Monday, November 10, 2014

Adoption Journey, pt. 2: The Home Study

This is the part of the adoption process that was really unknown to us.  The descriptions were very vague, and depending on who you adopt through the process can vary some.  Our experience was not only good, but it was actually enjoyable.

Kristy was the name of our home study examiner (I'm not really sure what her official title is).  She was extremely pleasant and easy to talk to.  For our first meeting, she actually came to my office at work, and she only met with me.  She just wanted to get to know me and our story a little bit.  She asked some questions about me and about why we wanted to adopt.  She answered my questions like what the process looks like and what things we need to have for the home inspection.  She told us that the home inspection is such a minor part of the home study, especially for adoption.  If you are doing foster care, than there is a list of things you have to have in your home to meet the expectations outlined by the state.  She never really did give me a list, but she recommended a carbon monoxide alarm and a fire extinguisher.

For our second meeting, about a week later, she came to our house.  She met Miles and talked with us as a couple: How do we resolve conflict, how do we communicate, how do we anticipate sharing parenting responsibilities, what is our philosophy on parenting, how do we anticipate handling some of the awkward situations that may arise when people find out that our child is adopted, what have read, what kind of support system do we have.  She interviewed Miles thoroughly.  She wanted to know his life story, so she met with him for over an hour while I went to another room.  She has excellent counseling skills, as she was a superb listener and conversationalist.  She actually acted interested in our stories ;)  She looked over our house to see what the layout was, where were the fire extinguishers, and how would we protect our child from the chemicals stored under the sink. We didn't even have to have anything in place; she just wanted to know what our plan was.  Where would the child sleep?  If we adopted tomorrow, what would we do about the minor construction zone that we were living in?  (We were doing some remodeling to put our house on the market.) What kinds of safety measures would be needed (e.g. cabinet door locks)?

The next week, she met with just me again at my office, as she wanted to hear my life story.  It was kind of fun to tell.  You don't get many times in your life to just talk about yourself, and people be that interested.  She asked questions about my upbringing, my siblings, my parents, my adolescence, my interests, my education, my work life, etc.  It was actually really fun.

The part that I didn't expect came right at the end.  I'm a Christian, and I didn't try to hide that during any of our meetings.  Our relationships with God color everything we do and every decision we make, so I can't hide that.  When she was all done, she asked me, "Is there anything that you haven't told me that you feel like I need to know to really get a feeling for who you are?"  I thought for a minute, and then I told her about how God changed me as a 28 year old.  It was so life altering, that I couldn't NOT tell her.  It is the core of who I am.  She was very polite, and I even saw her eyes tear up a bit.  She was extremely professional, and she did not comment on its content at all.  I just pray that the Lord used it to impact her.  It was at that moment that God said to me, "Even if I don't give you a child, the experience is now worth it."  I felt content.

I truly hope that God will give us a child through this process, but God has done many things in my life that are not in line with my dreams.  I used to resent God for this.  I took on the martyr syndrome.  I found myself being very selfish asking God why He didn't ever give me what I want.  He seems to give everyone else what they want! There is a verse that I learned many years ago, and I often hear it used incorrectly.

Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

People miss the first part.  When you delight yourself in the Lord, He will give you the desires of your heart.  He will give you the proper things to desire.  Just because you really want a child, doesn't mean that you are going to get one.  But if you delight yourself in Him and the things that He values, I assure you, He will give you the things that HE has caused you to desire.  Many times we seek Him, but we still hold on to our desires.  We need to align ourselves with Him and His desires.  Because God has taught me this over and over, I am finally learning that contentment only comes from aligning yourself with God.  He is the source of joy . . . not marriage, not children, not a new car or house, not success, not friends . . . ONLY Him.  If you can't find contentment in Him, you won't be content with anything.
I say all of this to say that God knows what is best for Miles & Liz Moseley.  Miles is 41, and I am nearly 38.  We are a bit old to be starting a family.  We look around at families with young children, and realize that we are nearly twice their age sometimes.  We are old enough to have children in college, but God has chosen to not give us children yet.  During my struggle with not having children, God told me that He gave me lots of children . . . they just aren't small . . . they are students at Cleveland State and Lee University, employees at Starbucks and Panera, and youth group students, etc.  Maybe that is all God has for us, but for now this is the journey we are taking.

So now we are waiting.  Kristy told us it would be 2-3 weeks until the home study document was completed and returned to us for review.  Three weeks is in two days . . . we'll see how it goes.

This is an expensive process.  It isn't like having a baby where insurance pays for much of it.  We have to pay it all.  It will be around $11K.  It could cost upwards of $18K, and there is a small possibility that it could cost less.

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