The checklist to even get placed on a waiting list for adoption sometimes seems so daunting. We have been diligent and timely in everything we have done since May, and still aren’t even “out of the gate” in terms of starting the process. Sometimes it shocks me that we have been working so hard for the last 5 months, and aren’t even close to “officially” waiting for the 18 months- 4 years it might take to be matched with our child. Nonetheless, each time we complete something we ARE that much closer!
In the past week, we have made some great progress. Last Thursday we finally finished an online course called,”With Eyes Wide Open.” It is a pretty intense online class that tries to help you imagine every scenario your child could have experienced in their first few years of life. It was pretty time consuming and consisted of a TON of homework. To be fair, after Andy and I had both worked hard all day, every day, we found it hard to force ourselves to sit and engage our brains to think about “sad starts” our child might be enduring right now. We did make it through all 19 chapters, now only 6 more shorter trainings to go!
Last Friday we left for Chicago to do a 6-hour in-person training about adoption to meet our requirements for the State of IL. It was a whirlwind trip, but well-worth our time. The training was SO helpful. The teacher was highly qualified and did a fantastic job engaging us and helping us think through things. We also met some other great couples who are adopting from around the world, and I think it is so valuable to be able to share in this experience with other families. The last half hour of the class, a very mature and well-spoken 18 year old, named Molly, came to speak to us. She was adopted at 9 months from China and has had a great upbringing here in the states, and yet she spoke with us about the struggles she has had to endure through the years, and even on a daily basis as an adoptee. I bit my lips so hard as she spoke so as not to burst into tears. I think, to an extent, I naively thought that if we brought home a very young child, and did our best to love and care for them, then after 15 or 16 years that would somehow shield them to continued pain. To hear her speak about the first times she was made fun of in school because of the way she looked or to have people ask her “how much did you cost?” broke my heart. She talked about all the questions she has wanted answered over the years about her abandonment, and their are none to be found. It became so clear to me that no matter how much we love this child, we can not erase the heartache of being an orphan…..and yet, we can provide love and a future, and each training is better-equipping us for this task. The trip to Chicago made for a lot of sitting in the car, sleeping, sitting 6 hours in training, sitting 6 more hours in a car and then sleeping again, but it was still SLIGHTLY reminiscent of the fun road trips Andy and I used to take pre-kiddo days, so it was well worth the sitting for some alone time with my hubby.
After returning home from Chicago, we had our first home study visit on Monday. This was a very laid back 4 hour meeting with our Illinois case worker. She interviewed us and reviewed all of our paperwork with us to make sure it is correct. She also told us more about the “hard starts” our child will endure and what to expect as a result. The visit went well, and now we prepare for the last home visit (in our actual home this time) on Thursday. After this the home study report will be written, sent to DCFS for a month to be approved and then we will be licensed in IL and can finish our dossier for All God’s Children and Bulgaria.
After each of these thing, I told Andy that I can’t bear to do any more training for a while. We have heard SO many devastating things that are almost a given that our child will have endured themselves or have experienced vicariously by seeing other children experience them. Unspeakable things. How do I process this when it doesn’t make any sense? We have learned in the past week that we should expect our child (even if labeled “healthy”) to come home with parasites, scabies, ear infections (think 18 hour flight….), undernourishment, attachment issues, and physical and sexual abuse experiences…….and this is BEST CASE SCENARIO. So. Many. Hard. Things.
I have found a peace in the past few days in a Matt Redman song that says,
Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Yes, our hearts can say
Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful
Even in the darkest places of our child’s little life, our faithful God will never once leave them alone.