Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Home Study

Obviously life with a baby has changed things! I haven't found the time to return to the story...her little features and quirks and personality change so quickly I've been afraid to leave her to continue on here!

As I wrote the last post, we were sitting in a hotel room in Freezingville, Utah, waiting for permission to come home with the baby. Her story is such an important story that I couldn't wait to begin to share it with the world. She is an amazing tiny being that was created by God for us--and there is so much power and awe in that--that His faithfulness has really spoken to complete strangers about her.

We had to complete a home study in order to get approval from both states (Utah and New Mexico) to have her placed with us. It's amazing that a crack whore can deliver a baby in the gutter of an alley and nobody blinks about whether or not she should have been allowed to even get pregnant, but a couple that cannot conceive on their own (or even those that can conceive on their own) and want to share their warm, financially stable, loving home with someone have to be scrutinized. The idea of a home study is frustrating--but understandably necessary, as the sick things people do to children is unforgivable.

So a Home Study involves meeting with the social worker several times, one on one and as a couple. The social worker examines the house. I cannot thank God enough for the friends He has provided. The sister that told us about No Big Deal came and scrubbed the house (it was in total disgustingness, especially in all those nooks and crannies you don't think about until you realize someone is coming to inspect you) and painted the baby's room for the home study visit. She was on her hands and knees in bleach and rags--and despite knowing how we live, she still knew that this was the home for No Big Deal. She worried more for us about the home inspection than I think Hubby or I did--and that's true love and friendship :) The social worker gets all financial information (including credit information, retirement information), criminal information, family history, marital history--basically anything she thinks she or the courts will need to know about. And then a report is written about your life.

Hubby and I have not had the picture perfect marriage. It looked good to most on the outside, and it even looked good to us on the surface...but surfaces crack. We really struggled for a time. Fortunately, our God is an awesome God that saves all of us, and He saved our marriage. I truly believe that we had to crumble in order for Him to build us into the home that would be ready for this child.

Opening up the wounds are not easy. What happened happened. I don't easily forgive, and I very rarely forget. My father called me an elephant once--not because of my size :) but because of an elephant's memory. God is working with me on this, and each day it gets easier to forgive...there's a long way to go to forgetting. And it's not just our wounds that were opened on this--we had to have our families' wound reopened as well, as they had to contribute to the home study, and our families' know what we've been through.

It's also not easy to hear the final report because part of the history involves looking at our own childhoods and our relationships with our families. It's scary to think that the relationship that we have with our families will be mirrored easily into the relationship we have with our child. It's cliche but true that the past will repeat, and what we are taught will be taught to our children--we have to work hard and pray hard to keep what we liked about our childhood/parent relations and to change what we didn't like about our childhood/parent relations with our own children. Our parents' tendencies are most present when we think about how we will raise our children.

We had a social worker that had a similar religious background to the one I was raised with, and that helped. She also offered advice, support and parenting classes (the class was a requirement if we wanted her to do the home study). We went through it all, and were completely honest with her about EVERYTHING...and she still found that we should be approved for placement and adoption.

All we had to do then was get to Utah in time for the birth and take our child home. Easy, right?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

No Big Deal

I've been pretty quiet on this about our journey through the confusing world of adoption. I was sure if I said something--anything--that everything would fall apart. On what is hopefully the eve of our return home, I think it's finally time to tell the story. There's way too much for one post, so we'll start at the beginning and go until I find it too boring to read on!

We were approached by a friend, a sorority sister, for a coffee date back in June. My sister knew that Hubby and I had been on a mission to start a family, and just the week before, she and I had talked about it for several hours. I told her that Hubby and I had talked about adoption as an option--like an option for several years from now. Adoption wasn't something that we were completely unfamiliar with, because years ago I had been in touch with an adoption agency for overseas adoption, and realized that we were too young (emotionally and chronologically) for adoption then.

So my friend called us up, and invited us to coffee because she needed to talk to us about something that "is no big deal." About 10 minutes into our date, she announced that she had found us a baby. Literally, that's what she said. "I found you a baby." My sister knew of a young mother that was expecting her third child, and was interested in learning about adoption. More importantly, she was interested in learning about us. Hubby almost fell out of his chair at the "no big deal" news. I was leaving for a week of travel for work, and so we asked if we could talk about it and pray about what we were supposed to do, and get back to my sister.

We talked about what a "no big deal" this was. This is just a lifelong commitment, after all :). We talked about where our marriage stood and how easy it is for couples to change the focus from a marriage in Christ to a marriage with a focus in chasing children. We talked about how scary it would be to start an adoption that may not have the outcome we want. We talked about what this meant for our infertility treatments and procedures. We talked about the other times we have discussed taking custody of a child. We went our separate ways for due to the travel, and we prayed.

Hubby and I know that God opens doors when we trust and love Him. We know that the reason we didn't conceive a child during the first several years of marriage is because God had other plans for us--and that included strengthening our marriage first and bringing us to Him before we could support a child. We decided that because neither one of us heard this door closing, we would meet with an attorney and find out what would be involved in adopting a baby. I had worked with an attorney that handled adoption matters, and she agreed to meet with us in the end of July.

The attorney talked about several options and ways that a private adoption could be handled. She talked about going through an agency--not an option with The Other Hen (TOH). TOH was afraid that an agency would require her to give the baby to a couple of their choosing, and if she wanted us, she wanted us. The attorney suggested we speak with a social worker that worked with the attorney on several other adoptions before we went too much further. We called and the social worker was able to meet with us immediately.

The social worker took over an hour to meet with us and to give us a rundown of the way adoptions typically work. She told us that we would need to attend an adoption parenting class with her, along with a home study. We would need criminal background checks, friends and family members to provide references, applications filled out, fingerprints done, and so much more that I was not able to totally get at this meeting. She gave us a book and sent us on our way.

Both the attorney and the social worker suggested we contact TOH directly, and so we ventured out through a website that is used by millions of people to connect every day. TOH responded quickly, and we began to exchange e-mails, and even spoke on the phone.

And thus our No Big Deal journey began. Needless to say, this has been an incredible journey, teaching me way more than I ever imagined--not just about adoption, but about Hubby, about love, about myself, and more importantly, about faith. It began with a little statement, and it's still unraveling. There were some major milestones along the way, and I hope I can accurately remember them in the next couple of posts. I want to do justice to what God has done for's a story that has touched a complete stranger in Walmart, little old people in IHOP, and changed our lives with a simple message that He always delivers.

The No Big Deal baby is now making soft noises, and I need to go tend to her, so we'll pause here.