Posts from the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The Home Study Process

So many families I work with are SO nervous about the home study process – what to expect, how many forms to fill out (a lot!!), what will the social worker be looking for, are they judging us, can we fail?  It’s a very, very important piece of the adoption process, and while it’s important to be prepared and to take the process seriously, it’s definitely nothing to fear!

I conduct home studies in my home state, and I absolutely love doing it. I love helping families through this part of the process, and there’s nothing better than visiting a family for a post-placement visit and meeting the child they prayed, longed, and waited for. Baby snuggles never, ever get old!

But, I remember the anxiety and nerves that I felt when we first started the adoption process for our first child. I remember our own social worker coming to walk through our house for the first time, and she said, “Don’t worry – I’m not going to walk around with a white glove and touch all the furniture.  I’m just making sure bodies don’t fall out of the closets when I open them.”  We laughed, took a deep breath, and were able to relax.  The home study process is so important.  It’s the social worker’s job to be sure that your home is suitable for a child and that you are prepared to parent and ready to adopt.

I remember, as well, with our first adoption saying things like, “Most parents don’t have to answer these personal questions – they just get pregnant,” or “everyone should have to go through these steps before becoming parents!”  Now that I perform home studies and now that I’m a mom, I completely get it.  The social worker’s job is to protect the child who may be placed with you.  He or she needs to be sure your home is safe because he or she is the representative of your future child.  When I was able to take the focus off of myself and my nerves and remember that it was all about the child and not about me, everything clicked.

Yes, you will be asked personal questions.  You’ll turn over bank statements and tax records and you’ll have to have in-depth conversations about your infertility struggles or your parenting philosophies, your marriage and if you’ve struggled in your marriage, how you plan to discipline and what your childhood was like.  But you will learn SO much about yourself and about your spouse.  You will go into parenthood prepared (as much as possible!) to parent a child who may look different from you. You’ll become more educated about trans-racial adoption, you’ll learn about different drug exposures, you’ll be challenged to stretch and grow, and you”ll receive so much support each step of the way.

I always ask during my home studies, “Do you believe the home study process is necessary?  Why or why not?”  I had a family last week respond, “YES!  We’ve learned so much about parenting that we never would have considered.  We didn’t think about needing different soaps and lotions for a child of a different race.  We didn’t think about creating a lifebook to document his/her journey.  We hadn’t considered buying children’s books about adoption and how we would talk about the adoption in our child’s life.”  The home study is for the child, absolutely, but it’s also for you!

I promise that you’ll get so much out of talking through the adoption process, but more importantly from talking through the way you’ll handle situations like having people say, “How much did your daughter cost?” or “What’s her real mom like?” You can never be too prepared and the home study will help you be ready for things like this.  It will help you understand “positive adoption language” and why we say “made an adoption plan” and not “gave up for adoption.”  It will help you be ready not only with a verbal response to invasive questions but it will help you learn that your child is watching your reaction, so your non-verbal responses are just as, if not more, important than your words. I truly believe I’m a better, more equipped parent because of the home study process.

Part of the services we offer at Christian Adoption Consultants is help with finding a good, reputable home study agency.  It’s such an important part of the journey, and it’s so important that you find a good agency and social worker to perform the study.  We work with home study agencies in every single state, and we can help you find a low-cost, efficient agency to perform your home study and help you through this part of the journey.

Yes, I felt SO nervous before I met our social worker for the first time.  But, she taught me so much about myself and about adoption, and eleven years and three adoptions later, we’re still in touch.   The home study is your first active step towards your child!  Embrace it!  Get excited about preparing for your little one, making your home ready for a baby – consider it part of the “nesting” phase for adoptive parents.  And remember, ask as many questions as you need to and never hesitate to reach out to us at CAC for more support!

Advertisements

Why Use an Adoption Consultant?

IMG_6366Most often, when people decide to adopt, they assume the only way to do it is to sign with a local agency and sit on a waiting list. I know because that is what I assumed. We contacted a local adoption agency and were told the waiting list for a baby was 3 years. After battling infertility, I couldn’t imagine waiting another three years to be a mom. So, I started doing some research and found Christian Adoption Consultants. Here are a few of the facts that convinced me using a consultant was the way to go:

1. I was confused and overwhelmed! 🙂 There is so much information and so many different agencies out there and every single state has different laws. How do you know which to choose? CAC has strong relationships with reputable, ethical agencies. We work only with licensed, trustworthy agencies with whom we have developed personal relationships. For me, it was a great comfort and relief to be able to put our adoption in the hands of experts who were working as advocates for my husband and me.

