Tuesday, May 31, 2016

What we are up to and the home study process

I'm sure you are all wondering what we have been up to and where we are at in the process so I thought I would do a little update and talk about what the actual home study process is like....so far at least.

But first I want to say thank you, THANK YOU, thank youuuuu from the bottom of our hearts for all of the love and support we have received so far. It's been amazing being able to share this journey with people and I've been getting emails and messages from so many people with encouragement and personal stories etc. It's been so heartwarming. We have already received several donations and we just can't thank people enough. I wish I could give each of you a hug and have you over for dinner. Wes would cook of course and bake fresh bread because lately that's been his favorite thing to do. But seriously, thank you all so much.

So the last 3 weeks have been filled with gathering paperwork and filling out forms. The hardest part so far has been getting our medical forms signed by our doctors. Since we both had already had physicals within the last year we had to get the forms to our doctors which turned out to be kind of a hassle. And then as soon as we thought we were ready to send everything in to the social worker we realized that I had missed one of the forms in our huge DCFS packet so I had to go BACK to both doctors offices to drop the new form of and I'll have to go back to pick it up later this week.

This is me dropping off the form for the second time today. 

Here is a breakdown of our TO DO list for our home study.
  • Submit application and fee. DONE
  • Fingerprinting and background check. DONE
  • CPR Certification class for Charlotte. DONE
  • Doctors appointments with forms needing to be filled out. Almost done:/
  • Fill out DCFS Application. DONE
  • Fill out foster family home info forms. DONE
  • Five references from non relatives. DONE
  • Two family references. DONE
  • 4 hours of adoption training. DONE 
  • Send final $2,700 to cover the home study. DONE
This is where we are right now. Here is what's coming up. (yikes)
  • Biographical questions about our family, history, future plans etc(basically a 4 page essay) about ourselves DONE
  •  First meeting with social worker DONE
  • Get cats vaccinated (I'm not a good vet goer) DONE
  • Mail lots of documents to agency social worker DONE
    • birth certificates
    • mariage license
    • pet inoculations
    • latest 1040
    • driver's license
    • health insurance
    • auto insurance
  • Second meeting with social worker.
  • Draw floor plan of house.
  • 5 or so more hours of video training DONE
  • Confirm background clearances have arrived
    • FBI
    • Illinois State Police
    • Child Abuse
    • Sex Offender
  • Third meeting with social worker which takes place at our house and includes a safety inspection or our house.
  • Lots of papers to sign in front of social worker.
  • Social worker writes our Home Study 
  • Agency reviews file and recommends that we get our foster family license
Apart from working on our home study, I have been BUSY with making our profile book and writing our "dear expectant parent" letter. The profile book is basically a photo book done in something like shutterfly and it's a book explaining us and our whole lives. This is one of the most important things for us to do since THIS is what expectant mothers will look through when deciding who they want their baby's family to be. It's weird to feel like we are marketing ourselves, but that's kind of what it is. We need to stand out among all the other family's books. It's REALLY hard to write about yourself too. I can easily talk about how awesome Wes is, but trying to portray how "great we are" is really awkward and difficult. But, making the profile book is one of the funnest parts for me because I love graphic design and photos so much. So I'm having fun with it. I'm getting close-ish to being done with it. Here is a ROUGH DRAFT peek at one of our pages.

The other things I have been so busy on is preparing some fundraisers. I just painted some cute nursery art and I'm having it printed on a puzzle for a puzzle fundraiser! It should be coming in the mail next week and I'll be sharing details and starting it right away. I'm excited about this one!

I've also been making jewelry like a mad lady. I'm planning to start up an Etsy shop and sell it through there, at neighborhood sales, and maybe I'll even do an auction. I'm not sure yet. But I need a few more weeks/months before I have enough jewelry to start a sale.

I also really want to do a big huge garage sale this summer but my brain is too fried to start planning that yet. But it's on my backburner for the future.

You all are so wonderful for being part of this with us!! I'm starting to really appreciate how special it is that we get to experience something that most people don't experience in their life, and it's starting to sink in more and more that this is really happening. God is good, and I'm seeing it more and more everyday as we go through this. Please keep praying for us!!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Q&A and the start of our home study!

Our home study packet arrived on Friday! I've already become CPR certified just in the last 48 hours! I'm so excited to get everything going, I feel like I'm running a race. Oh and I started our profile book too which is what I was most looking forward to doing. I'll share more about that later.

I have been asked so many questions since we opened up and started sharing about our plans to adopt. So I wanted to reach out more and answer more questions because adoption is a really complicated and there are tons of misconceptions about it. So hopefully this will help people understand certain aspects about adoption in general, and also some of our personal feelings about it.

What is the process to adopt?
The first step is the home study, which is done by a social worker and consists of lots of paperwork and documentation, educational training, and three interviews (one of which is done in our home). The home study is done as soon as we complete all of the necessary requirements, but most people say it takes about 3 months to do. Once we are approved and signed up with agencies, our profile book will be shown to expectant mothers and we basically just wait for someone to pick us.

