Friday, May 22, 2009

Auditioning for a Baby... a.k.a. The Adoption Process

I recently left a comment on Jeremiah's blog with this analogy.

Some have compared the "Home Study" portion of adoption to a lengthy job interview. Interviewing for your dream job: Mom. But I beg to differ. In a job interview, there are laws that prevent the prospective employer from asking certain questions. There is Equal Opportunity Employment. And it is basically an objective means of weeding out those who do not qualify for the job, while those who may be able to handle the job are given a chance, despite any personal feelings the interviewer may have toward the candidate.

Not at all like the adoption process. At least, not from what I've experienced thus far.

Instead, I would liken the whole process to an audition, say, for a Broadway play. Why is this different than a job interview, you may ask? Well, for one, an audition is HIGHLY subjective, and it's supposed to be. An actress can be extremely talented, and totally nail the role in question, and still lose it because she's not the right height, or race, or age. BUT- the actress can also be TOLD that one of these things is the reason why she didn't land the role, when in reality it could be any number of other "personal" reasons. Legally, she has no leg to stand on if she fights the decision because she suspects discrimination. After all, it's the director's JOB to discriminate- to find who would be the best all-around person for the role. Some actresses may find that they are not even considered for some parts that they would love to play, because their agent does not recommend them for it. Again, the agent has the right to do this, based on her knowledge of how her client may interact with certain directors, how well she would handle the schedule of the role in question, etc.

Now, with adoption, we prospective adoptive parents are the auditioners, while the agency SW conducting the Home Study is our Agent. The expectant mothers then become the Directors.
First, we must convince our agent (SW) that we deserve to be recommended for these roles we desire so deeply. And this is a lengthy process, with a lot of emotions, because, after all, the agent is basically a stranger that has been hired by their client. They don't truly KNOW them; yet they have the power to recommend them for these roles or not.
If the actress is truly lucky, she will be recommended for a role. Her hopes skyrocket. She prepares to make the very best first impression, since this audition will either land her the role of her dreams or keep her unemployed. Now she is up against the Director. Another stranger. The only things known about this actress by the Director is her resume and a nice headshot. Depending on how the actress' head is tilted in the headshot, her hair style, or the extent of her smile, the Director may have already made up her mind before the actress even walks on that stage- she is not the one. Or, conversely, something may pop up on the actress' resume that catches the Director's eye. A play she was in 4 years ago, may be a play the Director once produced, and had a lovely experience with it. That connection alone may push the bias to the other side, and despite all the fumbling of lines in the actual audition, the actress may still get the role.
Rarely is the decision made, by either the Agent or the Director, based upon the ACTUAL TALENT AND POTENTIAL of the actress.

Just like the adoption process.

Which is why I hate it. Have I mentioned that before?

Now, in case there are some birthmothers out there who have stumbled across my blog, I do want to say that I BY NO MEANS intend this as a criticism of how you have made/will make your decision on who will parent your child/ren. In fact, I do not believe the decision should be completely void of subjectivity. I can think of nothing MORE subjective than giving your child to another couple to raise. Of course emotions will play a huge role!

But I am saying that it makes quite a hellish experience for the adoptive parents. As badly as we want to become mothers and fathers, there really is NOTHING WE CAN DO to better our chances. And no matter how perfect we are to fill that role of "mommy" or "daddy," we may not be able to land that role for a long, long time. All because our shirt was not the right color in our head shot. Or our mention of playing Bloody Mary in South Pacific brought back bad memories of a horrible hangover senior year of High School.

I did touch base today with my "agent." We will be scheduling our 2nd meeting (of 4) for either next week or the week after. THANK GOD! Things are moving (at a snail's pace, but still...) She let me know that one of our references still hasn't sent their letter (we promptly called and scolded them- seriously, WHO takes 6 weeks to write a reference letter???), but that we can still go ahead and have our 2nd meeting. I'm hoping that we can do our home visit (the 4th visit) by the end of June or early July, but that may be wishful thinking. We shall see...

Things have been pretty crazy busy around here lately, so I'm sorry for being MIA. I am almost finished with my repeat uterine washes with Dr Toth (Monday will be the last of 7), and my period was GORGEOUS this cycle, so they are definitely working. I just hope I can kick this infection once and for all this time. Poor DH may need to get another injection or two, also, because Dr Toth really doesn't want to risk him re-infecting me after I have gone through all of this. Especially since we are not going the IVF route. (He forgot that we were opposed to IVF, and started to talk about how much he HATES it, but that in some circumstances it can be helpful... so, make that now TWO Drs who have told me IVF would be my best shot at pregnancy.)
He stopped himself right away, though, to ask if I had emotional oppositions to IVF. When I said yes, he said, "Then I will say no more, let's talk natural conception." I really like him :)

On Monday after my last wash, DH and I are going to meet my sister in NYC at Alice's Tea Cup- - a really cute little Tea House - - for High Tea. I love tea houses, and DH does, too!! His parents are both British, so maybe that's where he got his affinity for tea. I've never been to Alice's, but I've heard it's really cute. We were going to go to the Russian Tea Room, but I didn't feel like spending $100 for a couple of finger sandwiches and a pot of tea after shelling out $2,100 on washing my dirty, diseased uterus. Call me cheap.


