This week I am going to an Adoption Networking Event on Thursday, June 4 in the city.
An Adoption Networking Event is another name for a matching event, where social workers showcase some of the children under their care who are waiting for adoptive families, and pre-adoptive families showcase themselves.
It is also, as the name suggests, a chance for parents and social workers from around BC to get together and network.
My social worker has let me know that as a pre-adoptive parent with the unsteady upbringing, some poor choices along the way, and my current single status, is it much better for someone to meet me and form an opinion, than reading a 10 page file on my life so far.
After all, who could possibly fit a lifetime of learning and growth into 10 pages?! I know I cant! I have trouble keeping a single week’s post below that! LOL.
Jokes aside, I completely agree with her. It is better to meet me and get a feel for who I am and what it is I have to offer as a person and a potential adoptive mom, than to read about me in a cold fill-in-the-blanks file that has no flair or personality. Although that is a lot of pressure – to make a good enough impression that someone will consider selecting me for a child!
It is also the opportunity for me to actually see some profiles of children – complete with photos – and get to ask questions of their social workers in person.
Networking is not really my forte though – I’ll be honest! I will do it, and often those who witness me in “full-swing” have told me that I am good at hiding how uncomfortable I feel (phew!), but talking about myself one-on-one with people I don’t know makes me feel very uncomfortable indeed. And I’m never sure that I give an accurate representation of who I am, but I can only try.
This adoption process continues to push me out of my comfort zones and asks me again and again to grow in directions I may not have actively sought to grow. For that, I will choose to feel grateful! After all, exercising ‘muscles’ that I wouldn’t normally seek to exercise can only benefit me in the long run. Right?!
I am grateful that my social worker will be at this event with me. I’m hoping she can help me stay on track with conversations and perhaps step in when I flounder for the right words to say. She may also be able to guide me on the information we hear or the profiles we see. It will be really good to have her there.
This will be the third of these events that I’ve been to in the past six months. Each one has been different.
The first one that I attended last year came only weeks after I had made the difficult decision to say no to a potential match, that had gone as far as planning for transition. I was still very tender at that point in time, my heart still quite broken and bleeding, and while I put my best face forward I couldn’t help comparing every child I saw on the screen to “my H”. And while there was one child profiled that stood out to me, it didn’t pan out and I can honestly say looking back that I wasn’t really ready. I had not really grieved the loss of H & B.
The second one was a very small affair and took really only an hour to have a look at the profiles and get more information on the ones that spoke to me. That was where M&M were first seen, and I spent a few months hoping they would be my children. It was not to be.
I am looking forward to the event this week and the opportunity to more clearly define what I want out of this adoption process, and perhaps even more clearly define the child/ren that I hope to adopt.
However, I am definitely feeling different this time around.
For the first event, I was a bundle of excited nerves. I had to drive most of the day to get there, including a ferry ride over to the Island, and I had a hotel room booked for the night before. It was quite the adventure.
I spent a lot of time preemptively planning and re-planning everything for that first event. I carefully assessed what to wear to make a good impression; dyed my hair so it was shiny; packed things I might need such as tissues, snacks, a good thermal mug and some herbal teas, a water bottle, all in an easy to carry bag; I worried about what to say (and had many pretend conversations in my mind); and I printed 30 copies of my one page (double-sided) flyer, which I spent the good part of a whole Saturday creating. Let’s just say, I spent a lot of time preparing for that event before it happened!
But the truth is that although I’m so thankful I went to the event, and travelled to the Island (also getting to stay with a friend and her daughter after the event), I wasn’t really ready to be matched at that time because I had not yet grieved for my loss.
For the second event, held at the end of February, I had grieved the loss of the adoption match with H & B over Christmas and January. I was feeling open and hopeful that the event would be the place where I would meet my future family. I spent time imagining a match being made and even calculating when a placement might occur if a match was made.
That event was much smaller than imagined though, and while I felt drawn to
M & M – hopeful even that they could have been the match for me, it didn’t pan out.
This time around, I’m not really feeling the excitement or anticipation or even hope that this event will bring forth a match.
I feel a bit flat about it actually.
I feel like it’s “just another day on the Adoption merry-go-round” rather than a place that I may potentially see my future children.
My hope this time is only that I will meet some good people and enjoy the opportunity to talk about adoption with like-minded souls.
And, of course, promote myself well enough that at least one or two of the social workers will think of me next time they are looking for an adoptive parent for the child/ren in their care.
I’m not at all expecting to see my future children there, I’m not expecting immediate results, and I’m not even expecting a match to come of it.
I am just quietly hoping that I make enough of an impression that at some point in the future I won’t be overlooked.
Sounds depressing doesn’t it?
I’m actually quiet grateful to be feeling more comfortable with this event, rather than nervous. It’s nice to see it for what it is; a networking event, rather than having super-duper-colossal-gargantuan hopes that I will come away as a newly chosen parent for the perfect child/ren for me.
This time is different. My expectations are different. I am different.
And I feel that this place is a good place to be.
Even still, please… if you think of me on Thursday, send me a little love to help me through the day and maybe even make me shine a little brighter! I can always use a boost!
I will let you know how it went next week.
Warm smiles and Love,
Ali Jayne 🙂