Fingerprinting

Every time we adopt, we get complete background checks, as they’re required as part of the homestudy process. For some reason, it’s the most irritating part to me. When we identified our homestudy agency, they told us what we need to submit for clearance.

For a complete check, you have to get fingerprinted, which for us means we have to go to the city police headquarters. They have the proper forms at the police station, so you pay you $20 on the second floor, then get fingerprinted on the third here. It goes fast – under half an hour – but it’s the least pleasant part of the adoption experience as it’s so unrelated to the joy and expectancy of getting ready to bring a child home. The other people there are not at the station for adoption paperwork. You can ignore them all you want – someone will talk to you and probably make you uncomfortable. This time, I had a guy leer,

Thank you for that sexy smile!

after I thanked the cop at the metal detector. (Small bonus? The security cop was adopted and very sweet.) Then upstairs, the woman next to me was complaining about her adopted daughter when she heard why I was there. So not fun.

The visit goes quickly, but the process doesn’t. Results take about three months – at least a month or two longer than the rest of our paperwork. Somehow, by submitting these documents, I feel like the clock of impatience starts ticking – even now, when we’re not rushing!

In the same way that people feel impatient when having kids biologically, knowing full well it takes 40 weeks for that pregnancy to result in a child, we as adoptive parents feel that same sense of anticipation – only we have no time frame to rely on. Once the FBI forms go in the mail, my readiness for a baby kicks into high gear. Consider us ‘expecting’.

So we’ve gone from casually filling out forms to actively anticipating our third child. We wonder what he or she will look like, what the birth parents will be like, what state we’ll be traveling to. And that’s all in addition to the traditional thoughts about who this child will be: athletic or bookish? Introvert or extrovert?

It’s been delightful to talk openly about starting the process again and to feel more comfortable sharing the fun and frustration of it. I’m trying to include all of the disjunct pieces of this process so you can suffer with us.