In a way, we feel like God is using this experience in our lives to open the doors for someone else who may be following our journey to adopt. As a result, we feel responsible to be as transparent as possible about this process as a means of educating others about adoption and the enormous blessing that it already has been for us.
Let me preface this by saying that my very own initial reaction to all of this was, "You've got to be kidding me....we've got to do all of that to get a kiddo when some far 'less qualified' couples can have kids all decade long and never show up on the radar." But, I quickly let that thought go as I realized that these were standards that would be beneficial for all parents to be held to.
First of all, as Mandy has already mentioned in earlier posts, we have undergone extensive background checks and tests:
In our very first round of paperwork with the agency, we were asked to provide references in several areas of our lives: home, work, church, friends, & medical professionals.
Medically speaking, we were asked to be tested for HIV and to provide the last 3 generations of medical history.
We had our fingerprints scanned by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Financially speaking, there was nothing that wasn't uncovered by the agency: savings, checking, mortgage, net worth, etc.
Secondly, there was a list of requirements:
We were to have active life insurance policies.
Back in April, we attended a mandatory 2-day orientation at the agency headquarters in Abilene (we REALLY enjoyed that!)
There were a couple of "required"(suggested) reading materials "given" to us by the adoption agency.
Thirdly, there were certifications that needed to be attained:
An online infant care course and examination had to be completed (and passed!).
CPR & First-Aid certification was required for each of us.
Paperwork.....oh, the paperwork. They wanted to document a LOT of stuff about us and our families including medical history, education, religion, and location.
We were required to submit our pet's vaccination records....that means they had to be current on vaccinations too!
Following a guideline of questions, we each compiled an autobiography of our lives up to this point.
We were each required to document an evaluation of our Spritual walks and then a Spiritual development plan for our child.
Mandy worked to put together a 20-page scrapbook all about us, family, friends, pets & hobbies. This is one of the tools the birhtmothers will use in making their selection.
A floorplan layout and photos of our house was requested.
We had to decide whose insurance policy (mine or Mandy's) would offer the best coverage for the baby at the point of birth....not all policies begin coverage of an adopted child at the same time.
Our preferences for a child...man, that was tough!!! Probably the most frequent question we get is whether get to specify the gender. We do not....nor would we want to, because it was tough enough to specify the many other things. We were able to document what we were "willing" to accept in a child, including ethnicity, medical history of birthmother and father, medical history of birthmother's and father's extended families, degree of substance (alcohol & drugs) exposure before pregnancy of birthmother and father, degree of substance exposure during pregnancy of birthmother. WOW!!! That was probably the toughest part of the adoption process for us up to this point. When you have so much love for a child, how in the world can you turn some away?
MONEY!!! Adoption takes money. When the adoption is finalized, the adoption process will have cost us just over $30,000. That is more expensive than what I initially thought it would be. I must admit that I struggled with facing this cost of adoption at the beginning of our journey. But, why would God lead us to choose adoption rather than seek further medical assistance if we couldn't afford it? That initial fear turned to faith that God would provide in every way. And He has been! And we are confident that He will continue to! We have held a couple garage sales to raise funds. And we have a couple more fundraising efforts coming your way in the very near future (check back for details!).
What a blessing this has been in our lives so far! Have you ever felt such a peace and patience about something that it MUST be nothing less than God's perfect plan? Yep, that's right where we are in this process. We are very excited about what's ahead on this journey.