textualdeviance: (Babies R Us)
As I write this, I'm waiting (im)patiently for my son to decide he's ready to be born.

Last Monday, we got another screening mail from our adoption agency. We'd had another one a month or so ago that didn't work out for logistical reasons (the adoptive parents needed to be in Oregon), so we didn't think much of it at the time. It did look promising, though. Screening mails/calls are done when there's an unusual circumstance, to make sure the potential adoptive parents are OK with the situation. In this case, it was a short timeframe, plus some preexisting medical conditions for both birthparents that could potentially be passed on to the child. They're things we know how to handle, though, so we said we'd go for it. The brief description of the birthparents sounded good, too, so we crossed our fingers and hoped for the best.

Two days later, we got The Call. They'd picked us! Holy crap. The first blind-date meeting went incredibly well. Example: all four of us showed up wearing Woot shirts, and our poor muggle agency counselor seemed rather bewildered by the way we went off on all things nerd. I don't believe in love at first sight, but this was damned close to the adoption version of that concept. On Saturday, which was also the birthmom's due date, we had the second meeting, where we hashed out details and signed some paperwork. That also went really well.

And here we are now. I spent the majority of Sunday and Monday trying desperately to get over yet another iteration of the Plague, plus scrambling to do all the puttering and last-minute prep to be ready for the Niblet when he does show up. Which may be ... a while. Birthmom said she'd gone over by a week or two with her previous two, so it could be tomorrow, or it could be next week. I think we're all kind of antsy about it--her not least of all, undoubtedly--but I'm trying to stay calm, especially since there's not a lot I can do to make it go faster.

Of course, none of this is set in stone. Aside from the usual possible birth complications, etc., that anyone would face, there's also the tiny chance that they may change their minds. They have until 48 hours after the birth to do so if they're going to. But they apparently always wanted to do adoption, from the moment they found out she was pregnant, so I don't think that's a huge risk. (FWIW: the reason this is so last-minute is that they were working with another agency and that didn't pan out. Good for us, at least!) Still. Being in wait-and-worry mode means my brain is concocting all sorts of scenarios from delivery-room earthquakes to the discovery that the baby's actually an alien symbiote.

Assuming all goes well, however, within the next several days, there will finally be a tiny, squirmy human in my house who's actually ours, instead of one who ultimately goes home with someone else. That's ... I don't even know how to breathe, much less really wrap my head around that concept. I've prepared my whole life for potential parenthood, but part of me never believed it was actually going to happen. Part of me still doesn't believe it even now, and won't until the adoption is fully finalized. But the other part is already in love with little Terran, and can't wait to meet him.
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textualdeviance: (Default)
So, in assembling this photo collage for our adoption agency profile, I went looking for pics of the two of us.

A while back, my mom gave me a CD full of pics she'd had stored--old family pics, a bunch of stuff from her camera, etc. I'd not gone through them--my mother takes tons of pics and most of them are pretty repetitive. But I wanted to see if there were any shots she'd gotten of us that I hadn't seen.

I did find some interesting pics--not of us, but of the rest of my family. Some interesting old ancestor pics, and a few of me and my dad. There was a little bit of "huh. These are my people, I spose." Not nostalgia, really, but wondering whether there might be any merit to including them as part of my family now that I'm adding a child of my own.

And then I opened a folder called "great pics." Which was full of all sorts of horrible racist "jokes." Like really, really horrible ones. So horrible I don't even want to describe them.

Oh.

Given that we're still considering a transracial adoption, and may well end up with at least a mixed-race child, I just ... I wanted to throw up, quite frankly. The idea of exposing my kid to people who would think that kind of hateful garbage is funny is nauseating.

The weirdest part is that there's already a PoC kid in my family. One of my cousins on my mom's side has a daughter (now a teen) whose father is half black/half Japanese. She's gorgeous and sweet and a nice kid. And I wonder exactly what the rest of the family says behind her back. I know that my late grandfather, on seeing her first pics, said something to the effect of "that child's going to be black!" in a horrified tone. But beyond that, I'd not heard anything. She's featured in plenty of family pics, etc., so it seem like she's accepted, but who knows what people really think or say when they think they're in like-minded company?