Karey said...

It is hard to think about how we are being judged throughout this process. I wish God could just miraculously place a baby on our doorstep!

And I love high tea, too, and so does my husband!

E said...

I never thought of the process quite like this, however, you are MUCH further along than we are. I forgot you were getting more washes this week! I really hope and pray that it works for you this time, I also feel for your DH! Enjoy NYC and high tea, sounds like fun. :)

Sew said...

You have such a great imagination! :)

I have never been to "tea"! You really pay $100 for it? Is it that good?

the misfit said...

I like your analogy. But I was thrown by the part about actresses' paid agents being allowed unilaterally to decide not to recommend them (why would you pay someone to act unilaterally?). I'm less surprised that social workers can do that, but still. If the person is YOUR social worker, shouldn't they be working for YOU? (Unlike the birth mother, you're paying them!) I assume the birth mother's social worker isn't telling all her secrets, or keeping this baby from nice couples because the mom is a real pill and only a rotten couple should have to deal with her. So why is your social worker keeping your profile from birth mothers because of things to do with you? (Except, of course, objective factors - if the birth mother is black and she wants black parents for her kids and she SAYS so, then your SW shouldn't recommend you for that one, it wouldn't make sense. Or if the birth mother wants the parents to be her religion, or to be a certain age, and it's HER saying it, then, of course, the SW should follow that, 'cause otherwise they're wasting everyone's time. Just they shouldn't use their OWN subjective ideas, I would think.)

Amy @ This Cross I Embrace said...

But we can only ASSUME that they are being as objective as possible... hence the constant worry. Of course, a paid agent (or a paid SW) should always be looking out for the best interests of their client. But how can we REALLY know they are? It may seem like they have no reason to withhold showing us to a certain b-mom, but you just never know. For example, we don't seem to have "clicked" with our SW, and she also has very different ideas of how important the family unit is, particularly for adoption. (She adopted 9 years ago, as a single mom.) So anything we say in our "interviews" with her can continue to change her overall like or dislike for us as a couple, and when asked for profile books of couples who are like us, she may decide to show her 4 other similar clients over us... see what I'm saying?? It's all very sunjective, even though that part of it shouldn't be. We just have to "trust" and hope they are acting on our behalf in the best way possible.

Oh, and Sew, the Russian Tea Room is a famous tea house in NYC. It's one of those "landmark" places that tourists like to visit, therefore they can get away with charging an arm and a leg. I've been once, so I don't feel the need to go again!
Usually High Tea is NOT that expensive, lol!

Sissy said...

I am really surprised at your SW. We love the people at our agency and the SW they contracted to do our homestudy. Can you switch and deal with someone else there? If you aren't connecting with her, maybe it would be best to be assigned to someone else. At the very least, you are paying her to assist you, she should be professional and somewhat compassionate to your situation. I have never felt like I couldn't talk to, or ask our people anything I wanted. I don't feel like they judge us at all, and I have talked with them about how they show profiles to birthmoms. Our agency rep talked about how hard it was to keep her mouth shut when she thinks that one couple would suit a BMs needs/wants. She lets them look and read and keeps out of it.

Praying for you!

Amy @ This Cross I Embrace said...

Thanks, Sissy. I am just so scared to even breach the subject... I am such a non-confrontational person!! Any tips?

Kathryn said...

I agree with Sissy..our agency (for our domestic adoption) was awesome. I seriously felt they were doing so good by the birthmothers and by us. You know you don't have to use a local can use an agency anywhere in the country. Ours was based in FL and we are no where near FL.
We used another agency (local) to do our homestudies and we just loved our SW. She helped us bring both kids home...we still keep in touch with her.
Email if you want to talk more about it.

Grace in my Heart said...

I can't remember if I told you this already, so sorry if it is a repeat. We had a bad experience with an agency/sw and switched agencies. It was like night and day...our new sw was very compassionate and we never felt like we were auditioning for a play... I don't know- you may want to just get the homestudy done with them and then look at other agencies. You are paying them for a service- they should treat you respectfully.

Jeremiah 29:11 said...

Ha ha... love your analogy. Yes, the adoption process seems quite daunting to me right now. I just hope that I can see past the process to the end result!