I was really looking forward to our training days last week. We were scheduled to be at the agency for our final 2 days of training from 10-8 on Thursday and 9-4 on Friday. Matt had the two days off this time, so sleep was not an issue for him this time, thankfully.
It was fun to see the other families again and we day one was spent discussing loss and grief issues . They stressed that adoptive parents must face the loss of a fantasy child...a child that they would have carried biologically, resembled a mix of the parents, etc. There are several other avenues of loss and grief that adoptive parents must face before moving forward as well.
We also had the opportunity to work with our spouse and create "our story" on poster paper. This was our opportunity to share where we had been and how we got to where we were today with our infertility. I had only briefly spoken with a few others so didn't really know how anyone else had ended up here. Everyone's story was somewhat unique, but everyone had some common threads. They were all filled with heartache and some had been on a longer road (16 years) and some only a few short years. I don't think that any of the couples shared their story without tears. There were only two couples who have had a hysterectomy (us being one of them) so the old saying of "just adopt, you'll get pregnant) will definitely NOT be happening with us. One of the other couples has had a vasectomy due to it being too dangerous for the wife to get pregnant for health reasons. That leaves 3 couples for the old saying to come true for...but I would call it a miracle after hearing what each of them have been through.
One couple has a bit of a different experience going on right now and this is what I have really liked about the agency so far. They do not seem to be black and white on their "policies" but look at each case/ family individually. This is what I mentioned in the beginning when they could have easily told us that they can't work with us because we are not in the correct county. Instead, they told us that we were welcome because we were still very close. I am so thankful that this agency really seems to have a giant heart.
We had a speaker who was an adult "adoptee" and she did a fantastic job. She was such a fun gal, and it was great to hear her story from her point of view.
Much of the afternoon was spent discussing transracial adoption. This is part of our Adoptive Family Questionnaire that we have to turn in with our profile. More on what this AFQ includes later.
4 of us couples went for dinner together and it was a nice time to relax and get to visit.
The night ended with the adoptive parent panel. We had three couples who came to speak and two of them brought their children. It was very interesting to hear how their families came about and how they are learning to make open adoption work in their families. They presented a side that did not seem to be as rosey as the birth moms did. Listening to both of the panels during these training sessions has been one of my favorite parts. I love hearing the real life stories and see how their experiences have played out.
Day two was dragging on a little bit. Some of the info seemed to be repetitive like we had already discussed it or read it in our books. We went over attachment and bonding, scenarios, and building your family through adoption.
We did some role playing situations where we read actual comments that birth parents have had said to them. The counselors were trying to teach us that we can use humor, education opportunity, or ignore/ walk away to respond to these situations. Some of the scenarios were:
"How could someone just "give away" their baby"?
"What is it"?
"Who is his/ her real mom and dad"?
"What if you change your mind, can you give them back"?
"What if you get pregnant now? Then what would you do with him/ her"?
"How much did he/ she cost?"
Seriously? Wow. I am curious to know what others have/ said done in these situations.
Once again, four of us couples went to lunch. One of the couples had the idea for us to get together in the fall and spring at a nearby state park to encourage and support each other as we watch each others families grow. I love the idea and hope that we can make it work. I simply can't wait to hear when each of the families gets "their call". I am already so happy for each of them!
The very last hour of the day was finally what we had been waiting for. They gave us the Adoptive Family Questionnaire (to select what we are / are not comfortable with, the profile specifications, and we had the opportunity to review several sample profiles.
This is one thing that I wish they would have done differently. I felt like we were short on time and rushed as we discussed this info. The packet with profile specifications is very detailed but I everyone was so excited to look at samples, that no one was really listening to them talk as we skimmed through the samples.
Our training days are done and we scheduled our final home study interview for November 1st. This one will be at least 2 hours. Once our profile is in and our backgrounds are back- we will be officially waiting!