Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Paper Pregnancy

"Paper Pregnancy" is the term used to describe the mountain of paperwork and requirements to meet before being accepted as a waiting family with an adoption agency. It is possible to receive embryos from a clinic, and not go through an agency to do so. It is also possible to receive embryos directly from a family known to you without going through either a clinic or an agency. We chose to look for an agency to match us, mainly because we wanted it to be as close to a regular adoption as possible, out of respect for the babies involved.

EVERY baby needs a family. This is not in question. Our choice was a matter of making a statement about how we viewed a process the law calls a "transfer of property." We see it as an adoption- opening our family to a life that we did not have any genetic part in creating. To go through an agency was more expensive, which is why many couples do not choose the same as we did, but we saw it as completely worth the cost. 

Because we chose to work with an agency, we got to work through the "Paper Pregnancy" of a traditional adoption, which included:

-Homestudy visits and safety inspections of our house
-Interviews, both individually and as a couple, with a social worker
-A physical and bloodwork (STD checks, mainly)
-Child Abuse Registry checks for every state we'd ever lived in
-Exhaustive questionnaires about our backgrounds, relationship, parenting philosophies, etc.
-Letters of recommendation from 3 different non-related person, including a pastor
-An intro letter and picture page for potential donating parents
-A letter stating that I had no conditions that contraindicated pregnancy
-Financial budget worksheets

Some of the things were humorous- who has to baby-proof their house before they even are allowed to try to get pregnant? We did! Others were embarrassing, like the bloodwork and doctor's visits required, but most of this process was very helpful to us as a couple as we worked together and became more solid on what we wanted and who we were. Our homestudy was performed through Bethany Christian Services, and I can't speak highly enough of their professionalism and helpfulness. Our social worker was wonderful, and we felt more than comfortable meeting with her and discussing our plans.

We began the process in January 2010, and had everything turned in by June 2010. So, all in all, a 6 month "Paper Pregnancy." It was exciting to be working towards a goal, and also strange to see our entire lives written out in the homestudy report. I would say that the paperwork process was much less stressful than the waiting for us.

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