I really psyched myself out for this orientation. I was anxious all day. I had to find the exact right thing to wear because if I didn't appear professional, that meant I would be a bad mom, right? I brought along some make up to touch up my face because if I didn't look perfect, that meant I would be a bad mom, right? When I lost an earring back, I felt like I clearly couldn't keep things together and therefore would be a bad mom, right?!?! Jon pretty much just laughed at me and told me to chill out. "But what if they don't like us? What if they think we're too young? What if, What if What if ... ?" The answer my awesome husband gave me to each scenario? "Then we'll kick them." I love this man.
So we met with a really nice woman at Children's Home Society of Virginia (picture above is a link). She went through the process, spoke about the agency's history, answered some questions, and that was it. It was nice. It was easy. It was ... nothing really. Just an informational session. I felt like certain topics were intentionally avoided (the cost of adoption being one of them) and I felt like the lady who was presenting to us really believed in the work she and her company were doing. I respected that.
They sent us home with some information to look over for both infant adoption and older child adoption. I was really looking forward to a lot of useful information. The most useful piece of information in the packet was their fee schedule, otherwise it was a lot of feel good fluff (i.e. a list of famous adopted persons). That was a little disappointing, but then when I actually thought about it, what exactly did I expect to find in there? Pictures of my future child? Likely not.
After I got home I realized that I hadn't asked a question that I had intended to, so I emailed the lady. I asked her if CHS had a policy on the length of time couples needed to be married before they can adopt through that agency. Turns out they do: three years. So I guess we won't be using them. I'm obviously not devastated, it was just a little disappointing. The lady did say that they sometimes make exceptions so perhaps when the time comes around, we'll ask if we can be an exception.
In doing a little more research, the "time married requirement" is not uncommon. We are going to come up against this with almost any agency. Three years is the longest that I have found, most require one year. I have also heard that some companies will take into consideration time lived together before marriage. Once we are ready to do a home study, we will have been married for over a year, so likely this will no longer be an obstacle for us.
In slightly unrelated news, I had a woman at my work approach me and tell me that she just adopted her son three years ago, and offered to be any sort of resource that we need. She was so sweet and wonderful. She mentioned that she went through Catholic Adoptive Services, so I thought maybe I would check them out next. She also said to me "You are exactly what most birth mothers are looking for" which was very kind of her to say, and made me feel hopeful.
In completely unrelated news, I got accepted to a graduate school in Chicago! This is super exciting, and I think will make the waiting for the adoption a little easier. The program is over three consecutive summers. So we'll spend between now and then looking into agencies and choosing one (on top of now prepping and preparing to be a student again). Then, when I get back we'll move into our bigger place and have a home study. The hard part will be if we're placed with a child before next summer, Jon and I will have to figure out what to do at that point. But that's something to figure out if and when we need to.
So that's all the news for now. Things are still pretty slow, but that's okay.