by Pierre le Roux
I am glad to report that I don’t think we have driven our social worker insane just yet (she might beg to differ). Being overachievers with most aspects in our lives, in this life event we are no different. Like I wrote before, everything has now been done and dusted for phase I of the adoption process and we are now eagerly waiting for phase II to start. Also, not being the most patient people on this rock we call earth the waiting has been somewhat, how do I put it, torturous. Not having gone through this particular process before I did take some time to get to know some people who have. With some of the conversation I had I have come to the conclusion that the adoption process is specifically designed to test not only your true determination to have a child but also your emotional and psychological readiness to have one. Let me explain…
Even before we met with our adoption agency hubby and I did our research. We wanted to make sure we choose the best possible one and that we would not be turned away because we are a homosexual couple. Luckily, one of our friends had recently adopted through PROCARE and I could not find anything negative about them on the Internet. So by the time we actually had our first meeting with them we knew exactly what documents we would need and we had an idea what to expect. At our first meeting we had 90% of all the documents that were required and after that meeting we also made sure we had the necessary funds to pay for the whole process and prepare for the baby. The adoption process is not cheap. What we did not count on was that there would be long waiting period between phase 1 and phase II. We thought that because we were proactive and organized that this would also expedite the red tape part that is the screening phase. But we were wrong.
We have found that after you have finished everything that is under your control you end up waiting for the next phase to begin. During this period you also have some time to think and reflect on what you are actually busy with and it is then when all those questions and doubts start swarming through your mind. Questions like: Are we really ready for this? What if we suck at being parents? Our lives are about to take a 180 degree turn, are we ready for all the sacrifices that we will have to make? Can we really afford to raise a child? What if our baby does not bond with us? What if we finish the screening and no birthmother chooses us? What if we encounter discrimination because not only are we gay but we also have a child from a different race? And the “what if’s” goes on and on and on… Both of us even ended up dreaming about it.
You can sit around and ask yourself a thousand questions, and I promise you we did. But in the end we did realize that even though we are, at times, petrified (which we heard was totally normal) we are just as excited and determined to have a child as ever, even if our lives are under a microscope and our future family is in the hands of strangers. It’s natural to have some self-doubt especially when you are going to be a first time parent to a baby but hey, that’s why there are Google, prenatal/postnatal classes and family. Between these three you are bound to get some great advice. I am looking into booking some postnatal classes for hubby and I to go to. Both of us know how to change a nappy and the correct way to bath a baby but getting a refresher course and also some baby CPR training cannot do any harm. Besides I think all future parents should attend these types of classes. Also, seeing as phase II of the adoption process is out of our control we also decided to start focusing on more tangible things, like the nursery.
Some people think we are mad for having started with the nursery so soon but I think it has helped us tremendously with the psychological preparation and with the waiting. We have done some shopping around and about two weeks ago we bought a cot, compactum, rocking chair and curtains. All of which are being delivered this weekend except the curtains, which we have already put up. We are slowly getting the nursery ready, with the emphasis on slowly. Our cats have also caught wind that something is going on and that it relates to the guest bedroom which we are now converting into a nursery. Some of them are more perturbed by this than the others and their ways of acting out I also found rather queer.
Last weekend hubby and I decided to put up the curtains in the nursery. Naturally all our cats came to observe, mostly because I think they expected one of us to fall off a ladder and planned on having a good laugh at our expense. Unfortunately for them that did not happen. We spent a good half an hour making sure that the curtain railing was level. Hubby measured. Re-measured and finally committed to drill the necessary holes. It resulted in some foul language and several four letter words. You see the bricks the builders used on that wall apparently were not of the best quality and hubby had an extremely difficult time which he freely vocalized. Eventually the railing was up but then we realized something was not quite right. The railing did not look level. Then we realized the wall was skew which opened up a whole OCD can of worms.
To the eye the railing was not level so we had a choice: We can adjust the railing to “look level” and live with curtains that wasn’t OR we could leave the railing looking skew (but know that it wasn’t) and also have the curtains hanging level. This seemed like a choice made up by the devil and where nobody wins. Eventually we decided that we knew the railing was level and left it the way it was. In the mean time one of our cats decided to start acting out by starting to steal things from the neighbors and leaving it on our bed. He clearly knows something is up and feels threatened in some way, and in cat language bringing us gifts that are not dripping with blood and guts will win him favor with us.
About two weeks ago our cat started leaving innocuous items on our bed. Mostly gardening accessories. At first I thought nothing of it and just thought it was stuff that he picked up in our garden and was playing with. But as the items started getting bigger and looking less familiar I realized it wasn’t any of our stuff. Some of the latest items he stole from the neighbor(s) were a garden hose spray nozzle, small gardening fork, a bra (which clearly was not ours), socks, a glove and a Barbie doll’s arm. The problem is that I don’t know how to give these items back to the neighbor(s) without having to explain to them how I ended up with them. So I just threw them back into their yard hoping that if it’s not theirs that they would think their pets are kleptomaniacs and not suspect ours. Not the best solution, I know, but I don’t know of any cat psychologists in my area or how to explain to my neighbor(s) that our cat is the neighborhood thief. I mean we raised him to know better! Don’t judge me!
So not only are we stressing about the adoptions our animals are also sensing something big is about to happen and are misbehaving accordingly. I am not sure exactly how long the adoption process is still going to take or how long it will be until we start with and complete phase II, but in the mean time we are preparing as best we can. This is an exciting, frustrating, emotional and harrowing time on so many different levels, as it should be. After all this is no small step to take or decision to make. We are taking it each day at a time, some feel longer than others, but we know that we will get there in the end. Also, I think our cat might end up on cat Prozac.
Till next time.