Tonight I have an orientation to the process of adoption. I have spent a lot of time poring over photos of children across the United States that need homes. There have been several that immediately resounded with me when I watched their videos or read their stories. I need to ask my Mom and Dad how they felt when starting this process with me and my younger sister. They didn't have access to the information I do now, but I imagine they were still nervous!
Everyone wants an infant, it seems. My heart cries for those children who are above the age of 8, when it seems that it's really a far-fetched idea to find a home and family. I see distance in some of their eyes, pain in others, and hope in most. Yes, it's a beautiful thing to bring an infant home, just as I was, and raise them from the beginning.
How is that fair to those who have survived in foster-care or even emergency children's shelters for years and years? Some of these children have had good experiences, however you can vividly see the need they have for a permanent home and permanent love from a permanent family. The more that I've searched, the more open I am to adopting an older child. They need a mom, too.
There are several steps to the adoption process here in California. First you have your informational/orientation meeting, as I'm attending this evening. Then you go through a formal application. This is the scary part, I think. It involves a full medical history, financial assessment, job history, references, and the list goes on.
After all of that, you have a home study. which includes (again) financial assessment, personal relationships, and a criminal background check. I will have to come up with my birth certificate, divorce papers, and several other official forms. This is probably the most intrusive part of the study, but I am willing to undergo this to give someone a home and lots of love. This is also the part that takes the longest.
After that, the agency will search for a child for you. This can take forever, depending on your specifications, and of course, what the child needs. As I will be applying as a single parent, this may take longer.
Then comes the initial meeting and chaperoned visits. If all of that goes well and everyone likes each other, then the child is placed into the home for a length of time, which is all supervised. If that works out well for everyone, then the adoption is finalized.
I can't tell you how nervous and excited I am. I'll update here when I have more information. :)