In September we had two important moments toward getting our home study updated. First was our social worker visit on September 7. We love our social worker!! She is kind, thoughtful, knowledgeable and thorough - basically everything you would want in someone who is playing such an important role in your family's future. We were so excited to show her our new house! The interview was pretty basic, mostly focused on what has happened since we met with her last year, what things have changed, how are we doing, etc. Then a quick walk through of the house, and that's it. Very straight forward and honestly kind of fun.
The fire inspection for our new house took place September 20, and we passed. BUT it was a bit of an ordeal for Dan, who stayed home for it. As part of the inspection, he had to completely remove the window from our guest room - both top and bottom panes - to show the inspector that he could. The inspector almost didn't pass him because he didn't remove it quickly enough....but thankfully had a change of heart and just stamped on the form something about "shall practice removing window" (there is an actual stamp for that directive!)
We are STILL waiting for Dan's CPS form to clear. The county claims that they never received Dan's first form (even though it was sent in the same envelope as Bethany's, which cleared shortly thereafter) and the second form is currently MIA as well. Our wonderful adoption worker is doing her best to track down the CPS form, while also trying to stay on the county employees' good side. At this point, it's not a huge deal because we don't have any pending situations that are getting held up by this last form getting approved....but it would be nice to wrap up the paperwork so our home study is officially approved.
This month we had some long discussions about whether we wanted to join an additional adoption pool, and if so with which agency. Basically this would give us increased exposure to other women (and men) who are thinking about placing their child for adoption, which in turn could lead to a placement for us sooner rather than later. As an example of how complicated adoption can be, these were the kind of scenarios we had to compare in choosing an additional agency:
- Agency A works in states where we have family and friends, and we know people who have adopted successfully from them, and they do active advertising to connect with possible birthparents...but they have a hefty up-front fee to join, work in some states that have higher legal fees because of the laws about terminating parental rights, and have some more hoops to jump through than other agencies
- Agency B is in a state further away from us, where we don't know anyone, and has the highest overall fees...but their fee structure is all-inclusive and doesn't risk any of our money in case a situation falls through, and they are currently seeking adoptive families and will not charge us to join their pool
- Agency C is local to us, meaning minimal travel expenses and possibly no fees for adopting out of state, and we trust their methods wholeheartedly and know they provide a lot of support for the birthparents...but their wait time is long and many placements are last-minute, meaning that they often present the families who have been waiting the longest
....and so on. Our point is that with adoption, there are always a million and one decisions beyond the initial "let's adopt" decision. While there are some deal-breakers when it comes to choosing an agency (like, do they treat birthparents with respect and are they transparent about their fees and procedures), we've found that usually there are several good-enough options and at the end of the day you just have to bite the bullet and choose one.
So we did choose one that we will be applying to in order to expand our "reach" so to speak, but we'll write more about that after sending in our application, which we plan to do in October.
The last adoption-related update is just to be real about how challenging the wait can be some days! For us, we've been waiting to become parents for over five years now, which is a decent amount of time (although we are always conscious of those who have been waiting longer). It often happens that the frustrations associated with the adoption process are compounded by our sadness about infertility and our continued childlessness. Friends of ours, who are adoptive parents, told us recently that the wait before their first child was much harder than the wait for the second, because of course then they were parents already. While we haven't gotten over the hump of parenthood yet, that rings true to us, absolutely - some days are easier and some days are harder but each and every day we are praying for our child to find our family, and often it is easy to get discouraged by how long it is taking. Of course we are happy to be on this adoption pilgrimage - but just wanted to be honest here!
Other stuff we did:
Football season started! We are Notre Dame fans (Bethany was introduced by Dan, who grew up watching ND as a kid with his grandpa). ......let's not talk about the catastrophic nose dive this season has taken.....but there were high hopes on the first day, and even when they lose it's a fun thing to do together!
|Dan with the flag Bethany let him buy for the front of our house|
|"Drink, drink drink" was the refrain (more or less) in German of a song we all sang|
And overall we're just trying to enjoy our lives, our friends, our new neighborhood and parish, and keep on keepin' on!