Shortly after parental rights were terminated, the process of getting all of the stars aligned for adoption began. I attended classes with other people who were fostering, renewed my CPR certification, got yet another TB test, got fingerprinted, purchased two massive fire extinguishers, had my home inspected, signed a binder full of papers, and submitted an application to adopt.
Part of the application process includes a lengthy interview. Most of the questions were fairly straight forward and easy to answer. Others required much more thought and reflection. One of the questions that made me take pause was, "how do you feel about the birth parents?" I had to really pause to gather my thoughts. In the end, my response was something along these lines: I have no strong feelings one way or the other towards the birth father. I don't know him and wouldn't be able to easily pick him out of a crowd. I care about the birth mother. I have to separate out the actions she's taken from the person she is. I hate the decisions she's made and what she's done with her life, but I don't hate her. I pray for her, and have been praying for her for a long time. I pray for both of the birth parents. I want them to make better choices in their lives and live up to their highest potential. One day I want to be able to tell Jackson that even though his birth parents made bad choices and acted in a selfish manner, they were able to overcome it and lead the life that God intended them to live.
In church, when I kneel to pray, I often whisper my prayers into Jackson's ear. I want him to hear me pray. I want him to know what I'm praying for. I always pray for his birth parents. I call them by name and pray that they will seek God's mercy and love.
Most of the other hard questions centered around Jackson. What did I want for his life? Would I be disappointed if he chose a different life plan? Different religion? I really had to take a moment to ponder these things. Of course I want Jackson to reach his highest potential, but more importantly I want him to be kind. I want him to be as productive and independent as possible and hold himself to a high standard of conduct. I would be disappointed if he chose to live a different faith, but understand that the decision is his to make.
The strangest questions, in my view, centered around why I wanted to adopt. The adoption worker was genuinely surprised when I informed her I had always wanted to adopt. Her response was something like: Well how did you know you could ever love a child that wasn't yours? That was shocking to me, as I've never viewed love as being tied to DNA.
Finally, the interview was done, all of my references had been contacted, and the work on my end was complete. Then the waiting began. It was required that Jackson live with me for at least 6 months and 1 day before the adoption was finalized, so I understood that nothing could be finalized prior to the end of August. I anxiously waited to hear from Nevada. The stress of not knowing if the adoption would occur was mostly relieved, but still lingered. We enjoyed the summer though, knowing that the end was near.
August came and went and still no adoption date. Finally, towards the end of September, I received an email from my Texas adoption worker. She thought my file was complete, but was informed my health inspection needed to be done by the city, not her, so I needed the health inspector to come to my house. To say I was upset is an understatement. I was assured by her in June that the health inspection she did was good and required no further action, even though in the paperwork I had it clearly stated it had to be done by the city. I had no communication from her between June and September despite my weekly attempts at contact. Once I had the health inspection completed and Texas was able to submit my completed file to Nevada, an adoption date was set. They told me I didn't have to be present but there was no way I was going to not be there. Finally the light at the end of the tunnel was just an arms reach away!