The state adoption department invited us to an informational meeting today, along with other couples (this time, only two other couples; apparently, they usually have five or six).
So for two hours, she told us about the selection process and adoption and answered our questions.
Some of the things that worried us a little seem to be no problem. For example, while in principle a separate room for each child should be desirable, sharing a room with another child should be fine; already having a child does not automatically disqualify you or rank you down (some mothers even request a family with children as adoptive parents for their baby); my being British will probably not be a problem or involve the common adoption centre for northern Germany until the "end".
Apparently, we're fairly young; she said that prospective parents have been getting older in recent years, and that most are in their mid-30s. (Which is one reason why they raised the suggested maximum age from 35 to 40 a while back.)
Interestingly, while the number of children placed for adoption has gone down in the last five years or so (from 50-60 to about 20-30), the number of prospective parents has also gone down, roughly at the same rate, so the ratio of children to prospective parents has stayed about the same.
Stella came out of the meeting very optimistic; she said that she got the impression that we were just about the ideal set of adoptive parents.
For now, we've taken home a questionnaire with basic data (name, age, illnesses, income, etc.), some questions to ponder (which will be discussed during interviews), and a request to write the story of our life—not just "what happened when", but things which show what makes us tick or what made us be the way we are (e.g. who was influential in our life, what puberty was like for us, whether we were allowed to be "who we were", etc.).
Once we send them back, someone will get in touch with us and we'll have a series of interviews so they can get to know us. (Or they might end up suggesting that we withdraw our application, if they see it as unlikely that we'd get a child placed with us. But we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.)
Apparently, the screening process can take three to six months, and once we're accepted, they'll keep us on file for two years. (There's an option to renew for another year, but she said that realistically, if someone wasn't considered during those two years, it's unlikely they'll get the chance in the third year, especially as new candidates enter the pool the whole time.)