Public Adoption

Top 10 List of Things to Do While Waiting to Adopt

hourglass-vector-237661Waiting for ‘the call’ telling you you’re going to be a parent?  How often do you refresh your email, make sure your phone is on and check in with adoption agencies to make sure you haven’t missed ‘the call’?   I know I’m guilty of all of the above but also knew I had to keep myself busy while waiting for the call or I would go crazy.

Here’s my top 10 list of things I did while passing time waiting for ‘the call’. We got the call 6 days before our son was born so I was definitely glad I’d done some of these things ahead of time.

10.  Research daycare options – you might not have much notice and may need to go on waiting lists as soon as you bring your little one home depending on how long you take off and where you live.

9.  Make a list of the necessities you’ll need to make it through the first few weeks – as we went down the private adoption route and knew the birth parents could change their minds during that first month, we tried to buy as little as possible and only focused on the necessities.  Even after the first month, we found we really didn’t need to buy a lot and took all the hand me downs we could get.

8.  Read books on parenting and/or adoption – my favourite was ‘No Biking in the House without a Helmet’ as it was a real-life story about a family who adopted internationally and was quite comical.

7.  Update your adoption profile book.   Have you been on the market longer than planned?  It never hurts to get some advice on your adoption profile book and make some updates.

6.  Research playgroups or classes you may want to attend.  There are a lot of free groups to join so look it up on the internet or ask other moms in your area.  Only being able to take 9 months off for adoption leave, I wanted to enjoy every minute of it and get to know other moms.

5. Network with other adoptive parents or people waiting to adopt.  Waiting for ‘the call’ knowing you’ve done all you can do is has so talking to others in a similar boat or hearing success stories can be a great way to pass the time.

4.  Work out – build up your core muscles.  This was a mistake I made – I hadn’t worked out in a while and all of a sudden carrying my 10 lb son up and down stairs every day did a number on my back.

3.  SLEEP IN!!!  I was told this a thousand times but it’s so true so enjoy it while you can.

2.   Go out on dates (if you’re saving money for adoption, find inexpensive dates such as going for a walk, playing a game while drinking some wine, cooking a nice romantic dinner).

1.  Enjoy life and know that everything happens for a reason. 

Hang in there – your ‘HAPPY’ is coming! Staying strong during the holidays.

The holidays can be a really hard time for people trying to have a baby or adopt.  I know – I went through it for 4 years.  My dream had always been to announce Chris and I were pregnant at Christmas by people unwrapping a picture of our ultrasound or an ornament saying something about Baby’s First Christmas with the following year on it.  I’d also had the dream of telling Chris on Christmas Eve somehow (not wrapping the pregnancy test though as that would just gross him out lol).  I was one of those people who thought we’d get pregnant on the first shot and I could plan every step of the way – wait, that’s not how it works?!

I knew adoption could happen fast but if you’d told me at Christmas last year that I would be a mom in less than 4 months, I’m not sure I would have believed it.  I know everything happens for a reason and a lot of time I think our journey happened the way it did to throw a curve ball at me and teach me you really can’t plan everything. This is our first Christmas with Jackson and looking back at last Christmas, I can’t believe all of this happened in less than 1 year!  We are so lucky and blessed to have the most beautiful, amazing 8-month old son.

Have you ever had those moments in your life where all of a sudden it dawns on you how lucky or happy you are?  I’ve been happy since the day Jackson came into our lives but it was in August when it really hit me.  On August 26th, 2013 I was sitting on the lawn of the Molson Amphitheatre (Toronto) listening to my favourite band Mumford & Sons perform my favourite song ‘I Will Wait’ and in that moment I knew life was perfect and I was the happiest I’d been in a long time. I Will Wait was my theme song when I needed a pick me up during the adoption wait.  I still smile and dance every time I hear it.

To those of you waiting, I hope 2014 is your year and that you have a special song to get you through the tough days!

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Inequality with EI for Adoptive Parents

The countdown is on – I go back to work in less than 2 months having had 37 weeks off (35 paid for through EI).  I’m constantly asked why I’m going back to work early.  I love my job and am looking forward to going back to work – having a full income again won’t hurt either – but I wish I could say I chose to go back to work early.  Instead, my response is always ‘as an adoptive parent, I’m only allowed 37 weeks off with EI.’  I’d say about 90% of people can’t believe that adoptive parents aren’t given the full year – yes, we don’t need recovery time for our bodies but what about missing out on the 9 month bonding period of carrying a child inside of you?  We had 6 days notice before becoming parents and the first month was the most emotional time of my life not knowing if the birth parents would change their mind.  Doesn’t that deserve some recuperation time?  Finding the right daycare is also very stressful as lots of parents went on waiting lists while pregnant.  Not to mention the daycare costs for a child under 18 months is quite high in Toronto.

