Today Cora and I drove about an hour north to meet with the owner of Angel Adoption--the organization we have been working with who had matched us with this last opportunity. We had a good meeting, she was very open and had "been there" herself. She had adopted three children but had just as many adoptions that had been unsuccessful.
She advised looking at every adoption opportunity as if it had only a 50% success rate. She caveated her statement by saying when speaking with the birthparents, really try to be fully engaged and expect that it will work. But privately, when talking with each other and others, employ the 50% rule and act as if it's just as likely it won't happen. Don't go buy things for the baby, don't convert our guest room to Cora's new room so the baby can have the nursery. All of these actions helped me convince myself that the baby coming to us was a reality when it can't be--not until the birthmother has held it in her arms and decided she still wishes to move forward with an adoption plan. She needs to make that second adoption plan post-birth.
After discussing tonight at dinner, Bill and I decided that we definitely wanted to pursue adoption further, at least seeing out the balance of our current contract with Angel Adoption. The contract is for two-years--we paid a set amount upfront for them to to match us over that period with their nationwide network. Thus, we still have 18 months remaining on our contract--already paid. In addition, they have a 96% success rate in matching within two years and this is very impressive--even unheard of--in adoption.
I shared with her how disappointed we had been with the social service agency who had provided our counseling. She was disappointed as well with the examples I shared, yet she agreed with the decision we've made. After weighing this carefully, we plan to continue to keep notes of where we've been dissatisfied but then wait until our adoption and post-placement is complete before sharing this with our social worker's superior. Adoption social services isn't objective like processing a check at a bank, there are many subjective decisions that could go in our favor or not. We don't want to risk getting on the bad side of our social worker who is in her first-year on the job. If she doesn't take constructive feedback well, our next experience could be even more difficult. However, when we are done, we do plan to meet and share our concerns with her supervisor.
The Angel Adoption head also pointed out that it is probable that we'll be matched in a state other than Illinois next time (I believe she said only 15% were in Illinois). In this case, we would be the only ones working with our agency and the birthparents would be counseled by an agency in their state.
She also took a fresh look at our adoption profile and gave me some excellent feedback as to how to make it stronger and more attractive to birthparents. We'll be making these changes in coming days and once it's updated, I'll post a link here in case you're interested. They also recommend making a video of us and our home to introduce us to the birthparents. She shared that this was a key differentiator and we plan to develop this soon as well.
I titled this blog post: "I shall call the pebble Dare." This is a line from "By My Side" from the musical Godspell. I've always loved the musical and this song is my favorite with the beautiful harmonies. I was listening to it this past weekend and some of the lyrics really resonated with what I'm feeling right now. The "dare" we're taking after three adoption experiences that did not go as planned (Cora's was completed but there was still a difficult six-day delay). The "dare" we're taking as we open ourselves up to potentially experience this pain once again if an adoption doesn't succeed. And then, the repeating chorus of "By my side, By my side" which I interpret to be God walking this uncertain walk with us and carrying us at times. And, on a larger scale, our families and our friends--all of you who are sharing with us, caring for us, and praying with us on this journey. So we don't have to "dare" alone.