Saturday, January 21, 2012
What’s it Like? (FAQ about Our Adoption Journey)
It has been what seems like eons ago since I posted about why we want to adopt. I planned on posting this shortly afterward, but have not seemed to be in a writing mood.
Before I explain the process we’ve been through so far, I should clarify what kind of children we will be adopting. We are not adopting internationally, although we would love to. We are not adopting an infant, although that would also be fantastic. Our desire is to reach out to those children who have been in the foster system and are looking for a forever family. We want to show them that there is a loving God, by showing them that there are loving people. Most likely, we are looking at 1-2 children between the ages of one and thirteen. Since we are hoping to adopt through the foster system, we have to go through all the work to become foster parents as well as the adoption process.
“So, what does that look like?” you may ask. If you are really curious, or interested, keep reading.
The first step in our adoption journey was to choose an organization. From the beginning, we knew that we wanted to work with a Christian organization. We researched several that were in the area, and decided that we were most interested in Bethany Christian Services. We chose them because they offer a huge network of support in many states and several countries, and because they have a fantastic reputation. (And Jason liked the name of the organization as well!) So, on a cold November evening, we went to Lancaster to attend a overview meeting. They told us about the process, what to expect, and how they would handle things. We were pleased with what we heard, and so we decided to fill out our initial application and sign up for training.
We signed up for training in Bethany’s State College office starting in February, but unfortunately we were the only ones who signed up, so that was cancelled. So, we started training in April. We went to Lancaster twice a month for three months and spent the day learning and listening. The training dealt with many different issues such as grief and loss, dealing with emotional baggage, and many other practical parenting issues. (I’ve said several times since then that if all parents had to go through the training foster parents go through, there would be much fewer children in foster care!) We did homework between sessions, and spent a lot of time reading practical books on adoption and foster care.
We finished training in July. Then, due to our caseworker’s vacation and holidays and such, we waited. We finally were able to meet with our caseworker for the first time in August. She gave us an overview of how the process would go, recommended that we read a certain book or two, inspected our house, and did a joint interview asking about our lives, how we met, our town, our beliefs, etcetera. These questions were asked in preparation for writing our home study.
The next time she visited was in October. She conducted individual interviews asking things like what we liked most about each other, what we liked least, what our biggest strengths and weaknesses were, and other questions that would help her to write an accurate report.
A few months and a few meetings later, (January 5th, as a matter of fact) we sat down with our caseworker and went over our completed home study to verify its contents. We signed the corrected copy. She signed that we had been approved for adoption through Bethany Christian Services, and that was that!
Although we feel a huge sense of excitement that another step in the process is finished, we realize that really, that is only the beginning. Now we are waiting. As soon as our paperwork has been filed through the state, we’ll be able to start searching for our children. Hopefully, we can begin looking sometime next week. However, there will be a lot of waiting along the way.
Please help us pray that God will find the children who most need parents like us. If He finds them, I’m sure He’ll lead us to them. We’ve been praying for some time for the children that God is preparing for our home. We would so appreciate your prayers for them as well.