Tonight we had our Matching Consult with the Snowflakes program... and we are officially open to matching. Which means that now we are both able to receive profiles from prospective adoptive embryo parents and have our profile be seen by prospective birth parents.
The process is not exactly a mirror image of traditional adoption profiling. In traditional adoption with our agency, they have copies of our physical book as well as a digital copy, and a copy of our child interest grid. From that they match us up with expectant mothers who are looking for similar attributes to what we have, and we get a call ahead of time to tell us info about the expectant mother, her health history, birth father information, family history, and prenatal care. Then our book goes to the expectant mother and she either chooses us...or doesn't. If she chooses us, that's it--we're officially matched and begin the wait until the birth and surrender-signing when things become more official. Or, if it's a blind profile, she sees our book first and then we get a call and if we like the situation that's it, we're matched.
But in embryo adoption, it's different.
Snowflakes has our match preferences, so they will look for incoming adoptive parents who are open to donor-created embryos (without a successful cohort) and then see if they match our specifications. Our specifications were fairly simple -- we want a family that will provide these embryos with a good life, good opportunities, and who will raise them to be tolerant of other beliefs. That family might be a married couple who's been married for 10 years, or a married couple who's been married for 3 years (the agency minimum), or a same-sex couple, or a single mother seeking to have a baby.
After they find someone who meets at least most of our criteria and is open to our bizarre situation, we will get a call where they tell us a little about the family before sending us a digital version of the family's book, either in PDF or Powerpoint form.
Then we get to go through that slice of life, and I am looking forward to this piece with probably a little too much morbid curiosity. What will it be like to look through someone else's profile book? To determine if a family has what we want for our tiny progeny -- to decide if they are the right family for us, if they are open to the level of openness that we want?
That level is a minimum of letters and pictures annually, with opportunities when age-appropriate for the child to contact us or the family to contact us as a whole, later on. Contact in both traditional and embryo adoption is interesting, because it's something that can evolve over time. We want what's best for the child and what will ultimately answer his or her questions, fill those gaps. Of course it's weird, because we each only fill half that gap. Each set of embryos is only half of our genetic materials, and they aren't the same. However, we chose those genetic donor materials based on our own characteristics, which has to count for something, and we are the creators of these embryos...but not the entire genetic link. That poor future child, what a crazy family tree.
In adoption, there's talk of the family tree projects at school being limiting, because children who were adopted have branches, but they also have roots. I think both of our children, the one we raise and the ones who are very loosely once ours at a cellular level, will have family trees with roots and branches and grafted pieces from other trees... like a little orchard all in one. Maybe it will look a little like those espaliered trees that touch each other and intertwine, although they're not exactly the same tree.
Back to the matching process...
Once we pick a profile that we love, that seems great, but it's not over.
Next the adoptive family gets a copy of our Powerpoint profile and letter that we put together for Snowflakes, and a copy of our health history/donor history, and then...
THEY ULTIMATELY APPROVE OR DISAPPROVE THE MATCH.
It seems slightly unfair that we face so much rejection in every process. That a prospective birth mother has the final say in our match or going back into the pool, but with embryo adoption the adoptive parents have the final say in whether we are matched. I hope the approval comes more often than not, but it's going to be very interesting to see what happens once we have the opportunity to choose someone and then we have to wait to see if we get chosen back.
You need freaking thick rhinoceros skin for adoption, of any kind. This is going to be quite the journey.