Our Home Study Part 4: Wrapping It All Up

Our Home Study Part 4: Wrapping It All UpNote: This is the fourth part in a series of posts chronicling our home study process. The purpose of this series is to give you an idea of what the home study process is like so you can know what to expect. Just keep in mind that not everyone conducts the home study exactly the same way, so your experience may vary. Feel free to read part 1, part 2, and part 3 before reading on if you haven’t already.

At long last, my wife and I have completed our home study!

It’s been quite a while since I wrote the last part of this series. As I explained in my last blog post, we’ve gone through a lot over the last several months. Life got crazy, we went through some changes, we suffered a few delays and setbacks. Overall it took us over a year to finish our home study. This is not typical (it was supposed to take us around 2 to 4 months), but our circumstances were different. (And we procrastinated. Yeah, I’ll admit it.)

None of that matters now, however. The home study is complete, and we are ready to move on to the next step, putting our adoption profile out there and waiting for a match. I will share that process as it unfolds, but first, let’s wrap up this home study series.

We already went over the interviews and the home inspection. In addition to these, your home study agency will be looking to get a little information from you. Okay, a lot of information. They will want to know just about everything about you, from financial information to your medical history to your favorite doctor on Doctor Who. (Just kidding on that last one.) It may all seem excessive and invasive, but it’s all part of the process of making sure you can provide a suitable home to your future child. In addition to gathering information, you will most likely be required to do some type of adoption education to prepare you for adoption.

As always, the information your home study requires may vary, but here is a look at what our home study required.

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Confessions of a Procrastinating Adoptive Dad Wannabe: 12 Lessons I Learned in the Last Few Months

Confessions of a Procrastinating Adoptive Dad WannabeI have a confession to make.

It’s been almost a year and a half now since my wife and I started our adoption journey. Back when we first talked with our adoption attorney around January 2013, we set a goal that we would have a baby by that Christmas. We knew this was an ambitious goal and there was no guarantee that it would happen that fast, but that was what we strove for at the time.

Now here we are, halfway through 2014, and we are still trying to finish up the home study.

What happened?

In short, life happened. Things got crazy. We got busy and started to lose sight of our priorities. We ended up putting the adoption on hold for a while as we focused on other things. Even this blog got put on hiatus for a few months.

It all started last fall when we decided to move into a new house. There were several reasons behind our decision, but mainly we decided we needed a little more room, especially with the prospect of a baby on the way.

Moving in and of itself is always stressful, but on top of that, things were getting miserable at my job, so much so that it became necessary for me to leave. I was able to find a new job that paid a little less but was much less stressful. I’m much happier at this new job, but it was still a big adjustment for me at first.

There were other things that happened in our lives that I won’t go into detail about, but the bottom line is that things got overwhelming for a while. As a result, we stopped focusing on getting our home study done while trying to tend to all these other things. We also suffered a setback when we found out that some of our paperwork for the home study had been lost and we had to re-do some of it. This meant more waiting, more frustration.

However, I can’t make too many excuses for the slow pace of our home study. I will admit that a lot of it is our fault. My wife and I have a terrible tendency to procrastinate, especially when it comes time to the parts of the adoption process that aren’t “fun.” For example, it took me forever to go to the doctor’s office for the required physical because I hate going to the doctor. Nonetheless, it’s one of those things that needs to be done, like it or not, if you want to adopt.

Thankfully, we are almost done with the home study as I write this, and should have it wrapped up in the next week. I will have a full update when it is done.

I don’t know if any of you have experienced something similar in your adoption, where things went much slower than you expected due to life getting in the way or you losing focus. If so, know that you are not alone. I’ve learned quite a few lessons over the last few months, and I thought I would share 12 of them here in the hopes that they might help you out as well.

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Adoption Financing 101: How to Adopt a Child Without Going Broke

Adoption Financing 101: How to adopt a child without going brokeOne of the biggest hurdles that people face when adopting a child is the cost. Let’s face it: adoption isn’t cheap. In most cases, a domestic adoption in the United States could cost around $25,000 to $35,000 depending on different variables. Adopting internationally can be even more expensive, with total costs reaching as high as $50,000 or more.

Those figures may seem extremely daunting at first. And sadly, many people who want to adopt are scared away by those figures and give up on their dreams entirely, thinking there is no way they can afford it. That’s really a shame.

It doesn’t seem right that adoption should cost so much, but it is what it is. The good news is that there are many ways to make adoption more affordable.

For one thing, the figures you see above are total costs, and you most likely won’t have to shell out that amount of money in one lump sum, meaning you get to pay over time. (You should never work with an agency that asks you for all the money up front anyway!) There are also many ways to reduce the cost of your adoption, and to find or raise money to help defray the costs. You don’t have to go broke, take out a second mortgage, or sell one of your kidneys on eBay to afford an adoption. With a little discipline, determination, and creativity, you can come up with the funds you need.

One of my main goals here is to help you find ways to make adoption more affordable, so I want to share with you a basic guide to give you a few ideas. We’ll explore these in greater detail in future blog posts, but for now, here are the basics.

