A question we are often asked is how we get matched with one adoption case out of the thousands of open cases in Texas. I’ve come to realize that it’s a whole lot like online dating.
A friend of mine was telling me about her recent experiences as she enters the world of online dating. She described filling out her profile, making a “can’t have/must have” list of various personality and lifestyle traits, getting matched with available singles, and beginning the exchange of information, ultimately ending in a happily-ever-after dance into the sunset.
Um, yeah. That sounds exactly like how I’m becoming a mom. Weird, right?
We filled out page after page of “profile” information. How do you describe yourself in such a way that makes a CPS caseworker think you’ll make an excellent parent?? I used lots of exclamation points, cute pictures, and made sure they knew we have a dog. Kids love dogs.
We made a four page “can’t have/must have” list. Can’t have more than three children, kids on probation, severe medical needs. Must have basic level of care (no serious psych diagnoses). Under age fourteen, please, and we’d love a kid under five. We don’t care what color their skin is. JUST PICK US ALREADY!
So now, we’re in the matching process. Our “adoption specialist” is entering us into whatever cases he comes across that fit our profile. We won’t ever know how many cases we were entered into. In fact, we won’t know anything until we have been chosen as one of the top few families being considered for a case. At that point, our caseworker will go and lobby on our behalf, essentially marketing us to the CPS worker choosing the family for that particular case.
When we’re chosen, we’ll have the opportunity to meet with the CPS worker, foster parents, and others involved in the case to learn more about the kids. We’ll get to read the entire case file. I’ve been warned that this is one of the hardest, saddest parts of the whole process. We’ll read all the details that lead to the kids entering foster care, and we’ll know a lot about the challenges the kids come with. And then we’ll choose whether or not to accept the case and become parents, without ever meeting the kids.
WHAT?? We’ll commit without meeting them? Yep. And I actually think it’s a good thing. The kids have been through way too much already in their short lives. No need to introduce them to potential parents who don’t choose to accept the case. “Here’s your new mommy and daddy! No wait…never mind…they didn’t pick you. Better luck next time!” Yeah, no. We’ll take the risk, knowing that we rest safe in the Lord’s sovereign hands. We are confident that He will present us with the right kids for our family. Not the perfect kids, but then again, there’s no such thing.
So here’s hoping that the match.com way of becoming parents brings us our kids soon!