Here is a list of people (categorically speaking) who might find this blog interesting, helpful, or encouraging:
-Women suffering (or who have suffered) from HG.
-Families of HG or not who are possibly considering adoption as an alternative to growing their families.
-People who have adopted before.
-People who are currently in the adoption process.
-People interested in reading about a Christian family going through their own domestic adoption journey.
-People interested in hearing about the ups and downs of attachment parenting, full-time stay at home parents, or homeschooling.
-People interested in learning about the process of breastfeeding the biological child (a journey I’ve been through) OR adopted child (a journey I plan to enter into).
-People who simply want to support us as we go through this journey of raising our nearly 2 year old son and beginning the adoption process to grow our family.
My hope would be that you might find this blog interesting or encouraging even if you don’t fall into those categories. All are welcome.
Now, please let me explain the first steps we’ll go through in our adoption journey.
The first step in any adoption process is to complete a home study. A home study is not a piece of paper you fill out or a single interview you must go through.
A home study (HS from now on) is a process, much like adopting.An HS is a combination of personal biography, question and answer sessions, personal interviews with a social worker, and a home inspection. Basically our HS packet is the deciding factor that allows agencies to decide if we make quality parents and to then match us with the birth mother that has expressed wanting what we as a family stand for. It’s complicated and can be nerve wracking.
First, we pick an agency to complete our home study. In our case, this agency is different from the agency that will be handling our adoption. We decided this for financial reasons and because of the distance between us and the agency we’ve selected for our adoption.
We pay them, then we fill out more forms than we’ve ever filled out in our entire lives. These forms ask us who we are as people, our personal, social, and religious beliefs. Although each agency conducts their HS packets differently, most of them in Texas include a (roughly) 45 page personal biography to be filled out by each parent. We’re expected to fill them in on our own upbringings, our own childhood experiences, our traditions and memories, our extended family (and the individual relationships we have with them now), and -if we have children already- how we are as a family now. We also are expected to tell them about the support (or lack thereof) we have from our family and friends regarding our adoption plans.
In this packet, we’ll discuss our stance on discipline, church, education, responsibilities, vacations, holidays, socialization, pets, etc. It’s extremely in depth. Extremely.
You want to walk that fine line between being completely truthful and still trying to sound like a great family. You can’t white wash everything that might be unappealing to certain agencies or certain birth mothers, but you also can’t be so candid that you come across as dysfunctional (unless you are, in which case perhaps you should seek counseling before pursuing an adoption).
I just keep reminding myself that not every birth mother who looks at our profile is going to like us, regardless of what I say. Some won’t like that we already have a biological child. Others won’t like that we have pets. Some will dislike where we live, or the fact that we plan to homeschool. There’s a world of possibilities and there will be many rejections. It just takes one “yes”, and that’s what we’re working towards.
After we fill out our giant packets of personal disclosure (something that at times makes me sad and discouraged since we didn’t have to fill out any such packet when we had Little), a social worker will come to our home. They aren’t going to do a white-glove test on our knick-knacks. They’ll come to interview us together and individually regarding the things we wrote in our packet. It’s just a more in-depth and personal look into our family and marriage. Some of these interviews are more formal, others are very casual and relaxed. It depends entirely on the social worker. Some agencies require 2 visits from a social worker before your HS is completely.
They also require all proof that we are who we say we are. Birth certificates for all three of us, social security cards, marriage and drivers licenses, renters insurance (in our case), and proof that our pets are up to date on all shots. The paper chase is really what takes the longest amount of time.
We will start our HS process after Little’s birthday. Which is in a month. Sometimes I’m excited to get the ball rolling, and other times I get very nervous thinking about it all. Today I’m incredibly excited. So we’ll stay in that. I can’t wait! (Please note, tomorrow will most likely change).
In my next entry, I’ll be writing to explain to everyone what Hyperemesis Gravidarum is, and what my experience with this illness was like. Just for those HG sisters out there, I’ll warn you in advance, the next entry will be quite trigger happy. I’ll discuss the issues surrounding HG related termination, death, and my personal illness in detail. So if those things are going to cause feelings of PTSD, please avoid that entry. We’ll happily rejoin on the next one.
Thanks for joining us in this experience. I’m excited about where this blog can take us, and the support we’ll receive along the way.
Until next time,