Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Adoption Update: Home Study Process

We've had several people ask recently about our adoption process.  An update is long overdue!

We started our home study at the end of January.  For more information on Meeting #1, click here.  When we left off at that post, we were busy working on our autobiographies and collecting paperwork.

The autobiographies turned out to be quite a job!  We had those infamous four pages of questions to answer, and boy, did we answer them.  Zeke Terry is a writer, in case you didn't know.  His descriptions of his parents were on point, and he painted the most beautiful picture of their personalities and their relationship to each other.  It was interesting to go back through our lives--from childhood to now--and think about who and what has made us who we are today.  There were lots of tears shed and all the feelings felt.  Maybe someday I'll post part of that here.

While we were writing our autobiographies, we were also chasing paperwork all over town.  We had to go to the doctor for physicals, to the lab for bloodwork, to the courthouse for marriage certificate copies, to a local printer for fingerprints, to our employers for verifications of employment...the list goes on and on.  The doctor's appointments were our biggest God moments during this part of the process.  Zeke and I have wanted to adopt for a long time, but his part of the "elephant" was getting healthier and going to the doctor.  We weren't super healthy ourselves during that time of prayer about adopting, and he had a family history not only of bad health, but of bad news at doctor's offices, so he wanted nothing to do with this part of the process.  We are in better health now, thanks to our favorite new CrossFit hobby, but he still looked like he was about to bolt when I walked in to the doctor's office the day he was waiting.  (Just for clarification, I didn't go to hold his hand--I was there picking up my paperwork from the week before and getting my TB skin test checked!)  Only God--and love for a little girl across the ocean that we haven't yet met--could make him go in to that office for that appointment.  And only God could turn his biggest fear into our biggest praise.  Great test results, a clean bill of health, and signed adoption paperwork are all ours.  Yay God!

My doctor's appointment was both a Jesus moment and an opportunity to share Jesus that I had never anticipated.  While I sat on the exam table (yuck) and waited...and waited...I thought, I really don't want to do this.  But it hit me that Jesus didn't want to go to the cross either.  (Luke 22:42)  And yet He did that, so that He could adopt me.  (Galatians 4:5) This tiny doctor's appointment--an inconvenience in my day--is nothing compared to His sacrifice.  And if one of my three babies who have a name and a face in my heart were across the ocean, and someone told me all I had to do is go get a checkup so that I can go get them, I'd wait as long as it took.  And then the waiting paid off!  Everyone that day--from the nurse to the lab technician--was interested in hearing more about adoption.  I left the hospital that day with my hands raised in praise to the One who writes our story and places people in our path with whom to share it.  We have prayed from the beginning that God would be glorified through this process and that we would have opportunities to share about Him, and that day was the first of what will hopefully be many answers to our prayer!

While we were collecting paperwork and writing our autobiographies, we received a phone call from Lifeline.  Our sweet social worker who came to our house for our first home study left, and we were assigned a new social worker.  Lifeline was amazing--we had no less than three phone calls in 24 hours, assuring us that our family was still loved for, prayed for, and that no one would drop the ball on our adoption process.  We now have a new sweet social worker who, true to their word, is taking good care of us and working diligently to help us get this home study complete!

After turning in our autobiographies, we were ready to schedule home study visit #2: the individual interviews.  Cue scary music.  Would we say the same things?  Would we say the right things?  I turned in my autobiography first, so I scheduled my meeting and met our new social worker on a Wednesday afternoon at Starbucks in Huntsville.  A good excuse for coffee sounded like a great idea at first, until I realized that it was PACKED and I was about to discuss my entire life story with people sitting all around us.  Um, oops.  I decided to just own my crazy and let it be ok, but I was definitely nervous about putting it all out there in a crowded public place!

We were out of town the week after my individual interview, so Zeke scheduled his interview for the week we returned.  Unfortunately our social worker, who usually does domestic adoptions, had a birth mother situation come up and had to reschedule.  Then, she was called for jury duty the next week, and Zeke was out of town the following week.  My glass-half-full mentality tells me that God is up to something, but the control freak in me has been chomping at the bit with all of the delays!  I'm anxious to look backwards at this sometime and see God's hand at work in the waiting...I know in hindsight it will make more sense!  Finally, they met last week at Starbucks in Madison and checked his interview off the list.

We have a couple of online education pieces to complete before our (hopefully!) FINAL INTERVIEW for our home study on May 9!  We are waiting on the audit of our file, but we have what we hope are all of the final pieces of paperwork to turn in that day.  We were prepared for a 3-4 month process for the home study, and although we had hoped that it might be shorter, it looks like we are right on target, and hopefully by the end of May our home study will be complete and we will be on to the next step!