This month I have been gathering together the necessary paperwork to apply for various adoption grants. While I am thrilled that places exist throughout the country to help families wanting to adopt, the amount of documentation necessary to apply for each one is daunting. It saddens me that there are enough people around the country who would use these agencies fraudulently that they are forced to put us through the inquisition in order to qualify for a grant.
I still find the invasive nature of adoption paperwork disconcerting. Total strangers in Tennessee will soon be reading about my life, my house, my parenting skills, our marriage, my Christian walk, and the comments that friends wrote about me in their recommendations. My entire life has been distilled into a mere 30 pages of description and numbers and it is such a strange feeling to read it over.
The perfectionist part of me wants to go hide in a hole. Anytime something negative pops up, I cringe and cower inside, for, in a homestudy, not just the good is revealed. Our personal weaknesses are covered in detail: my health issues are discussed, personality weaknesses like the fact that I am "easily overwhelmed" and I "don't communicate well with others but assume they will support us". Gak. Who likes hearing the worst faults that you try to hide and cover over put out there in black and white for the world to see?
Yet the good comments still far outweigh the negatives. We passed all of the state requirements for adoption, our home is deemed comfortable and safe and we are called "excellent parents" over and over. Okay, cool. Maybe someone will trust enough to choose our family to adopt their precious baby. Maybe the grants will be awarded.
Still, in thinking about this whole process it seems surreal to have so many people going over my life with a fine-toothed comb. I have discovered that I value privacy in a large measure and it takes a lot of mental effort to put that aside and welcome anyone and everyone to view such intimate details. I tell myself that I don't have anything to hide, so it really doesn't matter. But it takes a very secure person to allow someone else to view their life under a microscope and not get just a little rattled. I look forward to that wonderful day when we stand in court with our six-month-old Baby Bear and are declared once and for all to be the legal adoptive parents. On that day our "paper pregnancy" will end.