And so here it begins. I can remember wanting to adopt since I first knew what adoption was. It was as simple as, there are kids that need homes and mommy’s, why couldn’t I be one of those kid’s mommy’s? I never once considered not adopting. The question has always been when. Matthew and I married in 2012, and we knew we had a lot of growing to do before we’d be ready to be parents and so we were in no rush. I finished school and he re-enrolled in school. It was always once we complete school, bought a house etc. we will discuss starting a family more seriously. All of the sudden our to-do list was being checked off one by one. We had a lot of growing between year 1 and year 4. We became wiser, more responsible and more ready. Matthew graduated in May of this year and all of the sudden it was are we adopting first or trying to have a baby first? We both felt certain adoption was where we wanted to go. Oftentimes I wonder if we’ve lost our minds, but the I remember how long ago God placed this on my heart and how He was been preparing us through our personal and professional life’s for this. That’s not to say we are naive about the difficulty of the journey we are embarking, but where God has called He will always provide 1 Proverbs 16:9 “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps (ESV).” Due to my slow start in documenting this journey I am going to try my best to catch you up to where we are;
- We first attended an information session in our town of LaGrange GA at the Department of Family and Children Services. This session was a fact finding mission to see what all we needed to know to begin
- Next we filled out an inquiry packet (several pages long and so began the 200 + pages of paperwork)
- We attended a training called IMPACT for a 30 hr. training with about 26 other people. Some were young like us some were older. Some were adopting baby’s and others family, friends. Some were fostering and others adopting. We were open to you, boy or girl any ethnicity and up to age 12, our parameters were BIG but we just wanted to be open to you, whoever you are.
- This training was very informative. We learned about kids like you.
- We learned about mental health diagnosis that could come along with your journey.
- We learned about how you are not defined by your experiences, but that we have to be open to your needs and the help you may need to overcome this. We will overcome this together.
- We learned that some days will be rough and neither of us will know what to do, we learned about resources and techniques to help you.
- We learned about our own expectations and how we have to lay those aside for you.
- We learned about ourselves and how our own childhood has shaped our parenting style.
- We learned about how to discipline and punishment and how they differ. Discipline serves to teach— or to disciple. Punishment is a reaction to emotion and must be monitored closely to insure its appropriateness. We learned that we have to learn the differences to be effective parents.
- We did a family map where we mapped our own family and the role they play in your life.
- We also “designed the perfect child” which turned out to be futile because no such exists. Our child was ethnic because we know the statistics about how many are in care. Ours had the most beautiful fro and was dressed to the 9’s in stick figure fashion. Ours had a sibling(s). Because we are open to sibling’s groups of 2. Ours were funny and sweet…
- Our trainers name was Amber Beck and she was in foster care from age 6-16 where she entered her final placement and was adopted at 22. She was a huge inspiration to our journey. She shared a lot about her alcoholic mother and how she had been abused physically and sexually and how her family had helped to heal that. She was adopted by two white parents and she was their first daughter and their oldest child. She inspired and showed us even more so how God can heal all things. Makes me think of the Gungor song, “Beatiful Things”
- Once training was complete we then began gathering paperwork such as; bills, vet shot paperwork, marriage license copies, birth certificates and so much more
- We also had to talk about tough issues about you, really tough. Emotional, mental, behavioral and physical traits we felt equipped to handle/accept and ones we didn’t feel we’d be the best to help with. This was heartbreaking for me, I wanted to say yes to it all but I knew we had to realistic
- We did fingerprinting, CPS background checks, references, income statement and so much more
- And now all we have left is our updated CPR training and then we begin our home-study. Its been a frustrating process, but I am glad we needed time and we needed to be challenged and if we can’t fight through 200+ pages of paperwork then I guess we really aren’t ready to not be ready.
- AND NOW WE WAIT TO BEGIN THE FINAL PRE-PHASE PHASE…
1 Samuel 1:27 For this child I prayed, and the LORD has granted me my petition that I made to him. ESV