Written by Alissa Kay
We always knew we wanted a baby. We discussed adoption in our early dating years. This was something I had always planned on so I wanted to make sure my would-be husband was on board. He was.
After we were married a year, we decided it was time to start a family. Instead of doing it the good old-fashioned way, we turned to the computer for research. There are a ton of adoption agencies out there… how were we going to narrow this down?!
Luckily, my cousin was adopted and my aunt was familiar with some of the agencies. My best friend growing up, as well as her sisters, was also adopted. Her sister actually works for the same national agency that my aunt suggested. To me, it’s a good sign, when an adoptee is willing to work for the agency. While we were pretty sure we’d end up with that agency, we felt like we needed to at least inquire with a 2nd agency. The other agency had a wait list just start the process. I will (shamefully) admit, back then, that was a huge turn off for me. Today, it’s still a red flag, but for a different reason. Prior to kids, I just wanted a baby. And I didn’t want to have to wait too long to bring home MY baby. Now, I think it’s good to allow many waiting families into the program because it’s important for the expecting parents to have as many options should they decide to make an adoption plan for their baby. Sure, it could make the wait longer for an adoptive family, but at that point it’s not about the adoptive family at all. And that 2nd agency? Yeah, they went out of business.
If you’re thinking about adoption, the best advice I can give you is to talk to adoptive families or people who have relinquished their child. In the early stages, you want to know that the agency will treat all members of the adoption triad with respect. While adoption can be a blessing, there’s nothing about it that’s easy. And if the agency promises you a baby within a certain time frame? Run!
Back to the story. In June of 2008, we walked into the adoption agency planning to adopt from another country. However, we learned that due to our age, length of marriage etc. that we wouldn’t be eligible to adopt from many of the other countries. We walked out after a couple of hours eager to get our feet wet with domestic infant adoption. Meaning we’d most likely meet our baby in the great Midwest! The informational meeting was the first official step we took in the adoption process… then began the homestudy.
During the homestudy, we met with a social worker several times and we were each interviewed about our entire lives. It can be a little intimidating because you are asked about EVERYTHING. There are no secrets. They want to know why adoption, what your childhood was like, about your families, your job, your health, your finances… basically, nothing is off limits. So, be prepared to be an open book!
They come into your home. They need to make sure that it would be a safe environment for young kids.
Background checks will be performed.
Letters from references will be read.
Physical exams are required.
Fingerprints will be taken.
**Depending on how quick you are, this part can easily take 6 months.
During this time we attended trainings and learned about transracial adoption and open adoption. Transracial meaning you adopt a child of a different race and open meaning you have a relationship with the first parents that can include visits. We made the choice to be open to both transracial and open adoption. I know it’s not for everyone, but we talked about it and decided we’d be open and trust that it would all work out in the end.
It took us about 4 months to get through the homestudy and all the paperwork it brings… in October 2008, we were officially a waiting family. We had to trust in the Lord, that the right baby would come at the right time. That could be days or years.