Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Final Home Study!

Yay! On Tuesday, November 15th, 2011, we met up with our social worker for the 3rd and final time! We drove down to Gilbert and met up with Trina again at the library. Brandon and I weren't sure what to expect for this home study. We knew that at some point she would interview us separately. We were trying to think of all the possible tricky questions she would ask. But no matter what she asked, through this whole process we have been at peace with all of our interviews because we never had anything to hide. Anyway, it was SO easy! The 3 of us met up in a study room and we answered a few more questions than we split up. Brandon left and she interviewed me first. She just asked about my childhood and my work background. I don't really understand why we had to be split up for these questions. I probably went into too much detail about my life hahah. But overall, I had a great childhood and am thankful to my parents and siblings for the childhood I had! After my questions, I left and Brandon came in and she asked him the same questions. He was a lot more brief about his childhood. After we was done with his interview, I joined them and we were done. We were probably there for only 45 min. So easy!

So, everything on our part of the home study is complete! Trina just has to finish writing up and putting together our home study. She might have it all done by the end of this month. After that, our completed home study will get reviewed by us and our family coordinator with our adoption agency. Once it's finalized, it will get notarized and submitted to Maricopa County for approval. It has until the middle of January to be approved. That approved home study will than go into our dossier (paper work that will go to Ethiopia). For the dossier, we have pretty much all of our documents compiled for that. We just have to get a few more letters of recommendation and write up a cover letter for the dossier. So we should have ALL of our paper work done and approved by January 2012! Yay!

It's crazy to think that this stage of the adoption process is almost complete and that we're looking onto the next stage! Brandon and I are still trying to understand what this next step looks like. As far as we know, it looks like our paperwork will be translated and be submitted to Ethiopia. Than after that we wait! We wait for a referral of a child or children that meet our criteria. This waiting time could be a few months to over a year. We are praying and hoping that this time will be short! Or that if it is long, that we will be able to take advantage of this waiting time to prepare in whatever ways we can.

Please continue to pray that things in our paper work go smoothly and quickly. And be praying for our children (and the parents and families they come from). I'm ready to met our kids, bring them home and to start our lives with them! But our lives and this process is and has always been in God's timing. I will rejoice in the peace that that brings! Isaiah 55:8-9- "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." Brandon and I just love this verse and find rest in it.

3rd & Final Home Study

Well I figured it was about time I (Brandon) jump in and add a little something to the blog. Before I tell you about our last Home Study experience let me share a little of my heart and perspective on this whole deal. We are now a few months in and it is starting to feel a little more real. As Meghan probably already said this is something we have wanted to do and talked about for a while. God is using this process to bring us closer to him and Meghan and I closer to each other. One of the biggest things for me is actually living by faith and not by sight. I have had a fairly easy life. I have amazing parents that have always provided for me in every way and given me more than I needed in any situation. I have had little things come into my life that stretched me (Broken Neck, parents moving away, etc.) but nothing that has really caused me to fully walk by faith and not by sight. The decision to adopt has always been one that sounded exciting but I never really thought through the whole process until a few months ago. I am a very analytical thinker and like to see where I am going well before I start in a direction, or as my former Professor Tim Reed would say "Begin with the end in mind." This is definitely not the proper context that he was referring to, but for the most part this is how I have lived my life. Adoption is a whole different ball game. When you begin there are many things you do not know and the big one is when it will the whole process end. Jumping into the adoption process has definitely been a step of faith for Meghan and I. We began not knowing much of anything, including where all of the money would come from, but we truly felt God calling us to take this step. We still have a lot of unanswered questions, including how long this process will take, but we are excited and praying daily for the child or hopefully children we will receive. We trust that God is in control and will bless us in His timing. One thing I have learned so far is that God isn't always going to make things happen in your life that will cause you to start trusting Him and walk by faith. More often than not God is waiting for us to step out in faith and He will step up and show His power and faithfulness. Far too after we wait around for some sign from God or for Him to push us into something. I truly believe we need to step up and start looking for ways to be a part of God's greater story happening all around us. God wants us to join in and be a part of something bigger than us. Right now for us that is adoption. To be a part of giving new life to a child in need of a family. We are stoked to be a part of what God is doing.

