I think my brain is still tired and still trying to process everything from our orientation we had with our social worker this past Thursday. It's one of the beginning steps to this adoption process, I can place a checkmark beside, and mark it as one step closer to having our son home!! I think this post will help me to finish processing everything, as well as (hopefully) give you a little heads up on the first stages of adoption!
When our application was first accepted, we were emailed a 116 page (single-sided, PTL!!) manual full of Colombia information, the process, forms we would need, payment sheets, questionnaires, adoption education requirements...you name it, it's in there. The page that I went to first was the "Adoption Process" page. I had a pretty good idea about the order of events, but I wanted to read through it again.
So, back to this orientation. This was officially our "first step" in our homestudy process. Yes, there are "processes" within the "process" of adoption. Anyway, there are 5 steps to our homestudy, which is the phase (oh, I like that word better!) we are in right now. For the next few weeks, we'll gather up all of our important documents - marriage license, birth certificates, passports, social security cards, monthly bills/statements, bank records, tax returns, insurance cards, etc - and make copies for our homestudy social worker (she's different from our adoption social worker because we are not in the same state as our agency). I'll write more about the home study in another post.
The orientation...basically, our adoption social worker wanted to know what our motivations for adoption were and how we chose the country of Colombia. I pretty much just summed up these posts . I wasn't really sure if she was looking for that in depth of answer, but that's what I gave her! We also talked about AB, Lynns, and Creek - how much had we told them about our adoption, what were their feelings on it, how well did they seem to understand, etc. Our kids really do have a good grasp on what's going on, for their age, I think. The whole timing thing is a little confusing to them...when I told them we were talking with the "lady who's going to help bring our baby boy home", they thought we were fixing to all hop in the car, go for a drive, and go get him. If only it were that simple, girls...
She also wanted to know what kind of support we were getting from our parents, extended family, church, and friends. It made my heart very happy to tell her how much love, encouragement, and support we've been giving by everyone - but especially by our family members. We know that our families already love this little guy and can't wait for him to be home, too. Family support is huge in this whole thing and we are truly blessed to have it from everyone.
Let's see....oh, she asked how we responded to or were impacted by negative responses from people. We really haven't gotten any negative responses, so far - for which I am very thankful. The tiny bit we have gotten...well, it was a tiny bit and really didn't impact us at all. And we've just told them that we're following God's direction. She did laugh at Jacob's answer, though. He said, "When people look at me like I'm crazy and ask why, I ask them why not." She loved it. So do I!
She walked us through, bit by bit, the entire process...allowing us to ask questions along the way to clarify or just because we were curious. The biggest question I had was the wait time and it's kind of hard to judge.
Basically, it's going to take us about 6 - 9 months to complete all of the paperwork and be approved by both the American and Colombian governments to adopt. We don't have a "wait list" like many other countries do. As children are made available for adoption, the files of potential adoptive parents are researched to see who would be the absolute best match for that child - considering all of the needs and situation of the child and compared to the parameters set by the adoptive parents. So, we could be matched within a couple of months of approval or it could take several months to be matched with a child. I'll write more about it all later, though.
Most of the orientation was completed with Jacob and I together, but the last little bit was completed separately. She asked us about our marriage, our driving record, any past abuse issues...stuff like that.
Before we hung up, I told her I'd been taking notes and made a "To Do" list...mom, you would be so proud. So, here's our "to-do" list for now...
1. Finish gathering documents for our home study social worker
2. Schedule and complete our psychological evaluations
3. Get state and FBI fingerprints
4. Continue with our adoption education and complete by the end of the home study