Monday, January 26, 2015

More on Adoption

If it's both terrifying and amazing,
then you should definitely pursue it.
~ Erada

Sorry, I didn't mean to leave you hanging after telling you that we are in the process of qualifying to become adoptive parents of a child in the foster care system.  We're near the beginning of the process and we're in a waiting period, so there hasn't been much news...  

So, I guess that makes this a good time to give you some background.  :)

First, there are two basic types of adoption - private and public.  Many of the adoptions you hear about are private - traveling over to a foreign country and adopting from an orphanage or connecting with a pregnant woman who, for whatever reason, wants to put her child up for adoption, covering her medical expenses and bringing home a newborn.  Private adoptions are often very expensive.  

A public adoption - which is what we are pursuing - is when you connect with your state's foster system and seek out a child in the care of the state, someone whose parents have had their parental rights legally and permanently severed.  

This means that these children are most likely to be older and to have experienced significant trauma in their lives (from parental neglect and/or abuse, not to mention being in and out of foster homes for much of their lives).  These adoptions are also very inexpensive - the state bears the burden of the cost in order to find good homes for the children in their care.  

You can find pictures of the children in the foster care system who are looking for their forever families if you google "heart gallery."  

Warning: Looking at those pictures and reading the short bios of the children may have a destabilizing effect on your current family structure!  That is what got me started on this path...  ;)

In our state, the process to complete a public adoption has many steps.  We  have completed the first couple steps.  In early December, we attended a one hour orientation session.  The adoption worker did a good job of trying to give the attendees a realistic preview of what it means to open your home to a traumatized child, while, at the same time, trying NOT to scare off everybody in the room!  ;)

Then we got our first "test" - an application packet that had to be completed and submitted within a week.  Late applications are NOT accepted.  Return home.  Do not pass "Go."  Do not collect $200.  

The packet was about thirty pages - mostly with information about your finances, any criminal history, and a list of the places you have lived.  They did ask a little bit about what you were looking for in a child (age range, gender, etc.) and there was one "essay question" about your experience with children.  

We submitted our application on time and were accepted to move on to the next step - which is a nine week parenting course.  Our class session begins in mid-March and will meet once a week, for three hours at a time.  We will finish in mid-May.  

Finally, assuming we do well in the course, the next step will be a "home study."  One or more adoption workers will come to our house, put on white gloves and test for dust...  Ooops, no - that's just my nightmare!  ;)

The adoption worker(s) will ensure that our home is a safe environment for a child and spend a lot of time getting to know us - our likes and dislikes, our strengths and weaknesses - all that stuff that will help her (or him) identify children who are most likely to be a good fit for our family.  

I'm hoping that our home study, which typically takes a month and apparently includes a lot more paperwork for us, will be completed in June.  If that goes well, we may be meeting potential children next summer.  :)

We are looking for one child only, a girl between the ages of 8 and 17.  

I will definitely keep you posted as we move forward!  Please keep us in your thoughts and hearts as we begin the greatest adventure of our lives!  :)


  1. I am just speechless. Congrats and kudos for going for this. I know any child would be lucky to end up with you guys!

    1. Thanks, Karren - we're kind of in shock as well. ;)
      I'm not sure how much of a bargain we'll be for a child, but we'll do our best! :)

  2. This sounds a lot like how my youngest cousin entered my family. My mom's youngest sister married late compared to her siblings (I'm the oldest cousin, and I and a few others were college students at this point), and she and her husband did a foster-adoption a few years later for a boy who was about 5 at the time. Best wishes for this--and wouldn't it be fun if the girl ends up liking crafts? :)

    1. Hi Becky, Yes it does sound the same. I've heard both happy stories and some very sad ones - how has it been for your extended family? I am definitely hoping for a crafty kid! Although, I'm mostly just hoping that I'm up for the challenge... :)