Everyone’s path to adoption is a little different. Most stories will make you laugh and cry, many times at the same time. Ours is no different, and at this time I are ready to share.
After we had Camryn, I had complications that made us unable to have any more kids of our own (read more about that here). I had finally convinced Will prior to having her of how great it would be to have more and he was completely on board. Yet, there we were with only the options of a surrogate or adoption to expand our family. Both options had pros and cons as well as the high likelihood of an emotional roller coaster.
When Camryn was still not one, I began doing research on top of research on what the best option would be. Shots to get eggs and hope that someone volunteers to be a surrogate ( because I didn’t have a spare $60k to borrow a uterus ) or domestic or international adoption with no sure answer as to who we would get chosen to parent and all the questions surrounding that. After pouring over the information, we chose international adoption because with my control freak nature, I just couldn’t imagine knowing that the family or birth parents might change their mind, intervene, or just be involved in general.
We began our Haugue home study with an agency in PA with our hearts and minds set on an adoption in Bulgaria through Adopt Abroad. With Bulgaria we would go to meet our child, come back home for a few weeks and then return to pick them up. It seemed kind of like a fantasy to imagine what that would be like, and with that excitement we began the paperwork. Oh the paperwork…. We are talking part time job paperwork. Once that was complete, we had our interview with the social worker talking about how we grew up, what was our family like, how do we parent and what are our goals in life. Why did you get divorced and why don’t you talk to those people anymore? Describe your parenting style and what makes you mad? I completely understand why they do it, but the fact that people can get pregnant and have 20 kids with no questions and us trying to adopt one felt like an interrogation made me a little bitter.
6 months. It took 6 months of paperwork, passports, background checks from every state & county and our first round of paperwork was done, completing our home study. Sounds like we were done, right? Nope…time to start the dossier. The problem now, however, was that our agency informed us that Bulgaria would be at least a 2 year wait, if not longer. We still weren’t done with the initial process yet and we were already being told it would be years until we would have a child…breakdown #1 ensued. After I regrouped, we decided to change to a country that had better potential to be matched. After researching for a few weeks, we landed on Hungary. You had to go and live in the country for 6 weeks (um, amazing) and you got to meet and take home your child on the same trip – it sounded amazing! We then began our dossier for Hungary with a new agency, Children’s House International.
Home study, more background checks, referral letters, passports, real birth certificates and marriage licenses to turn in for our dossier – this took another 3 months. After that we had to wait for our dossier fingerprints to be scheduled ( this would be fingerprints #3 by the way ) in which we had to drive to downtown Pittsburgh just to complete it. This would give us our USCIS, which we needed to complete everything. Approximately 6 months after our home study was done, our dossier was officially complete and translated and sent to the country to be reviewed and eventually matched with a child. I know the above for a dossier seems quick ( I mean it’s a little paragraph), but I can tell you that the amount of paperwork and waiting and more paperwork to wait more was agonizing. That being said, over a year after we started the process, we were officially “listed” with the Ministry within the country as a viable couple to adopt. Throughout the whole process was check after check, and some more checks along the way. Yet we trusted the process and trusted we would meet our new member of our family.
So we waited. Then waited some more. I started my Masters degree to keep myself busy, as though 2 kids, 3 dogs and a full time job wasn’t enough. The kids knew we were in the process and asked all the time when they would be getting a new brother or sister. A year later, our dossier needed re-upped so another check and updated home study was sent. A year later I graduated with my Master’s and still no referrals. Here and there we would get information regarding a child that was not in our scope – this normally meant a child with multiple disabilities that we knew we did not have the time to care for properly with our jobs. It was never in our scope because we knew we could not handle it, and yet those are the only 2 we received. The kids continued to ask when they would get their new sibling, and yet I had no answers.
Fast forward almost another year later and I had a potential job opportunity. This is great, right? Wrong. Moving to another state would mean our home study was inaccurate which would mean our dossier was also inaccurate and thus invalid. Will and I had multiple conversations over a short 2 day period over what to do. The job was too good to pass up, but it essentially meant we were giving up our chance to adopt – as well as our huge emotional and financial investment already. I straight up ugly cried myself to sleep the last night before my decision. It was one of the worst feelings ever. That being said, we had never received anything valid from our agency thus far, so I lost even more faith in them. We decided to take the job and move and just not tell the agency. In my mind I was hoping that if something did happen with a referral that since our house hadn’t sold in PA yet that maybe our home study wouldn’t be completely invalid and we could still complete our adoption & dream and update it when needed. Ok, so that is how I coped with it and was able to move forward.
I began my job in Indiana a few months later. I was wrapped up in everything new with work, trying to find a home and life in general. Conveniently, a few weeks before our dossier was up in December ( ie, another check), they sent me a picture of twin girls that they said we could be potentially matched with. Are you kidding me? To give you more background, I was living in Indiana with just my son as Will and my daughter were living in PA still. My emotions were already a wreck from missing them and this put me over the edge. “How do I get more information on them, what is the plan?” I had asked the agency. Update your dossier and send the additional funds and we will release their file I was told. No info at all other than this grainy photo of twin 18 month old twin girls standing up in a crib.
Were they even real? Was this a viable option? We will never know because they would not release any information to us without updated 800A paperwork ( and more money ). I just couldn’t do it. With the timing and everything going on I couldn’t imagine that even if it were real that we would be able to pull it all together in time. So, I went broken hearted into the holiday season trying to forget about this tease of an e-mail we got. I focused on the fact that my husband and daughter were now living back with us under one roof, that we were moving into a new house and that our life in Indiana was finally coming together.