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!


Santa Cruz Books said...

Dearest Chris and Anna,
Thank you for taking the time to create this blog to keep us all updated. You are in our hearts and prayers...we will be praying for peace, wisdom and for you to be prepared for the covenant child God has for you.
With much love. The Garaways All

Erin said...

I am glad you stop mocking the bloggers & became one. Thank you!
We are praying for you guys!
About attachment disorders - an encouraging note is that, I have heard that it is not a very severe issue with Ethiopian adoptions. Children get fairly good care, and it is somewhat of a "family" enviroment. As in, not always just one person who they are used to, but also used to playing with other children, etc.
Some thing that we have talked about - our family & community are going to be very part of our children's lives. So, we don't plan to be as strict as many suggest you need to be, about no one holding, etc. We have spoken with other parents who were strict about this either. They wanted the grandparents & others to be very much a part. They allowed holding & playing, etc. But, made sure to always tend to "caregiver" needs themselves - such as changing, bathing, feeding, putting to bed, etc - until the bond was well established.
Anyway - those are some of our thoughts...