• Erica Rosi Tham

10. They Want You to Adopt ... Right?

Several times during our home study process, friends and family asked me this question. So if you are getting started or enduring the home study process, I hope the conversation I share below will give you a sense of how it feels or validate any frustrations you have. I truly hope that in the future, requirements will lessen and people will be encouraged to adopt. If you'd like to read our story from the beginning, start here.

The neighboring hairstylist’s dog was sitting in my lap, a short-haired, submissive creature who appeared content, yet expectant of the worst from society. Fortunately, I knew how to pet such a dog and gave his hind-side some tough-love scratches.

Hair swept upward loosely, yet perfectly, Crystal’s empathy was on high alert as she met my eyes in the mirror. “So if I remember right, you were tackling paperwork and feeling frustrated with your adoption. How are things today?”

“Not much better,” I confided.

“Same color?” She asked, lifting my hair as she ran her fingers through it.

“Yup. Everything the same.”

“Don’t feel obligated. Kick him off anytime.”

“No, I like him! You go mix while we hang out.”

I provided my friend a few more scratches and carefully helped him down. Vogue was full of women who looked as fashionable as miserable, but I flipped through as usual.

Crystal returned and began segmenting my hair. “Tell me what’s happening,” she commanded.

“We’re still deep in paperwork, and the deck issue is unresolved. I finished my autobiography, but my husband is still working on his …”

“What’s this again?”

“The twenty-five pages of open-ended questions about our lives from childhood to the present. I finished in four days, but I’m a writer by nature.”

“And your husband?”

“Aiming for three weeks. Meanwhile, I found a psychologist for the psychological evaluation.”

“The what …?”

“Yes, we’re also getting evaluated by a psychologist. It’s a special requirement of India. It took me two weeks, but I finally found someone who will meet us in a month. Did you know it’s really hard to find a psychologist in Seattle?” “I’ve heard as much.”

“I think it’s prime territory for a new app. What do you think?”

“Find your perfect psychologist in three minutes … yeah. Exactly. So did I understand you? You’re writing a twenty-five-page autobiography and meeting a psychologist?”

“And meeting a social worker who will come to our home—yes. And there’s still paperwork. I keep a spreadsheet on my business hours, and I added adoption. I’m already over 80 hours of adoption work.”

“80 hours of paperwork? Seriously? Do they want you to adopt?”

“It’s a question I ask myself daily. Currently, the answer seems to be no. I’m trying to stay open-minded.”

“And what about the deck?”

“My husband keeps putting it off. Anyway, the social worker won’t come for at least a month.”

“That long?”

“How’s your son?”

“He just entered pre-school!”

“Oh, good news! You’re excited?”

“Yeah, I’m really feeling like a mom now. I went to the school and met the teachers, and they were great. I’m excited about it. He’s so cute—he’s already got a girlfriend.”

“How old is he again?”

“Four.” Crystal was beaming. “And what do you have to do next?”

“Are you doing the back last today?”

“I’ll put in a few extra foils.”

“Reference letters, from non-relatives. I’ll have to tell our friends, and they have to be notarized. That’s the hard part--I mean, the extra work of it.”

“You think people wouldn’t do it for you?” Crystal cocked an eyebrow and eyed me with humorous disbelief.

“It’s not that,” I admitted, laughing. “It’s the notary part. Already my doctor did not know what it was and that led to extra work. I have to be organized and make it as easy as possible for our friends.”

Crystal nodded sympathetically.

“Do you know what a notary is?” I asked her.

She scrunched her lower lip in a thoughtful grimace. “I know what it is … sort of … can’t say I’ve ever met one.”

“Tell me about your son,” I suggested. “Did they give you their plan for the school year?”

“Oh yeah! And I liked it. They’re working on social skills, the basic alphabet, reading … what I really liked was the teachers and their philosophies. It’s surprising, but I actually enjoy entering this world with him.”

I decided to stay quiet and let Crystal gush. Listening to gushing was better than repeatedly complaining, but I felt the absence of the kids we were longing for. I wanted to figure out the program in which to enroll my children and get to know their teachers. I wanted to feel excited about what they were learning. I wanted to be the person who was dressing them, cooking their meals, and helping with their homework.

But I had not yet seen a picture of a child on the India waiting list.

I did not know how long it would take before I would see a picture and go to a doctor to review the child’s background.

I did not even know if we would “pass” as prospective parents.

I only knew that I had to keep going.

Erica Rosi Tham

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