Back in July, and completely out of the blue, a good friend called me.
Katie: Hey, Steph. A friend's sister is pregnant and is probably going to get an abortion, but she has a little bit of interest in adoption. This is a long shot, because I'm pretty sure she's made up her mind, but can I tell her that you and John are interested in adopting? I think if she was connected with a potential adoptive family, she may change her mind.
(Katie knew we were struggling with IF and were open to growing our family through adoption.)
Me: Wow. Ummmm. Yes! Please do. We can't guarantee we'll be ready by then, but we're surely interested!
And then a few weeks and several prayers later...
Katie: She's changed her mind! She's not going to go through with the abortion and she wants to talk to you about adopting her baby. Praise God!
Katie gave us the birthmother's contact info and, after a long discussion with John, we decided to go ahead and contact her. We certainly were unsure of where this would lead us, but we felt it didn't hurt to gather more information.
The birthmother was so sweet and easy to talk to. Though she was only 8 weeks along when we started our conversations, she seemed very certain about adoption. She talked to us about yearly visits, naming the baby, her four children that she was already a mommy to, and the birthfather.
Her relationship with the birthfather was unfortunately very unstable, and we quickly learned that he was probably not on board with the adoption. This was a big red flag for us, so we guarded our hearts and assigned the adoption a very low probability of happening, though we still continued looking into the process. Through all the uncertainty of this situation, we still felt very called to go forward with our adoption research, which I believe was the gentle hand of God, guiding towards really diving into our adoption journey.
Long story short, the birthmother changed her mind and decided to parent. Lucky for us, she made this decision very early in the process. We had only been in contact with her for about two months and had just started working with an agency on our home study. Also, lucky for that sweet baby, the birthmother was still choosing life! If our only part in her story was to steer the her away from abortion, it was a wonderful part to have played.
Many moons ago, when John and I were in marriage prep, we completely agreed that if IF interfered with us having children, we would absolutely adopt. No doubt about it. So we were already talking more seriously about it when we suspected something was wrong and started seeing Dr. G for our IF work up. We just didn't know how soon we'd pursue it.
So, when the birthmother decided to parent, we found ourselves in an interesting position. We had already starting working with an agency and were just days away from meeting our home study case worker for the first time. That meant we had to choose --
Should we put a hold on adoption stuff for a while and just focus on IF treatments?
Was it time for us to just jump right in to adoption and trust where it felt God was leading us?
My heart, my head, John's heart, and John's head all agreed. Adoption!
I purchased Adoption: Choosing It, Living It, Loving It by Dr. Ray Guarendi to read up on this new adventure we were embarking on and then went ahead with the meeting we'd scheduled with our case worker.
We're so thrilled we did, because we have continued to feel strongly called to adopt ever since.
And since September, when the birthmother decided to parent, these have been our steps in our adoption journey so far:
Meet with case worker
Interviews with case worker (as a couple and as individuals)
Several background checks
Lots and lots of paper gathering and copying (birth certificates, tax info, etc.)
Lots and lots of general information applications
Adoption-related questionnaires (5 of them each!)
Writing our autobiographies
Asking friends and family to be references
Finding an adoption agency
Filling out adoption agency's required paperwork
And this one's my favorite...
Starting to tell friends and family about our plans to adopt :)
And there's only been one, small snag in our process so far -- the agency we're working with to complete our home study cannot place a child with us since they don't work with couples in Memphis.
When we originally decided to work with them, we thought our adoption was going to be independent, meaning we didn't need an agency to help us match with a baby. We had already found a birthmother, after all. So when that fell through, we had to find an agency that could match us with a child. That's why "finding an adoption agency" is part of our list. We're still working with the original agency (which also happens to be Catholic, the reason we were attracted to it in the first place) on the home study, but soon we'll be working with a more local agency, one that was recommended to us by our NaPro doctor (he's adopted 3 babies through them!), and they will hopefully place a precious baby with us in the next year or two.
It's taken us since September to get through all of these steps of the home study, but we're nearing the finish line. Come Monday, we have our last big hurdle to jump: the home inspection! Our case worker will walk through our apartment, making sure everything is safe for baby (i.e. working smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, working bathroom and kitchen, cleanliness, etc.). As far as I can tell, if we pass our home inspection and the case worker thinks we're fit to adopt, our home study will be complete! She'll just need to write it up and then send it off to our new placing agency.
And here's how we feel about that:
|One of the pictures I just sent in to our placing agency!|
Though that sweet baby (and birthmother) Katie had connected us with in the beginning of our adoption journey will not be a part of our family, we're hopeful that the right baby will come to us at just the right time. It'll just require a bit of patience on our part. But we're pretty okay with that. Because just as this journey started with a baby, a baby not quite meant for us, our adoption journey will almost certainly end with one too. And that one will be meant for us. And that'll be worth waiting for. <3
I do have lots and loads more to add about some other recent feelings I've had about adoption, all whirling and swirling inside of me, but I'll save that for another time. For now, I hope it's alright that we ask for prayers, that everything goes off without a hitch during our home inspection on Monday afternoon! We'll be sure to update as things get more exciting. :)
Also, please offer up some prayers for the birthmother we were originally connected with and her little one. We pray that all goes well with the birth (she's due next month!), and that baby girl is welcomed with lots of love and kisses into their family!
St. Joseph, pray for us! St. Thomas More, pray for us! St. Clotilde, pray for us! St. William of Rochester, pray for us!