I had been putting it off for months. The one thing in this whole foster care licensing process that really should have been a home run for me.
Mike and I each were required to write an autobiography. Not like a 500-word, quick-and-dirty sort of thing, but a “we don’t like to set a limit on it … but they’re at least five pages, and usually closer to 6-10 pages … but, you know, whatever feels complete to you” sort of thing.
I don’t know why I hesitated so much. It’s not the page length, necessarily. I probably write 10 pages worth of copy every week between my freelance writing assignments and my own personal writing.
But I’ve never written about such a BIG topic. Where does one begin? “I was born on a sunny May day in Cleveland, Ohio…”
Wait. Was it a sunny day? Should I fact-check that with my mom? Or perhaps it’s implied that I was born at some point, so I should skip that part altogether and pick the story up … where? When I was toddling? In school? Maybe I should I back it way up and start with the state of my family before I even arrived on the scene?
How much is too much? How little is not enough?
It would get to be too much of an internal debate; rather than tackle it, I would set it aside in lieu of filing forms for background checks, reading the recommended books, attending the required trainings, and posting “No Smoking” signs in my home.
Slowly but surely, my massive to-do list dwindled until there are only a few things left.
And the one at the top was: “Autobiography.”
I should have had this done in Week 1. I’m a writer, for the love of God. This should be the part that I knock out of the park.
That’s part of my problem. I’m not one to throw words on paper, brush my hands together with sweeping satisfaction and call it a day. I knew I’d be pouring my heart and soul into it. I knew I’d want to make all sorts of connections from the way I was raised, life experiences, and opportunities I carved out for myself, all as validation for the idea that I can do this. I can successfully parent a foster child.
I finally forced myself to sit down and — over the course of two sessions — pulled together a nine-page, 4,381-word summary of my life.
The whole thing is copied and pasted below.
Believe me, it’s not nearly interesting enough for anyone besides our caseworker to have to wade through. (She asked for it, right?)
I hope, at least, that I started it off on the right note:
In many ways, I think much of the path my life has taken has purposefully led me to this point, preparing me for the challenge and the joy of adopting from the foster care system. When I look back, I think so many things had to happen in just the right way and in just the right time in order for me to be in this place. In this state with this husband and this biological child – and ready to adopt.