Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Our Adoption Timeline

So that we don't forget, I wanted to write out the major events we've been through in this adoption.

3/8/2011: We went to an informational seminar with Dillon International.  We rather had our hearts set on adopting from Ethiopia, but were crushed to be told that Ethiopia was changing their adoption legislation.  They would be reducing international adoptions by 95%.  Time to go back to discussing our options--open up the topic of domestic adoption again.

4/14/2011: I went to see a new doctor.  I wasn't totally pleased with my former doctor, and wanted some help controlling my P.C.O.S. more naturally.  My new doctor is awesome.  He has a heart for his patients, and desires to discover the root cause of symptoms, rather than just treat symptoms.  Without hesitation, he volunteered to provide me with a letter stating that I am infertile due to P.C.O.S., which was a requirement for another agency we pre-applied with.  (More on that agency later...)

6/22/2011: We had our pastor and his family over to my mom's house for dinner.  We've been attending Faith Journey Church of the Nazarene for many reasons, one of them being that adoption is so prevalent in that church.  We wanted the chance to get to know our pastor and his awesome family (including his wife, who happens to be my second cousin) better, and also to ask him if he would provide us with a letter of recommendation.

7/8/2011: Our pastor gave us his letter of recommendation so we could turn it in with our pre-application.

7/28/2011: We met with Dawn at The Lighthouse for an informal chat to talk about what to expect throughout the adoption process, as she'd approved our pre-application.  We got started gathering our documentation that evening.

8/15/2011: SIDS training.  The Lighthouse doesn't have a formal training plan for adoptive parents, but we told Dawn to go ahead and sign us up for any seminars, classes or meetings she was going to host.  We already knew some of the information, but still learned a lot.

8/29/2011: I contacted Dawn about arranging for a home study.  Since The Lighthouse is located in Missouri, we had to contract with another social worker to handle the home study in Kansas.  We had pre-applied with two agencies, and intended on having one of the agencies do the home study, but they took our pre-application money and never responded.  It's super important to find an ethical agency--I can't stress how essential that is.  It became clear to us through this process that The Lighthouse acts in a Christian manner toward both birth and adoptive parents.

9/10/2011: I asked Kristi Smith, Melissa Menning and Shannon Boxdorfer, all members of my quartet, to provide us with references on the way to a gig.  Melissa and Kristi are mothers and all three of them are wonderful Christian examples for me--it means a lot to me that they would willingly and thoughtfully provide us with references.

9/12/2011: Thad contacted Sharon Cole (aka Grandma Sharon) about providing us with a reference.  We were only allowed to use one family member.  We were hoping that this would make her feel like she was more a part of the process.

9/16/2011: Thad contacted Carmen Patty about providing us with a reference.  We're so glad she and Nikki have become a part of our family!  And you know it can't hurt to have a nurse provide you with a reference! :)

9/16/2011: We both had a fingerprinting appointment set up with Fieldprint for our FBI clearance.  It only took a couple of days to get our clearance through Fieldprint, and I highly recommend them to couples getting started in the adoption process.

10/3/2011: Thad's doctor pronounced him fit enough to be a father.

10/10/2011: My doctor pronounced me fit enough to be a mother.

10/23/2011: Home study!  Not only did we clean for weeks in preparation, but we remodeled the music room. There's no way I'm having a social worker come into our house while there's ugly 70's wood paneling and forest green carpet!!!  :)

10/25/2011: We bought a fire extinguisher at Costco, and sent Alli (the social worker who did the home study) a picture of it in our cabinet.

11/4/2011: We turned in our profile book.

11/10/2011: We attended a "town hall" style meeting at The Lighthouse put on by Dawn, our adoption social worker, and Steve and Rachel Garlinghouse.  We talked about lots of issues centered around adoption, but especially open adoption.  This really helped us to firm up our decision to allow the birth mother to dictate our relationship boundaries.

12/2/2011: Our profile book was shown for the first time.  We weren't chosen.  We were both surprised by how disheartened this made us.  In our heads, we knew that the odds were against us being chosen by the first birth mother that looked at our book.  It didn't stop our hearts from feeling a bit bruised!

12/5/2011: We received a birth situation form for another set of birth parents, and decided to have our profile shown again.  We thought it was a really good sign that the baby's due date was the same as Thad's mom's birthday.

