Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Intake Meeting Part 1

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!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Adoption Application is Accepted!

by Bethany

On Friday May 1st, I got a phone call from the director of the domestic adoption program at our agency, telling me that our application has been approved by the application review board and that we can now set up an intake meeting to begin the home study.

Woo hoo!!!

Maybe it sounds silly, but Dan and I were a little - okay, a lot - nervous about our application being accepted. A lot of it was probably just the normal nervousness of starting something so huge and being dependent (definitely not for the last time) on the decisions of other people - strangers as of now - to move forward toward our dream of being parents. That's pretty nerve-wracking.

Both of us prayed a lot for our application to be accepted, and for peace no matter what.

As it turns out, we got the green light less than two weeks after the agency received our application, which to us is a great sign of their efficiency, and a good confirmation that we're a good fit with them.

The next step is what's called an intake meeting, which we are scheduling for mid-May. At this meeting, we will meet with agency staff and receive an overview of what the home study will entail. We'll also get the many forms that are needed for the home study, and get a chance to ask any questions we have.

Exciting stuff!

More about getting approved - largely so that we remember this moment:

I was actually on a bus en route to New York City when the agency called. I was heading up to Connecticut to attend my godson's baptism, and the bus had just arrived within view of the NYC skyline when my phone rang.

I didn't recognize the number, but saw that it was local, so I picked it up. It indeed was "the call" I had been waiting for, and my heart started to pound! I only just grasped what the director was saying - we've been approved, let's move forward - plus it was hard to hear on the bus - and was able to make a few brief replies before we concluded our conversation with the director telling me she would email me some meeting dates.

After hanging up, I had such a surge of joy! It felt so good to have concrete confirmation that we're actually doing this - we have actually started the adoption process. This is for real. So many emotions flooded my heart: joy, relief, peace, and excitement, for starters. I wish Dan had been with me, but he was several states away, running a weekend retreat for children of divorce. I texted him right away, and we were able to speak later that evening.

It was a very graced moment, and I hope it's a taste of moments to come filled with joy. (Of course, we know that there will probably be many moments of anxiety, uncertainty, and sorrow, too. But hopefully joy will have the last word!)

Getting the call on a Friday, too, was such a blessing, because I was able to relax and enjoy the weekend with my friends, especially my precious new godson!

With my new godson and my goddaughter!
Finally: May 1st was a special day to receive the good news about our application. It is the feast day of St. Joseph the Worker and the start of May, a month traditionally dedicated to Mary, our Blessed Mother. It looks like both Mary and Joseph are looking out for us!