One of the benefits of having an adoption mentor is that they give you really great advice you might not have thought of before. As in, calling the agency not just for random questions and updates, but with a targeted purpose. I had no idea that, as my mentor stated, "It is your right to call and ask about the profile opportunities that you were NOT called on, to see what kinds of cases are coming through the agency and why you are not being considered."
I didn't realize I could ask about the calls we weren't getting. So last week, I called even though it was incredibly awkward in my mind to ask of such things ("So, hi, um, what are you calling all those OTHER people about? Why are we getting left out in the cold? Is it something we can reconsider, or is it something that's just who we are?"). And I got the information -- it has been pretty slow over the past few months, although it's ramping up as of the last two weeks. There were a couple of things on our grid that were keeping us from getting calls...some that we can reconsider and weigh immediately, and some that require more conversation. I did find out that a significant factor is also what the expectant parent is looking for -- maybe a family with a ready-made sibling, or a family that's under 35, or a family that lives in a particular area (that was an actual case that came through recently). And families with certain religious beliefs, which is problematic for us. We are worried that the fact that we are not a religious family is going to make our wait longer, because if someone is looking to have their child raised with a strong Christian faith...that's just not us. And that is fairly common. That one's not negotiable. It's who we are. We did make it fairly clear that we are open minded and would always provide our child with opportunities should he/she want to explore different faiths, but we are just not a religious household. So that was kind of a bummer that that could have such a big impact on our chances of being picked or profiled.
As I was listening to all of the options, I thought...it's been a long time since we practiced profile calls in May, in our classes, in a semi-public setting in front of others. So I asked the social worker I spoke with, "Do you think you could call me with a fake profile opportunity? A sort of Mock Call?"
She didn't quite know what to say at first, because it's an oddball request. Maybe a little torturous, to receive a fake call that's like the call you will someday get that means your baby is forthcoming. But I wanted the practice. I wanted to know what I needed to put on my form, how much I needed to sort through, and if my notes would make sense when I reiterated to Bryce later all the sundry details about everything relating to a possible baby that could be our placement.
She thought it was a good idea, and agreed to call me Thursday at 10:20. In retrospect I should have allotted more than 20 minutes for the call, because it was eye-opening to find that the profile call could take up to 30-40 minutes just to get all the information.
I won't share the info she gave because it would link to our grid, which is private, but it was incredibly fascinating to hear the sheer glut of information we could be presented with, and sift through my initial feelings on things that could be problematic before discussing with Bryce. It made me feel more prepared. It made me feel a little terrified. It was a mixed bag.
The one thing I definitely came away with was how important it is to communicate with the agency, with the staff, and to ask questions, especially difficult ones. To continuously reevaluate the grid and what opportunities we would accept, what risk factors are okay versus too much to handle. It was intense, but it was an incredibly helpful conversation. It left me feeling so utterly supported by my agency, and so lucky to have so many helpful staff members to feel out these types of situations with so that we can be more prepared when THE CALL comes in (or The Call that's not quite THE CALL).
Every little bit helps as we wait in this amorphous space of hope, anticipation, and anxiety.
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