The Adoption Council of Canada recognizes the need for adoptive parents to be treated the same as biological parents.  An article from 2011 by Patricia Paul-Carson summarizes the issues adoptive parents face below and why more time is needed.

The issues and concerns that adoptive parents face that are distinct to them are described below. Not all adoptive parents must deal with all the issues listed below; however all adoptive parents face some of them.  They include:

  • Extra time needed to bond with an adopted child and for the adopted child to bond with the adoptive parents;
  • Dealing with expected and unexpected health issues of the child;
  • Establishing a relationship with the birth parents;
  • Post Adoption Depression;
  • Dealing with Grief and Depression Regarding the Ability to Give Birth;
  • Helping the Child Adapt to a New Culture;
  • Time to Travel Abroad for International Adoptions; and
  • Breastfeeding of an Adopted Baby.

Source: http://www.adoption.ca/ei-benefits-for-adoptive-parents

I wouldn’t change how we became parents for the world but I’m also sad to know my time off with my son is dwindling and just wish I had the option of being off for up to one year.

Please help and tweet @OntYouth and @OntMinLabour to raise awareness for this issue and move forward in gaining equality for adoptive parents.

Public Adoption – Adopting through the Children’s Aid Society (CAS) – We’re in the system!

Hurray!  Chris and I just finished our home study through the public system.  You’re probably thinking ‘didn’t you guys finish your home study a year ago now’?  That would be a yes – for the private system.  Adoption in Canada is a bit funny.  You can do a private home study, which covers you for private and international adoption, but for a public adoption, through a Canadian government agency – CAS, you need an update to your private home study completed by a CAS worker.   At first we were not impressed we had to go through answering lots of personal questions all over again (well I’m ok with it but Chris is pretty private :-)).  At the end of the day, our worker, who is awesome, explained the update like this – she is our advocate when they have ‘conferences’ to discuss waiting children and who the best match is.  If she doesn’t get to know us and find out some of those interesting details that may differentiate us from other couples, she can’t sell us!  Makes sense to me and it was pretty painless.  Making an appointment with her is the hardest part given how understaffed the agencies are.

Looking back, we’re not sure why we waited almost a year to start this process.  I guess we assumed international or private adoption would happen a lot quicker (I know we were told 2 years for international adoption but I blame ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting’ and how J-Lo’s baby came way before the expected wait time haha) and really at the end of the day, we just want to welcome a child into our lives to love unconditionally.  It doesn’t matter if the child comes from Bulgaria, is a newborn baby or comes through CAS.

We medium_2563573847had heard some horror stories about adopting through CAS which is another reason why we delayed the decision – ‘the child will have tons of issues’,  ‘unless you’re willing to accept all conditions (i.e., fetal alcohol syndrome, parents with schizophrenia), you won’t be considered for their adoption registry,’ ‘the process takes forever to complete as the agencies are understaffed’ (well the understaffed piece is definitely true!), etc.  The reality is whether it’s your biological child or not you’ll never know what hand you’re going to being dealt.

 

Here are some pros with public adoption:

  • You’ll get a full social history of the child and family (unless the birth father is unknown)
  • Full medical records of the child to date (this is very unlikely in international adoptions)
  • The #1 focus of the CAS agency is the welfare of the child(ren)
  • Openness is now becoming more popular so the children can stay connected to their birth family (unless they’re at risk having access)
  • The process doesn’t usually have costs – a big plus for adoptive parents compared to private and international
  • The agency is a great resource in case you need help finding a pediatrician, school, etc.
  • Sibling groups are quite often available (well for us, that’s a plus!)

And the cons:

  • Same as all adoption types, the adoption happens due to loss – the children aren’t able to remain with their birth family for numerous reasons (unfortunately some of these reasons are devastating such as abuse and neglect which can cause serious long-term effects)
  • The process can take a while as the agency focuses on the welfare of the child(ren) being placed so the prospective adoptive parents aren’t the clients nor the priority (although a con from the timing standpoint I don’t disagree with this one bit)
  • Depending on your level of acceptance, you may say no to a child which is heartbreaking

So now the wait begins and we’ll see which deck we are dealt!

 

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