October 2012 – Sir Riel turns one and we submit an application to our chosen adoption agency
October 2012 – Adoption agency accepts our application and sends us a thesis sized stack of paperwork for our ‘Homestudy Supporting Documents’.
January 2013 – Submit enormous stack of home-study supporting documents including criminal record checks, autobiographies, an 11 page ‘safe’ questionnaire, a family map, and a life map.
January/February 2013 – Take part in 4 days of ‘Adoption Education Program’ with 5 other prospective adoptive parents.
February 2013 – Start home-study process. A social worker comes to our house and asks questions about our childhood, our parenting philosophy, our extended family, grief and loss in adoption, trauma experienced by adopted children, our future plans and 20 hours of other intensely reflective discussion.
May 2013 – Nearly done the home-study – our social worker is currently writing our home study report.
June 2013 – Homestudy approved. Time to choose a country!
July 2013 – We decide not to pursue an international adoption, and cancel our adoption application with the agency. After meeting with the agency social worker, we discover that the countries we were interested in adopting from are now closed to international adoptions, and there are not other countries we feel a connection to. Also, our financial situation has changed considerably since I’ve gone back to work at a reduced schedule after Sir Riel was born, and we have to pay $50/day for childcare.
Fall 2013 – We contact the Ministry of Children and Family Development and apply to adopt a child in British Columbia. There are more than 1000 children in BC who need families. This program is free, and most of the children are older and have special needs. There are also younger children with fewer needs, especially if we can provide a Metis cultural match. We ask to be matched with a younger child with lower needs as we want Sir Riel to be a big brother.
January 2014 – Start a new, Ministry-mandated Adoption Education Program, one night a week for 8 weeks. Plus, our original homestudy social worker is re-assigned to us and we update our homestudy.
May 2014 – We are offered a match with a toddler the same age as Sir Riel. We’ve just moved to a new house on a 24 acre farm, I’ve just started a new job, and Sir Riel has started at a new preschool and is struggling to adjust to all the changes. We are barely treading water, exhausted, and don’t feel we are well placed to meet the needs of a new child in our home. And we haven’t even completed our homestudy or AEP with the Ministry yet. We make the very difficult decision to trust this baby will find another great home (which is true) and decline the match.
September 2014 – We are approved with the Ministry of Children and Family Development and become waiting parents!
January 2015 – We get a call from a friend of a friend who knows someone who’s family member is pregnant and feels it is best for her child to be raised by another family. We immediately involve our original adoption agency to ensure everything is done legitimately. This means we are not at all involved in the process while the agency supports birth mom to make an informed decision without any influence from us. We do get a chance to meet Birth Mom’s relative and make a connection for the future.
March 2015 – Adoption agency sends our family profile to Birth Mom. She also looks at other family profiles.
March 25th, 2015 – Adoption agency calls and says Birth Mom has chosen to pursue us as parents for her child, who is due mid April. Wow!
March 26th, 2015 – I start pumping and drinking milkmaid tea to try and re-lactate so I can nurse baby.
March 27th, 2015 – We meet Birth Mom for the first time. It’s too personal and too soon to talk about this experience here, but I can say she is amazing and I deeply respect her.
April 6th, 2015 – We get the call that Birth Mom has gone into labour. Wow, this is happening!