Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Adoption Process

I have posted about the pain Gary and I faced on a daily basis before, but I am going to post more of what has weighed on my heart lately.

Finding out we couldn't get pregnant was a harsh blow to Gary and I. We have been trying to conceive ever since our marriage in 2005 with no luck. After trying on our own, we enlisted doctors to help. After 3 IUI procedures and 1 harsh IVF, we were again back at square one with no baby and a lot of debt. This is when we decided on adoption. Everything fell into place for us once we made this decision.

We feel so blessed that this process went so quickly. We began the process this past June of doing our Home Study and meeting with our Social Worker. We did everything as quickly as we could because it was summer and people were going on vacations. By the end of June, we had our finalized paperwork and we were set to wait at least 2 years. The second week of July (the same week as Gary's birthday), we received a phone call that our birthmother had chosen us out of 15 other potential parents for her baby who was due in December. We were floored.

OUR plans had included a little R & R with friends and Gary's coworkers on a work trip to Vegas. We were going to research Grants and apply for them once we came home. After we got that call, our timeline shrunk. Many of the grants we wanted to apply for asked us to do things on our own first before applying- ask family, have fundraisers  etc. So, we decided to have a huge garage sale. We then designed adoption T-Shirts and sold them and then we held an online Auction. We also sent out letters with our story to everyone we knew. These all helped tremendously to pay for our adoption costs as well as Social worker fees, travel fees and lawyer fees. After all of the fundraisers, we did not have the time to apply for the grants which would take up to 60 days to even know if we would receive one. Many grants also had timelines of their own- some required a match with a birthmother first. Many stated that they would not send money if the baby was already placed in the home. And still others required a completed home study. Many were money match grants where they would take part of the money for the fundraising such as creating T-Shirts or selling stuffed animals or other items.

This is where God again says to us that we need to be faithful and trust in Him to provide for our needs. We did receive comments from some people questioning our methods of adopting and fundraising. I began to realize that people really are not that knowledgeable about how adoption works. Without saying how much we have had to spend, I wanted to list what we have had to do in order to bring our baby home. I want people to be more knowledgeable about the process.

1. Decide on an agency (Agency Fees for Advertising were due immediately) and begin a profile packet with pictures and biographies
Gary and I did go to several adoption agencies before choosing our agency

2. Find a social worker for the Home Study (pay for Social Worker fees, doctor visit fees, mailing of fingerprints fees, mailing of Home Study fees) this Home Study process involved filling out a lot of paperwork- paperwork on our background and our parenting styles, reference letters from family and friends, background checks through state and local agencies as well as being fingerprinted twice, Doctor's visits for physicals and vaccinations, 1-2 two hour long interviews along with a Home Visit and interview. The packet was thick once we were done and we paid to have it sent to everyone involved in our adoption- Social workers, the agency, the lawyer.

3. Fund raise and apply for grants (pay for mailing of hundreds of letters and making of T-Shirts)

4. Chosen by the Birth mother At this point we then had to hire a social worker for our birthmother, hire a lawyer to handle the paperwork, visit our birthmother to meet her

5. When we travel to meet our birthmother, we will then pay for travel, lodging and food at our location where we will need to stay for up to 10 business days or more

6. Our return home  many people do not realize this and we didn't either, but each state requires a fee to be paid before you can bring a baby home across state lines

7. The months after the baby is home will involve two visits by our social worker (we will pay her for each visit and the paperwork) for her to see that everything is going smoothly. The adoption will not be completely finalized until after these visits at 6 months

I am not writing this post to ask for money. God is taking care of Gary and I even if we do come out of this process with debt. We have been so blessed by friends and family who have done so much for us. I did not even need to include preparing the nursery in this list of fees because people have been so generous in giving us items to use. But, I did want people who have questioned why we needed to raise money to understand what the process entails.

Many people have helped in so many ways and we are eternally grateful for that. You have helped make God's will for our life become a reality and we will never forget the kindness we have been shown. Thank you very much!!!!!!

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