"We'll just adopt!"We're all heard this before in movies, in books and on T.V. When a couple has trouble conceiving or having a baby, adoption is seen as an easy solution. In reality, this is far from the truth.
Adoption is anything but easy. It is a very complex, expensive and time-consuming process. I've heard it described as "an emotional roller coaster," "a pregnancy without a due date" and "not for the faint of heart."
As someone who has been in the adoption process for nearly two years, I've learned that all of these statements are true. The adoption process is indeed an overwhelming, frustrating and very emotional time in your life.
My husband and I first began exploring adoption in July 2003. After the losses and disappointment we experienced in the past, adoption gave us a sense of hope. We could still have the family we dreamed of!
We researched several adoption agencies and picked the one we felt most comfortable with. We met with the agency director in September 2003 and submitted our preliminary application shortly after.
The next step was our formal application, which was just the beginning of the mounds of paperwork that are required for an adoption. Here is a list of what we needed:
- Financial documents -- bank statements, credit card statements, income tax returns, pay stubs and loan balances
- Our assets and liabilities, including monthly payments for house, cars, utilities, groceries, gas and entertainment, as well as the value of our home, cars and other assets
- Letters from our employers with employment and salary verification, health insurance coverage info and other benefit details
- Reference letters from friends, family and coworkers on our character and ability to parent a child
- Complete phyicals and blood tests from our family doctor, including tests for HIV, Hepatitis B, TB, hearing and vision
- Copies of our driver's licenses, social security cards and marriage license
- Very detailed autobiographies about our lives, including our childhoods and upbringing, our marriage, philosophy on discipline, our atttitudes regarding adoption and how we would explain it to our child
- Forms for credit and background checks and certificates of identity
There may be more that was required, but this gives you a good idea of the amount of paperwork involved.
After we completed our application and mailed our fee, we began our home study with a licensed social worker. This was actually the easy part. The worker came to our home a few times and discussed the adoption process with us. She inspected our home and made sure it was in compliance with the laws of our state. We completed more paperwork and submitted an application for our foster license. When our home study was finished in January 2004, we felt like we were well on our way to becoming parents. Little did we know, our journey was far from over ...
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