Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Adoption Update

Christmas morning. River wasn't thrilled with the picture taking so this is as good as it got. 
At least Sunshine is happy :)

I haven't mentioned adoption for awhile now because a lot has changed and we've had a lot to think about and consider. First, our adoption plans were put on hold when we got pregnant with River. Then about 6 months later we received notification that our agency is no longer doing home studies. They'll work with us through the rest of the process (web site with our info, birth parent counseling, etc), but we have to choose someone else to do our home study and coordinate the adoption.

This means our costs would be at least doubled and we would have to redo our paperwork, since our original home study has expired.

When we realized this, it raised a lot of questions. We initially decided to hold off on any decisions since we were already "on hold" until River turned a year old. Of course, we still considered our options while we waited.

Some of my thought processes over the last 10 months or so: 
My original thought when I got pregnant with River was that it would make it possible for me to nurse the adopted baby, as long as we were able to adopt before he stopped nursing.

I have a really hard time believing that paperwork for the adoption process costs as much as agencies try to make us believe.

We don't have that kind of money sitting around, which makes it a lot less likely that we would go through with a domestic infant adoption.

{pre-current-pregnancy thought} Do we still want to adopt? We don't know. I was finally ok with just having two kids. It took me years, time in therapy, and the birth of River to get to that point, though.

{pre-current-pregnancy thought} On the one hand, I felt for some time that I might have a second pregnancy in me, but never felt strongly about a third. So if I don't get pregnant again, are we still supposed to adopt, or was it a place holder to keep me sane while waiting for River to join our family? Either way, planning on adopting did help me stay in a better place than I otherwise would have been.

{pre-current-pregnancy thought} I do feel like there's a girl out there waiting for us, but while I was able to get pregnant with River, I don't have a strong feeling that I'll get pregnant again- before him I felt like there might be one more pregnancy.  This girl has a specific name, which wasn't the case with Sunshine or River- we weren't completely sure about River's name even after we came home.  {Now that I'm pregnant: I'm really curious to see if this baby is a girl. If it's not, that raises a whole slew of other questions.}

{pre-current-pregnancy thought} Pregnancy and L&D weren't great with Sunshine, but they were a much better experience with River. Was this to leave me with a better memory/impression/feeling because I'm done, or because there's another kiddo waiting to be born to us and I need to not be put off by the bad experience I had with Sunshine?

Present-day thoughts:
And now that I'm pregnant again, it raises more questions. If our original agency still facilitated adoptions, we would no longer be able to work with them anyway, since once you have three kiddos you're no longer eligible to adopt through them. This allows other families with fewer (or no) children to benefit from their services as well. We had originally thought we'd take the hold off our profile when River turned 1 year old. When we prayed about which agency to go with, we felt best about the one we chose. This makes me think that that decision was to help me cope while we waited for River to join our family.

The prospect of two under two is a bit daunting, especially since it's taken so long to get to that point. It's not like we're young newlyweds popping out the kiddos. This baby will be born just before our 14th wedding anniversary. While I'm looking forward to it, I know it will be a lot of work.

Acknowledging that makes it easier to make an interim decision about adoption and our family. We don't have the money to pursue a domestic infant adoption (our original first choice) and having two littles already drastically reduces our desire to pursue infant adoption.

We could pursue an international adoption (which was never on our preferred list), but they are also very expensive and the adjustment period can be hard on everyone. That's a bit more than I think I can handle with two little ones. Not to mention an extended stay in a foreign country that may or may not be celiac friendly while we wait for paperwork and red tape to be resolved.

We could look into adoption through foster care, which would require little to no expense on our part (and may even pay us money), but the children in foster care are there because their home life was too chaotic or unsafe for them to remain there. As a result, they usually have at least some emotional/physical/mental issues that I'm not sure I'm ready to deal with at this point in my life. Especially since we never know when Mr M may be deployed again, leaving me to deal with all the issues, and how they affect the other children, all by myself.

So what did we decide?
We'll hold off for now. When River and the baby are older (probably Sunshine's age or older) we will most likely look into fost-adopt. We feel like the kiddos need to be old enough to understand why their new sibling is having a hard time adjusting or dealing with life, and our children won't be that old for awhile. And being realistic, I know my limitations and it would be difficult for me to deal with a tween, two littles, and a foster child and still take care of my other responsibilities and commitments.

Our adoption plans really did keep me sane and help me cope with life in the years of dealing with infertility and miscarriages and I'm grateful for that. Our plans may not be turning out how we thought they would, but that's ok. It just means we make new plans and see if those turn out like we think they will. The need for foster parents is definitely a real one, so I can see us keeping that in the back of our minds while the kidlets grow and starting the process when we all feel we're ready.

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