Roller Coaster Ride

  • Oct. 2nd, 2005 at 8:16 PM

The roller coaster is such the overdone metaphor. Unfortunately, so much of lives are up and down and twisty turny that the roller coaster is an apt metaphor.
Last month, mid-September, Cheryl from ANLC called and said that a birthmom* was interested in us. We spent about an hour on the phone going over the birthmom’s records. There were some facts that gave us pause. It wasn’t until after we hung up that we realized: We didn’t have our home study done. We were 3 pieces of paper short (although we thought 2 short at the time), and would not be able to expedite to adopt the following week. The birthmom was due on Sept. 15th. In the 3 hours during which we discovered that we were in no way going to be able to adopt this baby, even if we did want to (which we didn’t know, because of the medical history), I think I felt every emotion possible. Elation, fear, excitement, terror, wonder, sadness, longing… those are the ones I remember.
We did get the 3 papers in just before my birthday on Sept. 26. This past Wednesday, ANLC called at 8:30pm. Carissa had a birthmom who sounded downright perfect. She had red hair and hazel eyes, and was of German and Irish descent. She was due sometime in October. We knew we wanted to go forward. I was hopeful, but hesitant. We hadn’t talked to her, and we didn’t know if she needed to talk to us and to other couples and then pick the ones she meshed with the best. We spent Thursday getting the nursery cleaned out (it had become the “I don’t know where this goes, just put it in there” room) and Max had to go to Mountain View for an advance check. We contemplated how to spend 2 weeks in Mesa, AZ to satisfy the Interstate Compact. We also had to ask Max’s parents for money. That’s something I’ll visit later.
The match meeting was set at 11am on Friday. I began the day by looking at cribs, strollers, car seats, etc. online. I was marveling at all the cool stuff babies can have. When, I wondered, would it be acceptable to start a baby registry at Amazon? When the phone rang and announced it was ANLC (our answering machine does verbal caller id), we assumed it was to get the credit card number for the match fee. Instead, Max said, “WHAT???!!!???” I looked at him, and said “She went into labor.” And indeed, she had.
Carissa explained that they would have to find other parents for this baby, but there was another couple interested in us. Carissa would have that birthmom’s information for us during the next week. As in, sometime between the 3rd and the 7th. All we know is:
– the names of the birthmom and birthdad
– that the birthmom and birthdad are “together” (Carissa’s word)
– that the birthmom and birthdad are African American*
– that the birthdad has signed his termination of parental rights (TPR)*
– that the couple lives in Riverside, CA
– that the baby will be a girl
– that the baby is due November 4

Until we know more information, especially in regards to medical records, we won’t know if we want to proceed. So, the process will be another roller coaster: get the information, digest it, decide if we want to proceed. If no, we get off the roller coaster and go back to waiting. If yes, we have a match meeting. If something doesn’t work right, we go back to waiting. If we all decide to go forward, then we’re in mid-air, working fast and furiously to finish preparations for the baby. We’ll go down to Riverside for the birth. We’ll need to spend about three days there, while the birthmom mulls her options. If she decides to parent the baby, we come to a screeching halt, and come home. Then we wait again. If she does decide to put the adoption plan into action, we’re on a whole new ride!

For those who don’t know, Max and I are open to adopting children of almost any other race. ANLC pretty much made us pick three, so we put down Caucasian (CC), African American/Caucasian (AA/CC), and African American (AA). One of Max’s aunts married an AA man, so he has biracial cousins. My immediate family tends not to think about race as a concept, probably because we grew up in California, which is far more diverse than many states. My mother states, “I don’t care what color it is, as long as I get to be grandma.” She further informs us that she wishes to be called “Nanny” which I think is cute.

Adoption costs a lot of money. There are cases in which this is not true. If one goes through the state, adoption costs about the price of a well-used car. When one goes through a private agency, adoption costs about the price of a new Saturn ION. Most of that price is offset by a tax credit of $10,000 for adoptions (plus more if the adoption is of a child with special needs). However, that credit doesn’t come until April 15 of the tax year in which the adoption is finalized. So, we may be waiting awhile. (California adoptions take about one year to finalize, legally.) In the mean time… well, if we had had a crystal ball, we’d be a lot better off. We didn’t know that I would get CRPS, that I would have to leave a job that I loved (most days), that it would take so long for Max to find a well-paying job here, even that we would have had to move to California. We are back on our way to financial stability, but we’ve had to ask for and accept a lot of help from Max’s parents. On the one hand, I’m glad that they are able to be supportive this way. On the other, Max put it best when he said that a little piece of his soul dies whenever he has to ask for money. I was in that position my whole life. Finally, after I moved to NH and started working for Oracle, I had personal money reserves. It was empowering. I’m hoping that we’ll get there again someday. Before the kid needs it all for college.

*Adoption Talk
Birthmothers are really only birthmothers once they give birth. Otherwise, they’re expectant mothers. However, the term birthmom is more widely understood.
African American is commonly abbreviated AA in adoption lingo. (Caucasian is CC.)
In California, a birthmother must wait 3 days after the birth before signing the TPR. After that, she cannot change her mind and get the child back, unless she can prove that there was something illegal about the adoption. I mention this because it is common for people to think that a birthparent can come back at any time and demand the child, which is a preconception demeaning to all of the parties involved.

  • Current Mood: pensive pensive
  • Current Music:Ghost Story


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