Our Life In Thirteen Pages
Our life in a book. In Thirteen Pages.
That's what I'm trying to do at moment.
Last week Ryan and I took our mandatory 18 hours of training to be approved for adoption in the state of Colorado. I thought it would be awful. It was not - it was incredible. It was empowering, informative and open. I met 15 other couples who were going through the exact same thing we were. And..they weren't mutants. They were attractive, normal people. All the sudden, we weren't so alone. In the 18 hours, we covered so much ground: Trans-racial adoption, the relationship we will have with our birth mother, the child's needs, common actions in adopted children, race, religion, the adoption process, infertility, attachment issues, life stages.....
It was so much. I want to blog about it, but the thought is overwhelming, plus a lot of the things we discussed are confidential. So that's that.
Today I gathered all our papers together for the adoption application. It took us two months to fill them out, and we aren't even done yet. However, we have enough to get the process started. We filled out two SAFE evaluations, which were the most intimate questionnaires EVER. (They had questions like "What was your earliest sexual experience?"..yikes).
We filled out Waivers of every sort and size. Medical waivers. Financial waivers. Credit reports. Bank statements. Insurance forms. Heath insurance forms. We sent them our budget. Personal recommendations. Copies of our drivers license, marraige certificates, social security cards. If Lutheran Family Servies ever gets robbed, we are going to have some identity theft FOR SURE.
So now, while we get everything processed and LFS digs deep into our lives and decides if we are worthy of a child, we get to begin work on our "Profile Book".
A profile book is the book that they show to birthmothers. It is a glimpse into our life. They will maybe show 3 at a time. The birthmother looks at them, picks a family, meets them..and if all goes well, we end up with a child at the end. It is about 13 pages from beginning to end, and is suppose to be mostly photos.
I'm sorting through our pictures and I'm at a total loss. How to capture..the essence of our family? How to show that we will give this child a beautiful but normal life? How to capture our marriage? How to show that we are not perfect, but still so in love, even if we fight over who does the dishes?
And who takes out the trash?
How to show that I know that Ryan will possibly be the BEST Dad ever? That he will buy his kid Star Wars T-shirts, take them to the zoo, talk to them like adults, read them fantasy books and bike with them? That he will nap with them on Sundays and maybe put them in completely un-matching clothing since he's color-blind but it will be okay? Can you see that he will read them The Small Catechism to put them to sleep? That and Lord of the Rings?
How to show..that he is the best man I've ever met?
How to show the birthmother that I will love this child as much as any child that comes from my own womb? That I will tell them fantastic stories before they fall asleep, and that I plan to play Irish lullabies as they close their eyes? That promise not to dress them like little Victoria's Secret models, but rather in vintage looking dresses and comfy soft clothing? That I will cover them with kisses and put them to bed at a reasonable hour and LOVE taking them to SeaWorld when they are old enough? And that at times, I'm sure I'll fail miserably, but I will always try to be the best mom in the world, and if not, there are always my Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies on the other side of my guilt?
Also, I promise to show them the world. We WILL travel.
And to teach them the difference between a dahlia and a zinnia.
How to show that this child will, without a doubt have the world's best grandparents? My Mom and Dad are SO excited about this adoption. They are already buying stuffed Tiggers and Leap Frog toys.
How to show how they will be the luckiest child in the world because they will have an Auntie C's? Who will be without a doubt be the coolest, most fun, most loving and spoiling Aunt ever? An Aunt that brings them toys from Scotland and will make them laugh so hard they pee, even after they are potty-trained?
How to convey the magic of Christmas morning in our family? That we wake up at six am to find the tree surrounded by unwrapped presents, arranged like a little store? That my Mom ALWAYS makes eggs with cheese and French Toast that morning? That the day after Christmas my sister and I ALWAYS go shopping? How to convey that this child will be more loved than any child ever, and that it will enter a family with the most heart-warming traditions?
How to tell them that they already have a cousin? Isobel, who is so cute and sweet, but has a little mischief in her eyes?
And how to show that it will be adored by our friends? Prayed for by their godparents? Loved by our church? That it's feet will never touch the ground? That it will be loved by us and loved by Jesus and we will remind them of that everyday?
Ummm.....I'm not sure. Yeah, it's a little overwhelming. Writing a novel was nothing compared to this.
All I have are pictures. I have about 300 of them in the folder already. It's a problem. And how will one pregnant, scared girl pick us over other families? How do you even DO that? When we were looking at sample books at our class, there was one where the Dad was a fighter pilot. There was an actual picture of him, in a jumpsuit, looking dapper and awesome in front of some sort of plane that made Ryan groan with manly envy. His wife was a flute playing prodigy who climbed mountains on the side and made organic pastries.
I mean, how do you compete with that?
Plus, we have the added bonus of being a pastor's family. I think being a pastor's family is incredible, but the connotation of a "PK", is not usually a positive was. Our kid will never feel like a "PK". They will just be a "CK". A Christian kid. We won't expect anything of them besides to be our child, a regular child. All the PK's I know are really cool, well-adjusted adults. Being a "PK" is not what it used to be. Now, they are just another kid, no heavy expectations - at least at our church. I fully expect at one time or another they will have a meltdown in front of members. It's okay.
How to do this, in a photo book? In a scrapbook? In a 13 page book with minimal writing allowed? How to convey just how much love they are entering into? And that we are nerds but in a cool "We watch LOST" kinda way? That we love reading on rainy days and make really good pasta?
Yup - If anyone has any ideas, let me know. In the meantime, I'll be making a fighter jet out of cardboard in the backyard and taking up organic baking.
PS: Sorry about all the blog posts this week. This will be the last for at least a week or so, promise!