2. You will not sit on a waiting list for years. Being submitted to multiple agencies lets you be shown to various situations at a time. I know in our situation, we completed our home study at the end of September and our daughter was born April 2. That is less than six months from start to finish! Our second and third adoptions were even faster!

3. CAC consultants are knowledgeable about state laws and avoid situations that may not be in the best interest of all parties involved.  We also walk families through every bit of each situation that comes our way.  Families are able to read through lots of details about a specific case, talk with their consultant about the case, pray over each one, and make a decision that is best for them. This sort of protection and guidance was a major plus for me. The agencies we worth with prioritize expectant mom counseling and work to be sure an adoption plan is the best choice for her, as well.  It’s so important to us that expectant parents are treated with dignity, respect, and with the love and compassion they deserve.
4. CAC offers a great deal of guidance and advice financially. Adopting is expensive, I know.  When we adopted our first baby, my husband and I were both teachers.  Adoption cost more than I made in a single year, and that was incredibly overwhelming at the time.  Beyond just agency costs, there are legal fees, home study costs, travel expenses, etc. Part of our consulting benefits include providing our couples with knowledge of a variety of resources such as grants, low interest loans, creative financing advice, and more. In addition to the knowledge provided, we will do everything we can to help you make wise financial decisions.

Adopting can be overwhelming; believe me, I know! But, as a consultant, my job is to walk you through every part of the process, to pray alongside you, and to help make the process as simple as possible. For more information and some insight from adoptive mamas in their  own words, visit a previous post called, “Heart Wisdom from Mamas.” You can also visit, “Why Take This Path,” for a beautiful blog written directly from a CAC family regarding why they chose a consultant. You can also contact me directly anytime at karalee@christianadoptionconsultants.com.

Little Firecrackers

Hope you enjoyed a beautiful and fun 4th!  I loved seeing so many sweet babies decked out in their patriotic finest, so I thought I’d compile a group to share here.  Enjoy these little miracles celebrating America’s independence. 🙂

Guest Post: Dear Mommy-in-Waiting

I’m beyond thrilled to feature the most beautiful Mama, Beth, on the blog today.  She and her sweet husband, Craig, are CAC clients, but way more than that, they are close friends.  Her message is a perfect one for those of you in the wait.  Enjoy!! 🙂

Dear Mommy-in-Waiting,

Our stories have their differences- the people, circumstances, and time are unique to us both- but, my, how they run parallel.  My story may be a just few chapters ahead, but we share the same subject: the love for a child.  As I write this with my six-week-old, Isaac, nestled to my chest, you are on my heart too.

Mommy-in-Waiting is a temporary title and one day your child will be snuggled against you and that baby-sized hole in your heart will be filled!  But until then, there’s the wait.  I remember, not that long ago, well-meaning people telling me to get sleep while I could.  Nice thoughts, yes, but the only thing I longed for was the child that would keep me up in the middle of the night.  Oh, how I couldn’t wait for it!  And your sleepless nights, they are coming too with your sweet one!

It can feel like there is nothing kind about the waiting stage in the adoption journey, but know that it will pass.  I can say this now, because my feet were standing right in your shoes a short time ago.  And it is worth it!  It is worth it, because there is a child who also waits to call you Mommy!  Today is just a snapshot of your adoption journey.  You might feel like you aren’t moving forward, but you are!  Know that in the end, your motionless snapshots will create a beautiful story of the love for your child and your wait, which seems so significant now, will be out-shined by your sweet one.

Many days, the only thing that got me through the wait was my relationship with Jesus! There’s nothing quite like the frustrations and worries during this stage of the adoption journey that plant you right on your knees.  It was through scripture, music, and prayer that I kept my hope (and my sanity).  I encourage you to find peace in Jesus.  It doesn’t mean that you are going to have perfect days- I surely didn’t and my sweet, patient hubby would agree- but it’s such a relief that there is an open invitation to turn everything over to Him.

