Read Part One or Part Two to get more of the backstory.
After we attended the adoption workshop in August, we had a lot of things to discuss. One of the things we really wrestled with was if we wanted an open or closed adoption. A closed adoption is one where you have no information about the birth family and never meet. And open adoption is one where the birthparents and adoption parents know each other and remain in contact after the adoption. There are many, MANY variations of open adoptions that include letters, visits, prior contact before birth, actually being there for the delivery and several permutations of these options.
Side note, both M and his sister were adopted and have very limited information. Both of them handled this lack of information differently. M knows nothing about his birthmom (except her name which we discovered when we filling out international marriage information to get his visa) and doesn't want to know.
Ultimately we decided to go with a semi-open adoption. This would allow us to have information about the birthparents, meet them, potentially be at the delivery, and then remain in contact after the birth. This was standard practice at our agency. We were scheduled to send pictures every 3 months for the first year and then twice a year after that. We send things directly to the agency and they send them out to the birth parents. (I would have been comfortable with more direct contact, but ultimately because of who S's birth parents are – this was the safest, healthiest option for us. More on this later).
We spend most of the fall discussing our options and I got the initial paperwork to fill out in October when we finally decided to move forward with this process. We received the extensive documents to fill out for our homestudy. I believe it was 50 pages total (health physical forms to be fill out by our Dr.s, financial info, and MANY questions for us both). If I remember correctly it was questions like:
How was your educational experience in elementary, secondary school?
How were you disciplined as child?
How do you plan on disciplining your child?
In what faith do you plan on raising your child?
And random questions about our past, marriage, financial health, etc.
I dragged my feet on answering this questions because I was in the middle of teaching and we didn't want to get a placement TOO early. (which is laughable to me now...what in the heck we we waiting for?) Ultimately we finished all of the homestudy paperwork and turned it in just prior to Christmas. Actually we didn't even turn it it. My best friend took us to the airport to depart for Christmas in Europe and she ended up taking our paperwork to the agency for us because we (as usual) were running late to the airport.
We spent a nice Christmas in Europe with M's family and then we we returned we got a phone call from our case manager to schedule our homestudy visit. January 23, 2007.
Oh as a side note: when we first started this process, they told us it would be an 18 month to 2 year wait for a caucasian newborn. Umm...yeah, not really, eh?
To be continued...