Ok, so ENJOY may not be the right word. There are some good things about the adoption process, but the ride isn’t exactly enjoyable. It all starts by making contact with the different agencies your interested in. There are many different routes to take so I recommend looking into all of them. You may think you are only open to a certain type of adoption, but end up realizing that there is another path that makes more sense for you. For private adoptions you’ll want to call the different agencies that are available in your area and schedule a time to go in and chat with them. This goes for international adoption as well. You’ll have an opportunity to ask questions and they will go through the application process with you. If you are looking at an adoption through the province (or state, though, I’m not 100% sure how the process is for each individual state in the US, I assume this would still be the first step) then you’ll want to give them a call to ask when they hold info sessions for adoption. They are, generally, open to everyone, whether you have been researching for awhile, or just started to think about adoption. We found that there is a lot of false information floating about, and everyone thinks they know how it really works because their cousin’s friend’s mother’s step father’s aunt (twice removed) adopted a child. But the truth of the matter is that the adoption procedure is constantly changing, especially through the foster system. The session is a good way for you to get accurate information and get rid of all the hearsay, which we find is generally FALSE.
Once you’ve made it through the information session, it’s time to work on the application. If you already know that this is the right decision for you, you can have the application filled out to be handed in AT the information session, like we did. This definitely saved some time, since they can begin the approval process with just the application while you wait for your police check, references, and doctor’s notes. Once you have all of those handed in, they will review everything and you will get either an email or a phone call letting you know that you’ve been approved. For us, it took about a month from the time we handed everything in, to the time we got the call. Looking back, I remember feeling like it was taking forever to hear from them. But now I realize that was actually the quickest part of the whole process for us.
After you’ve been approved, the real fun begins! It starts with some training sessions. We were required to take two training sessions. The first one was Aboriginal training. This is not something that is required in every province, but here in Alberta, a significant number of kids in the foster system have some level of Aboriginal heritage so the training is offered as a way for people to learn more about these wonderful kids. The sad truth is that there are so many stereotypes out there about Aboriginal adoption and most of them are not true. It really broke my heart, sitting through that training, hearing all the junk that people believe. I could write a whole post on this topic alone, but I won’t. Just make sure you have your facts straight, instead of making assumptions. The second training is a weekend long basic adoption training, that includes some extra training on FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) and attachment. It was actually a lot of fun and a great chance to meet other people going through the same process. We actually met another wonderful couple that we had a lot in common with and have remained in contact ever since.
With your trainings complete, you can move on the last step in the process. The Home Study, oh boy! This is the part that we all worry about. Up until now, you’ve been ‘judged’ on paper, but your home study writer will be coming right into your home, looking around, asking you personal questions and ‘judging’ you in person. It’s terrifying. I’m not using the word ‘judge’ in a negative way, but there is no other way to say it, that is their job, to determine how well suited you are to bring children into your home. A lot of what they do is to establish WHO should come into your home, not IF children should come into the house, because the previous steps have screened out a lot of candidates that really are just not meant for adoption, but they do also have to make the final decision and recommendations on whether or not you are an acceptable home. They are trained to see through the spotless house, and the well rehearsed answers to their questions. We found that the best way to get through the homestudy was just to be honest. I know… what a concept! They are not looking for perfect people, they are looking for real people. The more honest you can be about yourselves, the easier it will be for your writer to evaluate and make recommendations on the type of children you should be matched with. Our writer was fabulous! She was so friendly, easy-going and honest. It made us very comfortable opening up to her.
This particular leg of the journey is a lot of work. You aren’t going to enjoy it all, in fact, you may even hate parts of it, but they are all important steps to take. The entire process took us 6 months, however we did hear from others that it took much longer. The key is availability. If you can be flexible with your availability, it allows you to go through the process faster. Up to this point, the process is essentially the same for private adoptions as well. You have an application and paperwork to fill out, training to take and the homestudy to go through.
Thanks for reading! I’m off to bed. If you have any questions, let me know 🙂
I’m Happy, I’m Healthy, I’m trying to get in as much sleep as possibly before the boys arrive! Take care 🙂