Sunday, October 14, 2012

Bishop's Recommendation


LDS Family Services stands out as a unique adoption agency because it only services adoptive couples who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And they have an extra set of standards that have to be met by each adoptive couple before they are even considered eligible. So, not only do you have to meet government requirements, but Church requirements as well.

One qualification is that you have to receive an endorsement from your current Bishop. An LDS Bishop is closely related to a Pastor in other Christian congregations. He fills the role of a sort of "father" for the congregation, takes confessions, counsels members in spiritual and temporal matters, leads/presides the entire congregation, and "calls" members to various leadership positions. This is all done voluntarily (without pay). We've used our Bishop in the past for family counseling and things of that nature.

This time around, we just barely moved and got reassigned to a different ward (congregation), so our Bishop didn't even know who we were yet. The agency wanted a recommendation from our most recent Bishop, so we had to send it off to him and leave it up to his judgment whether he would immediately recommend us or call up our last Bishop or wait until he got to know us better.

It was really weird timing, because we spent an extra week at our last ward because we promised to teach the 10- & 11-year-olds one more time before changing wards, then most wards were having area conferences rather than the normal Sunday services, then there was a week where there was a temple dedication that members were encouraged to attend in place of Sunday services, and then the entire Church had a conference that comes up every 6 months. So, we weren't going to have many opportunities to interact with our new Bishop at all, or meet hardly any new people in our new ward! We didn't plan it that way, but it just happened.

We did manage to track him down and came in on a random Sunday afternoon to meet him and a few of the other leaders. The adoption secretary had sent the reference letter to him already, but he had sent it back when he didn't know who we were. Ha. Guess he never got the message I left for him. The secretary was cool - she sent it off again with a little note explaining that our church records should show up in the new ward shortly. We met with him, introduced him to our little family, talked about callings we've had in previous wards (for the most part, we've taught various age groups of kids in the Primary for the past 8 years or so... I wouldn't mind continuing that!), and talked a little bit about adoption.

It went well! He'll do whatever he thinks is necessary to fill out the paperwork - possibly call up our old Bishop, make sure our member records make the transition, maybe pray about us (I don't know, ha ha). Anyways, I think we're really gonna like this new ward. A new beginning, a new adventure, new friends, new opportunities to serve. It's gonna be great! The fact that it coincides with the beginning of our new adoption journey and our new start in a new apartment is just a lucky coincidence. Everything is changing and this is a completely new chapter in our lives. I'm so excited! :)

So, NEXT STEP: Check in with the LDS Family Services adoption secretary in a week or so to see if our Bishop's reference came in. She should call us the moment it comes in the mail, actually. She will assign us a caseworker and our caseworker will set up an eligibility meeting. She will determine whether we are eligible to adopt through their agency, based on the initial paperwork and based on who they would like to prioritize as prospective adoptive couples. Any concerns about our eligibility will be discussed then before we pay any money and before we go any further.

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