All of the couples attending have been waiting a long time and we were almost the longest waiting (one other couple has us beat by 4 days). The director of the agency, the placement supervisor and one of the caseworkers conducted the class.
They ran through the whole process from the call to adoption finalization and had a cradle care mother (temporary foster care, if you will) also come in and discuss their role in the process should cradle care be needed. Situations where cradle care is needed are like when a mother decides after giving birth that she wants to make an adoption plan and this is the agency's first contact with her. If needed, the baby may go into cradle care while the mother is counseled and paperwork dealt with, and matching with prospective parents discussed. The cradle care mother suggested the "Hap.piest Bab.y on the Blo.ck" and the "Dun.stan Bab.y Lang.uage" DVDs for learning soothing techniques. Oh, and check the manufacturer date on the carseat, they expire 6 years from the date.
They also stressed that we should be nesting. Ironic, since nesting is furthest from my mind, but at this stage in the game, I guess we have to force it. The nursery is mostly done, with one more decorating task to tackle (more of S's tracing and painting ability!), but that's it. However, we have yet to wrest the car seat out of the box to see if the base fits in our cars, and if we can figure out how to use the thing. We also have to practice using the M. wrap. I have a Cabb.age Pa.tch Dol.l to practice on. :) And, then there's the watching of at least one of the aforementioned dvds just to start having some idea of techniques to use. It's weird, to be doing this stuff when we don't know when we'll have a baby, just that we could have one within days of getting the initial phone call. I forget sometimes that pregnant women have probably done all this stuff before their delivery, so we should be doing it too.
In addition, they also advised us that for two weeks after placement only we should be holding or feeding the baby. The stock answer when our mothers go ballistic? "The agency told us we have to do it this way to facilitate bonding." That will surely be difficult to enforce.
Something that I'm sure they told us about previously, but that I hadn't really thought about until it was brought up (and stressed) during this class, is the sticky situation of technology and photos. They advised us to not post any photos on F-B or even share them by e-mail until the adoption is finalized (or until the TPR is signed by the judge...I got confused). Apparently we'll be signing some piece of paper that says we understand the policy or something to that effect.
While it was good to get a refresher on the legal process, the placement process, the role of the cradle families and everything else that we'll have to deal with sometime in the future, there was hardly any discussion about coping with the wait. In my opinion, a meeting like this should have had a little more venting time in the company of peers. Instead, it was me having a mini-vent trying to drum up some discussion (and failing miserably). Or at least that's how I perceived it.
There was a little bit of discussion about starting a support group, and I think one may try to get going but it will be far from where we live. I feel like I'm past the support group stage anyway. Last year, I desperately needed one, but this year I'm just hanging on by a thread until we get the phone call.