Home study Visit #2 / Such.a.Gift.

We are well on our way to completing our home study! Typically, there are 4 visits spread out over the course of 6-8 weeks. We were told this visit would be a long one where she would talk to both of us separately for at least an hour. I was a little concerned about this. Not that we have anything juicy to hide, but I just expected it would be hard questions to answer about your spouse.

Turns out, the only questions she asked us about each other were, “How would you describe your spouse?” and “Can you describe your family’s relationship with your spouse?” and “What kind of parent is your spouse?” The rest of the questions were about our childhood. At no time did I feel uncomfortable or judged.

Again, this process has been so much easier than I had expected. And the more we talk about it, the more I fall in love with this little person that may or may not even be conceived yet. And the more I feel compassion for the birth mom who is choosing a better life for her child – chances are her life isn’t butterflies and roses, and she is not making the choice selfishly.

We decided to wrap things up in one 3-hour visit on April 4. After that, she has to write a 10 page report about us and get it edited and approved by her supervisor and the court. We are looking at being approved and available as a “Waiting Family” somewhere between May 18 and June 1. And then starts the fund-raising…

lemonadeHave I ever mentioned how much I love fund-raising? No?

Huh…. Yeah… no I think you’re right – I haven’t.

But I do love planning things, so I guess I just need to get over the label of “Fund-raising” and get to it.

Our plan is to do several things:

1. Start applying for grants.

This is pretty much like applying to college: Filling out paperwork, answering really personal questions, writing essays, etc...

2. Have a garage sale June 4-6 at my father-in-law’s house. 

Have you ever seen Storage Wars? Our dear friend and spiritual mentor for many years has offered to help us by bidding on storage unit auctions. I can’t tell you how overwhelmed with emotion I was when he shared this with me. 

3. Plan a food-event. 

Everyone loves to eat and we love to cook, so I thought it would be fun to feed people. I make a mean lasagna and have won a chili cook off.

Your Feedback please:  Any ideas for what time of year to do an event like this would be helpful. Seems like during the summer everyone is gone a lot. Weekday? Weekend? Summer? Fall?

4. Hold a Raffle.

Friends of ours adopted and this was their most successful fund-raising approach. They bought I-pads and several other expensive electronics that people could win. Then they sold tickets over the course of 2-3 months and drew winners for each of the prizes. People loved that each $5 bought them a ticket for a chance to win a prize. 

Your Feedback please:  Does $5/ticket seem like a good idea? What kinds of electronics are people into these days? What other prizes would you be interested in winning? Should we do the raffle drawing at our food event?

5. Publicize this Blog.

I’ve seen blogs where you can donate to the blogger’s cause, but have no idea how to get this set up! And honestly, I am very concerned that people’s financial information be kept safe. Also, I need to actually find time to network with other bloggers so that people besides my Facebook friends can follow along and have the opportunity to read my blog. It would be nice to maybe open the raffle up to readers. Maybe??? I don’t know…

Your Feedback please: Umm… just Help!!!

6. Work.

We certainly can’t ask people to help fund our adoption without working our hardest to save money as well.  We are both so thankful that we love our jobs so much. Tyler is tutoring on the side, and I have been working quite a bit of overtime. So far we’ve been able to pay out of pocket for the application and home study, but the other 75% of the cost is due when we finalize our adoption. 

————————————–

THIS is what’s most overwhelming to me. The fund-raising part is why we decided to start the process earlier than we had originally planned. This way we have the summer to work on this, since Tyler has almost 3 months off.

I can’t sufficiently describe how it feels to need to depend on others to help you expand your family. Every gift is such.a.gift. Think about what money normally buys: food, clothing, gas, housing, repairs, medicine, vacation. Some of those things are such a drag to pay for and others – though fun and exciting – are still fleeting. The gift of a child is forever. And every little bit – even $5 – is still a part of that gift.

God will provide for us no matter what. We paid for IVF almost all by ourselves, and it was such a relief when we made our final payment on our 15-month 0% interest credit card! Adoption costs 3x what IVF cost us. But if we won the lottery it would be much less humbling than relying on the gifts of people who want to support this baby we are adopting. Not that we want to be humbled.

