing good news, and the vibe is definitely different. Our parents have been very positive in their reactions, but we’re still nervous about those future conversations left to come.

I think it’s always going to be easier for me to have that conversation than it is for Betsy, though, if only because we have different levels of loss to deal with. For me, I dealt with the fact that I would be unable to give birth a long time ago, and I’m pretty well past that. I would always be part of the pit crew in the great race of pregnancy, and so it’s easier for me to deal with. Losing the chance to pass on my genetic material is both a blessing and a loss – having a child who might actually be able to catch a baseball or do a crossover dribble without falling on his face might be a good thing.

For Betsy, though, she’s facing a different set of losses. This is as a good of a place as any to mention that this blog (as of today) is primarily going to be authored by me. This is also as a good of a place as any to remind myself to not make any assumptions about how Betsy is feeling about the process. I made the mistake yesterday of talking to my parents as if my emotional reaction was the same for both of us, and that required a conversation on the way home to help reset my thoughts. So, while you can depend on this blog most of the time to explain how the process is going for us, your best bet is to talk to one of us in person if you want the full story.

I was originally going to write a FAQ to answer some of the questions you are probably wondering, but there are far too many questions that need answering and anyway, that’s what I’ll be doing in this space for the next couple months. Here are a few odds and ends that need answering, though…

1. Where did the name of the blog come from?

Check out the story here…

2. Can I tell so-and-so about this?

At this point, we’re making this public. Feel free to pass on this address to anyone who knows us and/or might be interested.

3. I want to know specific details about your infertility! Or even non-specific ones, as in “which one of you is infertile”!

We’re probably not going to be getting into it here. You can ask us in person, but be aware that that is a pretty personal question and shouldn’t be asked lightly. This blog is going to be about the adoption process anyway, not the process that got us there, so it’s not what we’re excited about right now.

4. I have questions about things!

Feel free to leave a comment on any of the posts here, and I’ll try to get to it eventually. After this post, I’m going to try to back up chronologically and tell the story from the start, so it may take a while to get to a “today” question. But I’ll get there eventually.