Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A matter of degree

A thank you to Kate and Stephanie:

Thank you both for the great feedback to my In the Face of Statistics post. Your comments are extremely helpful as we think about how we want to proceed.

Part of this reassessment has been driven, in all honesty, by our own sense of impatience and a need for slightly less delayed gratification. However, the choices we made also were predicated on our desire to protect and nurture the child who will hopefully be entering our lives, even if we don't know who that child or her mother are right now.

Our initial placement profile with our agency, ANLC, included several highlights:
  • open to any race
  • preference for a girl (my wife says that she wouldn't have the faintest idea what to do with a little boy...I think she also likes little girl clothes better)
  • no smoking
  • willing to consider if the expectant mother had been drinking at some point (we figure that it's not unreasonable to expect that anyone might have a drink or two before she realized she was pregnant)
  • no hard drugs
  • no mental illness/disability or family history of schizophrenia, etc.
We're in our early 40s and I occasionally joke that we won't be getting extra points from the Russian judges based on degree of difficulty (yes, that's a joke, we know it will be challenging but absolutely worth it).

During our conversation with our new client account person, she made the observation that many of the choices above are not necessarily hard and fast yes/no or black/white answers but rather represent a spectrum of choices, a matter of degree.

As she remarked, we're already willing to consider something along that spectrum when it comes to drinking. If we said "no drinking at all", we immediately rule out the possibility of a placement with a mother who did have that beer or two before she got the news. Instead, by choosing the "willing to consider", it leaves our options open as well as increases the chance that an expectant mother who wishes to trust us will be able to do so.

We're now faced with considerations of a similar nature with smoking (neither of us smokes so like you, Stephanie, we'd be bringing our Plus One home to home with clean air) and mental disabilities (in ANLC's profile, apparently something like dislexia falls into the category). Are we willing consider a potential placement with those two factors present in some fashion? Are we going to stick to our hard and fast "no" on those?

In all honesty, we aren't sure. As part of our effort to put some "we're ready for Plus One" energy out into the world, we're beginning to talk to pediatricians to find one we trust and like. Those conversations include these topics as we try to get a better sense of what our decisions and choices might possibly mean to a baby who comes into our family.

Part of our decision is also to learn from other people who are facing the same questions, the same fears, the same brilliant and wonderful journey. Thanks, Kate and Stephanie, for sharing your thoughts. They are truly appreciated.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

In the face of statistics

According to our client account manager, 80% of expectant mothers who work with our chosen agency smoke throughout at least part if not all of their pregnancy in part as a response to stress. Seeing how our initial profile indicated we hoped to adopted from a non-smoking mother, we seem to have narrowed the potential number of expectant mothers who might select us pretty dramatically.

Our first client manager told us to consider loosening up on the “medical stuff” and accepting a child from a mother who is a heavy smoker because "really, the doctors we work with say that smoking doesn't really affect the babies all that much."

Our new client manager didn't actively promote this same change but she did make sure we understood the mathematics of the situation, recommended we speak with a pediatrician, and simply take this information into account in the event we decide to change our profile.

I'm curious...have other people run into this same issue? What did your placement agencies recommend? What decisions did you make?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Dog Day Thoughts

It's been a while since I wrote.

I keep finding other things to do or not to do as the case may be. Either way, I appear to have gone on hiatus. I didn't really mean to do so. It just happened. Things got busy. I got lazy...or apathetic...or I don't know what. The compulsion to write anything anywhere seems to have melted away in this god-awful heat and humidity.

After we had our conversation with our new client account manager at the adoption agency, I thought I'd be all fired up to write about it.

Hmmmm...not so much.

The conversation was generally positive -- more info than we'd received in months, some positive feedback about the number of expectant moms who are looking at our profile, some thoughts on how we might want to consider altering our expectations to increase the odds -- but nothing is actually all that different on the adoption front.

Is positive news that doesn't really change anything actually news or is it just a series of statements that find no anchor and have no impact?

The act of putting oneself out there to be selected as an adoptive parent strikes me as akin to being a job seeker who never actually gets the job. You send out resumes, you even interview sometimes, but you never get the job and you never get feedback as to why not.

At least as a job seeker, you have the opportunity to put yourself physically and emotionally in front of the person doing the hiring for the interview. In the adoption process, you don't even get that level of anticipation. Your profile is out there -- your interview -- and you're being viewed and judged with no feedback on who is taking a look at you and why they aren't hiring you (as it were).

It's too bloody hot.