Chicken Soup and Stewing on Big Decisions

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(photo by pioneer woman)

Chicken soup is a very good thing. Soup is the only thing that sounds even remotely satisfying at the moment. It’s going on 9 days of this super nasty cold/flu that has me beyond annoyed for several reasons:

1. I had spent the previous 2 weeks back in California (having an amazing time with family and friends) and upon returning home I was to get right on decorating for Christmas, present shopping, baking holiday goodies, etc.

2. I was eager to get right back into my personal training program which I was making fabulous progress with prior to going out of town and getting whollopped by airplane germs. (I’ve lost a little over 10lbs and have had huge strength gains!)

3. There is a mountain of paperwork to be completed to move forward with our adoption plan. Tomorrow is the due date for our application to Independent Adoption Center in order to attend the mandatory weekend adoption “intensive” workshop this coming 14th and 15th.

For all these reasons sickness has had very poor timing. Of course is there ever a good time to be sick? Probably not. It just seems like this last week has gone by with me being an idle lump, accomplishing nothing but a longer list of things I could and should be doing.

Click on Pioneer Woman’s link above to her very simple and delicious recipe for chicken soup.

Today at least I feel human again, thanks to copious amounts of chicken soup, my new humidifier (fabulous little invention) and possibly the antibiotics I begrudgingly started taking yesterday.

With the fog clearing my brain I sat down to tackle some of this adoption paperwork, how bad could it be?

Chris, being the truly amazing husband he is, had already filled out all the basic information they required: address, social security, educational backgrounds, work history and financial status. I just had to fill in a few of the blanks and email it back to him. Done.

Then I delved into the Home Study questionnaire (which thank the Lord we have awhile to complete)….I would like to share these questions here on my blog and as you read them think about how you would answer these questions and the complexity of being honest while knowing a stranger will read your response thus deeming you worthy or unworthy of being a parent…..

1. How would you describe yourself? (personality, strengths and limitations)

2. Describe you spouse’s personality and strengths. What would you change?

3. If you have children, describe their personalities, likes and dislikes.

4. What do you feel are the strong points in your marriage/relationship?

5. What type of goals do you work toward in your marriage/relationship?

6. What are usually the areas of disagreement?

7. How do you handle problems and conflict?

8. Please give a brief statement describing your thoughts about religion and its place in your life.

9. If you are childless, what experiences have you had with children?

10. How do you (or how do you plan to) discipline your children? Give examples.

11. Define discipline.

12. Define misbehavior.

13. What is the difference between discipline and abuse.

14. What aspects of child rearing are important to you?

15. Do you and your spouse/partner agree on child rearing and discipline?

16. What do you expect from your children?

17. What goals do you wish your child to achieve?

18. Why are you applying for adoption?

19. Do both of you wish to adopt?

20. What have been your parents’ response to adoption and response of friends and relatives?

WHEW!!! That’s all. 20 questions. 20 questions that no parent who is bringing a child into the world is ever required to answer, even though, maybe they should, for their own self knowledge.  I’m not even sure how to even begin writing my answers. Yes I can describe myself, my strengths, my weaknesses and describe my relationship with my husband but it feels so weird writing all of it for the purposes of a stranger giving me permission to be parent.

Each of these questions will require a significant amount of time, self reflection, communication with my husband, and editing since I could probably write a novel for each.

This is the beginning and tomorrow is do or die, figuritively speaking. Once we sign that contract we are in this and committed to this path. We have weighed our options:

1. Live a childless life

2. Pursue IVF with the possiblity of health complications and no guarantee of conceiving

3. Adopt: Domestic- Open, Closed, or through Foster Care. International Adoption and infant or older child….

I’ve been stewing on these options for awhile. I’ve seriously considered them all and we have picked open adoption. I want it to feel natural, I want it to feel right but while I read and reread these questions it doesn’t feel natural. Only God knows and time will tell if it is the right decision. I hope he can help me write my answers.

What do you think about this Home Study Questionnaire?

9 thoughts on “Chicken Soup and Stewing on Big Decisions

  1. It sounds like I am SO happy that the two of you are going to awesome parents, no question about that, and that I wish the people all sitting at the social services office that I was at today had to answer the same questionnaire before popping out their offspring. If only those kids could be so lucky for the opportunities you will give them. :))

  2. I already have a kid, and I’m not even sure I would know how to answer some of those questions! This is blogger me talking now…you could write a post answering each one, except make it more creative than the answers you give on the forms.

    You and Chris are going to make the absolute best parents, I have absolutely no doubt in my mind. Love you!

  3. Those are tough questions!! I was doing an internet search for an Angel Tree (where you pick a child to buy xmas presents for or “adopt” them for christmas) and came across an open adoption website by accident. I got sucked into reading these narratives they had posted by couples looking for children to adopt. Some of the couples had a notation that they had been matched and others were still looking. I found myself comparing them, trying to see if I could figure out why one had been picked over the other. I’m not even a part of this process and I found myself getting totally sucked in. I really think you should do your best to let your answers come naturally. You and Chris are both wonderful people separately and as a couple and it will shine through. Try not to over think it and you will find the match that will fit your family.

    • Sarah! That is wonderful advice and I completely agree I shouldn’t over think. I’ve read many other couples Dear Birthmother letters…I don’t know how a birthmother can sort through the sea of people. There are over 400 families in my agency alone with active profiles looking for a match and there are over 4000 agencies/consultants in the country. I don’t at all look at it is a competition but the numbers do make it seem like it could take a very long time to be chosen.

      I want a birthmom to pick us because we present ourselves authentically and for it all to just be “meant to be”. I want them to feel connected to Chris and I and just know that we are the choice. How you feel that connection through a computer screen is yet to be seen but I hope the words just flow through me like water.

      In addition to this questionnaire Chris and I both have to write an autobiography. Then after the home study (4-13 weeks) we put together all our photos and the dear birthmother letter and then we can “go live”. It’s going to be a lot of waiting and a lot of time to think. It’s certainly a motivator to evaluate my life and see what I need to pay more attention to for the betterment of our family.

      I told Chris we should go to church this Sunday and he is ecstatic about that, I get to pick where.

  4. Thank you Susanne, I totally know what you’re saying and I appreciate it! I’m not really concerned at all that the social worker would ever say we wouldn’t be fit parents. The paperwork is so impersonal and the process just feels so unnatural.

    I’ll say what I have to say and do what I have to do to be a mom. I guess I just have to let go of the experiences I won’t have and embrace the ones we will have on this path.

  5. Wow, those questions are crazy hard! I remember my aunt and uncle going through this process years ago when they became foster parents. I know it was a hard and emotional journey, but now they have a beautiful and hilarious daughter that they were able to adopt. Thinking of you guys as you go through this process!

    • Thank you Cameron, it’s great to hear about people who have had positive outcomes. I was just at a holiday party and one of the girls who I’m looking foward to being good friends with told me she was adopted. It was back in the day when there was only closed adoption and she is beginning her search for her biological mother. I am excited that this process is all about communication now. No hiding, no shame, no talking mothers out of what they really want/need to do. One of our biggest fears is having the birth mom change her mind. We are preparing for it to be emotional, I think the hardest part is yet to come but we are very excited!

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