Thursday, March 30, 2017

Journal Entry 6.13.15

Each child of mine has a journal that was started when I found out I was expecting. In June of 2015, we were seriously considering adopting a pre-teen girl from foster care. I started a journal for her then and continued to write in it periodically for the next 10 months. I was pregnant with my 4th babe when we were considering this and decided that we should wait until she was a year old to reevaluate our adoption plan.  A couple months after that was when we shifted our plan to adopt an infant domestically. And now here we are again, back in the foster adoption world, only this time instead of a pre-teen girl, we are looking at a sibling set.

Tonight, I sat down to journal to the kiddos we hope to add to our family and instinctively grabbed the journal I had started in December of 2016, when we began the domestic infant adoption process.  After reading through my first entry, I thought to pull out the other  journal I had started almost 2 years ago when we were considering adopting from foster care.

Here is my first entry, from June 13, 2015:

"For the past two weeks I haven't stopped thinking about you. I've been dreaming about whether you will be a boy or a girl, if there will be one of you or more, what you look like, and what kind of personality you will have. I've planned and replanned the layout and design of your room, I've imagined going on our first family vacation or picking our first family pet...

 I didn't find out about you in the traditional way. I did not buy a pregnancy test and wait in anticipation for the two pink lines to appear… I did not go to the doctor for labs or an ultrasound… no, with you, it was completely different.

I've longed for you just as I've longed for my other children, but I already know I will miss your first cry as you are transitioning from the warmth and safety of the womb to the bright and unfamiliar world.  I will miss giving you your first bath and will not have the pure joy and satisfaction that would result from working toward your first smile. I will not be there to document you rolling over for the first time or photograph you rocking on your hands and knees as you attempt to crawl. There are so many things I will not get to be a part of - first steps, first words, first birthday... and second, and third… Knowing everything I will miss is almost too much to bear.

 I wonder, as I am writing this now, where you are, who you are with… I wonder what you were thinking, how you are feeling… If you can feel the love I already feel for you…"

Almost two years have passed, and yet every word still rings true. This desire has been burning within me for a long time and I can't wait to bring my kiddos home!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Switching Paths

So we are just a few months into our adoption journey and have some big news!  No, we haven't been matched with a baby yet.  In fact, we may never be matched with a baby.

Wait, what?

Let me explain.

We started this journey at the end of December when we signed on with an agency to pursue a domestic infant adoption.  We requested our homestudy forms in advance and filled out seemingly endless paperwork throughout January and February.  Then we attended the required orientation day at the end of February.  We were so happy with our agency and the care and thought they put into the process.  We even met a few new friends who were pursuing infant adoption as well.  The couple next to us had the same number of children as us and they were even the same ages!

I had joined some online adoption forums when we started the process and found the mix of perspectives between birth parents, adoptive parents, and adult adoptees to be so helpful, informative, and overall beneficial.  One comment that was made was concerning the alarming difference between Foster Care Adoption and Domestic Infant Adoption - in the former there is a line of kiddos just waiting to be adopted by a family, whereas in the latter there is a line of families waiting to adopt a baby.  My mind made a mental note of this comment, I mentioned it in passing to my hubby, but we continued on our established course.

Then came this article.

The story of 5 Kansas siblings, ages 2-11, who were eligible for adoption and wanted to stay together.  If you have Facebook, I would venture to guess it came across your Newsfeed.  I instantly welled up with tears while reading about them and found a video link which didn't help the emotional mess I was quickly becoming.  I rationalized how we could rework our sleeping arrangements to accommodate 5 more kids, mentally purchased a big ole van, and seriously considered how we could make this happen.  I told my husband about them when he got home from work, and being the loving, understanding man he is, he allowed me to try to explain to him how this was a good idea.

Well, needless to say, we are not adopting these five kiddos.  Thankfully, their story was so widely shared that the agency's system was overloaded with more voicemails and emails than it could handle and there are a number of families seeking to adopt them.

However, it was a turning point in the minds of both my husband and I and we began to question whether we should stay the course and hold out for a baby, or switch paths and pursue a sibling set from foster care.  After a number of days, prayers, conversations, discussions, pros and cons lists, etc., we settled on switching paths!

Our county doesn't do adoptive home studies, so we contacted a public agency in the cities.  They gave us a timeline of approximately 13 months from start to home study approved.  The length of this waiting period is largely due to caseworker overload, so we would have to wait 5-6 months just to get assigned a caseworker.

We inquired at a couple of the other public agencies and found a good fit for us.  You know that feeling when you talk to someone on the phone that you have never met, but it feels like you are old friends?  That is how I felt with the caseworker I chatted with at the agency we have decided to go with!  And the best part... she gave us a general timeline of 3 months.  So potentially, at the beginning of June we could begin seeking out children to add to our family!

Stay tuned!