So apparently you don't just decide to adopt and sign on the dotted line. Weird.
Baby Steps- LOT & LOTS of baby steps!!!
For those who have thought about the adoption process or are just curious to what we are going through I am going to try my very best to start from the beginning and walk ya'll through it - to the point we are right now. I know parts of the process coming up but not in detail. I am experiencing this adoption education along the way! :)
Step 1~ Request an information packet in the mail. FREE and easy! Lots of great information along with the pricing sheet of what everything will run throughout the process. The agency we use sent a DVD as well for you to get a better picture of their mission.
Step 2~ Apply! The application was typical. Every bit of information about you and your family. Along with referrals from family and friends.
Step 3~ Attend orientation meeting. This was a great meeting with the agency worker. She explained in detail what to expect, answered every question or concern we had and armed us with our notebook of information to read and our "gather list".
Step 4~ Gather List #1 HOME STUDY The Home study is a start to the adoption process which requires gathering paperwork such as copies of marriage certificate, birth certificates, financial reports, adoption petition, employment verification, proof of rabies vaccination of all pets, full physicals and lab work, background checks, septic inspection... much more. You get the picture. PLUS interviews with the social worker. She compiles ALL this information and writes a report then sends it for review to our agency. Once they "OK" it, she will receive it back to make an official report that will be apart of our dossier (fancy french word meaning "bundle of documents") Once this is complete we will receive a fingerprint appointment. We are still waiting for this so you will know when we hear the word :)
Step 5~ Start compiling dossier! Everything must be NO more than 6 months old by the time it reaches the Embassy so timing is key. All the stuff for the home study were copies. Now it's time to play in the big league's. ALL documents including marriage and birth certificates have to be newly (less than 6 months) obtained. Besides those, a dossier consists of all the home study paperwork, an approved 1-800A (application through the USCIS stating you're able to adopt from a convention country, copies of passport, family photos, couples photos and appropriate fees. Obtaining the paperwork is the easy part. But everything has to be notarized superior clerk of court certified, secretary of state certified (for my NC documents they had to take an extra step and be US secretary of state certified), AND Embassy authenticated. As of right now my GA secretary of state documents are certified and on their way back to me. Hopefully they will be here tomorrow or Friday. After I receive them, I will immediately put them in the mail to the Embassy in Houston TX for authentication. My NC documents (as well as Sam's Certificate of Birth Abroad) is in DC right now with a courier getting US secretary of state certified and authenticated by the Embassy there. I'm thinking this process takes about 1-2 weeks. I have a tracking number on the envelope coming back to me so I am psychotically checking USPS every day! haha
More baby steps to come....
Monday, January 7, 2013
Did I grow up with dreams of adopting? Was it always in my plans? NO.
A little background to the story:
When Sam and I got married I already had Alexis. She was 7 years old. So, we figured "why wait?" on having more kids. After our first year of marriage I wasn't pregnant yet so I decided to go to the doctor for advice and help. For the second year of our marriage I did Clomid (low dose fertility drug) and Prometrium. No such luck. Starting into the 3rd year of trying and taking more fertility drugs plus having a laproscopy to have my endometriosis removed, I got pregnant!! The time frame I got pregnant was 3 months after I was baptized. I honestly feel like it was God's welcome present to me for finally entering into His kingdom. I grew up a "Christian" and was taught the basics which I am forever thankful for but I always held of getting baptized. I always thought "I'm not good enough yet". What I didn't understand was that I will never be good enough. I will always fall short. But I am washed cleaned by His blood and His grace and forgiveness is more than good enough :) So, I was pregnant after 3 years and very happy!
After Aubrie turned 2 we decided to start trying again (between deployments and R&R's of course!) More Clomid and Prometrium. Another laproscopy. Flushing out my tubes a few times. No such luck. My doctor then decided I should go see a specialist. The specialist was amazing. I just KNEW if anyone could get the job done, it was him. He told me along with the endometriosis back, I also had PCOS (Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome). We started treatment, which consisted of Follistim shots in my stomach and another shot (I put the name purposely out of my head!! That sucker HURT!) in my hiney... yeah... This went on for months. Finally Sam and I started throwing around the idea of adopting but it was never talked about seriously. Then we just said we were honestly happy with our family of 4 and felt extremely blessed. We were ready to stop the shots and just move on. No more talk of becoming pregnant and no more talk about adoption.
I can't explain really but adoption was always in the back of my head. Not necessarily because it was something I deeply wanted...it was just there, almost a whisper in my ear. That whisper got louder. I started seeing things on TV and hearing commercials on the radio about adopting. I blew it off. When I was trying to get pregnant I noticed SO many pregnant women. I figured because I was thinking about adoption that my sub conscience was getting the best of me. One day I went over a friends house to buy something from her. I knew she had adopted so I casually asked her what the process was. She got a sparkle in her eye and she asked me to come in and talk about it. I could tell that it was something she was passionate about which made me even more interested. After an hour or so of telling me her story, she asked if she could put some people in touch with me that have also adopted. Um, sure ..... ?
Literally within days I had a handful of ladies message me letting me know that they were available to get together if I ever had any questions. I met with Brandi at Dunkin Donut a few days later and got to hear her amamzing story. I met with Christine after that and heard hers.....and then Dawn... and Kathy, and Alexandra. These ladies in particular had adopted or were in the process of adopting from China. I never gave it much thought to WHERE I would adopt from. So how in the world would I make that decision? I pulled up a few websites for local adoption in Georgia and the website was incredibly hard to navigate. All the children they were showing were 14-17 years old. I emailed a few friends in different states and different countries if they knew of a reputable adoption agency in their area. I wasn't really getting anywhere on my own. So, I started praying. Asking God if adoption was right for us...asking Him to give me signs if it was what He wanted us to do. I got more signs. And I kept telling myself they were coincidences.
Backing up a bit.....
In August our church service was about asking God for forgiveness for trying to control something in your life instead of giving it over to Him. We were to write on the board something we were trying to control. This is what I wrote:
Fast forward to September-
The night before my doctors appt I prayed hard. And specifically. It went something like this but don't qoute me ;) "God, adoption has been weighing on my heart and mind something fierce. If this is in YOUR plans for us, please show me a sign. I will not doubt you. I will not blow it off as a coinsedense. I will have faith. Also, if we are meant to adopt please point me in the direction WHERE. I do not care- domestic or international. They are all Your children and all equally important.
The following day my doctor was not available to see me so I saw another doctor.
She asked me if I was done having kids because I was probably going to have to have a hysterectomy. I told her I was done and was thinking of adopting. She asked me where from? I didn't have a place pin-pointed yet but since all the ladies I had talked to about adoption went through China...I just blurted out, "Not sure, maybe China". She proceeded to tell me that she was from China and that she actually was apart of the committee downtown Savannah that held a Chinese New Years party every year. She said " I have never seen so many blonde parents with Chinese kids before!" LOL No more blowing it off- that was my wink from God. I hear You loud and clear. Application is in the mail.