The rest of November passed me by fairly quickly, but let me doing a lot of thinking in the wake of National Adoption Awareness Month.
Of all the things that continue to bounce around inside my head and take up too much of my wakeful hours, the Flip the Script movement is at the front. I did a lot more reading that writing last month. One, because I was doing my best to listen to other adoptive narratives as I had told my readers we should. Two, because I found that a lot of adoptees do not want non-adoptees writing the hashtag, even if it is to be, in lack of better terms at the moment, an ally. And I get it – similar to other movements, that is supposed to be their space and they deserve to own the whole the it. I am actually going to go back through and take the tag off all my previous entries. I do not want to talk over any part of the adoption triad. I think next year I may even chose to stay silent for the month so as to say, “I am respectfully waiting my turn.” I hope that makes sense.
Again, my thoughts with adoption are all knotted together at the moment.
I was caught off guard over Thanksgiving by a relative on D’s side of the family. We had known this particular relative had some reservations about the adoption because of the decades they had lived in Africa previously. But over that weekend, there were other, more disappointing “concerns” to address that I feel should mentioned and cleared up here.
I am not yet a mom. The term used in our community is “prospective adoptive parent.” It means I’m in the running for all those terms I cannot wait to be called: mommy, maman, mom, mum. Knowing that sometime in the next year I am going to get to be a mom is still staggering to me. But every time I think about being a mom myself, I am reminded that there is woman out there who has missed out on the chance to parent the child that will one day be pitter-pattering up and down my stairs. Another mom, and all to often in the adoption community, an invisible mom.
November is International Adoption Month! A wonderful time of year to help educate our communities about adoption and foster case, and even greater opportunity to allow less prominent voices within the adoption community to speak up, also known as Flip the Script.
I was really excited to see an adoptee featured in American Girl. Years and years ago, I spent hours flipping through the glossy American Girl magazines and I know how the articles really spoke out to me. The article is written from Amaya’s viewpoint. She is strong, beautiful, and I hope her story helps other girls learn more about adoption and foster care.
On the earth, everybody’s a brother or a sister. It’s like the golden rule in school: People should treat others the way they want to be treated. So we try to do that.
As of today, our dossier is officially in the hands of the agency in Johannesburg.
We started this process almost two years. Long talks about what we imagined our future family would look like, our individual concerns regarding adoption, and whether or not we felt up to the many challenges that would soon present themselves just during the process of applying to become adoptive parents, never mind the ups and downs of parenting. And even through all those considerations it had never occurred to use just how much of our energy we would have to put into the paperwork.
Just a brief update – D and I received our I800-A receipt of approval in the mail yesterday! We are good to go for an adoption for one child between the ages of 0-2 through November of next year~ yay!
What we got in the mail was the not the official form we need to sign and have apostilled. I have since learned that yes, that was the official form. We needed an affidavit, once again, outlining that we agreed the attached copies were true copies of the form from Custom & Immigration. So it was off to the notary’s office… again.
I have contacted our international adoption agency for further guidance, but at this point we are only waiting on THREE things for our dossier:
Signed and Apostilled USCIS Approval Form Copy Affidavits
Apostilled HR letters for D
One last Apostilled Reference Letter from a Friend
The process of adoption is hard and really never ending, no matter what member of the adoption trifecta one happens to be a part of (adoptees, birth families, and those like us, the adoptive parents). These beginning months of our journey seem to be hard, and I know being an adoptive family will eventually be even more difficult, which is why I am taking this moment to put my jealousy up on the shelf.
We are blessed. We are so grateful that we can consider adoption as our first means of building a family. D and I have not experienced the heartbreak of infertility or child loss. We are not struggling to find the financial means to bring a child into our home and raise them in comfort. Our jobs allow us to save up ample time for the need to stay in country for the weeks and weeks needed to complete the adoption paperwork in South Africa.