10:56 AM

Proud to have had a home study - and passed!

It never occurred to me to be annoyed about needing to have a home study and be approved by (in our case, 3 now) government agencies before being allowed to adopt. The only thing I was less than happy about were the costs associated, but I just mentally clumped them with taxes and pizza delivery fees, essentially necessary, but still meriting the occasional grumble or eye roll.
I remember thinking when we found out I was pregnant that there was some injustice that I didn't get any government approved preparedness classes, that this baby was just going to sneak up on me with no real support of any kind.
Call me competitive or obsessed with winning, but I was really looking forward to being approved to parent. I attended our PRIDE class with some feelings of over preparedness, and stoped raising my hand to answer every question when I was politely informed that we did not get any grades, and beating the other patents to the punch was not helping the other parents learn. Oupsie. But I will have you know that I was singled out by our teacher months later for my amount of participation and for creating some lively debate in the room.
Now as an experienced parent I am seeing another DELIGHTFUL perk to this whole approved to parent situation. You may not have witnessed it yet, but there is a rampant amount of mommy competitiveness you will encounter on your every day life as a mommy. This will come from people who are your dearest friends, in-laws or even perfect strangers. It is sometimes given softly with true concern or other times due to true curiosity and many more times with a honey smile and snake eyes/smug mouth. There is nothing I hate more in a mom friend, I have a 3 strikes your out policy with this behaviour in parents. I don't need it in my life and I most certainly do not need you saying those things with in earshot of my children. You can usually see a Competitive Mom (CM) coming a mile away. Her sentences usually start with "So.... How old is he?" CM at this point seems barely able to listen to your answer because she has already begun to measure your child against every thing she read in "what to expect in the first year" book that she has memorized and is now singling out the things that your child seems to be missing out on for his scheduled month. CM now smugly asks says "Oh really, is he "fill in the blank with developmental milestone here" yet?
I used to answer "I am not sure, I haven't really been watching him too closely" (snicker) That usually shut up CM and she would walk away praising her self for avoiding having had a near friendship with such a wackadoodle mom such as me. Crisis averted.
Occasionally though there were CMs who would politely laugh at my joke and then follow up with helpful solutions on how to encourage my son to accomplish such pressing milestones before he chocked up another under achieving day. The "Have you tried..." is a indicator that you have encountered a Level2CM. These Level2CMs often would also question your choices to date to see if perhaps GASP you might have inadvertently caused this "delay" months earlier when you: Gave your child a bottle, fed him food that was not home made or organic, let him use a pacifier, used disposable diapers, immunized/refused immunizations, let him cry/did not let him cry, let him sleep on his tummy/did not give him enough tummy time.
BUT NOW!!!!! If I see a CM coming I can whip out my approved by Ontario to parent letter, that I plan to make wallet sized and laminate, and sweetly ask "Are you approved to parent?, oh you are not? I am. So, I am not worried, and neither are the 2 government agencies that approved me to parent.... Have you tried worrying less?"
Now on a more serious note regarding approvals, I can not believe the kahoonas some people have in complaining about having to do all this work "just to get a child". Okay I get that before this paperwork you may have done a lot of work to get a child including medical interventions and who who knows what else, and that the (I lovingly quote Claudia here) "mythical cr@ck-wh0re" down the street didn't need to prove anything to get her babies. BUT, and this is a big BUT they are not about to parent some one else's child. We demand that other people who care for our children be licenced, regulated and monitored. Once you are a parent researching day care for your child I really doubt that you would even consider a school with no licenced teachers because hey who needs a licence, the cra@ck-wh0re didn't need one and she has 5 kids in her house! Ya that does not fly because they are all hers, you see what I am saying, adoptive parents have a higher level of accountability, be proud of that not grumpy. Now I know this is very contrary to the rightful attitude that when you adopt they are all your own. But at this point of paperchasing you have not yet earned the right to label them as "your own" you have not passed the tests that are in place for this very reason, so that every one can have confidence that you are going to parent them with some level of standards.
Now speaking of standards, I personally would like to see them higher. I have a lot of concerns about parents who are being approved who are not really prepared for what lies ahead. They have not been educated about attachment, special needs, transratial adoption issues, trauma. Many of them have not resolved their own issues of loss or have motivations that can impact their future children. I see it all the time in blogs, and I wonder who approved them when there is this glaring issue right here. I am not saying they should be denied, I just feel that there should be a much higher level of preparedness for all adoptive parents. Maybe we should be graded, maybe there should be exams and mandatory reading. Maybe there should be more than just boxes to check, forms to fill and fingerprints to mail. I also think there should be continuing education and follow up exams and mandatory reading for the age appropriate events that happen for adoptees, a sort of re-certification if you like. Information changes, new studies are made and I know that parenting attitudes have changed so much in the past 5 years. I think we all agree that post adoption support needs to be improved, but I think that it also needs to not be optional support.