February 12, 2010

Not Quite Ours

Filed under: Adoption, Home Study, Infertility, Newborn, Paperwork, Parentood — adoptation @ 9:48 pm

Among all the elation and contented feelings of sudden/at-long-last parenthood comes the occasional reminder that we are not quite done with the adoption process, and the baby is not quite ours.

The state from which we adopted requires a 6-month finalization period; from now until then, we will be sending updates to the agency and will have a handful of follow-up home study visits. The first of those was today, and while it went perfectly fine, it brought up the single most annoying side of adoption: because we are not able to have a child the way so many other people do, we must prove (in ways those other people don’t have to) that we are fit to be parents.

It normally doesn’t get under my skin, but today it burrowed in a little just because we’ve been parenting the heck out of this kid for almost 3 weeks now. Not to pat myself too hard on the back, but so far my wife and I are a pretty good Mom/Dad team. But the fact is that, technically, my son is a ward of the adoption agency; technically, his name is not the one we’ve given him; technically, I do not have a sufficient relationship with him to get him a Social Security number. And all of that will continue to be true until sometime this summer.

Luckily, there is too much joy radiating off of this kid to get too down on it. But the pile of paperwork still to be done continues to be in sharp focus, even if it’s seen only out of the corner of my eye. He is my son, regardless of what it says on paper. That will have to do until that paper gets amended to say that he is entirely ours.


January 16, 2010

It’s the Economy, Stupid

Filed under: Adoption, Birth mother, Home Study, Infertility, Paperwork — adoptation @ 9:31 pm

Ever since my wife and I began the adoption process—and especially since we’ve been matched—there’s been a steady background hum of worry. Things continue to seem to be going well, yes, but we know that a decent number of adoptions end in disruption near the end…and that our babymaking quest has seen us continually ending up on the wrong side of the odds, no matter how short or long.

This week, we felt a little air come out of the balloon. No, it was nothing bad with the baby, or the baby’s birth mom, or the adoption agency, or any of the many possible worries they spell out in the little booklets they’ve given us. No, as Bill Clinton would say: It was the economy, stupid. The stupid, stupid economy.

At the end of last week, my wife’s company had significant layoffs and her hours were drastically reduced. She didn’t lose her job entirely, thank goodness; while it does mean reduced income and a need for some quick belt-tightening, it doesn’t mean we’re in any sort of serious fiscal trouble. And while we do need to update a bunch of our paperwork (specifically the home study), it doesn’t negatively impact the adoption. It’s bad, but not tragic.

What it does mean, however, is that our long-held game plan—for me to quit my job after the baby is born and be a full-time, stay-at-home dad—just went kaput. Temporarily kaput, I think, but kaput nonetheless.

My wife is the breadwinner, and while we can make due on just her salary and maybe a little freelance income from me, it can’t and won’t work the other way around. And now I’m the only one with employer-funded health insurance…which both my wife (now) and the baby (soon) will need to join.

Since it still seems pretty likely that the adoption will work out and that we’ll have a newborn in the house in a couple of months(!), my wife can’t really look for a new full-time job until after the birth…which means I’m staying put for the time being. I don’t hate my job or anything like that, not by a long shot; but I was fully prepped & ready for my new job, one that I’ve been looking forward to for several years now. And in one partial swing of the stupid economic axe, that’s all over & done…at least for awhile.

This is, to be sure, not the biggest problem we’ve faced in this process. It’s just another disappointment, another moment to think, “I haven’t done anything wrong. Why can’t I have what I want?” But I guess the thing I really want is to be a dad, to be a family that extends in another, exciting direction. And I’m fairly confident that we’ll get back on track sooner rather than later, so I’m trying to keep a good attitude about the latest twist in the story.

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