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.

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