Twice a month, we log onto to a secure website and shop for children. We see pictures and read bio's. Each child has been assigned a case number and we send the numbers for the children we are interested in to our caseworker, she then forwards that number on to the child's caseworker. At some point a child's caseworker will like us and send us information.
We have done this three times now. It feels strange and hopeful at the same time. Could we be looking at a picture of the child who will turn out to be ours? Most likely no, this is a marathon not a sprint. We will look at the bio's of hundreds of children before we are done. For two people who love kids, this can be upsetting. These kids don't have pretty stories, some have such horrific stories that we can't help but to be teary eyed while reading them. What kind of society allows innocent children to be treated so horribly? Sometimes we just have to skip the story. If we dwell on them all, we will go crazy.
We also have to reign in our emotions when it comes to looking at kids we think might work for us. This is almost impossible. We each have one child who we couldn't help but day dream about. Justin spent a few days mourning over a little girl who loved Princesses, and I spent the past few days sad about a little boy who loves to play with cars. Logically we know we can't dream or become attached at this point, but some of them just slip in and melt your heart. This can be dangerous as we don't want to be on an constant emotional roller coaster, but I feel like we are doing a good job of checking in with one another and keeping each other grounded.
It is also hard not to find a way to share the stories of the ones we are interested in with our Mom's. Not to call them up and describe each child we put in for, but if we do that than we are making ourselves even more emotionally attached.
Finally, we have to be brutally honest, if a kid has an issue one of can't handle we have to say no. No matter how adorable they are or how much the other one thinks we can try. I always say no when their is a hint of attachment issues or autism and I feel like a pretty terrible human being when I do that. Justin's big red flags are mother's who still want to be involved after adoption and extreme developmental delays. He feels terrible too, but we wouldn't be doing anyone a favor by taking on what we can't handle.
I know this sounds clinical, and in a way it is, but it is always amazing. Each time we might see our child, and each time we look we are one step closer to the year mark. Mostly though, it reinforces why we are adopting. These kids need homes. Good homes where they will know love and kindness and basic human decency. I wish more people would open their doors.