Last Wednesday we spoke with our incredible social worker from Lifeline and had our orientation phone call. She basically took us through the entire process and gave us an idea of the timelines we are facing. She also asked us several questions together on the phone, as well as separately over the phone. One thing I did not realize about the adoption process is how much you share with these agencies! I mean, it's really no surprise when you think about it. They need to ensure that we are healthy, financially secure, strong in our faith, committed in our marriage, etc. so that we can then provide the best home for a sweet child who does not have a family yet.
Between the paperwork and verbal conversations, we have shared nearly every detail of our lives. All of our financial information has been disclosed. Our history of alcohol and drug use (or lack thereof)was shared. Numerous questions about our personalities, marriage, relationship with family members and friends, physical health, church life, spiritual beliefs, etc. all have been asked. We both are writing extensive autobiographies about our lives. I have relived moments and memories that I have not thought about in years. It really is an incredible process, writing individually about our past, present, and hopes for the future. One purpose of a home study is to ensure that any issues we have experienced in our lives are properly acknowledged so that we can heal from them when necessary. While it can be intimidating to share so many intimate details of your life, no one expects us to be perfect or have it all together. We are all human, and the idea is that you are striving to deal with difficult issues of your past in order to be the best parent you can be. I think by the time I am finished with my autobiography, it will be 9-10 pages single-spaced. I can't wait to read Ryan's!
Last week we also chose a local adoption agency to complete our home study. After logging in to view the paperwork they needed, I had to take a deep breath. Everyone has told us very consistently that we will have more paperwork to complete than we can even imagine. It is so true! While it is overwhelming at times, we continue to take small bites of this elephant, knowing that it is all serving an important purpose to prepare for bringing this child home.
I recentely read an awesome blog (from beginning to end): http://journeytoganggang.blogspot.com/. It is the incredible journey of a family friend who adopted a little boy from China in June 2011. Their family story was perfect in helping me gain one perspective of a family who has taken this step in their lives. I highly recommend it if you are curious about adoption from China, specifically, what people might do when actually in China. They had an extraordinarily long trip - I believe it was like 20 days. Ryan and I will probably be in China for 10-17 days. I can't imagine how difficult it will be to be away from Noah and Liam, though the only thing I can imagine making that part easier is having our third child in our arms finally! At the very least, check out her video that she created one year after adopting their son.
I dream about the day we meet our new child, and I can't wait to make my own slideshow of our journey. I am already picking out music! What else do I have on my hands than time...oh and lots of paperwork. :)