Adoption Process......... Reflecting A Year Ago
This week has been very reflective. Last year, on my 35th birthday, I received information that all our adoption paperwork was finalized and finished!! It was the best birthday gift I have ever received! Then, on February 2nd, we became active! I had waited years to see a child waiting to be matched with our family. It had become years because we had gone down so many roads (foster care, international, domestic, and interstate).
What many don’t know, because we kept our adoption process private while going through it, is that it was a lot of work. I don’t need a trophy or applause. Anyone who has done this knows the endurance needed. I want to give my God glory for keeping us going, for allowing us to journey alongside Him in faith and experience His faithfulness. It is so amazing to fight for life, knowing a birth mother could have chosen abortion but entrusted us and "chose" us to raise her child- this is a moment of witnessing God’s faithfulness in full force over having obedience on waiting. We witnessed every road block which allowed His perfect timing to evolve to His perfect plan for us.
We kept our adoption private because as we started the process, prior to Koko being born, it was exceedingly difficult to deal with certain organizations. It felt we were chasing them or thinking maybe we are just too flawed. Do we have too many kids, not a perfect past, too conservative in parenting or values, etc...?? I remember going to the DCFS, in Aurora, multiple times and they were so swamped and overloaded. I was leaving voicemails for safe families, being on the phone weekly with Joliet DCFS, to find out after 6months of losing our paperwork and not telling us, we had to redo it again. We filled it out three times, it was draining (That was just on the foster care end of this journey). We chose not to discuss openly the process because it gets redundant...We never wanted our bio kids to feel they were not enough, simply because we were pursuing space for a child in our home. We simply just prayed for our house to be open and prayed as a family. My kids even have it in their prayer journals from a couple years ago- a light prayer of surrendering our request to God. I, personally, NEVER wanted my kids to see distress in this process. I have sat with kids who have felt put on the back-burner while their parents have gone through adoption, foster care and even invitro/fertility treatments. This happens easily, because there are SOOO many hoops and obsticals that it can become an obsession for mothers (I can see why). I never wanted my kids to think "mom" was obsessed. All hard roads can make stress on family and that is a normal part of life, but I wanted to be mindful of not being fixated on something so much that I missed the opportunity to make my home a joy for my other kids. Ultimately, we never wanted our children to think this was a negative -to bring a child into our home.
Together, Chris and I had to take hours and hours of online classes. As seen in the photos below, I got many of my certifications online. As a seasoned mom, step-mom and Christ follower, I am sure you would love to know -some classes I agreed with during the educational advice process and some I did not agree with. Either way, I thoroughly enjoyed it and I did learn abundant amounts of information. We studied everything from: fetal alcohol syndrome and drug exposure, certificates on how to do African American hair, a course on a new way to discipline, learning how adoption effects older kids, teaching truth about adopting, white privileged, safety courses and CPR certification. Interviewing birth moms and sitting in on open forum panels... and several more...
For online classes, I would wake at 5:00am, do it while Koko napped, or at night when the kids went to bed. I also traveled a couple times and completed my training courses while away from my kids (sitting in the hotel during one of Avarie's BIOLA Parent weekends or on the airplane to Haiti).
I gathered paperwork behind the scenes and after a year I had to re-gather that paperwork because it expired (many of my friends who have gone international understand this). Oh the paperwork is immense for a family of 7! (It is all worth it though!)....Some of this paperwork and gathering infoelation included medical appointments for our children - they often thought they were going for a check-up. On one occasion, Kannon had to get a shot because he was behind on immunizations and I thought, “thank goodness I didn’t tell him this was for the adoption”.... Chris, Avarie and I had to get blood drawn twice, drug tested and finger printed multiple times. We took day trips to Chicago with Koko (to get the specific background checks needed that only TSA places provided for homeland security (as an interstate program). I worked on my profile book for about 6 months. To this day, I am so thankful I chose to do my own profile book- if anyone wants my template I would happily share it (I was told it stood out). Chris and I had social workers in our house, had them counsel us one-on-one, we had to meet together and seperate. We grew during each meeting as we had to discuss our past and our faith and our discipline styles, none of that changed either. Thankfully those things were already established but it was fun to revisit. We had to have original copies of everyone’s social cards, multiple copies of everyone’s birth certificates, marriage license, and any original document with court proceedings we have been involved in. We needed written letters, references letters, a letter from our pastor, our will, our estate, and even grandparents detailed information... so much more too... Once we got to the application portion we had to provide written essays and multiple.... (continue after photos)...
She is 6 months, two days before I turn 36.
2/1/19. Wearing my baby outfit
2/1/19 all smiles
One of my favorite classes was learning how to do african american girl's hair and this class above was one of my favorites too- Effect of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and other drugs.
MULTIPLE adoption agency applications are filled out when you go interstate. I had over 7 adoption agency applications to fill out. Which discusses openness, finances, criminal history, parenting styles, faith, marriage, home life, current children’s information. Etc.. Just like many of you have thought, a baby was just dropped in our laps, my younger children, not so much Karter and Avarie, all think a baby was dropped in our laps too. There was always an ever growing desire to adopt and every door closed and many obestacals came (even a failed match- baby boy), until Kase came home. So last year, as I turned 35, I received an email on my birthday saying that all my paperwork was complete. Two days later we became Active!!! Then a couple days after that (on February 6th) I saw my first baby scenario. (** I’ll tell this story another time but only one month after that I was matched!!! and it wasn’t with Kase). I’ll never forget, the first time I saw a baby “case” scenario... I was at hockey, my heart stopped. I actually cried as I read this birth-mom’s bio and scenario as I sat in the bleachers. I clicked it open probably 50 times and read over and over. Then following that email came several more baby cases...and more and more cases.
Today is February 6th. Who would have thought I would be holding a 6month old, rolly gerber baby, just a year later? My whole heart was longing for her- even though I didn’t know what she was... she is perfect and there were so many unknowns. I have been on cloud 9 this week. Kase has been trying on some of my baby clothes. My parents moved prior to us adopting her and my mom cleaned out some old storage. She found some of my old baby clothes that I have never seen before. My other kids never had these clothes to wear as babies, so this was special to me. Shortly after she brought the clothes over, I was matched with a boy, but I kept the clothes in a special spot. Little did I know I would be holding my baby girl and she be wearing my baby clothes today. Not only am I giddy over these clothes but you all won’t believe how much Kase looks like me as a baby ..... soon, I will do a side by side photo...God is so fun!! He does all this well.... ....
The people at FAC have such a taxing job going through all our paperwork... but how amazing to be able to bring someone such joy. I waited for those emails to pop up a year ago!! My heart stopped as this popped up on my cell phone this week last year.....
"Only fear the LORD and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you.”