Wait, that doesn’t sound good.

But you know what I mean. ❤

VERY IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER:  You should in no way feel obligated to donate money to us just because you know us and are reading our blog. The primary purpose of this blog is to keep people updated and to create more awareness about what adoption is really like. While I think it’s important to be charitable, we all have different causes that are important to us – so give where you are led to give!

That was easy.

Homestudy visit #1 down. Three to go.

And the “Home”-part of the Homestudy went like this:

Do you have a fire extinguisher? 

Can you point out your smoke and CO2 detectors? 

Do you plan on moving anytime soon?

What is your neighborhood like? 

Can you give me a tour? 

(peeks her head into each room)

photography 011

14 hours of cleaning for a 3 minute tour. She didn’t even use the bathroom.

The bathroom in which I insisted on scrubbing the blinds mercilessly.

The bathroom in which I ensured every towel was hung with perfectly straight lines.

The bathroom in which I carefully surveyed every square inch for hair.

Long hair.

Short hair.

Baby hair.

Dog hair.

Leg hair.

Do you realize how hard it is to remove every trace of hair from a humid bathroom?

Hard. Very hard.

But our house is so clean and pretty now! So in spite of wanting to drag her through each room and point proudly at every sparkle and shine, I refrained. I held onto the knowledge that even if she wasn’t able to fully appreciate all the work we put into preparing for those 3 minutes, we would appreciate having a spotless house for 2 hours.

So what did we actually do then?

Mostly, we answered questions that will become a preliminary plan for what situations/conditions we would be open to for our adoption. For example:

How open would you be to adopting a child with special needs?

How open would you be to adopting a child for whom you don’t know the father’s medical history?

How open would you be to adopting a child whose mother smoked/drank/did drugs/has mental illness or cognitive impairment/ has a family with a history of mental illness or cognitive impairment?

And some really, really sad questions like:

How open would you be to adopting a child who was conceived by rape? 

How open would you be to adopting a child who was conceived by incest? 

Other questions had to do with our expectations and hopes for our relationship with the birthmom/parents:

Are you willing to provide written updates to the birthmom?

Are you willing to make personal contact with the birthmom, either at a neutral location or at your home?

Are you willing to adopt from a mother who insists you use a certain name for the child?

It was a lot to take in. Thankfully, it seemed that Tyler and I were on the same page for every answer. The hardest thing is that we both strongly feel every child has just as much value as another. It would of course be easier to adopt a child with no complicated family of origin and no pre-existing conditions. By that criteria, I would love to open our house to any child needing a loving family!

But our current lifestyle — though fairly simple — still finds us busy with our jobs, with our families, and with our church. Of course, our children will always come first. And if I were to get pregnant with a child that had a special condition or disability, we would certainly rearrange our lives. But we can’t help feeling that adopting a child with special needs might suit us better a-ways down the road. Maybe even through foster care.

We answered most every question with a score to indicate that we would prayerfully consider those situations, but in more severe conditions, feel it would be unlikely that we would be ready to commit.

Please pray that God would lead us to the child that is meant to be ours. He will, and we know it. But we still may have decisions to make ahead! 

And if adoption is something you are considering for you future, please don’t let this scare you from it. Our caseworker assured us that every child finds a family, and there are families out there who know they specifically want to open their home up to a child with special needs. These were also not binding statements of intention. The agency asks these questions so that if you know you wish to adopt a child with certain circumstances, you would be their first choice. We in no way felt we were being pushed to commit to anything.

Thank you all for your prayers and support! It’s been overwhelming to see how many people are interested in reading our story!

‘Twas the Night Before the Homestudy

Twas the night before the Homestudy and all through the house,

Not a shoe was misplaced,photography 008

Not even a blouse.

The baby was nestled all snug in her bed,

While visions of sibling-hood danced in her head.

The coats were all hung in the closet with care,

Knowing the caseworker soon would be there.

“Now dishes! Now vacuum! Now dusting and cleaning!

In bathrooms! On furniture, floors, walls, and ceilings!”

With everything done

And all in it’s place,

We collapsed on the couch in a loving embrace.

I sighed and exclaimed as we admired the shine,

“Why only cooking sherry? I wish I had wine!”