You may be familiar with Philippians 4:6-7, but I know I still need to be reminded of its message.  The Apostle Paul writes, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” The excitement you have for the day when you will hold your little one is part of being a Mommy-in-Waiting, but don’t let the frustrations and worries of the wait steal your excitement and cause you anxiety.  You are invited to experience the amazing peace Paul bids us to take.  It’s ours to experience when we give our anxieties to Jesus, and as many times throughout your day as we need it!

As someone looking out for you on the other side of the wait, I know you can make it through!  Remember, it’s worth it!  And when the waiting gets hard or on days when it’s even harder, talk to your Savior Jesus Christ.  He is waiting Himself to listen and provide you with peace.

In love,

Beth

 

For more support from fellow adoptive mamas, visit this lovely post written directly from their hearts.

CAC Father’s Day Discount

dads
 

As Father’s Day approaches, I can’t help but think of how the Lord is bringing families together everyday through adoption.

I am so grateful to get to be a small part of building families through adoption, to see children placed with their forever moms and forever dads. At Christian Adoption Consultants, we are inspired by the message in the New Testament that states we are adopted into God’s family as believers.  That we are his children, and he is our Abba Father.

God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who He is, and we know who we are: Father and children. Romans 8:15 (MSG)

IMG_7836

In honor of all of our CAC dads, we are offering one of our rare specials to help make the cost of adoption a bit more attainable. We are happy to be sharing 10% off all of our top packages, from June 13-17th.  (Special note: this does not apply to our DIY package).

If adoption has been on your heart, and you aren’t sure where to begin, I would love to chat with you more!

Want more info on Christian Adoption Consultants?  Click here.
What does it mean to hire an adoption consultant?  Click here.
Want to get started or get an info packet?  Click here.
What if you have more questions?  Click here.

Have friends who are thinking about adoption? Make sure you share this post! 

Email me at karalee@christianadoptionconsultants.com for an application and information packet.

Mike and Lindsay’s Open Adoption Story

I love sharing families’ stories from their own perspectives.  Our sweet Lindsay is waiting for ICPC clearance as we speak and wrote this beautiful tribute to their ongoing open adoption story.  Thank you for sharing your awesome heart, sweet friend! Praying for you to get to come home very soon!

quinn

After nearly a decade of infertility struggles, our adoption journey began in June 2015. We were referred to Christian Adoption Consultants & Karalee specifically by a co-worker who had adopted twins two years prior. Our home study and profile were completed in October and we began applying to agencies right away. We presented to 3 birth mothers within the next couple of weeks, but were not selected. While each “no” was disappointing, we kept faith that the right match would come along.

On December 4, 2015, we had the opportunity to present to a young birth mother who had already reviewed several profiles, but had not yet found the right fit. After reviewing the case, it didn’t take us long to decide we wanted to be presented. Just a few short (long!) days later, and roughly 60 days after we began applying to agencies, we received the call that we had been eagerly anticipating. “J” had selected us!

The week before Christmas, we had the opportunity to speak to “J” over the phone for the first time. “J” shared with us that she was expecting a boy – we couldn’t have asked for a more perfect Christmas gift! Over the next 4 months, we remained in close contact and did our utmost to support her from over 1,500 miles away. We shared jokes & milestones with each other, but also tears when some health concerns with baby were identified. Thanks to lots of prayers & excellent care by doctors, all of the baby’s health concerns remedied themselves as the pregnancy progressed.

As baby’s due date approached, we made the decision that I would drive the 24 hours to Florida from Nebraska a week prior to the due date, just in case baby boy decided to arrive early. I am now so grateful that we had the opportunity to spend so much time with “J” prior to delivery.

I arrived in Florida and met “J” for lunch the next afternoon. Since this was to be our first in-person meeting, I was excited & anxious all at the same time – talk about butterflies in the stomach! Of course, I needn’t have worried. We chatted over lunch like we had known each other for years and she invited me to her doctor appointment that Friday. There was a lot of emotion on both sides, but I will forever be grateful for this time we shared. Over the course of the week, I had so many mixed emotions: excitement, nervousness, sadness, elation. I also struggled with my feelings of excitement & happiness, which I felt were coming at the expense of another woman’s grief and sacrifice. “J” provided me so much support over our entire journey, as much as we supported her, and this week was no exception.