And honestly, if having a POC grand-niece hasn't cured my parents of their racism, will having a PoC grandchild help? I doubt it. I'm guessing my dad probably won't be around much longer--not long enough for my kid to really know him. But my mom may even outlive me, so I'm going to have to find a way around that. If my child and her birthfamily--who will be part of our family--aren't white, how are my parents going to handle that? And what will be the effect on these new family members whom I want to feel loved and welcome, to know that the extended family of the adoptive parents is so awful?

The obvious solution--and the one I've been operating from for quite some time--is to simply keep my family at a distance, so their toxic hate doesn't affect me or the other people I love. I already have PoC friends, and the idea of having my family around where they can say stupid things to them is horrifying to me, so that's just not an option.

But when it comes to my kid, there WILL be questions. She'll have birth grandparents, and with luck, those will be good people, but we won't be able to give her that experience on our side. Trying to explain to her why we don't see our bio families is going to be excruciating even if she is white. She'll have to understand, for instance, that we're not out to M's family because their religion doesn't allow them to accept us the way we are. And that's going to be hard enough to deal with. She'll otherwise be surrounded by all sorts of queer and queer-friendly people, so she'll know that we and the people we choose to have around believe it to be perfectly normal, natural and worthy of support. She'll know that the vast majority of people in our lives believe in voting in a way that supports human rights. But there will still be this one segment of her adoptive family--a big one--that doesn't, and I'm lost for how to explain that to her in a way that won't mess with her head. She'll know about homophobia, of course, but to know that her own family is part of that problem? Depressing, to say the least (just as it is for me.)

And then to add racism on top of that ... I just. Ugh. We ourselves can be role models to counteract the homophobia. But we don't have the framework around race established well enough to offset that, and I'm terrified of not being able to give my PoC child enough support in that area.

Generally speaking, we already believe in the idea of chosen family, and adoption is just a part of that. We'll be establishing the idea that family is the people who love you, regardless of whether they're legally or biologically related. And, out of necessity, we'll have to explain that sometimes the people we're legally or biologically related to aren't actually family. We'll have to make it clear that just because DNA or a piece of paper says someone is connected to you doesn't mean they love you. Love is demonstrated by actions, not words, and people who have not chosen to act in a loving way aren't qualified as family. But there's SO much cultural framework built up around blood family that undoubtedly this is going to be upsetting for her, and that breaks my heart.

I'm dreading the moment--and there will be one, I know it--when my kid realizes that there are people who don't like her--or even hate her--because of her skin color, or because her parents aren't straight, or because her mom's fat, or because she's adopted, or because we're not religious, etc. And it'll be even worse if it's not just random strangers who dislike her, but people she's legally related to. I will likely choose not to really expose her to those people, so she won't develop a bond with them and thus be hurt even more by their prejudice when she discovers it. If they're effectively strangers, that revelation will sting a lot less.

But it's still going to hurt, and I'm still furious that my kid is inevitably going to suffer just because there are so many ignorant, hateful, small minded people--some of whom I have the misfortune to be related to.
textualdeviance: (Babies R Us)
So, good news today! The adoption agency has our application, and has assigned us a counselor. Intake interview will be scheduled soon. Assuming that goes through well, then we start the home study process.

This is, however, still the very early beginning of this process, so I figured I may as well lay out a timeline of how this whole thing works, so folks unfamiliar with adoption (or adoptions of this kind) can get an idea of what's likely to happen when. The short answer: we're probably still at least 12-18 months out from having a kid in the house.

The long answer )

So, yeah. Getting initially qualified is the hard/scary part, and that's why it's exciting to get over those hurdles. But then it's just endlessly waiting around. So once we're in the pool, we're unlikely to be sending out new baby announcements for quite a while.
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