So, let’s recap the first four steps to our adoption process so far:
1. Choose an agency
2. Fill out an application
3. Attend an interview
4. Attend an orientation
And now step five: attend what they call a home study. Now, when we heard this word we panicked thinking we have one week to get our house ready to be inspected. However, a home study in this context is how the agency describes an all day seminar learning about the ins and outs of adoption. They also call the visit that we will be doing in August to inspect our house a home study…so who knows?
The home study took place in Houston, so we get up around six a.m. and made the three hour drive to be present. It was an extremely informational meeting filled with tears, laughter, talking and listening. The first hour was a little more of the process including paperwork that needed to be completed and appointments that needed to be made such as fingerprinting etc. After the first hour, two birthmothers came to speak with us about their experiences in choosing adoption for their babies through the AIM adoption agency.
Their stories are personal and private so I won’t share them here, but we were taken away by their love and careful planning in deciding a family for their babies. Both women did not regret their decision, but acknowledged the decision was painful and hard. We asked them questions about how we could better help the birthmother through the process and both said the same thing, “Be honest.” If you make an agreement about visiting and contact then follow through with it. Both women talked very highly of the families that adopted their children and you could feel the love that these women had for their babies. I was encouraged to hear their words of compassion and selflessness. They had maturity way beyond their age.
We took a break for lunch and we got the chance to chat with the families that will be going through this process with us. We were surprised to learn that all of them except one had children. Two families had already adopted one child and were adopting another and two other families had biological children. One other family besides us had dogs as their kids. It was so comforting to see these supportive, healthy, happy and normal couples going on this journey with us. Finally, we had families that understand exactly what we were feeling and experiencing. We exchanged email addresses because sometimes this process is challenging to talk about with others that are not going through the process.
After lunch we heard from families that have adopted children through the agency. Imagine the contrast in that: we heard from both birth mothers and adoptive mothers in the same day. Very powerful. These women shared with us their journey to adoption and the emotional roller coaster of being chosen (or not chosen) as potential parents. They shared the journey of meeting the birth mom for the first time, being at the hospital for the birth of the baby and visiting the families as the child continues to grow. Another powerful moment as we hear these amazingly strong women that have the confidence to love their children while knowing the woman that gave that child life loves them too. In both situations, the children have visits, share pictures and keep in touch. The adoptive parents also informed us that agreements need to be made about contact and then followed through. Each situation is different, but these families established boundaries so that both parties are content. I was so at peace to hear their love and empathy for the birthmoms that gave these children life. We left that day emotionally drained, but confident that we are making the right choice for the future of our family. We trust that God chose us to go through this journey because He knew we could handle it. We have been overwhelmed with the process as a whole, but He has guided us through each step. We take it one step at a time so that we do not get stressed out. We left with a folder full of paperwork….the paperwork pregnancy begins!
The good news is: we are choosing an open and domestic adoption because it is my prayer that our child stays in contact with his/her birth family. We want the family to be a part of our extended family with visits throughout the year, pictures, letters, and contact as agreed upon. I would be devastated if my child lost contact with his/her roots. I want my child to be able to call them and ask questions or hear stories. I want him/her to know the medical history and the biological family tree. We are excited about the amount of love that can fill this home when our child knows how much both families love and adore this precious being. We are praying for a birth mom that will have this same vision. All this can only come if I have the confidence and security to know my role as mother. I cannot have issues with fear, doubt and jealousy and she cannot either…this will have to be a relationship built on trust and love, but I look forward to it!