How long will it take us to adopt?
This depends on so many things so it's impossible to answer. Most agencies say it takes 1-2 years.  We are going to be using Christian Adoption Consultants. They act as middle men and connect us with multiple agencies, lawyers and situations across the country. We are hoping this will help the process go smoother and quicker. They say most families match in under a year.

Why is it so expensive to adopt?
I plan to dedicate a whole post to this in the near future, but here is a brief answer. I've heard of people spending as little as $8,000 and as much as $50,000, with the average being between $25,000-$35,000. Crazy right? I think I have finally wrapped my head around why, although I still am shocked by it. It seems like the biggest factors are agency and lawyer fees(mostly for advertising and locating an expectant mother). Birth mother expenses can also vary a lot. It is illegal to pay someone for their baby, but in several states it is legal and expected to cover birth mother expenses such as rent, food, medical Etc. We will be doing fundraising over the next few months to help with the expenses. With Wes still being in medical school there is no way we can do this on our own.
(Someone asked me why domestic adoption is less expensive than international, and I actually don't think it is less expensive. I haven't researched international much but domestic can definitely be just as expensive. Travel and time required in the country is probably a big factor though).

Do we know the gender or race?
Wes and I both want to be open and not put too many limitations on the child that could bless our family. While we know that adopting a child of another race could present different challenges, we are really excited about the possibility of having a diverse family.

Will our adoption be open or closed with the birth family?
We are open to whatever kind of relationship the birth parent(s) want to have. Open adoptions, where there is open communication between the child and biological parents, is what is most recommended. It's healthiest for the child, especially when figuring out their identity. It also seems healthiest for the birth mother which I can completely understand. Closed adoptions with no contact or information are fairly uncommon now.

What is our biggest fear going into this?
Our biggest fear is experiencing a failed adoption. Apparently it is pretty common for this to happen. It's entirely possible that we could show up at the hospital, fall in love with the baby, and then find out that the birth parent(s) have changed their mind and want to parent themselves. And of course they have the right to do that. But in order to love we have to open ourselves up to heartbreak.

What is our biggest hope?
Our biggest hope is to find an amazing expectant mother that we can invite into our family to love our child with us. And obviously we hope that the whole process goes smoothly and quickly.
Thanks for checking in on us!! Hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

Saturday, May 7, 2016


Wes and I are so excited to announce that we are starting the process of ADOPTION! We thought it was fitting to tell everyone today on Mother's Day, since I AM going to become a mother, we just don't have a due date yet. This decision has been on our hearts for a long time and we are filled with peace and joy knowing that this is the direction that God is leading us. We can't wait to see what's in store and to meet our child!

For those of you who don't know us or what has led us here I will fill you in a little. We have been trying to start our family for two years now and I was diagnosed with endometriosis last year. We hoped that with surgery and hormone treatments I would be able to conceive naturally but we still haven't been able to. This has been especially hard for me because I have dreamed of having a nice big family my whole life ever since I was a kid. It feels like those dreams are being ripped away from me, but yet they come so easily for everyone else around me. So once we started realizing that this wasn't going to happen for us like we planned, it was understandably really difficult.

We always wanted to adopt, we just assumed that once we had a few kids and I was a stay at home mom then it would be something we would do. We had no idea that God had other plans for us. It's been a long and bumpy road getting here, but we couldn't be happier and more excited to embark on this new journey of growing our family through adoption. My wounds are slowly going to heal and I know that once we hold our baby for the first time, everything will have been worth it. We already feel so much love for our future child.

So here are some answers to some questions I'm sure you are all wondering.

Where are we at in the process right now:
We are at the very beginning. We just submitted our application and signed our first check to start our home study last week. The home study is conducted by a social worker and takes about 3 months to complete. It includes things like background checks, drug tests, physicals, psych evaluations, an inspection of our home, references, etc. It's pretty rigorous. During the next 3 months we are going to be saving every extra penny we can so that we can sign up with an agency as soon as possible and officially become a waiting family. We are also hoping and praying that maybe there will be a chance for us to find our dear baby through connections of friends and family.

Where are we adopting from:
We are adopting domestically. We can adopt from anywhere in the United States. While we would love to adopt from another country, the waiting time is several years and it's a really complicated and overwhelming process, even more so than domestic, and with Wes being in medical school right now it just didn't feel like the right thing at this time. We both hope that we can add to our family later on by international adoption though.

How you can pray:
Please pray with us for our precious little baby, who is possibly being formed in his or her mother's womb already. Please pray that God's hand will be on our child throughout every stage of development in the womb. Please pray for the expectant mother of our baby, that she would care for her body and baby as best as she can. Please pray for her heart as she makes an adoption plan for her baby, that she would feel confident in her decision to give her child the best life possible. Please pray that our home study goes smoothly and quickly, and for everything on the agency/legal side of things.

How you can help:
Besides praying, please keep us in mind if you know of someone who is expecting and considering an adoption plan for their baby. Often times the best way to connect with an expectant mother is through networking and discovering that someone who knows someone who knows someone is wanting to find a home for their baby.

Thank you for following us and supporting us on our journey to find baby Sorrill!! and HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!