Week 6: Our Journey So Far

I’ve been debating about how I want to document/share/journal this process and as I’m keeping a daily personal journal, I also wanted to document our journey on here. After some thought I decided a ‘weekly’ recap might work well.

This decision has also caused me some guilt. How much do I share? I know there are others still struggling with pregnancy loss, infertility, and grief…those feelings are still so fresh and present in my heart too. Should I be allowed to be happy while they still walk this tough road?

If you’ve been following me for any bit of time, I hope you know my heart. My heart is passionate about those struggling with infertility and my heart is sensitive to those hurts. I find myself in this odd ‘inbetween’: unbelievably excited to be a mom, but still grieving what my body hasn’t done. I still see those of you that are in a similar place.

But, I also share because as we started this adoption process, blogs and the experiences of others are what helped educate, inform, and guide us. I’ve always been all about honesty and openness in the hope that it helps others.

So, with sensitivity in mind and a desire to inform, here starts our first weekly recap: week six.

It’s hard to believe it’s only been six weeks since we started our adoption journey! At the same time, it seems like it’s been much longer. We had been talking and praying about adoption for quite a while beforehand, but I looked back at the first email that started this all and I had sent it Sunday, March 8- the ‘official starting date’.

So what has happened in six weeks time? A lot.

The first step was choosing an agency/consultant group. For those that aren’t familiar, there is a difference: agencies are a bit like a ‘one-stop-shop’. They are the people in contact with the expectant moms, they usually do the home study, they work through the legal stuff, etc. For example, many people are familiar with the agency Bethany Christian Services. Agencies work with expectant moms, and if we ‘signed on’ with an agency, we’d only be able to match with expectant mothers within that agency. Consultants however, are like guides. They guide us through the entire process and when it’s time to ‘match’ with expectant moms, they present our profile to dozens of agencies all over the U.S.- because of the higher exposure, the match time is much quicker. Consultants are an ‘inbetween’ working on our behalf. We will eventually work with an agency- depending on who the expectant mother is and what agency she is using.

Using a consultant is what we decided was best for us based on our situation and timeline. Before starting we didn’t know adoption consultants were a thing. Now, we’d highly, highly recommend working with a consultant. We are very happy with our decision. Once we made that decision the next 6 weeks looked like this:

-Orientation calls with both Faithful Adoption Consultants and Families Through Adoption.

-Applying to Faithful Adoption Consultants (they are in Georgia, lots of paperwork!)

-Applying to Families Through Adoption to do our home study (they are in Grand Rapids…more paperwork.)

-Filling out ALL the paperwork for our home study (financial history, medical history, family/biographical history, adoption plan, home review, guardianship plan, etc…)

-Fingerprinting (3 times- once for Michigan, once for FBI, and once for Texas…MOST of FAC’s matches are in Texas and the state of Texas is the only state that requires an intense (6-8 week) background/clearance check. They have all their families get Texas cleared because of this, so if they are matched in Texas, there isn’t a delay in the adoption.)

-Phone calls with our Social Worker as part of the home study ‘education’.

-Getting drug/TB tests.

-Getting local background checks (statement from our county police).

-Ordering certified birth and marriage certificates.

-Scanning and copying medical/auto insurance cards, tax forms, social security cards, drivers licenses, etc…

-Getting letters of employment from our places of work.

-Applying for adoption loans.

-Gathering reference letters from family and friends.

-Reading LOTS of books about adoption, attachment, newborns, etc…

-Doing a lifestyle photo shoot, gathering photos, and filling out a questionnaire to send to the graphic designer making our profile book.

-Writing a letter of intent to expectant moms.

-Telling family & friends!

-Starting to piece together a nursery.

-Getting forms notarized.

-Opening a bank account for adoption funds.

-Personal interviews with our Social Worker.

-Brainstorming fundraiser ideas and in return filling our garage with bags and bags of pop cans!

As you can see SO much has happened in just six weeks. It’s been a whirlwind. Our social worker told us last week ‘your just about through the first trimester!’ It meant the world to me for her to say that- as someone that has longed for a pregnancy, relating the adoption process to pregnancy was so special. Both are a time of preparation and waiting. And the ‘first trimester’ of adoption is just as grueling, messy, and exhausting as the first trimester of pregnancy can be.

The quarantine/pandemic has made some of the above tasks and yet-do-tasks a bit more challenging. I’m still hoping and praying we’ll have our home study finished in the next 2-3 weeks but it may be a bit longer. I daily remind myself that it’s God’s timing and not ours.

At the end of week six we are feeling grateful. Grateful for how well things have gone so far, grateful for friends and family support, grateful for pop cans and donations that have already started coming in. God IS good and He’s teaching us so much along the way! We already have so many God-stories we can’t wait to share.

Where God guides, He provides!

Let’s bring on week seven!