Today, Andy and I received an email at 2:15pm. We were both having fairly busy and hectic days at work, but this completely reset our priorities. Each of our inboxes had an email from our agency. There was a newborn baby boy and the agency was preparing for a last minute placement. Suddenly, preparing for a project interview with the City of Kirkland or coordinating software code changes weren't all that important. Both of us read that email and realized that we were staring at our first screening experience.
After being in the waiting pool for 7 days, it was a reality check to realize that we could actually be chosen at any time. Of course, we've known that and expected it, but we have also conditioned ourselves to be ready to wait two years for a placement. Two years is a far cry from 7 days. Not only that, our agency needed us to reply by 6:00pm.
Screening calls are only done when the birth situation is riskier. (For instance, if there's high pre-natal exposure to drugs or alcohol.) When no such factors exist, our profile is generally shown to the birthmother without our knowledge. Additionally, even if we do get a screening call and choose to show our profile to a birthmother, we won't hear anything else from the agency about that particular case unless we get chosen.
In the end, we decided that there were a lot of factors with this case that were outside of our comfort zone. From the limited info in the email, we knew that the baby boy weighed just over 5 lbs and tested positive for heroin and marijuana. His birthmom also tested positive for meth. If you've read our screening tool posts, you know that we're ok with some exposure to each of these. What put this case outside of our comfort zone were our concerns with unknown quantities and duration of drug exposure during the pregnancy.
By nature, a last minute placement means that everything in the process is accelerated as a baby cannot sit in the hospital for days after being born. While Andy and I would prefer to have a placement that is not last minute, we are definitely still open to one. For us, it is important that we feel we have a chance to build a relationship with the birthfamily and have a healthy baby that has exposure levels we are comfortable with. While our first screening email came much earlier than expected, it was great to see and we really hope that there will be a wonderful adoptive family that welcomes this little guy into their home this weekend!