Friday, December 10, 2010

Two Social Workers...Lots of Info...Lots of Work to Do!

So where was I? Has it really only been a week since I posted last? With the amount of information we've received in the last week and the ever-mounting masses of work we have to do, I can't believe it was only last week that we had our home visit. Wow. Ever had one of those weeks when so much has happened that you feel like a month has passed? I think a lot of us are probably having that experience these days. And here I am talking about not being squeezed while being stretched. Mmm. So easy to fall into these traps.

Last week, our social worker from Jewish Family Services came to our home for our home visit (as part of our home study). She's really sweet. She came notepad-ready. We showed her around our home. She saw every nook and cranny including our backyard (quietly mumbling as she wrote on her notepad, 'fenced-in yard with play structure'). It was kind of fascinating to me because she was seeing our home with fresh eyes. The place we see every day; day in and day out. I don't even notice the fine details anymore. Sad yet sweet at the same time.

We decided to let Brooks and Jackson be up and about when she arrived so she could meet them and have full access to our house and then put them down for a nap while we met. They were cute. While they rolled all over our couch downstairs and fidgeted and wiggled as four-year-old boys do when an adult is speaking to them, she asked, 'So what do you think of the idea of having more brothers or sisters?' Jackson answered coyly with his chin down and a smirk on his face, 'It's goooood.' Brooks answered loudly and boisterously, 'It's fine with me!' Hilarious. And to nap they went!

Payton was all business when our social worker asked her how she felt about our family adopting. She said she was totally fine with it and excited. Avery (although we'd already talked to her and Payton about our social worker coming and wanting to ask them questions) went into I'm-too-shy-to-talk-to-you mode. She curled up into JD's side on the couch and mumbled out an 'It's fine.' Mind you, this is after 15 minutes of her doing endless kick-overs (we called them 'back-walkovers' when I was a kid) in the middle of the room where we were meeting with our social worker. Really? No timidness there. Omigoodness, this child is clearly enjoying gymnastics, but we had to ask her to take it somewhere else or hold off until we were done with our meeting.

We ran down the list of the things we still have to get done as part of our home study (fingerprinting, get four money orders to be turned in with our background check forms, finish autobiographies, complete 12+ hours of on-line training and the list goes on). For a time, I felt like we were kind of ahead of the wave. But now I'm starting to feel that familiar sensation of being tossed and tumbled about involuntarily as we succumb to all that's piling up to do. I had a self-imposed goal of completing our home study by Christmas. Clearly, that's not going happen and I'm happily letting that go because it is after all Christmas. And I'm choosing to enjoy this time of year instead of going through it in an adoption paperwork-induced fog.

Last Friday, I sent an email to a woman with Commonwealth Chapel (a local church here who administers for the ABBA Fund). The ABBA Fund is a funding source for Christians who want to adopt. They want to remove financial barriers so Christians can follow God's call to adopt without the costs of adoption being an obstacle to bringing children into families. That's huge. A huge blessing. A huge ministry.

This woman and I were able to talk this Monday and had a wonderful conversation. It looks like we will be Commonwealth Chapel's first recipients of grant or loan monies. Kinda cool. However, now I really need to get the ABBA application complete and submitted so we can get the financial piece in place. Omigosh more paperwork. I think the application's about 8 pages long with personal questions and three more references (pastoral, employer/co-worker and friend).

