Thursday, June 27, 2013

Online Adoption Class #2

On this past Tuesday Jesse and I found the time to sit down for a couple hours together and complete our second of three adoption classes.  This class was called Let's Talk Adoption!  It was about speaking with an adopted child about the subject of their adoption, barriers that might cause difficulty in doing this, and strategies for making communication open within a family and between adoptive parents and the adopted child.  Like the last class this class gave us some helpful ideas and information to consider once we adopt our child.  I am so thankful that these classes are required and set up so that we can learn and have something to go back to once we adopt our child.  There have been a lot of things I have learned about adoption, communication, relationships, fears and hopes that will truly benefit us when we are raising our adopted child some day!  I know we will make mistakes and not do everything perfectly but I think we are both excited to see what our future holds and who God will provide for us to love and raise for Him!  We have learned that every child will be a little different in the way they handle the fact that they were adopted or the way they view their unique life story.  The classes are great for giving different options and helping us to understand that really how each situation is or should be handled will depend on the child and what they want or need.

We have one last adoption class to complete before our case worker comes for our home visit on the 10th of July!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Where We Are

Many people are wondering exactly where we are in our adoption process so I am putting an update on where we are and what we still have to accomplish.  The most recent things that I posted that needed to be completed are two adoption classes, reference letters, background check from the State, and our home visit.  I recently talked with our case worker and was informed that she has received all our background check papers from the State, and reference letters from our friends and family.  We have not yet finished our last two online classes due to a busy schedule in June but should be able to complete them soon.  I set up a date for our home visit with our case worker for July 10th!  At this meeting we will show our case worker around the house and she will make sure everything is safe, we will complete some paperwork with her, and then we will talk about our profile book that we will need to make.  After this meeting I think we will pretty much be done with everything we are required to do.  At that point we will put together a digital scrapbook about our lives, family, jobs, etc. called a profile book, for our case worker to show to birth mothers that would be looking for an adoptive family.  Once we have completed this book we will be a waiting family ready to adopt if we would be chosen!  The way it works is that a pregnant mother would come to Family Core looking to make an adoption plan.  Our case worker would get an idea of the kind of family she wants her child to have and then show the birth mom two or three profile books of waiting families that are similar to what the birth mom wants in her adoptive family.  The birth mom would then choose a family and an adoption plan would begin to take place.  Because our placement is really totally dependent on a birth mother choosing us, Family Core can't say exactly how long it will be until we are placed with a baby.  They say their usual wait time is between 1 and 2 years.  Some are placed before a year and every now and then they have someone for longer than two years.  This is because the adoptive family has to be chosen by the birth mom.  So obviously we really have no idea when we will get a placement but it could be at anytime from the day we turn in our profile book to two years into the future.  This is where trust in God's plan and God's timing become really important:)

So as for where we are in the process, our next goal is to complete the two online classes.  Then we will wait for our last meeting, the home visit, on July 10th, and lastly create our profile book!

Thanks for all the prayers on our behalf.  It means so much to us to have support and encouragement as we continue down this path God has brought us to.  We are so thankful everything has went smoothly so far and we give God all the credit for that!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Third & Fourth Adoption Meetings!

