Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Adoption Pilgrimage, Round Two!

That's right - we have officially started the process to adopt a second baby who will be Zelie's little brother or sister :) We had been talking about taking this step for a while - we would love to have a few kids, God willing! - and decided late summer would be the best time to start: Zelie is over a year old now, so we have some parenting practice under our belts; we're coming up to the end of Dan's PhD work this Fall (hooray x1000); and we feel emotionally & financially ready (or as ready as you can be!) to jump back in to the world of paperwork and the waiting pool and all the ups and downs of trying to adopt.

Please pray for us!!!

This time around, we'll still be doing our home study with Barker in Bethesda, MD who we LOVE and have learned so much from over the years. Sadly the wonderful staff person who guided us through our last home study has moved on to other exciting ventures - but we're looking forward to getting to know the new staff there since our last go-round in 2015; they've all been great. We've met with Barker once so far to talk through the second adoption and to get the expected big, big stack of paperwork to complete.

For placement, we'll be working with An Open Door agency in Georgia, who we had actually been fully signed up with in 2017 for a few months before we ended up adopting Zelie through different channels. But we had a great experience with An Open Door for the time we interacted with them and we think they'll be a good fit for us this time around.

In case you're wondering (as we were), yes, we have to do pretty much an entire home study once again. The reason for this is 1) certain forms we've already done have expired, for example background checks; and 2) our family now looks different than when we were trying to adopt the first time around, namely we are 3 persons! So our agency wants to examine our current family and talk through the dynamics that are different.

There are some things that will be simpler/easier for this home study. For those who are curious, here is what we have to do this time around (with notes about whether/how the second home study is different):

- monthly expenses sheet
- overall financial information with documentation (bank account, retirement, etc.)
- evacuation plan & floor map of our house (already done)
- fire safety survey & fire inspection (have to do it again)
- our autobiographies (just need to update them)
- guardianship agreement
- employer letter for Dan
- certified driving records
- fingerprints (these expire after 1 year)
- child protective services background check (also expire after 1 year)
- child support background check
- physicals for adults
- Dr. letter for Zelie and overall health history
- copies of: birth certificates, marriage certificate, adoption decree, latest taxes, auto insurance, and life insurance
- several "sign and date" forms, such as the fee schedule and service agreement with our agency
- 4 reference letters plus 1 reference who meets in-person with our social worker

And after all this: several in-person meetings with our social worker, who writes the official home study report

Writing it out, honestly it doesn't seem like as much this time (which it literally isn't). Of course it will be work and take time (and cost money), but doing this again feels a lot less daunting than the first time around! And we know some tips and tricks, like: the fire inspection will probably require whoever is here to completely remove a first floor window...the physicals require fasting the night before for the TB test...don't mail originals of stuff b/c they might get lost...and so on. We're basically pros now ;)

Concurrently with this work, we'll be consulting with An Open Door about when to start their application process, which will necessitate much of this same information and some different things as well. And we'll be updating our profile book to include our beautiful daughter!

Our working goal is that we're "LIVE" in the waiting pool just after Dan defends his dissertation in the Fall - since that's one of verrrrry few life events that he can't not show up for, even for a baby that needs us to come right now and pick him/her up! So that means that at the very latest, by the end of the calendar year we'll be ready to consider possible adoption situations (God willing).

Pray for us!

- Dan, Bethany, and Zelie

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