DH and I agreed we left the adoption seminar both encouraged and discouraged.
The timelines they were talking about were discouragingly long. 1-5 years. WHAT?! :( There was a couple there who were still waiting for an international adoption to go through 4 years later. Poor them! They have to re-do their homestudy once, they may have to re-do again soon. Ay yi ya!
Adoption breaks down into three categories, and I assume this is the same everywhere. Public, private, international.
I am more than ever convinced private and international are NOT for us.
Private adoption - too much risk (emotional and financial) for us. A birth mother here has 7 days after birth then 21 more days to change her mind. Yikes! Can you imagine having to give back an infant you've mothered it for 3 weeks?! Talk about breaking the heart. AND, your money is then down the drain, no do-overs. There was a fellow presenting that had done a successful private adoption, which is great, but I don't think I can handle the risk. Sure, it would be lovely to have an infant...but again, I don't think the risk is worth it. They say private adoptions are only about 5% of the total adoptions in the province per year, or about 100 in our province of ~13 million.
International adoption - not for us. After seeing this documentary about Haitian adoption, I was soured on the whole deal. If you can't be sure whether or not the child is really an orphan, or if they are poor and someone told the baby's Mom the baby would be raised by rich people and come back when hes 18...? I do not feel adoption is the right way to address third world poverty. AND, the nice couple at the adoption seminar was still waiting after 4 years. And it seems kind of... greedy? (Completely no offence to any future international adopters out there). Like why go to this huge expense when there are 8000 kids in my province waiting to be adopted? It is true you likely will get a younger kid, but something they pointed out at the seminar - you usually get no history with them - they could be just as un-perfect as a CAS kid, you just don't know about it.
Which brings us to - local adoption. Here it is called Children's Aid Society or CAS. (There are also Catholic Children's Aid and Aboriginal Children's Aid and Jewish Children's Aid). This seems the most complicated but potentially the most rewarding of the three, this is the option I think we'll initially pursue. It is harder to end up with a younger child through CAS, but it can happen. There are often 'problems' with CAS kids - mother's drug/alcohol abuse, sometimes physical problems, sometimes mental problems or learning disabilities. The social worker that was at the event went on a bit of a private rant at the end about it though (because there was a same-sex couple there and that puts them out of the international race, and no one really has good odds in the private world, she wanted to encourage them), about how the kids get labelled with all sorts of scary things (ADHD, ADD, etc) - but some of this is due to the fact that their environment is changing so much (in and out of foster homes), of course they have trouble in school etc. With a stable environment (and here I am thinking - "and good nutrition!") some of these issues can go away with time and effort.
At the point I still would prefer a child <4 years old without too many serious issues. These do come up in the system. During the seminar he showed us there are 4 children right now under 4 waiting for adoption - even a sweet one year old named "Rosie". We'll take her! :) We are open to any race and also to sibling pairs, which should help our odds slightly. Oh, and CAS kids are "free". No $60 000 spent on a kid from Russia, or $30 000 spent on a failed private adoption. This allows us more money to spend on me not working and actually raising the kid. And really - if you spend the day with a 3 year old, doesn't your heart melt and you are ready to steal them away?
There was a fellow at the seminar that had adopted sibling pairs locally - he seemed to set some world time record, they completed the adoption in <2 years. He seemed so nice. They are in the process of adopting the sibling's new half-brother.
So to get paper-ready (ready to adopt for all three scenarios above), you have to do two things: Adoption school (called PRIDE here, 27 hours long), and complete a home study.
I actually think PRIDE will be good for us, since we haven't explored this adoption road very much yet. And your PRIDE training doesn't expire, so it will be good for ever, regardless of what we do in the near term. Speaking of which - yes, we are still moving forward with a few IUIs. But DH has clearly said he always wanted to adopt, so there is no reason not to get the ball rolling. If by magic we do get pg, we'll maybe pause, but then we can pick it up again and continue - it takes ages to complete an adoption anyway, we can star the ball rolling before our bio kid is in daycare.
The home study seems like a bit of a burden. If you can get in the CAS system it is free, but the chances of that are slim - you have to be willing to adopt 10 year old sibling pairs with serious issues, and we're not there now. But you can do a private home study, and sort of back into the CAS system, which is what we are hoping to do. A private homestudy they say costs $3500, and can take 6 wks to 6 months to complete. Our plan is to do PRIDE first and then once we're more educated plan the homestudy.
And the homestudy does seem like someone will be judging you for weeks/months. Scary stuff! BUT, they say they aren't looking for a 'perfect couple', they are looking for real people. They say even if you had some pretty serious skeletons in your closet you could be approved (as long as you're not a child abuser of course).
Ok, I have a million more thoughts, but how long can one post get!?? Adoption still seems like a wild card to me a bit (and SO UNFAIR when a 15 year old can just whip out a baby and no one says boo), we'll see how it progresses over time for us. We are already over our 2 year limit when we said we'd start pursuing adoption.....