So, we're in the pool. Hooray! But does that mean that we're ready for a baby? Well, yes and no.
Up until now, we've been focusing a lot on getting paperwork done and getting ourselves mentally and emotionally ready for a child. And really, you can't go through the homestudy process without doing that. Obviously, there's a mountain of paperwork to be done, and even just the basic biographical data parts of that were hard enough to fill out.
But there's been a lot of careful thought and evaluation that we've had to do during this whole process as well. Starting with OA&FS's pre-adoption seminar, we did a lot of talking about why we wanted to become parents, what our family would be like, etc, etc. And that continued during the homestudy as well, especially in our interviews with Katie. She really delved into everything, from thoughts on our own experiences with our parents to how we would handle a trans-racial adoption. Lots of probing, thought-inducing conversations in there. And then let's not forget the screening tool, of course - that really brings it home with some specifics when you're considering that your child may have prenatal exposure to all sorts of scary things.
So suffice it to say that we have completed all the forms, we have had all the talks, and we feel very ready to have a baby. Except for one small thing - we don't know where we'd put it!
This was really the plan we talked about all along - we know there's likely going to be a fairly long time that we wait for a placement, and we're going to use this time to get some basic items prepared and ready. But it also seems a bit weird to know that we could (in theory) get "the call" tomorrow, and we'd be totally unprepared!
Now we don't want to go overboard, either. Neither one of us wants to set up an entire nursery, complete with crib, mobiles, plush animals, and the like, only to have it sit empty for the next four years. So we're going to try to find a nice balance in between. We know that we'll need a carseat to bring our child home from the hospital, so we've already started looking into that. We know that we'll need some basic items of clothing, diapers, and a blanket or two. We know that we'll need some formula (although I don't know how long its shelf life is, so that might have to wait). But we really only want to get the basics for now.
The most likely case is that we'll get a placement with a birthmother in her third trimester. That will give us more than enough time to really prep our home for a baby, and we'll definitely know a lot more about said baby once we've met the birth family! A last-minute placement is possible, but thankfully not as likely. And even with a last-minute placement, we'll be able to manage with the help of our friends and family.
The other major focus for us now is also largely practical: the "how" of parenting. Sure, we want a baby - but do you think either of us can actually change a diaper? Now that we've done a bunch of reading and preparation for "adoption", it's time to do the same for "parenting"! I've already been soliciting advice on good parenting resources from a number of our friends who have little ones. And we'd also like to find a parenting class to take around the Seattle area, hopefully to get a little more hands-on.
So now, we really start preparing. It's going to be a fun road ahead!