Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Ball is Rolling

One week after mailing off our initial application I received an email with a username and password to our personal webpage with Bethany.  It was a portal that would be used for communication between us and Liz.  I quickly signed in, well as quickly as our slow internet would allow, and saw that our formal application was posted and ready for us to fill it out.  I didn't even wait for Chris to come home.  He wasn't surprised.  He knows how much I like to fill out forms!  When he did come home, he went to exercise, knowing I was fully capable of completing it myself.  This form was a bit more detailed and lengthy than the previous one.  We were asked to provide names for references, basic financial information, and a simple explanation of our home and neighborhood.  We were also asked to briefly state why we were pursuing adoption.  I had it all done within a couple hours, so it couldn't have been that challenging.  Chris and I clicked "submit," and it was off.

right after we submitted our formal application

Just two days later I received a message on the portal saying our application was approved.  We met with Liz the following week to go over initial paperwork.  We signed some serious papers stating we were committing to adopt through Bethany and a financial agreement to pay every penny as the adoption process progressed.  The total amount of the adoption would be $19,800.  Ouch!  Here we are signing these papers saying we'd pay, and we didn't have that money.  We didn't even have half that money in savings!  Chris and I make eye contact and look at each other saying with our eyes, "Are we idiots?  Well, he we go!"  I guess some fund-raising was in order.  Before we left the meeting, we set up our first in-home interview with Liz.  It would be the first of three length interviews.

One of the first forms we had to complete as a couple was our Service and Openness Plan.  It was a simple two-sided piece of paper, but boy was it jam-packed with some significant information.  We had to decide what adoption opportunities we would be open to hearing about and which ones we were not willing to consider.  These are babies we're talking about.  Babies that we were not willing to consider.  What if the birthmother smoked or drank or took drugs or prescription pills while she was pregnant.  What if the birthfather had a family history including depression, schizophrenia, or drug use?  What if the conception was the result of rape?  What if the child had medical needs?  And the questions went on and on.  And we had to say "yes," "no," or "open to consideration" with each potential situation.  I won't go into all the lovely conversations that Chris and I had, but needless to say, two people will almost always differ at some point.  We had some differing opinions, but what we agreed on was that we were open to any gender, any race, and we knew we wanted the child to be healthy.  We were not in a place financially to care for a child with special needs.  We wanted a child with special needs to be with a family capable of providing the money and time required to care for them.

We also needed to decide what kind of openness we wanted with the birthmother.  Here's some adoption vocabulary definitions for you:
closed adoption- there is no exchange of identifying information and there is no further contact with the birthparents once the child is in your custody
semi-open adoption- there is possibly some identifying information exchanged and contact after the child is placed
open-adoption- full exchange of information and ongoing contact and visits with the birthparents

Your mind may go where mine went, to some Lifetime movie for women about a deranged birthmother that kidnaps her child after it has been given to a family.  We were quick to learn that is not the norm, AT ALL.  A closed adoption initially seemed ideal, but we saw such an opportunity with the birthparents if we were to have some level of openness.  If there was on-going contact with them, what kind of relationship could we build and what role could we play in their lives?  We consented to a semi-open adoption and spelled out what kind of specifics we would be willing to work with; visitations, emails, pictures, and letters.  All of this and we're not even a couple weeks into the application process.  Jumping in with both feet.

Well, if it wasn't official already that we were adopting, we definitely were now.  And the first thing on my mind?  Baby Registry!  Chris and I didn't register for wedding gifts, and I've always regretted it.  I could not wait to walk around a store with a plastic gun and scan as many UPC's as I wanted.  It was right around Valentine's Day {my how time flies}, and I told Chris all I wanted was to go and register.  He was totally up for it.  I think he was a little excited too about looking at baby gadgets and gizmos.  We headed to Babies R Us that weekend.  Was I crazy?  I felt crazy.  I'm filling out a form at BRU that asked me what gender my baby is?  I don't know.  What is your baby's due date?  I don't know.  We made one up.  December 31st.  I wrote it completely in disbelief that we would actually have a baby by the new year.  I envisioned yet another Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year without a child.  We were told that once you're approved and birthmothers begin looking at your profile, it can take anywhere from 6-18 months before you're chosen.  December 31st was pushing it, but I knew I could always change it to later if I needed to.

I flew to TX a week later to visit my best friend and to tell my parents our news.  I borrowed my friend's car  and drove to my parents, a quick 25 minute drive.  Here I go.  I finally get to tell them the news after wanting to for so long.  I didn't do anything creative.  No baby booties in a box or T-shirt saying "Hey Mom and Dad, we're adopting."  I was just going to tell them.  I don't know why I thought they would just be sitting around on a Saturday waiting for me to show up.  Mom was busy working on a sewing project, and dad was either about to exercise or just did.  I forget.  Somehow we all three ended up in the kitchen, and before they returned to their previous activities I spoke up, "Sooo, I have something I want to tell you."  They stopped in their tracks wide-eyed.  "Chris and I have decided that we..."  Their eyes grew even wider.  "are going to adopt a baby."  Mom burst into tears and Dad started laughing out of excitement.  Big group hug!  They had all sorts of questions and were so excited.

More to come,


  1. I just started crying when I read the last paragraph, such happy tears :) I can just imagine the excitement of your parents, since I know how excited I was when you told me. Love your writings, Amanda!

  2. I'll never forget that phone call. I texted Nathan right away. We were so happy for you guys! =)

  3. I cried at the last paragraph too :)

  4. I'm teary eyed too! I appreciate the detail. I'm trying to find out about the details, paperwork/logistics etc. though I understand there are a lot of variables. Each situation is different.

  5. Crystal, let me know if you have any questions. I'd love to answer any of them.