Thursday, February 28, 2008

Let's Hear it For The Hague

Okay, it's time for a mini-rant. As many of you may know, there are new Hague Conventions regarding adoption, which I support. They help to ensure safety and transparency for both the children placed for adoption and for the waiting families. I get that and I support that. The new conventions are the reason that the adoption programs of some countries have been suspended pending compliance. Anything that ensures the safety and well-being of the kids is something I'm all for.

But here's where I get all NIMBY about it. We now have to take Parenting courses in order to qualify. We have to pay for and take classes on parenting, with a set number of credit hours that must be verified by the course provider, before we will be allowed to travel to get our daughter. I think I'd be lying if I said that this didn't irritate the f*** out of me. Why? Because, after all the paperwork, all the financial statements, all the doctors letters of appropriate health, all the completely invasive and unbelievably detailed information we have already provided--happily I might add-- including lengthy essays on our parenting philosophy, what skills we feel we have that qualify us to be parents, detailed screeds on previous experience with children (duh. Does having a 3.9 year old count!?), we still have to take classes to prove we're "qualified" enough to be parents.

I get it in theory, that there is no harm in knowing as much as you can. I get that and really do agree with it. And obviously I'm going to get over my pique, take the classes, do the damn credit hours, pay the damn fees and think it was all no big deal the second I'm holding my daughter. I get that. I think I'm just chafing under the notion that somehow I'm not a good mother unless I have the Certificate of Course Completion to verify it to someone else's satisfaction. That somehow an adoptive parent needs classes where a biological parent doesn't. Why not mandate parenting classes for every woman who walks into an OB's office? Because most people would balk, that's why. Especially if they already have children they are currently parenting.

Blah blah. I get it, I get the theory behind it, I get it. But it annoys me. I guess I want them to magically recognize that anyone who spends this much time and energy "applying" for the gift of parenthood is probably, you know, somewhat committed to being a stellar parent. But if it's hoops they want jumped, it is hoops they shall get. All I'm saying is that if one more person says, "Oh, so you were an 'instant mother'!" I might have to whip out my transcript to show how so very not instant this all is.

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