Today we had the first of two intake meetings at our agency in Maryland, Barker Adoption Foundation. It was a pleasant surprise to find out that we'll be asked for payment at the next meeting, in June, which makes things easier on our May budget!
For this meeting, we met with the director of the domestic adoption program, Ann. She gave us an overview of everything that Barker provides, from the home study process through services to waiting parents (those approved to adopt and waiting for a child) and beyond. One thing we really appreciate about Barker is the amount of services they provide. For example, they recently held sessions for waiting parents on the ins and outs of car seats and on how to prepare for a quick turnaround placement (when you get "the call" that you've been chosen to adopt and have mere weeks or even days before you pick up your child). We feel like they will be helpful and informative along every step of the way.
Ann also had some questions for us about our application, so we talked through a few things. She shared candidly that the adoption process can be, or at least seem, quite intrusive. During the home study, we'll share very personal information about our past, our finances, and our ideas about parenting with people who are essentially strangers. That's just par for the course, so the agency can truly discern whether adoption is a good fit for a particular family, and also to help the prospective adoptive parents be as prepared as they can be. But it was good to hear that Barker recognizes the possible discomfort that can come with the process.
We talked with Ann about what led us to adoption, and she was happy to hear that we have adoption in both of our families, so it's not a foreign or mysterious concept to us, although I'm sure we have a lot to learn! We also talked through our plan to use another agency (St. Joseph's) in addition to Barker, and she gave us some helpful hints on what to ask St. Joseph's to make sure we're aware of all they offer and whether there are any potential gaps that might affect our decision to use them.
After meeting with Ann for about an hour and a half, we then met briefly with the family services specialist, Lisa, with whom we will meet for a longer time in June. It's at that meeting that we'll receive the stack of forms that we'll use in our home study. We opted to meet with Lisa in mid-June, after some travels that we already had planned. That way we'll be able to really dive in to the home study and make some good progress.
It feels great to be moving forward!