Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Home Study

I love that so many of you have been asking when our next update is coming. We are so thankful and encouraged that you are interested in the millions of steps involved in this adoption.

We returned from our 5 week long road trip in July and hit the ground running getting more paperwork finished and scheduling our Home Study appointment. We love our home study agency - The Family Network! A little clarification - our adoption agency is America World Adoption, but they do not have an office in California, so we had to find a separate home study agency. The Family Network is a family run organization. They are super knowledgeable: they have been in the business since the 70s and have adopted 3 (or 4) children.

Our home study appointment was 4 hours. I know this sounds long, but many agencies spread this out into 3 interviews (1 together, 1 with the husband and 1 with the wife). We were so thankful to get it all done at one time. Georgia Leonard was our interviewer - she was very kind, straightforward, knowledgeable, understanding...I could go on and on. Needless to say, we learned a lot, especially about attachment disorders, about which I am doing more research. It was very sobering listening to Georgia talk about the possible effects of attachment disorders (see for more info). One of the heaviest things she shared was the importance of only having Chris and I hold the baby for the first 6 months. This would be very difficult as we have a very loving and affectionate family and community. I need to do more research, but Georgia said that children who are separated from their mothers/primary care givers have a high chance of struggling to make a healthy attachment to care giver, resulting in serious effects down the road, such as serious emotional issues, depression, violence, lying, stealing and so forth. Chris and I do not want to be fearful, but we do want to be wise. Please pray for us as we prayerfully look into this issue. If you happen to know anything or come across anything regarding a healthy Scriptural perspective on attachment disorders, please, please pass it on.

We are still waiting on our marriage certificate to arrive. We did receive confirmation that the Office of Vital Statistics is processing our request. They said it will take an average of 3 months from the beginning of June, so hopefully anytime now.

Another HUGE prayer request we have concerns our prayerful decisions about what kind of mental/physical issues we would accept. We had to fill out a "Child Placement Worksheet" which lists different mental/physical issues and asking if we would accept a child with any of these issues or a child with parents who had any of these issues. They also ask if we would accept a child where nothing is known about the background (such as rape/prostitution). All I can say is...ahhhh!!!! Chris and I both wanted to say yes to everything. We know that with pregnancy, it's God Who gives the increase, the specific "crop," which could mean anything from mental retardation to unformed limbs. Although God will give us the increase in this adoption situation, the parallel with biological birth is not the same: Georgia pointed out that if we say yes to something, there a very high "chance" that we would receive a child with that "issue." Thus, it's a little bit more sobering being open to the complications in this context. We couldn't answer the specific questions on the worksheet on the spot, so we asked for more time to reflect. We prayed, anguished, discussed, yelled at each other (just kidding), and finally finished the darned thing. Please be praying that God would be preparing us for this child that He is bringing into our lives whatever "issues" he/she may have.

Please also be praying for finances. This is an expensive venture! I think we will be applying for some grants. We will see how that goes. God will provide.

God bless you!

Adoption Update #2

Hello all! Thank you so much for all of your encouraging responses! Our first home study appointment well very well. Our social worker (if you can call her that, we are working with a private organization) is very kind and very knowledgeable. She just looked at the house (I am glad we spend so much time cleaning things up!) and gave us a HUGE stack of paperwork to complete. Crazy! Then we wrote her a big, fat check and that was that. Regarding finances, Chris and I have been saving since we were married and were not quite sure what we were aiming for. Now we know! God has planned this perfectly.

One source of concern, if you would like to pray to specifically for us - three years ago, when we were married, Santa Cruz County neglected to send the state the paperwork necessary for us to receive our marriage certificate. Ethiopia requires an actual copy of this marriage certificate and the waiting time (now that we have sent the proper paperwork to the state) is 3-7 months, which could hold up the adoption process significantly. Thankfully, our social worker knows someone in the Vital Statistics office. Pray that they would somehow expedite the process and send us our marriage certificate quickly. Sorry if that is too much info...but this situation is our most significant source on concern. We are reminding ourselves that God's timing is perfect.

Here is an update that we receive weekly from our adoption agency. I thought it might of interest to you:

"Ethiopia - A Visiting Orphans mission team is currently in Ethiopia visiting some of the orphanages America World either already works with or hopes to work with for the Ethiopia adoption program. The team will return to the States at the end of next week, and another team will leave in August.The Ethiopia program continues to grow. There are currently 66 families in the program. It is a good idea for families whom are new to the Ethiopia program to refer to the Weekly Updates from weeks past, as many of the updates contain pertinent information to the adoption process."

Thanks again for reading our novel!

Love you all,
Anna & Chris

P.S. We are on a month long road trip, so we may be slower than usual in getting back to you. Also, we had a detour in Grants Pass, OR because my grandfather unexpectedly passed away. Please keep my grandmother in your prayers...

Adoption Update #1

Dear friends, family, fellow saints,

I am quite positive that I haven't been able to share the news with all of here it is! Chris and I are in the midst of the process of adopting a baby from Ethiopia. We both have had a desire to adopt for some time and have been praying about it. We made our final decision during this last Spring Break. Needless to say, we are very excited!

We are working with America World Adoption (, based out of Virginia. We attended one of their information sessions with some good friends who are also adopting from Ethiopia and were drawn to their solid theological basis for the blessedness of adoption. They helped us solidify our perspective that when a child is placed with a family, this was God's plan from the beginning of the world.

We have our first home study appointment tomorrow afternoon. Please pray that everything would go smoothly and that we find favor with the home study social worker. We would very much appreciate all of our prayers as we begin this part of our adoption. Also, we have various paperwork send out to various government agencies. Please pray that these agencies would move quickly and fairly with our case.

Thank you for being a part of our lives, past and present. We love you all very much.

In Him Who is Able,
Chris & Anna Reno

P.S. If you would not like to receive updates from us, please let me know. I won't be offended - I promise!