(this is the second part of our adoption story. Find part 1 here)
When we finally started the adoption counselling phase in May 2014, we didn’t know it would last over one and a half year. We were assigned to a young social worker. One of the first topics to come up was “Why do you want to adopt a child?”. We were young, with no fertility issues, and no religious motivation, and she was puzzled – or pretended to be to get a sincere reaction, I wondered later. Truth was, we didn’t have a fully logical motivation we could put in words. Sure, we did ponder the matter from the practical point of view: do we feel capable of loving and caring for an adopted child? Can we afford an adoption? What if the child has special needs? Would one of us be ready to become a stay-at-home parent, if needed? What impact would this have on our daughter R.? However, the force pushing us towards the idea of adopting was not rational. We felt it more as a calling.
Everyone says love is the spring of the wish to grow a family. People want a child because they feel they have so much love to give, like they cannot contain it anymore. That’s what we felt and, frankly, the fact that we wouldn’t share our genetic information with such child didn’t matter at all. And I don’t meant it in the way “it’s not that important”, but really didn’t have any weight at all. Being genetically related to our child was not ground to question our capacity and willingness to love and care for her. Now, I don’t blame you, if you don’t feel the same. I was also prepared to the idea to having to grow such love for an adopted child, instead of feeling it from the moment we met as it happened with R. – well, biology. My husband and I were in a lucky spot, if you will. We were already parents, which meant we already stopped living centered on ourselves and were aware what it meant to fully focus on someone else and to love unconditionally. We are not religious but we both have a deep belief into what family is and means, and we put it first no matter what. We are very idealistic about it, mostly due to our Italian roots, I guess. We also both believe that every child deserves the same opportunities, which is far from real in this world. We advocated for this through charity and volunteering for years. All this pushed us strongly towards this adventure together.
When we were asked directly, we could not give brilliant answers. At first, we replied we wanted to give love and opportunities to a child in need. The social worker kept pushing, up to the point of saying things like “Why won’t you have your own child, instead of adopting one?”. That question hurt. I recall getting angry inside and thinking, “This child is no plan B, this child is our freaking plan A!“. It’s weird to get defensive about someone who lives only in your mind, someone who – now I know – wasn’t even born back then. I wonder if that social worker was just playing mind games to get honesty out of us. After few meetings, she came out saying charity was not a good motivation to adopt, to which we were shocked and replied that it was not charity for us, we were trying to grow our family and felt we could do this, and wanted to.
The meetings went on, much less frequent than we were hoping for. Sometime three months would go in between two appointments. We were given homework, we were asked about every possible detail of our life, values, relationships. I remember sometime I had to call several times to fix the next meeting, I felt impatient and restless, like an animal in a cage. The whole time, I knew the following phase most likely involved years of waiting, and I couldn’t understand why we couldn’t speed up this part one a little. I was thinking of couples who had already to wait years of infertility and I hoped they were not getting the same treatment. After being pushy to the point of feeling we were fighting against the world for this child, the meetings were over and we got our home-study sent for approaval at the start of fall of 2015.