We spent this past Friday and Saturday in Destin, Florida at an intensive “training” seminar for our adoption. It is required for all couples in the process. We got there excited and left ecstatic. As excited as we were, by the time we woke up Sunday morning, our minds had reached capacity with information and we were exhausted. Between the info-overload and the adrenaline, it has taken me until today to have thoughts that were coherent enough to put them into writing. While I could detail every little thing we went over, unless you were in the midst of the same process, you would probably get bored. So, I will give you the rundown of our process, where we are and what we are expecting. If you would like to know more about the process in greater detail, we would be more than happy to share what we have learned, thus far.
The process goes something like this:
Apply for adoption with a 10-15 page application and a check for $550.
Attend training with a check for $750 in hand.
(We are here)Have your home study started with a check for $1000 mailed in before the first visit.
Send a check to cover the mileage after the home visit is made.
Attend educational seminars as they are offered – usually in Pensacola, FL.
Put together an online profile and a profile book for expectant mothers to view.
Create a service plan with our social worker – determine the courses of action we will possibly be taking and how we are preparing ourselves for any and all outcomes.
Participate in home study interviews – which may or may not take place in your home.
Have home study approved and send a check for $750. Apply for grants from different offerings.
Hopefully an expectant mother will have viewed our profile and/or book and will request a meeting with us. This could happen as soon as the home study is approved. If the mother wishes for us to adopt her baby, we send a check to the agency for $5,500.
While we wait for the birth of the baby, we will fundraise, complete the nursery and pray.
When the baby is placed into our care (no sooner than 48 hours after the baby is born) we write a check for $7,000.
At the time of parental right termination of the birthparents, we send a check for $6,000.
Attend the court date set to finalize the adoption at which time the baby will be officially/legally ours.
I know the majority of that looks like foreign words and dollar signs. Let me clarify a few things. You can see the detailed list of fees If you have questions about what the fees are for, feel free to ask! The initial home study visit for us will include a one day meeting in our home for the social worker to check the safety and suitability of our home. We will also meet with him one on one in what they call individual interviews. He will learn more about us both as individuals than he really wants to. A couple of weeks after he visits our home, we visit his office in Spanish Fort. This time he will interview us as a couple. I can only imagine the questions he will have to ask since I know the ones we had to answer on part of our application. While we wait for our home study to be approved, we will be fundraising and creating our profile book and online profile. The online profile is an abbreviated introduction to who we are as a family. The book includes 20 pages of photos and introduction materials. Having already started on our profile book, I have discovered that I have a lot of pictures and very few are what I deem usable! Once our profile goes “live” after the approval of our home study, expectant mothers then have the chance to view our profile and determine of she wants to meet with us in person. This meeting guarantees nothing. It is just a chance for her to meet us and vice versa. This could take a month or it could take a year or something in-between. If the expectant mother chooses us, we then begin to anticipate the birth of our baby. This is the hard part because even after the baby is born, the baby is not ours until certain time periods have expired. For instance, in Florida, the mother cannot sign her consent for 48 hours after the baby is born. Once she signs her consent, the baby goes into our care. In Alabama, we have to wait 5 days. Once the baby is in our care (Placement), we either go home (if we are in Alabama) or we wait additional days for interstate paperwork to be completed. This can take 7 days, it could take 14 or it could be somewhere in-between. If we have to wait in a state outside of Alabama, we will spend some time in a hotel getting to know our baby. After we get home and start our new life as a family of 4, we wait to hear the results of the Termination of Parental Rights (TPR) court appearance. This occurs 4-6 months after the baby is born, depending on the court and judge’s schedule. If the adoption was done in Alabama, 60-90 days after the TPR meeting, the adoption will be declared final. In Florida, it would be 90 days or possibly longer before the adoption was finalized.
What a process, right? There are details that I have skipped over because every single one would overwhelm you as it did us. There will be a post in the near future about things we never thought we would need to think about related to this process. Until then, pray that we will raise the money to complete the payment for the home study – we lack about $300. Pray that God would inspire us and calm us at the same time. Finally, pray we would never take this process for granted. Thank you for going on this journey with us.