Photos taken by my good friend Heather Varela at Tuck’s Point in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts on October 14, 2016.
About five years ago we started talking about adoption and really felt like it was something God wanted us to pursue. Like a lot of things that terrify us, and I’m sure you, we postponed and postponed. Having a baby was hard… our house was small… we found out we were pregnant again…
Fast forward five years. We have a lot more space in this home and we don’t feel as clueless about parenting. AJ and I both felt more ready. We looked some different options and settled on working with the state, or DCF (the Department of Children and Families). We had heard very mixed reviews about other people’s experiences working with the state but decided to try it out. Our social worker, Carol, is amazing. We are in the middle of a ten-week training session every Wednesday night from 6-9pm. It feels like a weekly date night with AJ… and eight other couples. The kids love it because Adoption Class Night means they get to spend the evening with Grammie and Grandpa. There have definitely been evenings where I end up in tears after learning about loss and abuse but it’s been worth it because it’s given us the chance to attempt to understand things from the child’s perspective, like how they will most likely feel when coming to our home after being shuffled around or just leaving their birth family.
The state’s number one goal is always reunification with the birth family which adds in a potential piece of loss for our family. DCF likes to have the adoptions completed within two years; there is a chance we’d be fostering a child for nearly two years and then one or both of his / her parents or grandparents would be able to take him back. We’d love a situation with low legal risk but no situation, unless a child has already been freed for adoption, is free of risk.
We’ve had to write our profile (basically like a mini autobiography), be fingerprinted and have references sent to a bunch of people. We are halfway through the intensive state mandated training class which ends mid-November. We told Carol (our social worker) we’d love to take on a sibling group ages three or less. It’s been recommended to us multiple times to take in someone younger than Elle to keep the natural birth order. Carol suggested a scenario, like one she has now, of taking in a two year old currently in foster care but on the adoption track and also taking in an infant from that same mom once he or she is born (the mom already has lost rights on the first child so she won’t get to keep the one currently in utereo). We aren’t sure what will happen but are fully confident that God does. He knows already what child(ren) are going to be with our family and the issues our family will tackle as a result of the loss or history of trauma in their young lives.
We toyed with the idea of not sharing publicly until we were officially approved but we’ve heard the chances of getting a child shortly after the home study has been completed are high, and our social worker assured us we’d be approved. I feel like I’ve gone into nesting mode anticipating adding a child(ren) to our family around the start of the new year.
I’ll leave you with this cute conversation I had with the kids about making sure the future adopted child(ren):
Me to Drew and Elle: How can we make the kids feel loved and welcome in our family?
Drew: Give them hugs and kisses.
Elle: Hold the door open for them. (She is taking the term “welcome” very literally. :))
Please pray for us as we continue to prep all four of us for this exciting new adventure; we are, of course, excited and nervous all at the same time!
AJ and Jen
PS: Please feel free to leave any questions in the comments… I’ll do my best to answer them!