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Adoption Chronicles :: Part 2

I can't believe we're actually trying to do this - We've started the process of adoption.

Yes, a HUMAN. 

Which, for the record, is a really long process. 

It's been a whirlwhind since my last blog, so I'll back up and share the details. 

After our initial info meeting and a TON of prayer, we decided to move forward with adoption ...even though we had no idea how we were going to tackle this big mountain. Completing the initial application took us about three weeks; from what our adoption counselor told us, that was fast. We ran ourselves ragged gathering information ranging from fingerprints and background checks to bank statements and reference lists. It was intense enough to make me wonder if I really was a criminal and didn't know it. {Spoiler alert: I'm not.}


Four things stood out: books, interviews, home study, and grants. 

If you're considering adoption, I'll give you the scoop on these steps.

Books. Our agency required us to read several adoption related books to prepare us not only for adoption, but also for the possibility of a transracial adoption. The books were incredibly helpful to allow us to understand the emotions that our child will have regarding us, his/her birth family, and the process overall. Because our child probably won't look like us, we took great care to learn how to create a safe space in our family for processing these normal feelings about differences. This became less about how we'd feel about the baby and more about considering how our adopted child would feel. It was also about how others would react to the "new" us. We want our adopted child to feel like "us," too - not like a tagalong.


Interviews. We had LOTS of questions to address in writing, along with several in-person interviews. I'll compare both to being naked in public, because everything was on display. Even though my husband and I are "open book" people, the questions definitely pushed us outside of our comfort zones. Some of the questions made me downright anxious. I knew that our family would open our hearts and home to a baby, but I felt mixed emotions considering the negative reactions society may have toward a blended family. I had originally assumed that since WE would love our child, everything would fall into place - just as it did with our other children. The consideration that we'd possibly receive negative attention due to our adoption made my heart heavy, but that was helpful to generate discussion with our children on how we'd address it as a family - just in case. We are far better equipped to address this openly. 

Home Study. This was the pinnacle of OMG moments, because I initially thought this was a "test" to determine if we were "good enough" to adopt a baby. Should I clean the baseboards? Do I need cookies baking to make my house smell good? How many Home Goods trips will this take? I was so nervous and so naive. No one was trying to antagonize us. It was quite the opposite - the process was respectful and supportive. The home study was a very simple process to ensure our home was safe for a baby. That's all. Although my children did get interviewed, it was nothing like I'd anticipated. No one cried or lost electronics privileges. They actually had fun.

Grants. Once we received our home study approval, we could apply for grant funding. Applying for adoption grants made everything else look easy peasy. Each grant required somewhat similar, yet completely different information (e.g., testimony, very detailed financial information, essays). It felt like we had to prove that we were simultaneously rich and poor. The grant writing process took a VERY long time due to the depth of detail in each application; this probably weeds out people who are less serious about the process. Pro tip: Since many grant review cycles are 60-90 days, make sure you check out the deadline for submissions and work backwards to ensure you aren't pushed to a later review cycle.

...Hurry up and wait. Right now, we're once again waiting. Our goal is to secure financing for 75% of the placement fees before moving forward, which means that if we don't get funding, our adoption journey ends.

While this has been a learning experience for all of us, and we've grown tremendously as a family unit, I'd be lying if I didn't state the obvious: despite our confidence that we are absolutely doing what we are called to do, it still feels pretty scary if we think too much about the financial piece of this journey.

What if we don't receive enough funding to actually engage in the next step? What then? Did we come this far only to get this far?

...Because we don't really have a Plan B.

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