Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Pick me, pick me! Like Middle School Sports All Over Again.

I had a little scare with my sweet little boy yesterday.  We had been swimming at a friend’s pool for a couple of hours.  D was tired and wanted to change into his dry clothes.  He was standing with his friend at the end of the pool throwing in beach balls and then fishing them out as they floated back to the edge of the pool.   I turned to talked to one of the moms and he fell in the deep end.  I just remember hearing silence where laughter and chatter had once been.   His friend’s father was standing right beside them and was getting ready to jump in after him fully clothed, having just arrived from work.  Thanks to a summer of swim lessons, D resurfaced after a second or two and though panicked, had not swallowed any water since he knew how to hold his breath.  I was getting ready to jump in when the father was able to grab his arm and fish him out.  D was so upset, but safe.  He didn’t even choke on any water at all.  I hugged him and told him what a good job he had done holding his breath and how he had been able to bring himself back to the surface of the water.  He sobbed for a minute, denying his success—“No, I not!”.  I reassured him that even though the father had pulled him out, that he had had a big hand in saving himself.  He suddenly stopped crying and said in a happy voice “I fine!”.  I thought about that all afternoon, and ran the “what ifs” through my head.  I wasn’t too shaken by it until I woke up around 1 a.m. just sick over the whole event.  D had crawled into bed with us, and instead of taking him back to his bed like normal, I left him there.  I lay beside him and watched him sleep peacefully.  I inspected his facial features and thought about how quickly he was growing into a little boy.  His chubby little cheeks have receded into a more angular face.  He has freckles on his lips his body is strong and more lean than before.  He is handsome and funny and a fun-loving handful of a child.  I love him so much.

I thought about how often we as parents make mistakes and beat ourselves up over what we think are bad decisions.  There are no handbooks for raising children, although I feel like those of us who adopt get more of one than most with all the classes we are required to take.  But, even so, it’s sink or swim for most of us, and every now in then, we have someone bail us out, too.  This experience made me think about this questionnaire we had to fill out to be in the birthparent profile pool.  The county has a waiting list, but they also have a pool of applicants from which birthparents can choose parents for their children if it is a voluntary relinquishment.  It’s a great opportunity, but can be a difficult thing to fill out.  You want to tell the truth, but you also want to be the fun, happy couple that will make someone choose you.  And all the high school popularity issues (or lack thereof as in my case…) coming flooding back!  You are allowed three pages to answer these questions and three pages of pictures you think will show who you are individually and as a couple.  I will spare you our answers, but thought you might like to see the list of questions.  It took awhile for us to fill this out, trying to judge between how much of the truth to share and how much we didn’t want to scare anyone off!  We just tried to look somewhat normal, moderately fun, not too weird, but not too mainstream, maybe a little edgy…..oh, who am I kidding!  It is what it is, right?  Sigh.  Maybe I should just put in the one about parenting, “at least he’s still alive!”  I mean, that’s a success in my book at the end of the day.

Here are the questions we were required to answer in hopes we'd be cool enough to be chosen...how would you answer?  Kind of interesting to take a look at yourself and your relationship a little more closely sometimes. 

Following information for both applicants:
  • First Name:
  • Year of Birth:
  • Race & Ethnicity
  • Physical Description: 
    • Height:    
    • Weight: 
    • Hair color:   
    • Eye Color
    • Skin:
  • Why we want to adopt:
  • What is each of us like as person?
  • Education level and field:
  • Employment (prior and current)
  • Employment and child care plans when the child comes:
  • Religion (how active, how we will raise our children):
  • Interests, hobbies, and sports (individually and shared):
  • Reading (type):
  • TV viewing (type and how much):
  • Music (type):
  • Describe your home (What makes it distinctively yours?):
  • Describe your neighborhood (urban, rural, etc.):
  • Do you have pets?  What kind?
  • Marriage:
  • How do husband and wife share/divide household responsibilities and chores?:
  • How do you as a couple/family spend your time together (i.e. how do you spend a typical weekend?):
  • Brief description of childhood (number of siblings, where you grew up, relationship with parents, significant memories/experiences/etc.?)  One paragraph:
  • Briefly describe a difficult life experience you had and how you learned from it (one paragraph):
  • Extended family (relationship between grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousings:  geographical locations of relatives; experiences and attitudes toward adoption:
  • Experience with children:
  • Children in home:  adopted/biological   description/personality/year of birth:
  • How are, or will, child-care responsibilities be handled between husband and wife?:
  • Thoughts about relationship with birth parents:  How do you feel about:
    •  Meeting the birth parent(s) prior to, or at placement.
    • Updating of pictures and letters about the child over the years.
    • Receiving pictures and letters from birth parent(s) over the years.
    • Supporting a search for birth parents.

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