Adoption Planning I is what OA&FS calls the first meeting between an adoptive family, a birthfamily, and the OA&FS counselor. This meeting is a direct follow up to the birthfamily choosing a specific adoptive family. It gives everyone a 'get to know you' session where everyone involved can actually meet, talk, and see if they would be comfortable being connected for the rest of their lives. To sum it up, it's almost like an extended round of speed dating that can result in marriage within days/weeks.
Following Adoption Planning I, the adoptive and birth families each have a day or two to think it over and then confirm with the OA&FS counselor if they want to move forward. If both sides say 'yes', then everything moves forward. If one or both sides say 'no', then the adoptive family stays in the waiting pool until they are chosen again, and the birthfamily chooses a 2nd adoptive family or explores options other than adoption.
For this post, both Andy and I want to plug in our individual perspectives to give a full view on how things went today.
All the way through 'the call' and this past weekend, I'd been pretty even keeled. However, I definitely started getting really nervous ahead of today's meeting. For once, I was more nervous/jumpy/emotional than Andy! Before we met with the birthmom and her dad at 1pm, we had a quick sit down with Courtney (the OA&FS counselor) at a nearby Starbucks. Not long after, all of us were at Olive Garden sitting down to a great lunch.
Looking ahead, I'm definitely on board to move forward. I have my fingers crossed that she will want to move forward too.
Brian's definitely right that he was more nervous than me, at least in advance of the meeting. Even as we were chatting with Courtney at Starbucks, I felt strangely calm about the situation. Very excited, of course, but not overly anxious. But then as soon as we pulled into the Olive Garden parking lot, it hit me all of a sudden. We were about to meet the woman who might be carrying our child!
(We're not going to mention the expectant woman's name on the blog, or her father's, out of respect for their privacy. Rather, we'll refer to her as "C.", and her father as "M.".)
In advance of the meeting, Courtney prepared us very well by telling us a lot about the birth mother (C.). And specifically, I think she tried to fill us in on all the "bad" things so that we wouldn't be surprised by anything. Not that there's anything really "bad", so to speak; just that C. might take some time to warm up to us as new people, and if she seemed standoffish at first that would be normal for her. So of course I was prepared for the worst - I think I expected C. to sit there sullenly and silently stare at us for a hour. Thankfully, I couldn't have been further from the truth!
It probably took ten or twenty minutes for us to settle into comfortable conversation, but thankfully Courtney was an expert at coordinating that. And really quickly I think everyone was chatting like we were old friends. Okay, maybe not entirely like old friends, but at least well enough that C. started showing some of her dry, sarcastic humor in her interactions with M. After hearing so many details on the phone from Courtney earlier in the week, it was a great experience to be able to actually meet C. and get to know her for ourselves.
We spent maybe two hours at the restaurant, talking about our families, our hobbies, and telling stories. C. even showed us pictures of her three-year-old son, who will be a full sibling to this baby. We left the meeting with a very positive feeling about the entire situation, and we're excited to tell Courtney that tomorrow. And unless we entirely misread the situation, it seemed like C. felt positively about it as well! I guess we'll find out for sure tomorrow, but in the meantime I'd say we're very optimistic about where this is going.