Our exciting news from yesterday has left me feeling a little…numb. Don’t get me wrong – I’m over-the-moon excited – we have accomplished a LOT since we got started in this process back in January (paperwork-wise, in other ways, it was a long time before January). This was a really big step. And I’m proud to have made it. Really, really happy that we’re one step closer to parenthood. And we saluted ourselves and our stick-to-itiveness-so-far over a pint of Ben & Jerry’s in celebration.
On second thought, “numb” is really not the right word, exactly. True to form, I’m ever anxious for the next part of the story.
It’s this next part – what I’ve heard described as comparable to the third trimester of pregnancy – that is our challenge now. A few people have asked us what this part of the process will look like, and we have both given the best answers we know how to give. There are so many variables that we have very little idea what this part might look like. We don’t know where the birthmom lives, if a birthdad or other birth family members will be involved, and to what extent. We aren’t sure how a birthfamily will feel about openness – we have hopes for what that relationship might look like, but we don’t know how it will actually go.
The biggest thing on the minds of those who have been following us is the timeline from here. Obviously that’s a huge question for us, too! We have no idea how long this part might take (our agency notes that the average wait time once you’re “in the books” is 18 months – for some it’s longer, for some it’s less).
One question that we’ve been asked that we have been able to answer is how an expectant parent might find out about us. There are many different ways – we are casting a wide net. Through our agency, we have a profile website. An expectant parent might Google the word “adoption.” One of the first links to come up is for our agency. Once he or she is on IHeartAdoption.org, it’s easy to search profiles for whatever criteria might be important. When our profile comes up, an expectant parent can read our profile page, see pictures, read our Dear Birthparent Letter, send us an email, check out our Facebook page, see The Littlest Brooks-Livingston’s Pinterest Boards, or call our toll-free number (yep, we have one!) Each one of those different means also has the same contact info, like the new Contact Us page on this blog.
If we’re contacted first (without the expectant parent having gone through the agency first), we will refer them to our Adoption Coordinator who will assess the situation and make arrangements for counseling and other services that are so important in helping a family decide what is right for them in their particular situation. At some point, we might decide to meet, and at that meeting, decide if we want to “match,” which is comparable to dating someone exclusively, I suppose. At that point, our profile will be removed from the agency’s website and we will not be actively “looking.” The length of that period depends on how far along the pregnancy is – it could be anywhere from 3 to 9 months when we are first contacted. I’ll write more about the Match Meeting another time.
We’re finding out from others who have been down this path before that word of mouth is important, too, as is actual printed media, in addition to having an online presence. At the suggestion of some friends, and from our IAC Adoption Coordinator, we designed some business card size pass-along cards (on the left). These are currently being printed, as is a beautiful postcard (that matches our Dear Birthparent Letter perfectly) that a friend designed for us. (It’s below)
Marketing ourselves, which is what this really boils down to, is a little overwhelming. It also feels a little weird to be sending our faces and contact information out into the world. But necessary. We want to be found – and that won’t happen unless we get out there.The plan of action – getting these things out there – is what we’re working on now. We’re going to need some help – so don’t be shy! 🙂