Wednesday, 21 March 2012

a social worker of our very own

On February 17th we nervously and excitedly handed our adoption application over to a woman at a reception window.

The application requested such information as our names, birth dates and yearly income (gulp). It also requested requested that we share our religious beliefs and values and gave us about two lines in order to do this. Yeah, like the answer to that fits on two lines.

The other part of the application required us to check off little boxes as to what sort of child we would accept. Starting with age (we chose 0-4) how many children we want (we chose 1 or two siblings/twins). Then it asks you what racial heritage you are ok with (we checked them all). It goes on to have you check off various "disabilities" everything from ADD to Cerebral Palsy, Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, FASD, cleft palates, sight impairment (now does this mean "needs glasses" or "totally blind"?). This is where things get interesting. It's easy enough to say yes to some of these but so many of them fall in the category of "spectrum disorders" and it is extremely difficult to answer a straight yes or no. Would we happily accept a high functioning child with Downs Syndrome? You betcha! Would we be equipped to raise a child with severe delays caused by that same Syndrome that would lead to major health complications and a life of acute care needs. No, we might not be the right family.
perhaps our feelings towards Social Workers won't
always be this rosy...
The application also asks if you would accept placement of a child who was conceived by rape or incest and/ or has experienced various kinds of abuse (but more on that later).

There is a tremendous amount of guilt when it comes to filling in this form. We are not shopping for a perfect child but ticking off these little boxes makes it feel that way. Obviously we must be honest about what we think we can handle but filling out these forms felt a little like playing God.

So after weeks of research, we handed in a very "soft" application and began waiting the two weeks it would take for a Social Worker to contact us. We looked forward to talking to the social worker and trying to explain all our concerns. Two weeks went by, nothing. Three weeks, nothing. Four weeks and I contact the office, nothing. Then on March 20th an email with the name of the Social Worker that our file has been assigned to. One little sentence and I guess that we're officially on our way!

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