The Decision to Adopt Again

There are a few sections to this post as I started writing it months ago and have been adding to it as we go along in the process again.  I thought I would know where we are on the list by now, but it's not going so smoothly this time around.  Weird, right?  It should be easier!  As of now, we still don't know if our background checks have cleared.  Right about the 8-week mark, our caseworker went on vacation and they had as of then.  Hopefully we'll hear something next week.
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When the majority of couples want to have another baby, they discuss how far apart the kids will be in age, and then start TTC when it’s the “right time”.

When we want to have another baby,
1. We call up the agency in early spring and discover they aren’t taking applications
2. Stress out about missing the window to scootch our application in
3. Research a couple of other options
4. Get overwhelmed, wonder if one kid is enough, do we really need a sibling?  (short conversation btw)
5. Evaluate our finances
6. Decide not to buy S a new truck
7. Evaluate how long we *think* we will be waiting this time (2 years? 3 years?)
8. Estimate the amount of vacation/sick time we’ll have the second time around
9. Get a phone call telling us we can get into the pool if we submit our initial application by June 1
10. Submit the application with the agency

The plan was to start the process in the early spring, but the agency was not accepting applications due to a backlog of adoptive parents in the queue.  When we heard this news coupled with the fact that we ended up waiting two years for Baby X, we took a step back and discussed our limited options.  A.R.T. was not discussed as one of these options.   International adoption was a possibility, but after going through domestic, I can’t even begin to wrap my head around the travel, dealing with an older baby we don’t know, dealing with the culture shock, and dealing with countries as they change policies right and left.  To make myself clear, these are my hang-ups, and I realize it’s done every day successfully, it’s just not for me.  So, I started to check into other domestic adoption agencies.  As far as Colorado agencies, ours was not the only one on hold.  Two others recommended to me had significant waits to get started on the process ranging from 4 months to 9 months.

 We interviewed one of the two as it is an open adoption agency and we heard great things about their approach from someone who had recently adopted through them.  The interview went well, but there were a few things that kept us from jumping on board.  It looked like we would have to go through a full homestudy instead of an update.  We aren’t sure about that, but we did not renew the homestudy last year, and the director of the agency thought that because it was not “current” that to switch agencies we would have to go through multiple interviews rather than one.  In addition, this agency goes with full disclosure from the point of match forward.  While that would be ok, I guess, it seemed a little premature to be throwing around our last name/address when there’s still a chance that the match would fail.  I suppose that’s just my cautious nature taking over, but S felt the same way.  

I also tried to look into a few national agencies, but became frustrated with their websites.  In addition to not spelling out their fees, we would have to find an agency in Colorado to handle the homestudy and finalization.  And that, ladies and gentleman, is how an adoption can suddenly cost a ton of money.  In comparison, the two local agencies we have a) used and b) researched, only cost a half-ton of money.  As it turns out, our agency has partnered with a national agency and some other services so if we get to a point where there is no movement in the pool and we want to be profiled in other states, we can easily switch.  It would be more expensive, and logistically difficult, so we're going to see how our first year in the local pool goes.

We went ahead and submitted our initial application to the agency we used previously.  A couple of weeks later, the second round paperwork arrived and got buried on the dining room table.  A couple of weeks after that, I realized that we probably needed to do something to get the ball rolling and opened it.  Despite having a homestudy update rather than a full blown homestudy, we still have to do quite a lot of legwork.  Before being assigned a caseworker, we needed to send in our SAFE questionnaires and a payment.  So, we got those finished.  We still needed physicals for all three of us, vaccination records for Baby X and the dog, and the background checks for me and S.

At our  update meeting and home inspection with a new caseworker, we discovered we had forgotten to go get fingerprinted and it takes about 8 weeks for the background checks to come through.  I'm a little bummed that we aren't working with our previous caseworker, but she got promoted to placement supervisor and probably already had enough cases on top of that.

We got our fingerprints in and background checks started the following week after the update meeting, and here we are 8'ish weeks later, with no background checks complete.

I spent an hour and half going through the 10-page medical/drug/race checklist wondering why we didn't keep a copy, only to remember late at night that the previous checklist was in a binder.  What a painful experience to have to go through all the medical conditions again, only to find the answers later. 

One interesting difference between our last checklist and this checklist is race.  Now that we are a multiracial family, and are making connections with other multiracial families I look at what we were so-called "open" to and realize that we were kidding ourselves if we thought 50% of (____) or (___) was going to be any different than 100% of (___).  We are far more educated on racial issues than our previous go-round and it shows.

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We were all ready to go into our agency's pool again, it sounded like it was moving at about the same pace as last time, meaning it would be two years before we were high enough up the list to be profiled regularly.

Then we talked to a family who have been in the pool for a few months.  It's been twice as slow as when we were in it.  Doing the math, I figured out we're really looking at 3 or more years before getting to the point that we'll be profiled pretty regularly and have a good chance at a match. 

So, we're going to consider using a national agency for placement, or some other avenue of getting our profile out to more states.  It's not all lost, we have a homestudy, which would have to be done by someone in CO anyway, and our agency will take care of finalization.  Getting more than one entity involved means higher cost however, and we'll have to figure out what our cutoff is.  Has anyone worked with Ameri.can Adopt.ions and if so, how was your experience?

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 Well, after I wrote the last section, S and I had a discussion about whether we should add to our family.  I don't know where we are right now, and everything is up in the air.  We could hang out on the local agency's list for a year and see how it goes, then switch to the other agency's pool and lose a couple thousand dollars in crisis fund fees.  Or we can go onto the national agency's list in a few months (they are reportedly matching in about a year or less and we aren't exactly ready for something that quick...or maybe we are?  We don't know).  Or we can walk away from it all and be a family of three.  It's pretty easy to say "family of three" right now, and the thought of two kids at this very moment is daunting.  However, I think we both know it's probably not as hard as it seems it would be, and when they are older....built in playmate!  (we hope)  Plus, this is one of those dreams about our family that we don't really want to let go.  We let go of becoming so-called "young" parents.  We let go of biological children.  We don't really want to let go of being a family of four.  It's not fair that nothing goes easily for us in the realm of family building.  


Just once, I want something to go the way I think it should!