As most of you know, we have decided to move forward with domestic infant adoption. I haven’t written much about this yet because honestly, the process is overwhelming and time consuming. Let me update you on what’s been happening up until now….
In between IVF and IVF 2.0, we started seriously talking about adoption. We researched some agencies that were labeled as “military friendly” and spoke to one agency on the phone. We were turned off by their terms and got discouraged. IVF 2.0 and two FETs came and went and we decided to push forward with our adoption research.
First, I chatted with friends who have been through the adoption process. We also talked to E’s parents who adopted my SIL back in 2002 internationally. We looked at websites. I emailed agencies. Some replied, while some didn’t. We sifted through information provided in emails. We made phone calls. We asked questions. I emailed some more. After much debate and consideration, we found our agency.
After mailing in our application and required initial fees, we were approved and our first meeting with our social worker was scheduled. We drove an hour away and met with our SW for the first time at a local library. After introductions were made, we started talking about the agency, their adoption process and protocols, and signed some papers. Our home study paperwork was given to us and reviewed. We asked a few questions and scheduled our next meeting.
Once we got home, I looked through the mountain of paperwork. There were clearance forms, fingerprint cards, financial forms, medical forms, questionnaires, child request packets, and the daunting and terrifying autobiography requirements. I started scheduling appointments and filling out our clearance forms the very next day.
As the days went by, more and more things were being checked off the list. The hardest piece of paperwork to complete was the autobiography. We were essentially asked to open up our whole lives to our SW and our agency. We had to talk about everything from our childhood to infertility to how we planned on raising our future child/ren. It was hard for me to talk about my non-existent relationship with my brother. It was hard to talk about my childhood. It was hard to talk about our struggles with infertility and all that we’ve been through. It was hard to critique myself and talk about my weaknesses. Our SW told us that honesty is the best policy, so that’s what I did. I was honest. I wrote about the good and the bad. I wrote about things that are still hard to talk about to this day.
Today, we hit the road again and met with our SW for the second time. We turned in our completed paperwork and answered questions that were addressed in our autobiography packet. Again, we talked about good and bad things. The one question that affected me the most was, “What is your hardest relationship loss?” I cried as I answered, “My brother. It hurts that we don’t have a relationship anymore. I’m sad that I’ll never have a relationship with my nieces. I often wonder if they even know about me.” At this point, I wished that I had remembered to grab tissues. Oops.
We answered a few more questions and asked a few of our own. We’re at the halfway point in the home study process and have a few more things to complete. Here’s what’s left to finish up:
- Guardianship form – We want to ask my SIL and her fiance if they would be our child/ren’s guardian if something happened to the both of us. Hopefully this never happens, but we have to fill the paperwork out nonetheless. We’ll be speaking to them over Thanksgiving, so hopefully they say yes and we can submit that piece of paper once we get back into town.
- Child request form – This is probably the most difficult piece of paperwork to complete because it determines what we’ll be open to – race, special needs, drug and/or alcohol use by the expectant mother during pregnancy, history of mental illness, etc. We’ve been talking to friends who have been through the process and learning about different issues. We’ve also been doing our own research and plan on speaking with my FIL, who is a family doctor.
- Attend an educational course – Our course date is scheduled for December 20. We will have to drive about four hours away for an all day informational session. We hope to learn more about the adoption process, openness in adoption, and meet other adoptive families.
- In home meeting – This will be our third and final meeting with our SW and is currently scheduled for January 10. Our SW stated that most of our home study should be written by this meeting, so she would only have to add in the information gathered from this final meeting.
- Profile book – We were given the green light to start working on a draft of our profile book, which will eventually be shown to expectant mothers/parents once our home study has been approved and we’re officially in the books.
So that’s where we stand. Paperwork is almost complete. Two out of three SW meetings have happened. We have a few things to complete and a timeline for the future. Every time I check another item off my list, I get a little more excited and a little more hopeful that we’ll be parents soon. We hope to be home study approved and in the books by late January-early February!