The matching process is probably the most helpless portion of the adoption process. For the most part, you are in control of the home study, you’re in control with agency selection but matching. You don’t have any control — you just have to wait. The matching process is broken down in two halves. The first half is making your marketing pitch via photo book, website, flyer etc while simultaneously (if possible) working through your home study. The second half is spent twittling your thumbs waiting for your home study to be finalized and to be chosen by expecting parents. Everything you do that is not adoption related is basically to pass time. You are just hoping that when the balls you are juggling start falling they fall in an orderly fashion as to not throw your whole life into a tailspin.
Some of the biggest arguments my wife and I had during this process was the making of the photo book. We just couldn’t agree on how it should look, the pictures that we should use etc. Our agency had us making them like they were church programs and my inner graphic designer just had problems getting over that hurdle. I researched how other couples did theirs and spent hours trying to duplicate it. Only to have Lifetime tell us that it doesn’t fit their requirements. I wanted something creative – I wanted to stand out. I felt like we were a different couple. While we wanted a child it didn’t consume our every thought. We weren’t conservative like the other perspective parents appeared to be. I think we were the only apartment dwellers from the list that we saw. We never bought a house because we have lived all over the country thanks to our jobs.
We are a different couple. It was of the utmost importance that our book reflected how different we were. Our cover photo was different – I mean who does that but us? While we are Christians but we don’t go to church every Sunday. We aren’t really involved in our community we just kind of exist in our own bubble with our friends. How do you compete with the couple that is Super Jesus-y and is a part of every single community group known to man? The key is you don’t. You can’t compete with them. Any expectant parent that expects that should not have chosen us. We are about experiences and fun and that’s the parents we wanted to target.
The printing cost of these books…is a bunch bullllllllllllllllll but its another one of those hidden costs in adoption. (Only to find out the couple who chose us didn’t receive a printed profile they saw it online at our agency’s website)
After your home study is complete and your books are approved and printed, you wait.
The only reason why our wait was partly bearable was because we received job offers to move from Maryland to Georgia. We were able to fill in the time with move prep and the actual move. While that helped we still had to figure out a way fill in the other time. Sure there was work and going out to dinner but the conversations always ended back at how anxious we are to be matched with a couple. Our anxiety turned to fear because we hoped that the match wouldn’t ‘fall through’.
You end up riding various waves of emotions. For us, we were only 3 months into the process so we were contently repeating ourselves of how the adoption process works. We had certain family members that wanted to make their lukewarm opinion heard and we had to smile and trudge through those. Luckily for us the majority of our circle was uber supportive. We used the time to register at Babies R Us – which when asked about the birthday I was within a few days. In July I told them November 15, Mila was born November 18th. I’m not saying I’m psychic but….I’m psychic. I used the time to read “Parenting” magazine like it was the Bible, talked to newer fathers, looked at “mommy and daddy” blogs to ad nauseum. I just wanted to be as prepared as possible. While I didn’t follow all of the advice verbatim, a lot of the stuff I read prepared me for a lot the pitfalls of early parenthood. There are things I could have easily fell victim to that I ended up shrugging my shoulders to.
My advice for the wait part of matching is to throw yourself into something and bring your partner with you. I ran, biked, read – we saw movies, went to Baby’s R Us seemingly every day. We just tried to prepare and still have some form of fun. Just understand that you can’t prepare for everything. Know that your life will be different and appreciate the life as you have it . This is an exciting time, stressful yes but exciting. Never lose sight of that.