I received the new issue of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine last week. Even though I work each issue – and by the time it’s at the publisher I think “I never want to think about that issue again! – I work mainly with the ads and the content is something I am able to enjoy…to savor.
You are probably thinking…why are we talking about the magazine? Well, hold on, I’ll explain!
The Summer issues are my favorite because the topic is usually special learners and sometimes it is adoption too. Two topics with which I can identify. And, I realized that, other than my 100 things, the average reader of my blog doesn’t know our adoption story. So, here you go!
Eric and I were married in May, 1987. By February 1988 we were hoping to get pregnant. We were fairly sure that we’d have some problems due to my previous diagnosis of PCOS. Though there was very little known about Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome at that time. We didn’t seek medical treatment becuase we were going through some big changes in our life. In September 1989 we moved to Portland, OR so that Eric could attend Western Seminary. While we lived there, I worked for a company that offered good medical insurance so we decided to see what the medical community could offer us. I tried a drug or two but I didn’t have any success. In those years I also found a community of other women dealing with infertility via Prodigy. We shared our hopes, fears, and learned a lot from each other! I learned from them that I needed to be proactive about my medical care. I was the one who had to fight for what I wanted.
But what I wanted was a family – not necessarily a child that had Eric’s eyes and my hair. And, as I learned more about the next steps that the medical profession wanted me to take, I decided that I was not wanting to walk further on this road. We were learning about adoption and decided that was going to be how our family grew.
In 1994 Eric graduated from Seminary and we moved to The Dalles, OR. After we lived there for a few months, we looked into the foster-to-adopt program. In 1995 we started taking our foster parenting classes. Little did we know that in January of 1995, our first son was born and waiting for us!
We finished our classes and was assigned a caseworker named Judy Schock. She helped us create our homestudy and walked us through the process. In Oregon, each child is given a committee who helps to find them a home. Caseworkers present their families for consideration. Three good families are chosen for the child, and then the committee meets to choose the best family for that child. I like that idea. It is backwards from how most people think adoptions happen – where the parent chooses the child.
But as we were living through that experience, I hated it! Every time we were presented for a child, we were chosen to be on the committee. But then every committee chose a different family. I think we lost track of how many committees we were part of (our part was simply to pray and wait for the phone call) but I remember the first one like it was last week. It was a sibling pair – Michael & Emily – who were 3 and an infant. We were camping on vacation while the committee was taking place. We called Judy in eager anticipation. We were devastated to find out we weren’t chosen. Of course, now I can look back and see God’s hand in it…but at that point it was another loss to grieve.
In April 1996, we finally told Judy that we couldn’t do this anymore. It was too painful. We had concerns that children weren’t being placed with us because Eric was a pastor. Feedback we were given confirmed there was some prejudice that we were unable to confront due to the system. Judy had put us in for one more committee so we agreed to go forward with that one. While in the early committees we were asking for as much information as possible, by this time we were asking her to keep the facts to herself so that we would not invest our hearts as much. All we knew was that this was a committee for a blond boy of 15 mos old who wore glasses.
I remember it was a Friday. I was at work at the Columbia Gorge Community College Library. I remember it was a quiet day in the library. I was trying not to think about the committee.
I received a phone call from Judy and I, sadly, cant’ remember her words! But I remember that the librarian just knew by the look on my face! I was pretty shocked! I tried to call Eric at the church but he wasn’t there. I remembered that he was going to do some visitations that afternoon, so I tried to hunt him down. I found out he was on his way to see our friend Gregg. But when I called Gregg, he hadn’t arrived yet. I ended up telling Gregg and Dixie our news. And Gregg ended up telling Eric. He greeted him on the porch with “Hi Daddy!”…I imagine it took Eric a bit to figure that out.
Judy said there was a video tape of J1 and if we could get to Hood River by 4:30 we could pick it up – otherwise we’d have to wait for Monday. Of course, we rushed right over! We had a celebratory meal at our favorite Chinese restaurant in Hood River and then rushed home to watch the video. It was short and left us wishing for more!
We thought the waiting was over….but it hadn’t.