This past week has been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. We had a conference call with the director of the African program at our agency about the Burundi pilot program. I thought it was going to be pretty straightforward, with her telling us about what a pilot program involves, the risks, the potential health issues etc. Well... that's not really how it went down at all.
First she asked us why we wanted to adopt from Africa. Now, we have already gone through all of this on NUMEROUS occasions with our caseworker, during the home study etc. etc. etc. Honestly, why would someone want to go through this process if they weren't passionate about adopting from Africa? But of course both Ken and I explained why we chose this route - and then it was on to the next questions. Do you think you can be a "Pioneer" for us in this pilot program? Are you capable of handling the ups and downs? Yes and yes we told her. And then she asked us if we had traveled, specifically to a third world country. We said yes. She then asked if we'd be OK spending time alone in Burundi and if we were prepared to stay in minimal accommodations. I told her "yes, we are pretty adventurous people, we've have done a lot of traveling, and we don't expect to be staying at the Four Seasons!"
And then she proceeded to continuously push us towards the Korea program, which has reopened for a window of time. (The government is supposed to close the program down in 2012). She even said at one point, "It may feel like I am pushing you towards Korea, but I'm not." Well she definitely was. I'm not sure if it's because Ken and I qualify for the Korea program due to of how long we've been married, our ages (you can't be over 43) and that fact that we don't have any mental issues (at least not right now)... but she was like a Rottweiler. And this was a great one too. She informed us that she is the "gatekeeper" of the Burundi program, so basically we have to go through her if we expect to move forward with this dual application. LOVELY! GREAT!
I guess I feel discouraged because this woman has no idea who we are, what kind of people we are, what we are capable of handling - and it felt like during the entire call - that she was judging us and basically made us feel like we weren't worthy of being "Pioneers." Bull S*** I say to that.
In the end she instructed us to watch the pilot program webinar on the website and schedule a call with the Korea program peeps, which we did. And I must say, the paperwork is super minimal and the wait time was pretty manageable (and the woman on that call was super nice and NOT condescending). But still, I know where my heart is. By the way - during the webinar - they ask you 10 questions to see if you fall into the category of being able to handle a pilot program. Here are a few of them... (brace yourselves!)
1. Do you drive the back roads without a map when the scenery is beautiful?
2. Have you ever traveled to a place where you didn't speak the language?
3. If friends call at the last minute needing a place to stay, do you say yes?
4. Do you jump right into the pool without checking the temperature first?
.... ALL very serious questions - don't you think?
So.... that's what's going on in our adoption world right now. We're still trying to figure out if we want to submit a dual application at all. Maybe we'll just stick to our initial plan and let things ride. As they say, time flies when you're having fun, and we're planning a trip to Spain in July to Run With the BULLS... so that should take our mind off things for a while. Hopefully no one gets gored!