I’ve started co-blogging with a new friend/adoption advocate/adoptive mom. Her name is Danielle and she’s a two-time colon cancer survivor. She’s super young and super cute and super tough as nails. She’s kicked cancer twice before she’s seen my side of age 30.
Back story: Danielle got colon cancer when she was in high school. She beat it and then got married to a wonderful guy who I was friends with in high school. He’s a doll and they were super happy. Then Danielle got colon cancer again, beat it again, and they discovered that treatment made adoption a great option for family building. Back in the day I met with Danielle and her husband to talk about their options for adoption. And at that time, she had just recently beaten the second round, so they were pretty limited with options. Praise the Lord they adopted the sweetest little girl into their family soon after, through a huge blessing of a friend, who had had a friend, who had a cousin’s-grandma’s-neighbor (or something like that)… But this entrance into the adoption world resulted in this high profile blogger and cancer survivor now becoming a high profile adoption advocate as well. And fast forward to our first co-blogging article about adopting after cancer.
This has spurred me to think about the bigger issue of adopting after health concerns, or other issues that have cropped up before or during your home study. So I thought I should write about this issues. Cozy up with a cup of coffee for installment 1 of home study truth time with your old social worker, Nikki.
Fact: There is nothing you can tell me at this point that I haven’t heard yet. Nothing. Perhaps its not your exact issue, but it’s some deviation of the same issues. The bottom line is that you just need to be honest. Most of the time I don’t really care too much about the issue (not all of the time mind you, but most of the time), but the more important thing is the resolve now. How has it been handled or where is the issue today?
So let’s start by talking about a health issues. I think most cancer survivors are worried about getting an approved home study. But with a good doctors letter (especially when I read the sobering fact that you are now less likely to get this type of cancer than I am!) and talking about your prognosis with you, it should be just fine. There’s no magic equation that you have to share with me to get me to approve your home study. It basically comes down to what your doctor has to say about it. This goes for most health issues that have been treated, or are able to be prolonged with current treatment.
But cancer and other major health issues are hard to hide. Even if you wanted to try, you know your doctor will have to mention them on your medical form for the home study, so you don’t have a choice but to be forthcoming with the information from the start. The real trickery is with those of you who have issues that are less open and obvious. To you I say, just be honest. I really don’t judge you. Really.
To the family who got pregnant before you got married, fear not, you were not telling me anything I hadn’t yet heard before. (Plus, I can do math.) To the couple who has gone through a separation, weathered it, gotten a ton of counseling, attends annual marriage retreats, and now gives marriage counseling to other couples at your church, fact of the matter is your marriage is probably stronger than most and you are more likely to address issues in the future before they become mountains (because you don’t want to climb that mountain again!) To the couple whose home study is done, and you get pregnant and you think it’s a good idea just not to tell me and you are figuring out what it’s going to be like to have virtual twins, but then you need a home study update and you open the door with a baby in your arms, bad call folks, bad call. I could have been helping you during this past year to prepare better for a lifetime of challenges (because, I do have a lot of knowledge about this and I can help. Plus, at least get your moneys worth and make me work for it!) And to the family whose parents are not accepting of your plans to adopt, you are in good company. I could facilitate a whole support group of you people; that’s how common it is. In fact, I’m writing two of your home studies right now.
The point is, sharing this stuff with me before it becomes uncovered, or becomes a mystery I have to solve, really is just a lot better. It’s going to start us out on the right foot; the foot where I feel that we’re walking your adoption journey together. Which, let’s just be honest, is a way better way to complete your adoption process. I need you to trust me, and I need to trust you. It’s like Robert DeNiro’s “circle of trust” in Meet the Parents. I like to call it the truth nest because it sounds cuter and I like birds. So let’s just start with our little nest of truth, and we’ll work from there.