Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Agency "A" Post Meeting

There are three Christian agencies that we're looking into currently. Agency "A" is local in the Atlanta area. "B" is in Macon. And "C" is in Columbus, GA.

We went to our first meeting with "A" last night. It was great to see the room filled with hearts looking to adopt. I could tell there were faces of many different paths. Older couples, younger couples, possible single moms.We filled out a name tag and grabbed a Life Lines Magazine and a folder of info and waited to start.While thumbing through the magazine, I feel myself start to get too emotional (who me?) and I decided to close it and put in down. It had some great stuff in it. But adoption isn't just about a family getting a child and living happily ever after. It's also about a lot hard decisions and loss.

About a year and a half ago, I decided to attend a "get to know you" meeting about a new minister at our church, while still pregnant with Kendall. A lot of their story was about their adopted son, and they had invited someone out to talk a little about adopting. I believe this guy was from agency "A". And I was thankful that I was sitting next to a friend with tissues, as he started with a demonstration. He said something like, "Hold up three fingers. Those should represent three of the people who mean the most to you in your life."  Well duh, mine were Kirk, Kendall, and collectively my other two kids.

Then he said, "Take one of those fingers away." Representing the loss an orphan could experience. Knowing I was "with child" and knowing what was to come, I held back the tears as much as possible without having to leaving the room. He continued with taking away the second and third fingers, explaining who they were to an orphan, leaving a child with no one. I think I was so fixed on my situation, I don't remember the whole story, but you get the drift. And for the most part, I think he was talking about international orphans. Applies elsewhere.

So the meeting starts and it's a lot of information on the process of adoption from the start of when a woman finds out she is pregnant and the different scenarios. A lot about what happens even before an adoptive family is involved and what happens before a family could get that phone call of, "We have a possible match for you."  Some legalistic things about birth mothers and birth fathers. Rights. At what month would a birth mom start looking for a family (with in the 7-8th month). The differences in a birth father vs. legal father. The levels of open-ness between birth parents and the family they chose. The age requirements for adoptive parents.

The adoptive families make this profile booklet that tells who they are. And after a home study, an interview process where you define the criteria of a child you'd be willing to adopt (as well as other things), they show your profile to birth family looking for similar qualifications. Then the birth parents choose who they fill meets the needs they are looking for. This list of check boxes is very detailed, not just "boy or girl". They will ask questions about age of a child; if you are willing to take a child with disabilities; if so, they list a common few. You can check one, none, or all of them. They ask how you plan to raise this child. If you are financially secure, able, and/or have community and family help if needed... etc.

Everyone knows adopting isn't always easy on the wallet. Although I don't put a price on my children. One thing we're having to talk through is the differences in fees from agency A, B, and C. There is a big jump on one over the other two. You have to keep an eye out for hidden fees and add ons. I kind of compare it to picking a private school for Kristen. They all sounds great, but which one fits with our family. We will continue to pray God gives us a peace about where He leads us.

Agency "B" has a seminar in February, that we could sign up for. But they require a pre-admissions form to be submitted, with a non-refundable amount, to attend. This form is something all the agencies do, but it wasn't required for last night's meeting. It's like asking us to commit before we know we want to commit. And February sounds so far away right now.

 Agency "C" is the one I was talking about in my "edit" of the last blog post. I get a good feeling about them. Their emails read as if they have a big smile while typing it out. But they are in Columbus!! That's about a 2 hour 20 minute drive, one way. A meeting here and there is one thing. But there are group classes that parents are supposed to take before a home study is conducted. If we have to drive down once a week or something, for an amount of weeks... that's a haul.  I just looked up Macon, thinking it had to be closer, but not really. About 2 hours one way, as well.

So our next steps are to nail down fees of the other two agencies and schedule a time to meet with them. I hope to have a garage sale to help us out some. Like Dave Ramsey says, "If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else." There are grants out there as well. But you have to be within the process of adopting to apply for any. And can only receive any before the adoption is finalized.

As we do this, I will be looking at the following scriptures to continue to remind me that God has our back and that His treasures are being saved for us in Heaven.

Phillippians 4:19
Mark 10:17-29
Luke 14:25-35

I know I covered a lot and also not so much. I have a few friends asking questions, feel free to ask! I feel the adoption process is not talked about enough. Many people want to adopt "one day" but feel intimidated. I believe details to protect a child remain private. But the rest is likened to not being able to talk about a child loss. You don't know much about it until you go through it yourself, or watch someone else go through it. If more people who want to adopt, feel more comfortable with the process, then there might not be as many orphans in the world.

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