Yesterday we had the first meeting with the pedopsychiatrist for the adoption process and I really want to tell you about it because she was the best person we talked to about adoption since we started. If every compulsory meeting was like this one there would be no people complaining about having to go talk to specialists. She was not just great to talk to but also inspiring and encouraging.
She started with asking about us, our studies, origins, how we met, and how we decided to adopt, etc. Then we started talking about the possible differences in physical looks between us and the adopted child. We said we realize in some circumstances it may be tough. For instance, I’m tiny and adopting an African boy may mean I could end up with a boy that’s way bigger than me by the time he’s 10 or even earlier.
We then talked about international adoption and we told her we had just started considering it since recently, so that we were still a bit lost. She asked if we had preferences for some countries. Hubby said we were open to all countries without a preference for a specific continent or country. I then said that I had started looking at international adoption and so far the choice of the country was really influenced by the restrictions each country imposes. There is a long list of countries but I checked requirements and we cannot adopt in most of them for one reason or the other. Some require that couples are married for way longer than we have been, some have religious or nationality requirements, some ask that you are a house owner, etc. I have deleted all these and I am now left with 23 countries in which we can consider adoption. More restrictions may come up as I read more.
After I said this, the pedopsychiatrist said that we also need to focus on what we wish for, what we think would most fit our couple. She said there can be a big difference amongst babies that come from different areas. She gave the example of African babies, who are often very active and they dance with African moves even if they have been adopted very young, and Asian babies, who are more likely to be calm. She said we should think of what we want and to allow ourselves to dream, instead of just focusing on restrictions. This was the very first time someone told us we should dream about adoption as an exciting project. We do dream about it, but hearing it from someone else, from someone who works in the field. I still think my list was a good idea, since it’s no point of dreaming to adopt in a country to then find out I cannot adopt there. But now we can look at those 23 countries with a different approach. Dreaming instead of trying to figure out practicalities only.
She also asked whether we were open to children with health issues or handicaps and whether we had asked for one child only or more. We said we had asked for children in good health or with minor, operable health issues. Reason for this being that we have been going through some tough times and right now we feel we just want something “simple”. I also said I have regretted a bit not having opened to more than one child, since I was scared that by the time we adopt a first child, given the waiting times, it’ll probably be too late to adopt a second one. She said it was ok to want some happiness, especially for a first child, and that we should not feel guilty about not accepting more complicated situations, but to just envisage the happiness of adopting a child.
While everyone tells us waiting times are super long, she said she also knows couples who received a baby way sooner than expected. She asked how we felt about it. We said we would be very happy but that we realized that may be a problem in practical terms. For instance, dropping out of work with no warning may be difficult. As well as learning how to do basic stuff like changing nappies or feeding a baby. Especially since you don’t know the age of the baby for sure.
We’ll see her again in November for individual meetings. In the meanwhile, I look forward to discovering more about adoption in my favourite countries out of the list.