Tuesday, May 4, 2010

How On Earth Do You Choose? A (Sort-Of) Guide

Before I begin, I would like to state for the record that for me, "choosing" was a moot point. I truly believe that I did not choose Roo's family. God chose them for her, and He simply helped me to find them. I did not choose. I found. That said, it wouldn't have been very prudent of me to say, "Okay, God, I need names." I did have to sort through profiles and have criteria of some sort. As such, I offer the following.

When I decided to meet a few couples, S suggested that I make a list of questions I wanted to ask them. I couldn't think of a single one. My mother helped me to come up with a few, based on things that were important to me. And that's what counts, I think - what's important to you? It's not a stupid question if it's important to you. In my case, the things I absolutely did not want were more plentiful than things I did want. I had a number of absolute deal-breakers. I knew I did not want a couple with pets (hello, allergies), or a couple who were politically liberal, or a couple who believed in spanking as a form of discipline. And my baby's parents had to appreciate that it was just me they were getting - I didn't have a ton of information about the birth father, and he wasn't going to be part of the openness I wanted.

The following are things to consider, whether they're really important or not. If nothing else, they’ll help you to know a couple better. Some of them might seem overly personal. But my feeling is, you’re potentially trusting these people to be the parents of your child. It’s important to be thorough. And they don't have to tell you anything they don't want to, so it can't hurt to ask.

You might not care about any of these things - that's good! I think it helps to know going into it what things are and aren't important. Not all of these things mattered to me; some did, and the rest I got from other birth moms I know.

-How long have they been married?
-Why did they choose adoption? Is it something they are both excited about or is it a second-best way of having a family?
-What are their political views? Do they vote with their party or do they vote on individual issues?
-How do they feel about spanking? What is their philosophy on discipline?
-Will they encourage their sons to serve missions? What about their daughters? Who will pay for it?
-Will the child know he or she is adopted?
-What will the child know and when?
-Will she be a stay-at-home-mom? Will the baby be in daycare or will relatives babysit?
-Yes, they have recommends, but do they regularly attend the temple?
-Are they willing to be open? What does openness mean to them?
-If your baby is biracial, how do they feel about that? Are they open to adopting outside their own race? Will they make sure the baby knows about and appreciates his or her heritage?
-Do they have any pets? Are they indoor or outdoor pets?
-How do they handle stress?
-Are they close to their families – immediate and extended?
-Do they have any plans to relocate in the next 10 years? (Visits are hard when they live on the other side of the country.)
-What family traditions did they grow up with that they want to continue with their own children?
-Do they hunt or fish?
-Who does most of the household chores? How are they divided up?
-Do they engage in any high-risk activities, like 4-wheeling or extreme sports?
-Have they had any experience with adoption before?
-Do they watch R-rated movies? (You’d be surprised)
-How do they “do” Christmas?
-Are they musical? Athletic? Literary? Witty? Ourdoorsy?
-Do they have a nursery ready? How prepared are they, right now, for a baby?
-What are their church callings? Do they enjoy them?
-What did each of them study in college?
-Did either of them serve missions?
-What kind of relationships do they have with their parents?
-If the baby is a girl, will they have her ears pierced?
-Do they like to travel? Inside the USA? Outside the USA?
-Do they have family (immediate or extended) nearby?
-How do they eat – are they vegetarian? Omnivores? Vegan? Gluten-free? Sugar-free? Organic? Do they ban refined sugar and high fructose corn syrup? How do they feel about tap water? About soda?
-Do they enjoy reading? Singing? Do they plan to read or sing to their children?
-Does their home have a pool? A Jacuzzi? Stairs? A basement? A fenced yard?
-Do they hold regular FHE already?
-Do they have any habits they wouldn’t encourage in a child?

And if you want to start off with a laugh, you can always ask how they feel about child beauty pageants. I (accidentally, and much to my embarrassment) led off with that question when I met P and M, and we got along just fine :o)


AubreyMo said...

Nice list! (And the Spammer of the Year Award goes to me). Seriously I think that's a great jumping off point, people could print that and take out what they don't need and add other things. Other things I could think of to add would be holidays and how open they would be comfortable with on those and maybe things they didn't like that their parents did that they'd like to change with their children - because we all have things like that (mine was not having family vacations or dinners together).

As for the beauty pageants, Roo would win one with her natural beauty alone! (But I'm not a fan of those ones on TLC either).

Lara Zierke said...

This just about made me hyperventilate. We did not go through LFDS. We just felt really strongly about a different agency and went with it - and it was obviously what was supposed to happen. I tell ya, as you do the homestudy and answer hundreds of questions, it's impossible not to feel judged as a person and as a potential parent. I never thought how much scarier it would be to throw religion into it. Do I ever watch rated R movies? Gulp. Regular FHE? Um... Attend the temple as often as I should/want? Cough, cough... Will I ever, ever be able to take my kid out of daycare and be a stay at home mom? Sigh...

Not sure what agency we'll go through next. If we'll get a prompting for LFDS or a different route. But I guess I better bury my copy of Braveheart. :)

It's always scary, but I know deep down that it's important to be yourself and the right birth mother will be drawn to you for the right reasons. It's just best not to think about it too much. ;)

Jill Elizabeth said...

I didn't mean to make you hyperventilate, Lara. And I didn't meant to be judgmental, either. When you're trying to decide on a couple, it can be so overwhelming. I didn't even have a clue where to begin.

What's awesome in adoption is, maybe you don't have FHE. Maybe you've got a thing for Mel Gibson as William Wallace. Your kids' birth moms will love that about you - that's why you're absolutely right when you say that you have to be yourself :o)

Laura said...

Jill, I just spent about 20 minutes searching for this on your blog. I remember reading it a while ago. We are meeting with a birth mother this weekend and I can't think of a single question to ask! We already have her social history and personal priorities in writing. I figured reading a list of things she might ask us would help, and it has.

By the way, I eventually Googled "Happiest Sad beauty pageants" and found it :)