Sunday, January 20, 2008

It's Official!

We have officially completed our homestudy! On January 2nd we had our final office visit at CFS where we finally met the Director and the Administrator in person. They are two beautiful ladies who spend all their time helping women in crisis, couples in waiting, and children who are caught in the middle.

Our meeting lasted 2 hrs. and 45 mins.! I think it was mostly because we enjoyed talking and didn’t try to rush our conversation. It turns out we have a lot of connections with the Director, S, through mutual acquaintances. The purpose of the meeting is for her to get to know us a little so she can properly represent us to the birthmothers. It’s also a time for her to tell us what to expect and give us a rundown of adoption laws and costs.

At the meeting we turned in the portfolio that I have been poring over for the past couple of months. One day on my way to school, I was praying that God would help me create a portfolio that the birthmother of our child would be drawn to. I was thinking of the things that make us unique that few other couples would be able to offer. The greatest thing I think we have to offer is the fact that every single member of our family is supportive and excited about our adoption. And, that’s when it hit me.

When I got home that day I called every member of our family and asked them to write a paragraph on a 3X5 card expressing their excitement about the arrival of their new family member. Some wrote about things they couldn’t wait to experience with their new grandchild, niece, nephew, or cousin. I included pictures of the respective family members beside their card. S said she had seen portfolios where both the adoptive mother and father wrote letters, but never every member of the family! She said it would be a treasure and comfort to the birthfamily. At the recommendation of the agency, I made two copies—one for the birthmother to keep and one to give the child one day. I’d love for you to see it. Feel free to ask!

There are two tracks you can choose from when working with this agency. One track is for couples waiting for Caucasian children only. The other is for couples willing to adopt an African American child. That is the track we are on. During our meeting, we found out that there are only two other couples working with CFS that are in the same track as us! On top of that, both of those couples want girls. Andy and I are willing to take a boy or a girl!

I thought back to my birthday seven years ago when my friend Adam gave me a little black boy beanie baby. Everyone who knows me well has heard me say at some point that I would like to have a little black boy one day. Through interactions with my students, I’ve always connected with my black boys and have to be careful not to favor them. I can’t explain the desire to have a black son. I can’t deny it either.

If a woman pregnant with a black girl comes to the agency, S will show her the portfolios of the two other couples waiting for black girls first. If the birthmother does not choose either of them to parent her child, S will then show her our portfolio. That is the only chance we’ll have a girl. If a woman pregnant with a black boy comes to the agency, S has only one portfolio to show. Us. If the birthmother does not choose us to parent her child, S will have to send her to another agency to find parents for her child. If she does choose us, S will call us and tell us everything she knows about the child. We will have 24 hrs. to pray and ask God if this is our child. If we say yes, then we pray real hard throughout the remainder of her pregnancy that God would guard our hearts in case she changes her mind. That’s the scary part.

Once the baby is born, the birthmother usually signs the release forms within a couple of days. After that, there’s no turning back. There could be some complications with the birthfather, if he’s involved at all, but we’ll be aware of that along the way. We’ll also have an adoption lawyer to protect us as much as possible. About 90 days after placement we go to court to finalize the adoption.

My friend Danielle has a friend who just adopted through Bethany Christian Services. She got a call on Tuesday and picked up her baby on Wednesday! The baby had been born two weeks before and was in foster care while they waited for the birthfather to sign the release forms.

Hearing this story and seeing the pictures helps me to believe that it’s actually going to happen for us too. It’s also a wake up call that it could happen VERY quickly! I feel a huge desire to get things in place so that we can be ready for whatever timeline God has planned for us. We plan to have the baby shower from my church next month, hopefully before the baby is born. It will be a non-gender specific needs/necessities shower, things on our registry at Babies R Us and Target. The ladies at my school have talked about giving me a shower too! Then, after the baby is born, those of you who do not teach at my school or go to our church can participate in a gender specific shower. That will give those of you who live out of town a chance to see the baby! :)

So, basically we’re waiting for our birthmother to call the agency, see our portfolio, and choose us to parent her child. In the meantime, we prepare by reading books like “What to Expect the First Year.” And, we ordered the crib and changing table last night! It won’t be long before the house has evidence that a baby is coming!


Nikki said...

BLESS YOU, BLESS YOU, BLESS YOU!! God is good, and Good Is GOD!! I can't beleive the ball is rolling and that "one day" has turned into "one day soon"....typically, how far along are the birthmothers in their pregnancy when they make their decisions....half-way, moreso, what?? Love you sweetie!

David M. Staples said...

AWESOME! This is so cool! I can't wait to hear that someone chose you guys.

Michelle said...

Hi, Nikki! Typically birthmothers wait until after the first half of their pregnancy to make the decision to make an adoption plan. Some wait until the last minute. The last two cases I've heard about, the birthfamily waited until they were in the hospital giving birth to make the plan! Apparently that's pretty common!

Laura Belcher said...

I am sitting here in tears- happy tears- for you and Andy. Oh my! I know that this is such an exciting time for you- such anticipation! I can't wait to meet your little bundle. You'll have to send lots of pics via email- make sure I am in your group! Love to you! Laura B.

Anonymous said...

Andy & Michelle,
I have cold chills all over and can hardly pull muself together. I am so happy that you have made it possible for all us us to be apart of this time in your lives. I am so excited to love this child, actually I already love this child. It's a good thing those 3*5 cards were not open for your "church " to write because you would seriously need a lot of cards! This child's life is about to change forever... How awesome to know you will be giving life to a child that otherwise would have none. Just like Christ gave us life by giving His son to die so we could live. I am so proud of you two for not giving up or giving in. You two have the desire to be parents and God is honoring that! Praise God....
I love you,

Anonymous said...

You amaze me! Your story has been a perfect example of how good God is! Thank you for sharing and spreading God's word... sort of like ministering!: )
I know that God has special plans for you, Andy and your new baby.

Praying for you,
Maya Alexander

Anonymous said...

Wow! Let me see if I can pull myself together to type...Shell, I am truly at a loss for words right now. Reading your words I can kind of get a glimpse of how MawMaw and PawPaw felt when they got Mama. They laugh that Mama didn't walk til she was 2, because they didn't want to let go of her. They thought somebody might try to come take her or that they would have to give her back. That's been 54 years ago, and things have changed. She's always been a little clumsy and PawPaw likes to tell that story when she has a little stumble. I hope she doesn't read this-she'll kill me for telling the world that my mom is a clutz because she was adopted :)
Love You,