Saturday, November 28, 2015

Why adoption?

I just wanted to post a little summary for those of you that are just joining us on this journey! So why are we adopting? Before Jason & I were even married we would talk about having kids one day, how many kids we wanted, etc and adoption always seemed to come up. {we've also learned that anytime we feel the same way about something we should definitely do it, because we are horrible about making decisions and rarely have opinions or 'callings' toward anything} We even considered only adopting but I was afraid I would look back and wish I had the whole pregnancy etc experience. So we had Gentry, our biological daughter, in 2012. She was a beautiful healthy girl and I am so glad I got to experience pregnancy but we also experienced the loss of her twin during pregnancy & some emergent postpartum complications. So that sealed the deal for us...adoption from here on out! We feel like we have been richly blessed in this life: we have a home, reliable cars, steady jobs, and a stable family. But it's so much more than that. We have such amazing people in our life and we have been so loved and supported through every phase of life. I feel like every child deserves people like that in their corner and because of each of YOU we are able to provide that. We definitely felt God calling us into adoption but once we walked through that door it was like standing in a large room with 15 more doors, where do we go next?

We put in our first application with Cherokee Nation shortly after Gentry's first bday. This would be similar to adopting through DHS; it wouldn't be a birthmom situation, it would be children taken into custody by the state. They told us it was unlikely to adopt an infant through this route but we were determined. Plus our other option was private adoption, and we thought no way can we afford a $15-30,000 adoption! After one year we had yet to receive one single call for a placement. We felt like it was time to start looking at other options but we were still against the idea of private adoption. So we started the process to get certified with DHS. It took me weeks to even fill out the application because I just had no motivation to do it, it was weird & I questioned if we should even do this. But I told myself I was just afraid & just went with it anyway. DHS also warned us that adopting under the age of one is almost impossible but I pushed on. To put it nicely...DHS is overwhelmed. They have way too many cases per worker & while everyone is doing the best they can, it makes it very difficult to get anything done. We are actually still in process of getting certified with them. Each step has taken a lot of time and communication is slow moving. This past summer we once again felt like it was time to do something, change directions, etc so we made an appointment with Cathoic Charities (a local non profit organization that runs a crisis pregnancy center) just to hear what they had to say. I was in love. Everyone was so nice and patient, explaining the whole process and answering all of our questions. I was ready to sign my name on the dotted line! But the one hold up continued...the money. And Jason still felt like we just couldn't make it work. And like I said before, if we're not on the same page, I move on because it usually means the timing isn't right. But I still felt like we needed to do SOMETHING because we've now had two agencies tell us "it isn't going to happen" and we've been waiting almost 2 years with no calls at all. So we started talking about foster care & we went through our 27 hours of DHS training and learned a lot about the foster system and heard a lot of stories of kids in state custody. And it broke my heart. I didn't know how we could turn our back once we'd heard these stories and statistics. The one possibility of adopting through state agencies is to foster first because if reunification fails they usually go to the foster family for permanent placement. However.... reunification attempts drag on for years and even once the parents' rights are terminated they next check for any possible family member anywhere in the entire world. We were also told several times by caseworkers that if we were going to foster we HAD to have reunification as our number one goal; "yes of course" I said every time. The idea of fostering actually terrified me but I thought that was just my human emotional side being scared. My biggest fear isn't for us but for Gentry. I know that she would have some understanding of what's going on but I think it would also be hard at three years old to have siblings moving in and moving out, hoping that one is going to be her forever sibling. I knew once we made the choice to foster it would be likely that we would receive a placement pretty quickly so we had to be completely in this together. Jason and I decided to take one day to individually just pray and think about what we thought we should do. I was very surprised when we talked that evening and both of us thought we should go with a private adoption. My reasoning- I selfishly want Gentry to have a permanent sibling before the uncertainty of foster care. I also realized that there was no way my heart would be in the right place to work with a bio mom for reunification. I would be hoping that every child we had would get to be ours forever; and that's not what foster care is for, that's been made very clear to us. I truly believe that foster care will still have a place in our lives; our state has way too many children that need homes. But I feel like if we get involved now it wouldn't be good for anyone. I need to be in a place where I want to work with bio mom to help her get things together so she can get her child back. We are especially interested in emergency foster care for kids who need immediate placement after being removed from their home. I'm excited to learn more about the foster system, children who have been through trauma, and just better prepare myself and my family for that process.

So we made the decision to jump in with both feet, going on blind faith that God will provide in His time and in His way. And ever since we made that decision....peace. I feel so completely at peace and every step has been falling into place simply and easily. Even with $10,000- $20,000 staring us down, we feel complete peace. I feel like we are exactly where we are supposed to be. The timing feels perfect and I think there are a lot of reasons why things haven't worked out over the past couple of years that I will get to understand some day. We have put in our application with CC and we are just waiting for our fingerprints to come back so we can have our home study and then we will be "open" (**update: just got our fingerprints in the mail on Wednesday & will turn them in on Monday!). Then we wait. Our profile book will be given to birth parents and we just wait until we are chosen. It is incredibly humbling to think that someone will choose us to be the parents for their child. My brain can't even comprehend having to make that decision. Please pray for the birth mom of our future child, I can't imagine the difficult road she must have walked to be in this place and making this choice. But what strength and courage it takes and I hope she has people in her corner supporting her and cheering her on. We all need that!

Cost breakdown:
The "legal fees" are what range the most, depending on how to difficult it is to locate potential fathers, family members, etc. CC told us their cases have ranged from $9,000-$24,000


To Begin Adoption Process
When Due
Adoption Application
File set-up and processing /Orientation Meeting/PSI Course
With Application

Update Adoption Application
File set-up and processing 
With Application

Initial Home Study and Report
Comprehensive study of prospective adoptive family done by social worker

When social worker is assigned Adoption Home Study

FBI fingerprint and background check
Motor Vehicle Fee
*OSBI Name Base Clearance
Due for each adult (18 years or older) in    household as part of Adoption Home Study
$50 Each
$25 Each
$20 Each

Mailed by Adoptive Family to DHS 
Mailed by Adoption Family to DPS
*For Adoption AHS Update-Mail to Catholic Charities
      with OSBI CHRU, 08/09 Form

Home Study Update and Report
Required annually only after completion of initial Adoption Home Study
When social worker is assigned Adoption Home Study Update
Matching Process
Identification of and presenting information about family to prospective birth parents
Upon submission of Family Life Book

Upon Being Matched with Birth Parents and Child
Birth Parent Counseling 
Counseling, case management, correspondence 
When matched with specific birth parents

Adoptive Parent Counseling
Counseling, case management, correspondence
When matched with specific birth parents

Medical and Social History Report

$  250
When matched with specific birth parents
Risk management, coordination of services at hospital for adoptive family, case management and coordination of legal services
Upon placement of child

Birth Mother Expenses
Approved expenses may include: medical, food, housing, transportation.  Beyond $1000must have Court Approval
Varies according to need
$1000 deposit when matched with specific birth parents.  Balance due at termination of parental rights.
*See insurance information below.

Other Associated Fees
Legal Fees
Termination of parental rights and other services
Deposit – Due upon match.  Additional legal fees could be
incurred which are due upon invoicing
Post Placement Visits & Reports
Three required within first 6 months after placement
$250 each
Upon completion of visit and report.
Associated with Adoption Home Study, Adoption Home Study Updates and Post Placement Visits
Determined by the Standard Mileage Rates set by IRS
Upon completion of visit and report.
Foster Care Fees
Paid when foster care is necessary.
$20 per day
Upon placement of child
Interstate Compact Fees
Due when another state is involved in adoption
When filed with ICPC