By Davina Owens
“You know mom, sometimes I smell farts, and I didn’t actually even fart.” -Sam, age 4
Sometimes things just get stinky.
I’m not someone who likes to dwell on the negative, so I decided to keep most of the stinky stuff in the past month to myself. And it’s not really “sad” or “bad” stuff…just a little stinky. But I realize that sometimes the stinky stuff is an important part of the story, so here it is…
In my life, if something is going to go wrong, it will. But really random things. I’ve just gotta laugh. The final step in our Home Study (the home visit) went off without a hitch. To say that I was THRILLED to have that step behind us is an understatement! It literally took 34 days to get it all done, and I was breathing a big sigh of relief. I can now let my room get messy again- Hallelujah!
But the next day, we found out that for some reason my fingerprints were rejected. I got a message saying I’d have to have them retaken as soon as possible. I wouldn’t have to pay. “Ok,” I thought. “No big deal,” I thought. “Clearly, someone has made a mistake.” I made an appointment to get them redone that Friday.
The man who did the scan did them slowly. Again and again. And the screen kept showing this big red “X.” After the third try, he says to me “Well, you just have bad fingerprints. You’re going to get rejected again.” To which of course I replied “Wow. I should go rob a bank!”
(Not a good idea to joke about committing a crime while you’re speaking to someone who is responsible for your federal criminal background check.)
After I assured him that I was not actually going to commit a crime (and if I did I’d just use gloves…sheesh) he told me that they would have to reject me and ask our agency for an authorization to conduct an alternative background check. Through the FBI.
We are still waiting to hear, but we expect clearance in the next couple of weeks.
All this because I wore my prints down by typing and playing piano. Thanks Mom and Dad!!!
Once the home study work was behind us (I haven’t even mentioned the mounds of paperwork), it was time to jump in with our adoption profile. An adoption profile is created by the prospective adoptive parents, hopefully with some assistance by an agency or consultant. It is a carefully crafted compilation of pictures and text that the expecting mom is shown to help her decide who she will choose to parent her child. It’s really the only thing she sees about us, and so there is a lot of emphasis on making sure it represents us as a family, but also speaks to her as a specific audience.
In other words, it’s incredibly nerve-wracking.
Anyone who tells you this part is fun can take their creative juices and stick them keep them to themselves. I swear. We did a page a night for three weeks and IT. DRAINED. US.
Our first attempt was a quick PDF using PowerPoint that our social worker asked us to throw together one night. She was seeing a pregnant momma and thought we’d be a good fit, so she wanted something to show her. (Don’t get your hopes up. She decided to parent before we could even meet her. Also part of this stinky story, but I’m not dwelling on it!)
I spent the night putting something together, and it really looked nice. Clean lines, great photos, really showed who we are. The agency loved it so much they even asked us to give them a tutorial on how we did it! BUT, it didn’t meet their criteria for a full “Profile Book” so we had to pretty much start from scratch after that.
Fast forward to last week when we showed the first half of our actual book to our social worker…
She did not like it.
Too many words. Too religious. Way too many words. Too wordy.
And I knew.
I knew as we were putting it together that I was being too wordy.
But I am a writer. How on earth am I supposed to portray all I want to portray about my family WITHOUT WORDS?!?!
And people- I am sure I am preaching to the choir when I tell you… there are practically no pictures of me doing things. I’m the Mom. I am always behind the camera. I take selfies (I gave into this fad a year ago when I realized there were no pictures of me), but it’s kind of hard to take a selfie of yourself doing what you do in your day-to-day life.
So for about a week, I unashamedly asked friends to pose with me. I asked my husband to photograph me “singing” at church and “serving” in Kidstown. Sam and I took a walk just so we could photograph our street.
This was all embarrassing, but necessary. Does posing feel like lying? Maybe a little. But it’s nothing we don’t already do. And we got the pictures we needed to tell a story without using WORDS.
The book is done, and submitted for review by our adoption agency’s social worker. Not much feedback, other than she likes it. We literally poured our heart and soul into creating this profile; we would have liked a little more hoopla when we finally got it right!
I just want this part to be over!!!
But then the waiting starts.
We filled the time a bit by holding our first big fundraiser. It was a major undertaking, but wound up being incredibly successful. The amount of support we received was overwhelming.
And now back to the wait.
And I think if I’m honest with myself, this is when the fear creeps in. When my hands are tied, and there is just nothing left to do but wait. Fear is stinky too.
Fear that we’re not good enough, or lovable enough, or trustworthy enough.
Fear that the homestudy
and the book
and the pictures
and the WORDS
aren’t going to say what an expectant mother wants to hear.
I have faith that we will complete our family eventually. Because God is good and because sometimes you have to get through the stinky stuff to take in that sweet baby smell.