Thursday, September 25, 2008

Paper Pregnancy

That's what my friend TexasTschirgis calls adoption. A Paper Pregnancy. Last night after the kids were in bed, Hubby and I sat down together at the table and began on a stack of papers. They remind me of a job application. Only more personal.

Here's what is looming in front of me:

Biographical Questionnaire

General Information - Self and Family
1. Physical traits, height, weight, eye color, hair color, ethnic background
2. Personality traits.
3. Spouses physical traits and personality
4. Do you have pets? If so why?
5. What are your hobbies and interests? How do you "assign your time", both in your personal and professional life? In what ways do you give your time to others? In what ways do you give time to yourself? Describe volunteer work that you do in the community.
6. Describe your role in your family; your spouses role; you children's role. What changes do you envision with the addition of an adopted child to your family?
7. Goals: Where do you see yourself, you career, and your family in 5 years?
8. How would you describe your value system? Who or what were the most influential factors in how your value system developed?
9. If you have an affiliation with a church, describe the nature of your affiliation.
10. Please describe why you have chosen to adopt a child. How did you decide on the type of adoption you are pursuing (international/older/infant/etc)

Education and Employment History
1. What was your school and social experience growing up? What were your interests, hobbies and activities? For higher education, please give names of schools, degrees earned and dates.
2. Pleas give a brief chronological summary of your employment history.
3. Briefly describe your current job and work schedule.
4. Do you plan to take leave from work when you adopt?

Personal History
1. Describe your childhood, family, and your place in it. Include: Where you grew up; your parent's education and occupations; the number of children in your family and your place among the siblings; roles your parents played and the nature of their marriage; family activities that you remember; relationships with extended family while you were growing up; the quality of your relationships with your parents and siblings while you were growing up.
2. What were the "good deals" and "bad deals" about your growing up years. What would you have changed about your childhood family?
3. Were you or any members of your family ever the victim of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse? If so, how was it handled within the family?
4. Current information about your parents: Where do they live; marital status; occupation; quality of your relationship; how often you see them, etc.
5. Current information about you siblings: Where do they live; marital status; occupation; quality of your relationship; number of children; how often you see them, etc.

Marital History
1. Have you been married previously?
2. How and when did you meet your current spouse? What attracted you to each other?
3. How long have you been married? What do you see as the greatest strengths of your marriage?
4. What have been the biggest challenges for each of you in this marriage? What areas are you still working on to improve your relationship?
5. How would you describe your conflict resolution style as a couple? What usually happens when you disagree on something important?

1. Describe each of your minor children: name, age, personality, grade in school, academic progress, activities, social and family adjustments, special needs if any. Indicate their current living situation.
2. Do you have any concerns about physical, emotional, or intellectual health or development of any of your children?
3. How will each of your children adjust to the addition of an adopted sibling?
4. If you have adult children...

Financial Resources
1. What are your sources of income? Are they steady or fluctuating?
2. Who handles the money in your family? How are monetary decisions made?
3. What are you financial goals?
4. Describe your plans for medical insurance coverage for the adopted child.
5. If you and your spouse were both to die or become incapacitated, who would become your child's guardian? Why have you selected them?
6. How will the addition of an adopted child change your financial situation.

1. Do you have, or have you had, any major health concerns or disabilities? How have these affected your lifestyle work or relationships?
2. What is your approach to health, diet, fitness, and wellness? What do you do for relaxation? How do you handle stress?
3. Describe you past and current use of tobacco, alcohol and drugs. If applicable, describe how you dealt with any substance abuse problems.
4. Have you ever needed counseling or mental health treatment of any kind? If so, please briefly describe the circumstances, interventions, and results.
5. What is your support system like? If you had a crisis in your family, to whom would you go for counsel and support?

Criminal History of Abuse Background Check
1. Have you ever been arrested or convicted of a crime? Include juvenile incidents.
2. Have you or anyone in your family been involved with child protective services, if so, please describe.
3. Have you ever been the victim or perpetrator of domestic abuse/violence?
4. For international adoptions...

Parenting experience and philosophy
1. Discuss the parenting you received form your own parents as a child. How did your parents discipline? How did they show affection? What was positive? What would you improve?
2. Describe any preparation or training you may have had for parenting (parenting classes, your own reading, training seminars, college courses, babysitting, raising your own children, etc.)
3. What kind of rules do you have for children in your home?
4. How do you discipline children when they misbehave? (Think of different ages, from toddlers to teenagers), what methods of discipline are acceptable/unacceptable to you?
5. How will you spend time with your children? What kinds of activities will you be doing?
6. What daycare arrangements do you expect to use for the adopted child?

Adoption Issues
1. Why is adopting a child a good option for you and your family?
2. How do you think adopting parenting differs from biological parenting? What will it be like for you to parent a child who is not born to you and does not share a genetic or biological connection?
3. What are you thoughts about the process of attachment in adoption?
4. What do you think birth-parents are experiencing when they relinquish or have a child removed from their care? How would you explain to your child his/her special connection to a birth family?
5. What questions do you think your child will have about adoption? When and how will you explain adoption to the child?
6. What kind of continued contact with birth parents after placement would be comfortable for you? What about birth grandparents or siblings?
7. If your child wanted to search for birth relatives, how would you feel?
8. How will you support the cultural heritage or racial identity of a child whose race/ethnicity is different than yours? What resources could you draw on in your community, family, or social circles?

Good thing I like to write.

Reading adoption blogs and the comments of other adoptive parents, they usually all come to the conclusion that if somehow we made people go through this intensive process in order to conceive a child, we would have a world full of much better parents. Part of me agrees. It's actually quite helpful to step back and examine my life in relation to a new baby. The reality, however, is that we don't have to do this to get a biological baby. God made the process very different. I am not sure why he did it that way. Supposedly there is a "mother instinct" that ensures for the care of the child. Obviously by the number of abortions and abandoned babies, this doesn't always work correctly. In a perfect world, we'd all follow God's plan of committed marriage first, then sex, then kids. We all know that doesn't always happen. It's odd really, how easily babies are made. Yet the process to adopt one is fiendishly difficult and invasive. I understand; nobody wants to adopt a baby out to parents who are going to neglect or mistreat it or who don't have the necessary income to support a child through formula, schooling, bikes, braces, increasing sizes of clothing... the list goes on and on. Still, the irony is not lost, either on me or on any other adoptive parent, I think.

I'm really glad we have been through this whole process once before. I have a lot more confidence this time. A lot more patience. My hat is off to TexasT who has been through it at least three times, maybe more. We moms do a lot for our kids. In this case rather than spending hours puking I am spending hours filling out paperwork. Definitely better.


  1. Shannon believes everyone should have to successfully take care of a golden retriever before they can have kids.

  2. Hmm, not a bad idea. I assume she means successfully obedience train it too? I think sometimes they should offer kid-obedience-training classes.

  3. Wow. Lots of questions! Yeah, definitely good that you love to write.
    Sometimes I think people should have to go through testing and such to become a parent, but then I wonder what the standards would be. I mean, some people think that living in a trailer would be a sad place to raise children, and then maybe they would start putting limits on how many children you can have, etc. So while, it could prevent the really bad people from becoming parents, it could also have an adverse side to it.

    Well, good luck and God bless!