On this past Friday, June 7th, Jesse and I had our third and fourth meetings with Family Core in Peoria.  We each met individually with our case worker for about one hour each.  Our case worker basically asked us questions about our life and our past.  She also asked us any questions she had about the application questions we answered about our life. The meetings went great!  As I said in earlier posts we were somewhat nervous, especially Jesse, just because we would be drilled with questions by our case worker and we would be alone.  When we were done we both felt like we could have just kept on talking and were surprised by how fast the hour passed by!  Our case worker is so wonderful!  She is so nice and makes us feel comfortable and able to be open about ourselves.  She is getting to know us personally and so it doesn't seem so formal and strictly business, which makes it much more comfortable.  Jesse went first and I went to a nearby pet store to look around while he was in his meeting.  When I was in my meeting Jesse went down to the River Walk for awhile and walked around.  Our agency is actually only about a block or two from the River Walk.  At the end of my meeting I asked our case worker what we still needed to accomplish and what comes next.  We have to finish two more online classes, which are done on our own time so we just need a couple evenings at home and we should be done with those.  Next our case worker will write an 8-10 page written report of what she has learned about us and our family and lives.  Once she is done with this she said we will meet one more time.  She said to plan on sometime mid July that way she has time to finish her report.  The next meeting will be when she comes to our house to make sure everything is generally safe and a good environment for a baby.  I asked her what things they look for and what we should do just so we can be ready and not have a bunch of things wrong when she comes.  She told me that they are not extremely picky.  They mainly just want the house to be generally safe in basic safety features.  She also said that if something is wrong she will tell us and we can change it, not a big deal.  So I am not really worried about the home visit, I am actually looking forward to it!  When she comes to our home she will also talk with us about our profile book that we will make to show birth moms and bring a sample book for us to get ideas from.  After her visit she will make any final changes to her written report and then it will be sent to the State of Illinois and we will have to be approved by them.  Thanks to Lisa Aberle I am not to worried about being approved as she has told me her experience and how state approvals are usually handled.  Our case worker also said she is waiting on parts of our background checks to come back from the state as well but other than that and the classes we have done pretty much everything we need to do for her!  Once we have our next meeting in July we will begin our profile book.  I am not sure how long state approvals actually take, that's something we will have to ask our case worker, but once that is done I think we will be a waiting family and have our profile book ready to be viewed by birth moms looking to make an adoption plan!  So far everything has went extremely smooth and easy for us.  We were actually trying to figure out what we missed because the process to become a waiting family seemed to easy!  I think that once we are chosen and we begin getting involved with birth families and courts and legal things, that is when it could become a little more difficult.  We are thankful though that it has went smooth this far and we give God all the glory for that!

EDIT- I emailed our case worker and asked her more information about her written report and about being approved by the State.  Come to find out our Home Study will not be sent to the State of Illinois for approval after all.  Once our case worker is done writing her report about us her supervisor will review it and that is all that needs to be done.  When we go to finalize the adoption something called A Report of Investigation will be written by our case worker including Home Study information and also development information about the child we have had in our care and are adopting.  This report will be given to the Judge and the Attorney involved in our adoption finalization.  I was told that there are a "bazillion" more rules and requirements for an international adoption compared to a domestic adoption and that is why our Home Study will be handled differently than Brian & Lisa's, who adopted internationally.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Online Adoption Class #1

Last night Jesse and I decided to do our first online adoption class.  It covered information on how to help an adopted child cope with grief and loss and also losses and gains of each person involved in the adoption.  We learned so much from the class.  It was just short of two hours and had a small assessment at the end.  As we learned about different symptoms of grief of an adopted child, the different stages in life grief could appear, triggering events of grief or loss for an adopted child and so much more, it was somewhat overwhelming to think about the emotions that come with every adoption no matter how good the child has it or how smoothly the adoption took place.  There will almost always be some form of grief and it is not bound to appear at the same time for each adopted person.  One of the main things that we learned was that being open with our child about their past, birth mom, and any other information we know can help the child tremendously.  The questions are bound to come and if our child feels like they are not able to talk with us about them they will harbor them inside and cause bad feelings about themselves or possibly those around them.  We learned all sorts of ways to help a child cope with their past and their feelings about their adoption and their birth mother.  Some of these include, adoption books, LifeBook's about the child's adoption and life, adoption groups, timelines, telling stories, and rituals.  I am sure having these ideas will be very helpful in the future as we help our child deal with any grief that might come.  One thing we want our child to have is a positive view of his/her birth mother.  We learned that if an adopted child has a negative view of his/her birth mother, the child may take those negative feelings and apply them to himself because he came from his birth mother.  There was an idea to have the birth mother write a letter to her child at the time of adoption to explain that she really does love him and why she has decided to give him up for adoption.  We really hope this is something we can have our birth mother do so that our child will always have that letter to go back to and remember that his birth mother really cared and wanted to do what was best for him.  We really have no idea how our adoption is going to go though so that will be totally dependent on what the birth mother feels comfortable doing.  The online classes are nice because we made an account online and bought the class so we can go back to them at any time in the future.  Some of the things we learned or thought about are things that will be really helpful to reconsider and go back to once we have adopted our child.

We have two more adoption classes to complete.  Our next meeting is this Friday, the seventh.  This meeting  is actually technically two meetings were Jesse and I will meet individually with our case worker and she will learn more about us individually and go over any questions she has about our adoption application questions we completed.  I think this could be somewhat nerve racking especially for Jesse but I think he will do just fine!