It's been six months since we started the home study process. We don't have a case worker yet, haven't even scheduled a home visit. I'm still waiting on child abuse clearances from Illinois and Massachusetts, which I requested about 5 weeks ago. It took between two and three months to find out what I needed to do to get the child abuse clearance from Ireland. Trying to get the payment instrument needed, in euros, so that I could send off for the clearance took me checking two banks, the post office, and AAA, then asking my parents for help. They then went to two banks and had to open up a new account (minimum deposit $2,000) and spend $30 just to get the 6.35 euro bank draft. It cost $33 to mail the paperwork to Ireland, and I have real concerns about whether I'm going to have to cough up more money so that they'll send me the results.
This on top of the 20 weeks it took to get the FBI background checks the first time and our misadventures with references. One reference, who we asked back in November, kept saying how busy she was and stressed about money. Meanwhile she's taken her daughter to Disney world and spent thousands on home improvements. Finally we had to give up on her, admitting that for all her "Let me know if I can do anything to help!" rhetoric, filling out the reference form wasn't that important to her. Another reference suffered a series of mishaps, with it being forgotten, printed on plain paper instead of the form (deemed unacceptable by our agency), and a series of printer problems. Technically we have enough references, but I can't help but worry if they're good enough.
All of this just for what? The basic premise is "prove that you're a good person." Sometimes it feels like "prove you deserve these children." Heck, just because there's no record of anything doesn't mean that someone hasn't committed crimes; it just means they haven't been caught yet. Isn't the stereotype that the first thing someone says when that find out that someone they knew committed horrible crimes is "But he seemed so nice!"? I think that's what they said about Ted Bundy. I'm not a criminal; I've never even had a speeding ticket. I think I had a couple of parking tickets when I lived in the city of Pittsburgh, but I paid them promptly. I don't cheat on my taxes, donate to charity, recycle, compost, pray, Freecycle, listen, volunteer, and do my best to give thoughtful gifts.
But can I prove I am a good person? Am I a good enough person? Are those people who say that "If you can't get pregnant, you were clearly not meant to be a parent" right? I spent a weekend sobbing, wracked with self doubt, wondering if this the right thing, if I have the boundless patience and caring to raise adopted children. I can't help but wonder when so often I see adoption referred to as the least bad option. If it's the least bad option, that means that it's still bad. The people that believe that adoption is evil certainly have the strength of their convictions, and it's hard for me not to give them some credence. I certainly agree that in a perfect world there would be no need for adoption; every child would be born to loving parents who could care for them and would stay together forever, living at least until their children were grown. And everyone who wants children would be able to have the exact number of children that they want. Then there would be no children unable to be raised by their biological parents, and no people who want to be parents but who couldn't have biological children. But that's not the world we live in.
So I'm stuck trying to prove that I'm a good person, losing sleep and stressing out over it. It's hard to forget that all they ask if you give birth is whether you have a car seat. So yes, you can bet your sweet bippy* I'm bitter.
If I could just get pregnant...
But I can't.
* You bet your sweet bippy was one of my grandfather's sayings when I was growing up. He may have picked it up from Laugh In.