We then had our first meeting with our social worker with Wide Horizons for Children (WHFC) in Massachusetts. Clearly, JD and I did not jet to Massachusetts -- this was a conference call. It was so nice to start talking specifics! One of the things we narrowed down is that it might be best to change our age range from age 3 to 7 to age 0 to 6. For two reasons: one is because children from other countries' ages can be incorrect (especially Ethiopian children) and we really want to keep a good buffer between the oldest child's age and Payton's age. She feels very strongly about remaining the oldest child in our family. We could be told and it could appear that we're adopting a 7-year-old but when the child is examined by a doctor here in the States, we find out that s/he is actually 9-years-old. The second reason is that we're not seeking a baby, but wouldn't turn a baby or young toddler away if s/he were part of a sibling pair that we felt God was presenting to us. We're not opposed to going back to little, little ones if we know that's what God wants us to do. We're also interested in a sibling pair where one or both of the children are deaf. This seems like kind of a no-brainer for me (as many of you know, I used to work with the deaf and hard of hearing), but this is all truly something I'm having to hand over. I can't tell you how much I want to drive this train. JD and I were just talking last night because (probably mistakenly) I've been looking at children available for adoption again on-line and it brings forth all kinds of desperation in me to speed this process up! Especially because I'm 'meeting' many who are deaf (and precious, I might add).

Now, on top of the things we still have to get done for our home study, we have things to get done for WHFC -- like interview two families who have adopted older children (older = 24 months or older. Isn't that crazy?), complete additional trainings around adopting older children and complete a service providers worksheet by locating and contacting the following service providers: early intervention specialist, school services (check!), international clinic (what's that?), pediatrician (check!), dentist (check!), therapist, interpreter(s), family respite. Oye.

Ya know what I want to do right now? Curl up on the couch and watch a Christmas movie with my boys and write my Christmas cards! So, I think that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to set most of this stuff aside until after Christmas. There will be plenty of doldrum days in January and February where I'll be yearning for something to sink my teeth into. I want this journey to be fun and enjoyable (aka 'able to be enjoyed'). And as I've learned has been the case often in my life, my self-imposed deadlines, goals and timeframes are often killjoys. I may dabble here and there with this stuff, but I'm going to let go of the rush factor. Hear this, Heather: the home study will not be completed before Christmas! Now that is freeing for me.

I think there's been this part of me that feels anxious to move as fast as we can so we can pluck two children out of despair as quickly as possible. A friend was asking me the other day if I ever imagine throughout my day what these two precious children are doing across an ocean...are they sleeping? are they playing? I told her I do imagine that a little, but more so than that I pray for their heart state. Throughout the day, I pray that they have a new understanding in their hearts that we're coming for them. I pray that their little hearts have this new feeling of peace and conviction that they have a family and that their orphanage won't be their life forever. That they're short-timers there. That they have a mommy and daddy and four siblings. That they may not be able to articulate it, but they have a different feeling inside them. If I can believe that and trust that God's got this, then I don't have to miss this glorious Christmas season drowning in adoption to-dos and deadlines. I can trust that they're going to be fine until we get to them. And more than that, God knows who these children are before I even open my browser to look at children available for adoption. He knows if they're two girls, two boys, a boy and a girl, deaf, hearing, African, Asian, and the number of hairs on their heads. He knows. I don't have to know. I just have to trust.

That's another thing I should mention, after our conversation with our WHFC social worker, we are keeping our options open between Ethiopia and the Philippines. Although, China might work for us too if we decide to adopt two children who aren't biologically related, but who are siblings nonetheless by simply living intimately together in an orphanage -- just like Payton, Avery, Jackson and Brooks will be to them one day.

One final comment, JD and I are discussing making this blog private to protect the identities of those mentioned -- especially our children. Please post a comment if you would like me to add your email address to receive notices of new posts. I'm still learning how all this blogging stuff works, so I think it's that simple, right? Help me out, my blog-savvy friends out there! Thanks so much! :)

Furthermore, if you have a blog (public or private) or have wrestled through this issue, please feel free to share with me your thoughts. Would love to hear them!


  1. If you go private with the blog, please send me the sign in info. Thanks!

  2. Hello Heather,
    I'm visiting Fern today and she shared your Chr card and letter and picture with me. So I came here to this blog. If you go private, please include me.
    Betty McBroom. ( recently retired from TSD)

  3. Heather- We met at Diana's Birthday for Jesus Party. I'd love to continue reading if you'd be open to that!

    Do you read, She's fabulous and a friend of a friend of mine. Her adoptions are all from China.




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