|Let the adoption craziness begin again! Photo: www.jcluforever.com|
We made the first step in the adoption process! Woot! Woot! We attended LDS Family Services' Adoption Orientation meeting. This is the third time we've attended this meeting. The first time was at the beginning of 2009, right before I graduated from BYU. I didn't know what my future post-graduation was going to be, so I really wanted to try adopting (since that was the only thing I was sure about). It had been on my mind for so long. But we went and we didn't feel ready or on the same page about it, so we waited almost a year or so before we attended again and actually started the paperwork. That had a "happy ending" when we adopted our son! So, it's exciting to think of what might come out of this go-around... There are lots of unknowns. Adoption is exciting like that. :)
We are assigned to a different branch of the agency this time around. So we'll have a new caseworker and a different set of people working to help us adopt. That should turn out to be a blessing, even though we really liked our last caseworker. Because our last caseworker will be sure to put our name/profile out there if a potential matching situation came up, so it will be like we have two branches of the agency on our side and rooting for us. That would be awesome!
At the meeting, they handed out the initial paperwork, outlined the process, talked about any recent changes, emphasized open adoption as something to very seriously consider (because open adoption vs closed adoption has soooo many benefits to everyone involved), and then opened it up for questions. We were 1 of 3 couples there who had adopted once before. The rest (about 4 more couples) were newbies, most likely all childless. There was a cute young Asian couple - that made me happy, because the vast majority of Utahns are white and more specifically, couples who adopt through LDSFS are white, white, and more white. We all introduced ourselves, and we didn't get a babysitter in time so we had Kal there with us as well. I worried he would disrupt the meeting, but he did really well and was actually a great addition to the meeting, I think. He was a blessing from adoption, so other couples played with him and seemed happy to hear our story.
We filled out the paperwork we could while we were sitting there and immediately turned it back in - signing and dating a paper saying we attended the meeting, a paper with a long description of the services LDSFS provides during the process, and a short "application" with a little bit of information about us that just gets us into the system. There was additional paperwork for people who have divorced before or who have had a voluntary sterilization procedure before. You need special permission to adopt through LDSFS if you've had a past divorce or sterilization. Neither one of those applied to us, so we filled out the first few sheets and handed them back in.
On the short application, it asks for our current Bishop (leader of our LDS congregation), but we recently moved and changed ward (congregation) boundaries, so we had to look up who our current Bishop is supposed to be. He has to fill out a reference letter for us, but he hasn't even met us yet. So, to-do list: set up a meeting with our Bishop and help him get to know us so that he can - in good conscience - recommend us for adopting. The agency mailed him a letter, so he'll receive that before he even knows we're in his ward! I called him and left a message, so hopefully he'll connect the two and get back to us. He may want to call our former Bishop and ask him about us, so I'm curious as to what he'd say. I always get nervous about references!
A change in the process this time around is that we have to take a form to a doctor or infertility specialist to fill out, stating the treatments we've sought, the tests we've taken, what our chances of conceiving are, and whether he/she would recommend us to adopt based on his/her medical opinion. Apparently the number of hopeful adoptive couples far outnumber the number of available children for adoption, so LDSFS will prioritize couples with infertility over couples who just want to adopt but could conceive on their own. I'm curious to see what my infertility specialist will say on the paperwork.
So, NEXT STEPS: Meet our new Bishop and pester him about giving us a good recommendation. And get the infertility form filled out by my former infertility specialist. When the agency gets these documents back, we will sit down with a caseworker and talk about whether we are eligible to adopt based on their old and new criteria.