Firstly, you might notice that almost all the posts on my blog have just gone private. I’m busy reviewing them and deciding which ones are still relevant as public material. I started out this blog as a creative space to express how I was feeling, and some of the stuff here is slowly becoming inappropriate. Things I’ve said about other people. Intimate details of our fertility journey. That kind of thing. I always wondered what made people close their blogs and start afresh, I kind of understand it now. My initial audience was mostly infertile women that I had never met face to face, but slowly, more and more real life people are starting to read it. In fact, to be honest, I don’t actually know who is reading! So I’m applying a kind of test, like what would my grandmother say if she read this blog? A birth mother? My in laws? My work colleagues? Have I made offensive remarks? Since my blog is still a personal space for me, I’ve decided to review it and clean it up rather than close it.
OK – so the screening. It was a long day. We started by explaining a little about ourselves, our childhoods etc and what we do for a living. Then we each had to fill in a form with identical questions. The questions were excellently worded, I thought it was a very clever questionaire! All prospective parents should have to fill something like that in, because it really made us think about our lives.
The questions were about our home, our childhoods, our relationships with our families. Strengths and weaknesses of our parents. Qualifications and jobs of parents and siblings. Questions about our marriage, our jobs and future prospects. What were we like as children? What are our goals as parents? What questions would we like to ask the birth mother? What is the most important and valuable activity we will do with our children? We didn’t stop writing for two hours, and when she came back in the room with our lunch, we were each still only half way through the questionnaire. We laughed a lot too, one question was about how DH and I met. I wrote a long romantic paragraph about how we were instantly drawn to each other, he had such a gentle loving way about him and we had a lot in common. DH wrote: “2001. Dinner party.” As they say, Men are from Mars.
After lunch we gave up on those forms and have taken them home to complete. The next session was counselling from her side explaining how birth mothers come to them, the costs, the legal process. Would we accept an abandoned baby? etc.
That was followed by another questionnaire on our marriage, which gets sent in for assessment. It was one of those 1=disagree strongly, 5=agree strongly. We weren’t allowed to discuss with each other, and on this one we will get feedback on the weak areas.
Finally she gave us another wad of paper, forms to fill in about our finances, what we own, our budget and how much we save, medical forms for our (non-existant) GP to fill in, declarations and agreements to sign (e.g. we promise to send photos once a quarter and information on the child’s development). We still have to do a home study which is an explanation about our homelife, like an essay. We also need to make a profile which will be presented to the birth mother, explaining who we are with photos etc. She showed us some old ones to give us some ideas. We have two months to complete all of that.
We drove home in stunned silence, you know that feeling when there is a lot floating around in your head and your mind is trying to process it and file it away.
It was a great day, very positive and interesting. We played completely open cards about our separation and our precarious financial situation with DH’s retrenchment being imminent. I must say that I was left with a sense of that what we have been through is quite normal, we have not failed in some sort of perfection test, we have overcome adversity. Birthmothers are surely not looking for perfection so much as real people capable of sharing their love.
We still have our (paper)work cut out for us. I like to “do things right” so of course I can’t miss a single detail, but this is the one time where I think it will be appreciated! Thanks for all the prayers, wishes and love. You know, I felt them on Wednesday morning, really.