Saturday, November 22, 2008

Adoption Intake Interview and Education Seminar


The time finally came for our adoption education seminar, and for our intake interview. When we originally sent in our interest form, November seemed so far away. Evidently, it wasn't that far off.

We left on Thursday night to make it in in time to be well-rested for our morning intake interview. The CR-V was loaded down with the family, the dog, her crate, our stuff, and Thanksgiving groceries for dinner with the in-laws. Once we got to B/CS, we stopped to buy the turkey and cold food, then headed to Jerald's for the night. Friday morning, Jerald took the kids to Houston to meet Hayley's flight from Atlanta, while James and I headed to the Pregnancy Outreach Center for our meeting.

When we arrived, we were greeted by our case manager, a very sweet man named Don. His quiet demeanor immediately set us at ease. He talked to us about our religious views, our marriage, our family, our parenting style, and our struggle with infertility and pregnancy loss. He explored our views of open adoption and explained the perspective of their ministry. He shared with us the story of growing his own family through adoption. We came away from our meeting feeling very positive, and even without confirmation of our "acceptance" into the program, that brief time with Don affirmed everything positive we felt about the heart of this agency.

Following the intake interview, we spent the day running errands -- browsing at the mall, buying kitchen utensils, eating lunch at Freebirds. The education seminar began at 3:00 P.M., and it was there we met Kim, the agency founder and director, and Victoria, the pregnancy options counselor. We were one of six couples exploring our adoption options.

At the seminar, we learned more about Open Adoption. Though we're experienced adoptive parents, our situation is unusual. Technically, it's a confidential adoption, though over time it will become more open, I'm sure. Still, our adoption is not now, nor will it ever be, the same as a traditional open adoption. There was some repetition from our previous adoption education, as well as some explanation of things we learned as new parents (childproofing, etc.) but in all, the sessions were very informative. The experience of learning under Kim, Victoria, and Don made us realize this is a ministry we want to support, regardless of the part it plays in the growth of our family. We loved them and their hearts for ministry so, so much.

We came away from the interview and the seminar feeling hopeful. We don't know for sure how our family will grow, or even if it will. We don't know yet that we're a fit for this agency, or for sure how they feel about us (though we think they feel good about us at this point). All that we know is that God has a plan for our lives and for our family. Amazing resources have opened up for us to pursue this option, and until the door is shut, we're moving forward in it. We trust that if this is indeed what God wants, if the peace in our hearts is indicative of His will, then He has the right baby and the right birthmom for our family.

That's not to say I'm not highly tempted to be motivated by fear and to turn and run. The lengthy process, the levels of trust and vulnerability required, the lifetime commitment to a family of origin, and the seemingly high chance of a match not working out terrify me to no end. Of the four adoption blogs I follow, three of them were matched with a birthmom. (The fourth is newly waiting.) Two of the three families were matched with a birthmother who decided instead to parent (the Shockley Family and the Bevins Family). I know my sources are limited because I don't read a lot of adoption blogs or websites, but still, 2 out of 3 matches that didn't end as originally expected seems scary.

But then we're back to God's will. Really, and I don't say this lightly, that is all we want in our lives. We're extraordinarily happy with the family we've been blessed with, and we've reached a point of contentment that we never expected to reach. I've seen through the Shockley Family that, in spite of a loss, the ministry of adoption is still so precious to them, and something they want others to pursue in spite of the associated risks. They feel about adoption what I feel about high-risk pregnancy: despite the outcome, in the end, it's all worth it. Every bit.

That said, despite what the numbers say, despite the risk of loss, we feel compelled to move forward. We look forward to experiencing what He has planned for our lives.

Right now, we have a very lengthy application to complete and submit, along with several documents that will lay the foundation for our home study. The intake interview would normally take place after that, but since we've already completed it, they'll just compare notes and decide if we're right to move ahead. Next, Don would spend the day at our house digging all the skeletons out of our closet (or completing the home study). Once that's complete, they again decide if we're the sort of family they'd feel comfortable working with. If so, we'll submit a photo album for birthmoms to peruse. Then, we'll do little but wait and pray.

Meanwhile, we'd appreciate your prayers for timing, time management, favor, direction, patience, and grace.

3 comments:

  • amy

    I'm encouraged by your uplifted attitude and continued pursuit of God's will. I'm amazed at how He has used your lives - especially over the past year or two. And He will continue to do so! I could almost see the smile on your face as I read this post. :)

  • Randi

    Wow - it's exciting and scary all at the same time, I'm sure. I got goosebumps just reading about it. I'll be praying for you and James as you move forward.

  • Emily

    I'm so happy that you had a good experience. I am praying that God's will be done in all this. Sometimes it is so hard to just sit back and wait, and I know I would have trouble doing just that. We love you guys, and you are always in our thoughts and prayers. I'll make you a deal though...If you potty train Genevieve, I'll give her to you :D

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