OK, again I post with the promise to do so more often, knowing that it’s one that I may or may not be able to keep. And. . as cute as pictures are, I didn’t find a way to include any this time. So, off we go. . .
The last post left us coveting your prayers for our home study. This is a two-step process, at least as far as face-to-face meetings are concerned. In truth, it is a multi-step process of compiling paperwork, letters, dotting “i’s” and crossing “t’s”, all the while meeting the expectations and jumping through the hoops laid out for us.
Paperwork was all but finished as we met with our adoption consultant (not really her title, but she didn’t tell us what her actual title was. . . so, I gave her one) at our house on August 29th. Best laid plans being what they are, I had planned to leave school a little early that day and Jaclyn had already worked earlier in the week to give her Thursday off to finish off some things in the house so that our “consultant” would know without a doubt that we always lived in a dust-free, no-clutter life with our three kids ages ten and under. Of course, instead of leaving school before 2:00, I finally sped out of there at 2:40.
The last item the house needed was two small fire extinguishers – one upstairs and one down – that I planned to stop and get on the way home since I was leaving school really early for our 3:00 meeting. Hoping that I didn’t have to go the three extra miles out of the way to Wal-Mart, I called Tractor Supply in Milan and got confirmation that they had fire extinguishers. I walked into the store less than three minutes after hanging up the phone and informed the pleasant lady at the register that I was indeed the fire-extinguisher inquirer she had just talked to. She pointed me to the customer service desk in the back where another TSC associate would be glad to show me where they were located. When I moved there, the much younger employee informed me that they didn’t carry fire extinguishers. I quickly filled her in on my conversation with the other lady, hoping that two heads would prevail. At the end of their conversation, it turns out that the first lady, while trying to be extremely helpful, did actually remember seeing a fire extinguisher – the one hanging on the wall in case of a fire at the store. I was back in the truck and headed to Wal-Mart after all, ran in to grab them, and back towards home.
On the phone with Jaclyn in the last few miles, I told her that I was behind a car from a Middle TN county and, guessing by her deliberate pace, thought it to be the “consultant” headed for our house. Apparently, her Garmin is a second cousin to mine, and likes to take the routes not as frequently traveled, because the car kept on rolling past my turn. Just enough time for me to get in the house and put the fire extinguishers in their “rightful place.” She rolled into the driveway a few minutes later none the wiser. (That is, until Gabe later commented “no, we don’t,” when I answered that portion of the verbal questionnaire with a “yes ma’am, one upstairs and one downstairs.”)
The questions were mostly a repeat of the information we had provided on the forms now tucked away in her folder. Other questions were a little more personal, as expected, such as asking about the personalities of the kids (oh, if she only knew. . .), how Jaclyn and I “met” (bet she didn’t see the answer coming – “in Kindergarten”), and how we solved disagreements between the two of us (staring contests and guessing number of jellybeans in a jar, just like everyone else).
We then got split up, each answering questions alone with our “consultant” (and no, I can’t stop putting “consultant” in quotation marks). Questions again were fairly simple, asking about college education, work history, and still a few personal questions about one another thrown in. Then – time to send in the clowns. She met alone with all three kids at once, asking them about growing up here, about each other, school, and etc. I’m sure they had purpose, like how they were developing for their age(s), but I can’t imagine she found out too much. Little did she know that JP is the worst secret-keeper on the planet, so a few well-designed questions may or may not have sabotaged the entire mission.
After a tour of the house, both inside and out, she gave us a quick rundown of what the rest of the process would look like, and scheduled part II of the home study for last Monday (Sept. 9). She didn’t leave screaming, nor did she gather up her papers in a frantic, fake polite way, so we felt like we at least hadn’t been scratched off the list yet.
Part II was even more simple, especially if you consider that we only talked for a total of five of the combined thirty minutes we were all together. She didn’t ask questions, just talked and talked about formalities, procedures, and gave what was probably good advice about the entire process. We met with her in Jackson (30 minute drive for us, 2.5 hours for her – sounds fair), and it felt like something that could have been done via email or phone conference.
So, in all, we are almost complete with this phase of the process. We expect to get a copy of the completed study in a week or so, approve or amend as necessary, sign and return it to have this area complete. Once that happens, we are “available.” In other words, the profile that we put together (almost done. . .depending on your definition of almost) will be distributed to any agency that we see fit, and we are good to be selected. There are some proactive steps on our part as well, so it’s not just a sit and wait process, but then again it kind of is.
We have been adamant throughout that while we are not the example of obedience, we truly are in a place where we feel we are being obedient to God in this area. We still have some important decisions to make concerning the adoption, some concerning our baby (wherever he/she may be), some concerning the birth mother, some involving legal ramifications, and many concerning the looming financial obstacles. However, we trust that God’s provision and wisdom will fill our decisions. To do so requires being pleasing to His sight, which we claim in Ecclesiastes 2:26 “For to the man who is pleasing in His sight, He gives, wisdom, knowledge, and joy. . ”
In your continued prayers for us, pray for the birth mother that is living somewhere in the United States now (and may or may not already be with child), pray for the decisions that she is making now, especially those that impact her physical health, pray for every box we check on a form or line we fill out – that it is done prayerfully, not quickly or by what our flesh wants and desires. And, pray that we are a family that is pleasing in His sight. . . for we desire His wisdom, His knowledge, and His joy.