Yesterday, Jim and I were able to check three more things off of our seemingly endless adoption to-do list: we each had our individual interviews, and then we filled out our form that they'll input into the computer to match us with a kid.
Interviews: Our social worker loved both of our autobiographies, and said they were very well written. They gave great details but were concise and to the point...Well, what can I say, we're writers (wink wink, j/k!). Jim's took an hour in the morning, and I had mine after school. The number one thing I learned through this experience: both of us TOTALLY scored when it came to the parent lottery! Most of the interview was addressing issues of our past, and neither of us had any issues. Our parents did amazing jobs--in spite of adversity and struggles--and it was fun to share about all the wonderful things they had done for us. I almost felt like my answers were too "perfect"...like will it look bad that we haven't experienced things like abuse, addictions, or drama in our lives? Hopefully not.
"The Form": At the end of my interview, our social worker gave me the checklist form where we indicate what kind of kid we're willing to accept. Jim and I filled it out over dinner. We have been so excited to get to this step, but it was actually a pretty difficult. It felt like we were choosing what kind of child was "worth" having--and who are we to judge! I felt guilty and ashamed of some of my restrictions. Just because a child has certain symptoms doesn't make them less of a human or less worthy of our love. If we were pregnant with a child with disabilities, we wouldn't get rid of it. So why should we avoid them now? Those are heavy issues to discuss over dinner! However, I had asked our social worker if we just selected everything, would the computer be more likely to pick out for us the most severe cases, and she said yeah. She suggested being a little more picky at first--really thinking about what we would prefer--and then we could always go back and loosen up our request later...Sooo...we got on the computer to look at how different things affect children growing up...and we considered how some of these conditions would affect our lives/ministry in the future...and we made our selections...Eek!
Overall, I think we still stayed pretty open minded. Ethnicity, we made no preferences. Behavior, we accepted anything. Heredity, we said bring it on (heck! schizophrenia, depression, and mental illness run in my genetic code, thanks to my mom's lovely side of the family, so I've got just as much luck here as if we were having a child that we conceived!). Even drug exposure, we checked them all. (We discovered, ironically, that even babies exposed to cocaine and meth have less risk of brain damage than alcohol exposed babies. Isn't that crazy?! The legalized substance will absolutely wreck a child's brain capacity, but the illegal stuff will "merely" expose them to withdrawal symptoms and potential behavior issues down the road. I would fully support another Prohibition!!!)...And that's where we started saying no. We said no to infants with alcohol exposure (except for mild/possible). We said no to babies with brain damage. We said no to cerebral palsy, and Downs Syndrome, and autism (except mild forms). We almost said no to babies of incest, due to genetic abnormalities, but decided to keep that one at the last moment. I think we said no to a few other severe disabilities, and felt horrible each time. Whew! What a weight of responsibility!
We have a week and a half before we submit this form, so I suppose we could still change our minds. Next Friday, we have our final (yes, that's correct...our FINAL!!!) interview, and then it's all about processing the paperwork.
If you could, please pray that the paperwork process would go as speedily as God allows it. Our social worker is swamped right now, and it could take months or longer.
Also, please pray for our Foster Licensing paperwork. I just found out that our Foster social worker went out on medical leave before processing us (we finished it all back in January), and our file is somewhere lost in the shuffle.
And pray that God prepares us for whatever child he chooses to place with us--special needs and all!
I'm curious, if you had to make these choices (or if you already did)...what would you choose?