Saturday, May 24, 2014

Paper pregnant - Part II

I hate roller coasters, both the physical and the emotional kind. It's funny how God works in our lives to help us trust Him. I'm thinking He put me on this roller coaster so I could learn that true stability comes from Him.

Our daughter (now 17 1/2 months old) was a surprise. We found out about her the day after she was born and within twelve hours were at the airport ready to fly across the country. We took her home from the hospital and lived in a hotel for just over a week while waiting for our ICPC clearance (Interstate Compact Placement of Children). Adoption is very much a state issue, so we needed permission to leave one state and enter another. In fact, until our adoption was finalized 6 months later, we were required to notify the agency whenever we left our home state.

Meanwhile, here is A in her first crib while waiting for ICPC clearance:

And my favorite is on the hotel room's couch (since I think she is so adorable):

What a roller coaster ride those first few weeks were...

This paper pregnancy is quite different, and it makes our first adoption feel like a kiddie carousel ride. When our little A was about 3 months old, we began talking about the process of adopting again, knowing that it could take a long time.  The average estimated wait for waiting child adoption is 18-24 months. We learned, however, that we could not start a new home study until our first adoption was legally finalized, and that was set for just after A's 6-month birthday.

While we were waiting, I was still researching, and we fell in love with a sibling set of three boys. Naturally, this prompted us to work as hard as we could to complete the mountain of paperwork required. We signed up for classes, got fingerprinted, submitted our police and child abuse checks, wrote our autobiographies, asked friends for reference letters, and pseudo-cleaned our house for our social worker's visit. :) As an aside, social workers ought to have a day reserved just to honor them (mine especially). I can't imagine working daily with such emotionally charged families!

Our home study was stamped on October 4, 2013. We were approved for up to three siblings ranging in age from infant to 16 years. Step one, done.

So, I submitted our home study for this sibling group. A week later we found out that the caseworker had stopped accepting home studies and that she never got ours. There had been an administrative glitch. I think I cried for three days. I was so sure these children were supposed to be in our home. Being rejected because we aren't a good fit is one thing; being rejected without ever having a chance to be considered is entirely different.

Fast forward to April 1st. (By then, we had submitted our home study to 38 other situations and had heard back from only a handful. It's quite rare to hear back from a caseworker unless she is interested. So, in this situation, no news is not good news.) We got an email update from our matching service listing new available children, and these three boys were again on the list! I immediately submitted our home study and then told Peter afterwards. :)

Then, the waiting began anew. We inquired about ten more situations, submitting our home study for most of them. As of this post, our total submissions number 49, for over 120 children.

One of the emotionally challenging things about this process is that for each submission, we picture particular children as part of our family, so we discuss various factors such as logistics (schooling, bedrooms, etc); and we talk about how we could meet any special needs and build relationships, transition the children into our home, etc., only to have to do it all over again the following day for another child or children. Another difficulty we've discovered involves scheduling. Not knowing when our "due date" is makes it difficult to make commitments, since we don't know if we'll be able to keep them. I've turned down a number of opportunities that I could have done because I don't know when we'll have to be ready to go.

Recently, my social worker encouraged me to contact other agencies specializing in waiting child adoption. For a number of reasons, we had our home study done through an agency that does mostly domestic infant adoptions, so our wonderful social worker wants to make sure that we have all the necessary support in place.

In my next post, I'll share some of the twists and turns my research unearthed and why adoptive families need to learn early to ask questions (lots of them) and become proactive advocates ....


  1. Thank you Lia... this is so helpful as we come to the place again of asking Father if He want us to adopt.

    1. I'm glad to help. I'll keep you guys in prayer. Feel free to shoot me an email if you'd like to chat via phone or email about it sometime.