The Start of the Adoption Process

One of our goals in this journey of adoption is being as transparent as possible, while still preserving our child’s/children’s story.  We have been praying over this adoption for over a decade now, yet we’ve learned very quickly that this process is nothing like what we had expected.  There really just isn’t too much out there that explains the reality in detail.  So, join us in the journey and we will experience it together…

We worked with Bethany Christian Services for the home study and were blown away by their supportiveness and efficiency.  We submitted our first “informal” application on 10/12/19.  We intentionally chose this start date so that if we hit the average timeline just right, that would have us bringing our child(ren) home about March-May of 2021.  We function on an academic calendar, so while we weren’t counting on everything panning out just right, we felt that timing would be ideal.  However, timelines have already lengthened in the few months since we started, so it will probably be pushed back a bit.  Did I mention we weren’t planning on everything going to plan?  From the date of that first application to present, we have diligently worked on adoption related things like a part time job.  Our life has been work from 7:00 am -4:00 pm, be present for the kids 4:00 pm-7:30 pm, and then adoption paperwork until we go to bed. 

That’s why the two check marks on the graphic are so deceiving.  To reach the point of home study approval for a Hague Convention adoption, we completed: Four applications, full psychological evaluations, background checks, drug testing, tuberculosis testing, specific physicals for every member of the family, 20 hours of adoption training, 4 reference letters, employer verification, insurance approvals, and 5 in-person interviews ranging from 1-3 hours each.  The applications were hefty.  There were two documents that specifically come to mind in which we spent extensive time and prayer on.  One document involved 29 questions requiring paragraph responses about our parenting plans, beliefs, and responses.  The other, that I will explore a lot more in a later post, was the special needs questionnaire.  Between the two agencies, there were over 200 special considerations that we had to mark “we have the skills”, “we do not have the skills”, or “we will consider” for.  To say it was hard would be an understatement. 

I explain all these details to show how transformative of an experience this has already been.  The questions and considerations we have explored almost daily throughout have been deep and have taught us a lot about the things we prioritize in our lives.  Alex and I’s relationship has grown stronger because many of the requirements asked us to explore our marriage and its strength.  Our appreciation for how we were raised has expanded as we evaluated formative moments throughout our lives and how much love was displayed within each of them.  It’s helped us be more aware of how awesome the people around us are presently, supporting us as we navigate so many unknowns.  Our faith lives have taken on a new fire as we go to prayer constantly to help us trust in all these areas that feel terrifying.  We are only a few months into the adoption journey and it’s already changed who we are.  We feel an incredible amount of fear as we move forward, but our love for this child/these children is more than our hearts can process already.

Enough about the completed steps though, you are probably wondering what’s to come… We are currently filling out the I-800A in hopes of sending that off next week already.  This form goes to the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) to seek clearance and obtain approval to bring our adopted child/children into the U.S. from India on a U.S. Visa.  During this time, we will also get to work on our Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) Registration Dossier.  CARA is essentially the relevant governing body of India for this process.  A dossier is a massive stack of official documents that we still have a lot to learn about.  😊  Once both are approved by USCIS and CARA, we will be eligible to be matched!  Our international agency is Children’s Home Society of MN and we will mostly work with them from here on out. 

We will update as we go of course, but long story short, we could be as close as 57 weeks (March 2021) to as far as 153 weeks (February 2023) away from bringing our child/children home.  If you can’t tell by that range, there are quite a few variables in adoption!  We are trusting that the timing will be just as it should be to bring home the child we are intended to do life with.  Whether you are here because you are intrigued by adoption in general or you want to support us specifically in prayer, we are grateful you are here to walk with us in the journey!