What if you had to fill out a 30-50 page application prior to becoming a parent? Would you still do it? I think most people answering that question would give a resounding “yes”. When you look into those precious eyes looking back at you there is no doubt you would have moved heaven and earth to make it happen.
But would you like it? Probably not. Couples seeking to adopt are put under the microscope of the state law, the adoption agencies’ requirements and the birth parents’ obvious need to know their child will be loved and well cared for. It’s a process that makes filling out a tax form seem mundane.
When my husband and I first began to look into adoption I called anyone and everyone I could to ask questions and find out where to start. One place I knew about was Jerry Falwell’s Home for Unwed Mothers in Lynchburg, Va. I grew up in South Boston, Va. so I was very familiar with the name Jerry Falwell. My grandmother was a big fan of his.
The application was long and tedious to say the least. And this would be the first of others. In addition to answering all the questions, we had to each write an autobiography. That in itself was tedious and, even though I know myself better than anyone else, it was difficult to write about me.
But one of the questions on the application really took us by surprise. They asked us if we watched “The Old Time Gospel Hour” (a weekly program on TV with the preaching of Jerry Falwell). What? Could this really be part of the application process? We pondered for days on how to answer this one question. If we answered “yes”, we would be lying (and did it count that my grandmother watched it). And if we answered “no”, would that decrease our chances of getting a baby? We decided to go with “honesty is the best policy” approach.
Now as an adoption consultant, I work with birth mothers who are making a plan for adoption. I walk with them through the process of choosing a family for their child. They are nervous and sometimes scared about making the wrong decision. What if they choose the wrong family? They sometimes look to me for guidance. I can assure them that any family they choose will have been closely examined and assessed. Home Studies are also a part of what I do, and I know what the family has to go through in order to qualify to be an adoptive family. I like being able to look in the face of a desperate young women, looking for hope, and assure her that she is making the right choice for her and her baby.
We have been chosen twice. And just like a mother who forgets the pain of childbirth after seeing her baby, so we forget the agony of paperwork after holding our baby for the first time. It’s all worth it!
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