On Friday, April 22nd, I was able to share the incredible experience of hearing our baby’s heartbeat with the amazing woman bringing him in to the world. It was such an emotional and powerful moment that I was honored to have been invited to share in. The next day, Mike arrived in Florida, so “J” and I set off to pick him up from the airport. Seeing “J” and Mike meet & interact was amazing – their bond was so natural and instantaneous. We all laughed & joked together over lunch and on the car ride home.

On Sunday, we received a text from “J” that she thought she may need to go to the hospital later that afternoon. Within 2 hours of the initial text, we were checking into the hospital. Soon, the nurse told “J” that she was staying & they prepared to move her into a private room. This was it!

Over the course of the next 12 hours, “J” worked hard to bring this precious new life into the world & we did what we could to support her and help her be as comfortable as possible. Throughout the night, we held her hand, rubbed her back, and breathed through contractions. Ultimately, the doctor decided that an emergency c-section would be necessary, due to drops in the baby’s heart rate. They prepped “J” for the OR, as the rest of us waited in her room & prayed for the health & safety of both her and the baby. Roughly 20 minutes later, Quinn Michael entered the world. He was healthy and absolutely perfect! On the way to the nursery, they passed the waiting room & “J’s” mom asked the nurse to stop so that Mike & I could meet our son. There were lots of tears, hugs & congratulations going around – it was an absolutely perfect & incredible moment!

Once “J” was in recovery, Quinn was brought to her room so that she could be the first to hold him. The love in that room was evident and we will forever be grateful that “J” had that first moment with Quinn & that we were able to witness how much she loves him firsthand. Everything was just as it was supposed to be.

Over the next few days in the hospital, we shared  many moments with “J,” Quinn, and their family – everyone was so supportive and we forged bonds with Quinn’s birth family that will last a lifetime. We can’t wait to share these memories with our son as he grows, so that he can know just how much love & support surrounds him. Quinn was discharged on April 28th and since discharge we have made it a priority to spend quality time with “J” while we are still in Florida awaiting ICPC clearance.

When we initially made the decision to enter into an open adoption, we really didn’t know what to expect, but the experience has been far more than we could have ever hoped for. “J” is an incredible person with an amazing philosophy on life – so many times throughout this journey, we have been humbled and awed by her words & actions. She is just as much a part of our family as Quinn is and we are forever blessed to have her in our lives. This has been an experience we are blessed to have & we are so incredibly thankful for our beautiful birth mother and our little Quinn.

For more about openness in domestic adoption, click here.  I’d love to talk with you more about my personal and professional experience with open adoption, as well.  Contact me anytime at karalee@christianadoptionconsultants.com

Congratulations, Bethany and Colin!

There are stories that stick with me for always, and Bethany and Colin’s story is absolutely one of those.  When they came to CAC, they had been waiting for a child for seven years.  I know many of you have been there.  I know that was me before adoption.  When you want something, pray for it, agonize over it, for that long, there are dark moments, for sure, when it feels like it may never happen.  But, as believers, we know that God has something more for us.  Philippians 4:6 tells us, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”  This family lived that out.

Colin and Bethany came to CAC in late October, after months of feeling discouraged while pursuing parental placement adoption without an agency.  In November and December, they were presented to three expectant moms.  Those babies didn’t end up being theirs, but Colin and Bethany’s attitudes and their spirits for adoption were so clearly from God. I would often find myself being lifted up and encouraged in my faith after talking with Bethany.  Isn’t it amazing, as believers, how we sharpen each other and hold each other up in community?  I love that so much about this adoption work.  Colin and Bethany stretched out of their comfort zone, opened themselves up completely to God’s will, sought information and education about things they didn’t know or understand.  They were true, true examples of God’s love and what He wishes for us through adoption – our adoption into His family and our adoption of His little miracles here on Earth.

They matched with their amazing birth family in January, less than three months after joining our CAC family, and within days, they held hands with their beautiful daughter’s birth family as they welcomed not just their daughter, but her first parents into their family.  They poured love over their daughter’s birth parents, giving of themselves, protecting and showing true compassion for them every step of the way.  It has been a true honor to watch this little family come to be.

Welcome to the world, Keira Jocelyn!  You couldn’t be more loved!

For more information about using an adoption consultant, click here.  For another beautiful domestic adoption story, visit this link.