While this may sound coarse, this is a regular fact of adoption. In some cases, babies are essentially "ordered" like the beverage I just ordered from the coffee shop I'm sitting in. If parents want a newborn baby girl that is Asian with parents that are genetic scientists, they can make that happen. Of course, every agency is different. Does our agency allow for this? Short answer... yes.
Say hello to our Screening Tool! In a way, it's fascinating that we can essentially fill in parameters on a piece of paper and eventually end up with a
Officially, Andy and I have sort of discussed some of these but not put them into writing yet. With the general clarifier that these are just my opnions and thoughts, let's run through these:
Age: Newborn to 3 months
The dream baby for most adoptive families is a newborn baby. For me, being a first-time parent means that I don't want to miss out on any experiences in my child's life. Being a parent of a baby is all about marking those milestone 'firsts' such as the first smile, laugh, crawl, etc.
Gender: Boy or Girl
I'm 100% sure that we will mark down "either" and leave this to chance (just like regular parents!). Admittedly, I'd love to have at least one boy, but this is just our first child. It'll be fun to see where we end up.
The title of this line is vague, but it is essentially a catch all line that includes race and any other factors adoptive parents would like to specify. For us, race isn't a huge factor. While specifying a white baby would better fit our family as both Andy and I are white, it's not like our family pictures won't give us away as an irregular family anyway!
Shh, don't tell Andy about this one. We haven't really talked about it, and I'm just throwing out an answer :) Our current plan is to have two children that are a couple years apart or so. To have twins means we'd have two babies up front and double the work which could be both really taxing but really rewarding too.
So overall, I've covered some of the elements of the Screening Tool and some potential answers, but I've left out one of the most important consequences about the Screening Tool. By it's nature, this form is meant to "screen" down all of the potential babies to one that adoptive parents would like to welcome into their family. Every time a new criterion is entered, your pool of potential matches is reduced. If we put down that we only want a boy, then we would miss out on 50% of the babies that we could be matched with. That could potentially double our wait in the pool. Would that be worth it?
This concept of reducing our available pool is both a boon and a burden. It's great that we at least have the chance to provide input on our future baby and birth family, but every choice means that we could be reducing our chances of getting picked which could increase our waiting time from months to several years.
The next post about the screening tool will cover the heavier latter half of the Screening Tool dealing with topics such as drug and alcohol use by the pregnant mother, mental health, and other factors. In the meantime, feel free to comment and share how you would fill out the top half of the Screening Tool. It would be a lot of fun to know how all of you would answer these and why!