Last, Tuesday night we went back out to Gilbert for our 3rd and final home study visit. We had a little anticipation for this one because we were told that we would be interviewed individually. We weren't sure what questions they would ask but were curious why it would need to be done separately. Turns out it was no big deal at all, and we still aren't sure why they need to do the interviews separately. Trina, our social worker, basically asked us a few questions about our childhood and family life. Meghan went first and took probably around 20-30 minutes. Since we were at the library I scanned the Autobiographies section and ended reading Albert Pujols' book "More than a Game." Turns out he is sold out to his faith and regularly shares his faith with his teammates and even shares the Gospel to runners on first base while he is playing. Gave me some good material for my lesson the next morning at Northwest Christian School's weekly chapel. Anyways, Meg came out and it was my turn for interrogation. The funny thing for me is that Trina looks exactly like one of our youth workers at Church, Alana Heater. The only thing that reminds me I'm not talking to Alana is that Trina has a little bit of an accent I'm guessing from Minnesota. Like I said, Meghan took about 20 minutes or so but I was done in less than five. I'm not much of a talker unless you have very specific questions or I have my Bible open and given an opportunity to teach. When asked how my childhood was my answer was pretty simple. Good. I have great parents that were very involved in my life and took great care of me. Didn't have much else to say. Pretty sure Meghan answered the same way, just took a little longer. It was a pretty quick visit, probably spent twice as much time driving there and back than we did talking with her. The good thing for us was that we were able to turn in the last of the paperwork for the home study process. Now all that needs to be done is for Trina to put it all together and submit it to the state so we can get certified. She said we should have our certification no later than January. This means we are simply one step closer. Still not sure how many more steps there will be but we are moving forward and trusting God for his provision and timing all along the way.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

2nd Home Study

Sorry for the delay on our updating...

On October 25th, 2011, we had our scheduled home study with our social worker. Our social worker, Trina, was to come to our house, check it out and interview us. Brandon and I just had some more paper work that we needed to continue to gather but we really didn't have anything that we needed to do to prepare. We didn't feel anxious or stressed in getting ready for her to come visit our house. I feel like in every t.v. show or movie that deals with adoption, the adopting couple has major anxiety in having their social worker coming to their house. We felt quite the opposite. It's not like we had anything to hide and Brandon & I are on the same page about pretty much everything. Also, our social worker is on our side, trying to help us out. We had also met Trina at our first orientation so we didn't feel so nervous.

Anyway, the evening was fairly simple. Trina came over and we all sat on the couch and chatted. She asked us some questions like, how we deal with grief, describe each other, how we are preparing culturally for adopted children, how we met, and so on. Like I sad earlier, Brandon and I were very much on the same page, so answering these questions were fairly easy. After about an hour of answering questions, we took her on a brief tour of our home. The only things that she really had to check for was if we had guns, a pool, and where the kids' bedroom would be. Simple.

That was about it. The second of our three meetings with her was over. We went ahead and scheduled our last meeting down in Mesa for November 10th. The only paper left to gather for our home study paper work are my employment verification letter from Starbucks, local police clearance letters, and general physical examinations. We should have all of those done in the next week or so. Yay!

It is truly neat to see just how God is already providing for us. Before Trina visited us, we had to make a payment to the agency. And God provided that money for us. I am truly humbled for the way God works and just how much people love us, trust us, and want to come along side of us and partner in bringing our children home. This whole process still seems so surreal. I continually find peace as God guides us step by step through this journey. I feel as though it's the opposite of what everyone imagines the adoption process to be- crazy and stressful.

I am reminded of how the adoption process that Brandon and I are going through is so paralleled to Christ adopting us as His children. Brandon and I are spending so much time and resources preparing for our child. And God did the same for us (but on a much greater scale!). It is so neat just to see God's handy work in it all (even if it is all just paper work). Thank you O Lord for adopting us as Your children and allowing us to have this opportunity to have a glimpse into who You are. To Your Glory alone.