Waiting to Wait and ALL of the Details

We’re so excited. And we just can’t hide it!

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We had our home visit {the final step we needed to complete in our home study!} yesterday, and after our social worker left, we were flipping tables and dancing around like the Pointer Sisters!

We’re about to lose control and we think we like it!

We’ve had so many people wanting to know more about the adoption process, the specific costs, and the actual steps of a home study, so I thought I’d take some time to go into more detail on that. Like I’ve said in the past, we’re using Bethany Christian Services, so some steps may look a little different based on agency and what type of adoption you’re doing. We’re adopting a domestic infant, which is a fancy way of saying a baby from the U.S., and most likely, Georgia.

Bethany requires you to first come to a free, no obligation orientation where they rattle off information about the services they provide and answer any questions you may have on any type of adoption. Tim and I attended this meeting in April or May of last year. When we left, they gave us an application that we could send in when were ready to start the process. We talked about it, prayed about it, and right after Christmas and Lorelai’s first birthday, we decided to go ahead and send in the initial application. It required pretty basic information, some references, and a statement of faith, since it is a Christian organization. It cost $50 to apply.

After that went through, we filled out our formal application. More references, background checks, and a few more detailed questions was really all that was required. This form had to be sent in with a $500 check.

Upon receiving the formal application, we were matched with our social worker {or we may have been matched before that, but we got to meet and know her for the first time shortly thereafter} and she informed us about our adoption classes. It is required by the state that you have so many “educational” hours before adopting, so we went every Monday night for three weeks to the Bethany offices in Atlanta to learn more about our specific adoption process, talk through the adoption triad {birth parents, adoptive parents, and adoptees} and how each party is affected, and we even got to hear from a panel of birth moms and adoptive parents. It was so powerful. Each week we left more excited and at peace with the way we were expanding our family.

At the classes, they provided us with a folder full of everything we would need to complete for our home study. More forms on our home, our insurance, instructions on how to get FBI and GBI fingerprints made, a self-study of questions about our pasts and families, our marriage and current children. We also had to have physicals done for our whole family, get CPR certified, get a record of any 911 calls we’ve made in the past five years, make copies of birth certificates, marriage certificates, drivers licenses, water bills, you name it, they have it. Sounds like a lot but really….well yeah, it’s a lot. And we were lucky because we got to skip things like animal vaccination records and divorce certificates!

We had all of these things finished up about a month ago, but we had still yet to complete our joint interview, our individual interviews {which had to be done at the Bethany offices} and then, finally, our home visit. It seemed like for weeks, as Tim and I prayed together at night, we would pray, “Please, Lord, help us to get the rest of our home study completed and let everything fall into place.” But it still felt like nothing was happening and we were just running like Fred Flintstone, feet moving, but we weren’t actually getting anywhere.

After a few failed attempts to schedule dates and times, we finally made it to our joint interview. It went really well. It was casual and laid back. We just sat in our social worker’s office and talked about how we met, our marriage, our kids, our “why” behind our desire to adopt. It went so well. I think all three of us could feel the excitement in the room, and our social worker scheduled our individual interviews and home visit right then and there; back to back, the following Monday and Tuesday. On the way home we couldn’t believe how we felt for a month that nothing was happening and the process was dragging out, but that all of a sudden we were almost done!

Our individual interviews went fantastically. We had to answer more questions about ourselves, our childhood, our families, our marriage…then yesterday, we had our home visit. I cleaned, but not obsessively. I had heard from several people, including our worker, that they are not looking for a spotless home. They are mostly just checking for working smoke detectors, a fire extinguisher, checking firearms, etc. After giving her the grand tour, we sat down at the kitchen table and talked about what we were looking for in a child and what we are open to {multiples? special needs? race? gender? age?}. I’ll leave you guessing as to what we told her. *insert winking emoji*

As she was leaving, we handed over our home study fee of $7,500. She backed out of the driveway, we waved her off, came into the house, and had this rising excitement swelling in our chests of, “We are done!” The ball is officially in their court and all we have to do is wait.

It takes about 45 days to get everything cleared from the home study and to become a waiting family. Once we become a waiting family, birth mom’s will be able to choose us as the legal guardians of their child. They will do so by looking through photo books and online profiles of available families. 6

So here we are. We are just waiting to wait! And we can’t wait.

Although some parts of this process has been frustrating or inconvenient, all of it has been rewarding and exciting. And we know that when we are looking into the face of our sweet little baby, it will all be worth it.

The Lord has been so good to provide financially for our adoption every step of the way so far. We already knew we were surrounded by generous friends and family, but the outpouring of love and support has been overwhelming. Once we get our baby, we will have to give the agency the finalization fee of $14,500. It sounds daunting. But you know what? We have almost $8,000 still in our adoption account right now! That means we only have a little over $6,000 left to raise! If we are able to raise that in the next month or so, it could mean that when we get chosen by a birth-mother, that we will have nothing finacially to worry about. We can run to our baby with open arms and zero hesitation about how we are going to be able to afford to bring him or her home to their Forever Family. When I think about it, I just want to cry. I am so thankful. So, so thankful. And humbled and excited and thankful. Have I said that I’m thankful yet?

Here is the link to our You Caring site. Feel free to share it or pass it along. But mostly, we value your continued prayers.

After our worker left our house yesterday, Tim and I looked at each other and noted how good our kids were while she was here! They were sweet, and a little shy, but they were sociable, too. Jack showed her some of his artwork unprompted and fought with Cole just enough to show we are a real family, but not enough to embarrass us completely. I said to Tim, “People really must have been praying for us!” and we giggled about it for a few minutes together. God has provided for us in every single area of this adoption, and we have no doubt that he will continue to do so.

Thank you to those that have followed along with us these past 7 months. Thank you for for the prayers and positive vibes, the donations, growth charts purchases, and encouraging words. It means so much. We can’t wait to tell this baby how much they were wanted, loved, and provided for, long before they were ever known.

With love, Malorie

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