When we tell someone that “We are in the process of adoption.” It is very common for them to say, “Oh, who are you adopting?” However, the truth of the matter is, because of the route that we are taking (foster-to-adopt), we don’t know yet.
That is what this phase is all about. We are currently in the matching process. That means that we, along with our social worker, are looking for the child(ren) for whom we will be the best parents. Many people assume that we are looking for the best children for our home, when in reality, the purpose of the foster care program is the other way around. Somewhere out there, in the big old state of Pennsylvania, is a child who NEEDS us. We don’t NEED them. If we did, it would be beneficial for us to look back into our reasons for adopting in the first place. Of course, we want them, but we don’t NEED them to make us into a healthy family, or to fulfill our desire for children, and we CERTAINLY DON’T NEED them to provide us with some extra money! (Please be patient with this little rant. I’ve met several couples who seemed to think that adoption was going to be a solution to their marital problems or their infertility issues.)
So, who exactly do we want? What child would best fit in our home? That is what the matching process is all about.
First, we sit down with our case worker, and discuss what we can and cannot accept. For example, although we would love to minister to children with medical needs, our housing would make it nearly impossible. We discuss what we kind of child we would prefer to have in our home. To be perfectly honest, as we do that I feel kind of guilty, as though I am shopping for the perfect child for us. However, I realize that just as our caseworker says, “There is no point in inquiring about children you wouldn’t be able to parent.” So, we go through a long list. Would we accept a child who does well in school? What about the child who has hearing, speech, or vision trouble? What about the one who would still want to be in contact with family? Although those questions sound like hard ones to answer, in comparison they aren’t nearly as hard as some of the questions about issues such as abuse or violence.
Once that part of the meeting is done, our caseworker tells us what we should expect. We should visit the PAE (Pennsylvania Adoption Exchange) website and browse the waiting children. She will check into children she receives emails about. She will go to matching events, where caseworkers and adoptive families go and share their waiting family and waiting children information.
As we find children we are interested in, our caseworker will call their caseworkers and see if she can get more information. From there, if we are still interested, she will give that caseworker our home study report. Most times, the child’s caseworker will have quite a few interested families, and it then becomes their job to choose the one that is best for the child(ren). They do this with interviews. Since we haven’t gotten to that stage yet, I’ll leave that for another post.
People ask us how soon we will have children in our home. The answer is that we have no idea. It could be as soon (in rare cases) as a week or two, or it could take months or even years. Since Jason and I are fairly open about what we are willing to accept in children and are willing to take a sibling group, it will likely be sooner rather than later.
I realize that this post has been rather rambly, but it is an accurate depiction of where we are right now. If you think of us, help us pray that Jesus will prepare our hearts for the ministry that we are beginning. Also, pray that Jesus would reach out to the children who will be in our home and show them even now that they are loved and that someone cares about them.
Thanks so much for taking the time to read this. I appreciate you!