As our social worker was leaving our home after our final homestudy visit, she noticed our latest purchase hanging on the wall—a colourful plaque featuring a whimsical picture of two faces playing instruments and set on a page of musical notes. The plaque is called Musical Masquerade and we bought it to commemorate our adoption process.

While browsing around some stores one afternoon, we came across an art shop featuring a collection of colourful art tiles. With the adoption process being a central focus in our lives, we were drawn to the curious symbolism of one particular tile. “This looks like the adoption process to me,” I commented to my husband. As we admired the tile we considered whether the male and female figures represented ourselves during this new and dynamic setting of events, or the potential of adopting a boy or a girl. Whatever the case, the colour and texture that brought these images together came to signify a bright and harmonious event.

The shopkeeper explained that the tiles are created through an extremely labour intensive process that involves beginning with a drawn image on tile, followed by layers upon layers of colour, texture and glaze, which is then fired in a kiln to produce the vibrant picture solidified on tile. We drove home impressed with our purchase and curiously amazed with the metaphor.

This adoption process does feel like a musical masquerade. Like many people beginning the process we have been flooded with mixed emotions and eager anticipation. The day we made the decision to adopt felt so significant it was like a weight had been lifted off our shoulders. We were so excited at having arrived at a place that felt good for both of us that we naively assumed the rest would just get easier.

Musical Masquerade has come to signify that while we feel very much welcomed into this special community, we just can’t predict what the outcome will be or how events will unfold, yet we are excited with hope and looking forward to a bright future with a new addition to our family. 

While choosing to adopt has brought a lot of happiness, we also know that we face the possibility of not being chosen to be the parents of a child. We are also aware that if we are, we must try not to be too preoccupied with things “going well.”

While we navigate this unknown territory, we have come to realize that despite the outcome, this has been a very rewarding process. The homestudy has offered us the opportunity to grow as individuals and as a couple. In addition, we have met many incredible people: women who have candidly shared their experiences; families who have taught us about building a family through adoption; couples—like us—dealing with the issues that lead to the decision to adopt; the social workers and seminar presenters who have added their knowledge and personal experiences; and, of course, some of the many children for whom we are all brought together.

I get the impression that once adoption placements are made, people and families eventually move beyond the features that make adoption so prominent in the beginning. As for us, this waiting period is all consuming, much like the work involved in tile art.

This article is a response to the warm and generous people we have had the opportunity to learn from,  and our way of contributing to what appears to be a circle of information and support within a community that continues to seek better understanding of how to meet the needs of everyone involved.

Whatever the outcome is for us, Musical Masquerade has become an awe-inspiring symbol of the adoption process itself—difficult for sure—but none the less a wonderful experience of personal growth and community awareness. It also symbolizes, of course, our wishes for having a child join our family through adoption.