12/6/2011: They liked our profile, and wanted to meet us!

12/8/2011:  We met with the birth parents and Julie (their social worker).  It was really awkward, but heartfelt. They had a long list of questions for us, and it was a pretty tough and emotional meeting.  One thing we've discovered in this process is how hard it is to be totally, brutally honest about ourselves.  I mean, we don't want the birth parents to feel tricked or pressured into choosing us.  At the same time, we really want them to choose us, so it's tempting to only present the positive aspects of us.  One thing the birth mother said was that she liked our profile because it looked like we celebrate Monday.  Just normal Mondays.  I really like that.  

The birth parents decided that they wanted to meet with us again before they made a final decision on whether or not to pick us.  That was so hard--waiting is not my forte!  Also, we wanted to do a big reveal, either to our extended family on the cruise or at Christmas.

12/28/2011: We met with just the birth parents (no Julie this time) at Starbucks.  It was much less formal.  She had a few questions for us, but mostly we just chatted about Christmas, work, her schooling.  There were no tears, and lots of smiles and laughter.  I know that there will be tears in the future, both for her and me, but I'm really glad we had this non-emotional time to be together.

12/28/2011: Dawn called.  The suspense is over.  We were picked.

12/28/2011: We showed our Parentisms video to my mom.  I wish we'd taken our camera--her reaction was priceless.  It didn't sink in fully for a bit, and she almost missed the official announcement slide because she was gaping at me with an open mouth.  She definitely wanted to be a part of us telling my brothers.

12/28/2011: We stopped by my little brother's house (he lives the closest to my mom).  My sister-in-law was not there to see the video, but we went ahead and showed my brother, niece and nephew.  We wanted to make sure we got to my older brother's house before they put the baby to bed.  I got the biggest hug I've ever gotten from my little brother.  I'm pretty sure my niece and nephew don't understand.  When I told my nephew we were going to have a baby, but that the baby was in another lady's belly, he said, "Well, where is she?" and promptly wanted to go find her.

12/28/2011: We stopped by my older brother's house.  Mom told him that we had a really funny video about parents/parenting that we really wanted him to see.  He and my sister-in-law were totally shocked with the announcement slides at the end.  Up until then, he was really confused about why we wanted to show him the video in person, why we couldn't just send him the YouTube link.  They both got teary, which made me teary.  I have very sympathetic tear ducts.

12/30/2011: We celebrated Christmas with Thad's immediate family.  At the very end, before Jimmie could tune in to the game, Thad "remembered" that we had another present for his parents. I gave them the song and dance about how we made a video that gently mocks them, which we wanted them to view before we published it on our blog.  You know, just in case there were hurt feelings.  It was so funny--when it finally dawned on Sharon, she screamed then started crying.  Her comment was "I couldn't be any happier if you told me you were pregnant."  Which is awesome, especially since this is their first experience with adoption.  Don't worry, Thad's brother's girlfriend got it on video!

12/31/2011: We told our extended family, mostly on the way home from Thad's parent's house.  I called my Grandma O. and emailed everyone else a link to the Parentisms video.  Their response was supportive, loving and overwhelming.  Holy cow!  We're going to be parents!

12/31/2011: The only people we didn't tell already were the ones who were going to be at our New Years party--The Taylors and the Pattys.  I made t-shirts for Thad and I; mine said "I have a bun in someone else's oven" and Thad's said "It's a boy!".  Nikki's reaction was totally worth the wait!

1/1/2011: We dragged our butts out of bed to go to church.  Well done, us!  :)  My mom went with us, because she knew we intended to tell our church family, and wanted to see the reaction firsthand.  We wore our t-shirts under jackets, and when I showed Sharry Heston (flasher style), she screamed, which brought a whole bunch of people running.  Later, before calling the children in the church up to the front for a special talk about The Creation, our children's pastor, Kris Mitchell, had us come up to the front to display our t-shirts.  He did surprise me, asking for a quick update.  I think I said something like, "We were matched this past Wednesday!"  They're already talking about our baby shower.  Have I mentioned that I love our church?  It was a really fun time--full of rejoicing!

1/1/2011: We posted our news on Facebook--now the whole world knows, and my mom can tell everyone she sees.  :)