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Telling Your Story With Your Adoption Profile

Telling Your Story With Your Adoption ProfileIt’s been a while since I’ve written a new post on the blog. Courtney and I have been busy moving to a new house recently, and I’m in the process of starting a new job, so finding time to write has been difficult, but I’m still here. We’ve also had to put our adoption plans on the back burner for a while, but as we get settled into our new home we will start moving forward again. We are still trying to wrap things up for our home study (Part 4 of my home study blog post series will be coming soon), and we will soon start working on what this blog post is all about: our adoption profile.

So what is an adoption profile you ask? Simply put, your adoption profile is your introduction to potential birthmothers. It is your way of telling them who you are, why you want to adopt, and why you think you will be good parents. It is usually the first impression that a potential birthmother will have of you, and since you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression, it’s important to get it right.

Adoption profiles come in many different forms. In this post, I’ll go over the basics of what an adoption profile is and what it should include. As we work on our own profile, I’ll continue to share more tips and resources here on the blog to help you write your own profile. For now, let’s start with the basics:

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The Most Important Thing To Remember About Your Adoption (And It May Not Be Easy To Hear)

most_important_thing_to_remember_about_your_adoption

Just a fair warning right up front: What you are about to read may be a little painful for you to hear.

As you go through your adoption journey, especially during that excruciating waiting period when you are just waiting to receive “the call” that you have been matched with a potential birthmother, you are going to feel a whirlwind of emotions. At times you will feel excitement, anxiety, nervousness, impatience, hope, fear, and a plethora of other emotional highs and lows. Often in the midst of these emotions, it’s easy to forget about what’s important.

That’s why I think it’s necessary to keep your emotions in check from time to time, and focus on what I think is one of the most important aspects of adoption. Again, it not be easy for you to hear. It’s not always easy for me either. But I believe it’s so important that we remember this one thing:

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More Decisions: Breaking Down the Types of Adoption Professionals to Work With

types_of_adoption_professionalsSo you’ve made the decision to adopt and have an idea of what kind of adoption you want to pursue. (You did think about this, right?) Now it’s time to start taking action. But obviously you don’t want to go it alone. You need to find an adoption professional to work with.

This can be a very difficult and overwhelming decision, as there are literally hundreds of adoption professionals and services out there to choose from. But they generally fall into one of three different categories: agencies, attorneys, and facilitators. In later blog posts, I will go into all the nitty gritty details of how to find the right adoption professional for you, but for now, we are just going to keep things simple and break down the differences between the three.

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10 Barriers That Keep People From Adopting a Child, and How To Overcome Them

8 Barriers That Keep People From Adopting, and How To Overcome ThemI have to confess, when it comes to making big decisions, I have a tendency to procrastinate. Making the decision to start the adoption process was no exception for us. My wife and I started much later than we probably could have. We are finally moving forward, but sadly, I hear far too many stories of people who want to adopt but are afraid to take that first step. Many couples even give up on their dreams to become parents because they do not think they can adopt.

I think there are a number of different barriers, whether real or imagined, that keep people from adopting, but it all boils down to one thing: FEAR. Adopting a child is a major decision that will affect your life dramatically, and the very process of adopting can seem overwhelming. So I decided to come up with a list of ten reasons why people tend to put off an adoption or give up on it altogether, and suggest ways to overcome each of these fears.

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Welcome To Adoption Geek: Why We Hope To Be a Part of Your Adoption Journey

Welcome to Adoption GeekAdopting a child can be one of the most stressful, emotional things a person or couple can go through. It’s also one of the most beautiful and rewarding. When you adopt a child, not only are you fulfilling your dream of becoming a parent, you are a giving that child one of the greatest gifts of all: a loving family.

Unfortunately, many people who are considering adoption are overwhelmed by the process. Many don’t even follow through with their wish to adopt because they don’t know where to start. That’s where this blog comes in.

Adoption Geek is all about empowering you to grow your family through adoption. I want to show you that adoption IS possible. You don’t have to be wealthy or anyone special. You just have to have the desire, as well as the right tools, resources, and information. If you have the desire, we can help provide you with the rest.

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Our Home Study Part 3: The Home Inspection

Our Home Study Part 3: The Home InspectionNote: This is the third part in a series of posts chronicling our home study process. The purpose of this series is to give you an idea of what the home study process is like so you can know what to expect. Just keep in mind that not everyone conducts the home study exactly the same way, so your experience may vary. Feel free to read part 1 and part 2 before reading on if you haven’t already.

Today came the fun part of the home study. The part that everyone dreads. The part where they come to your house and do the whole white glove test to determine your fitness to be a parent based on your housekeeping skills.

Except that it’s not like that at all! 🙂

Seriously though, the home inspection is not as big a deal as it seems. They are not necessarily looking to see how tidy and organized you are. They just want to see your home and make sure it is safe and secure enough to raise a family. Most homes fall into this category, but it never hurts to make sure you have all the proper safety precautions in place before bringing a little one into your home.

The requirements for your home study will depend on who is conducting it. Some agencies may have stricter guidelines than others, so be sure to ask. While it’s probably not necessary to be a neat freak, it’s a good idea to try to tidy up a bit; you don’t want to be living in filth. Go ahead and mop the floors, dust the furniture, clean the surfaces, and make the beds. But don’t worry about making the house look immaculate, especially if you already have children. They will not have a problem with a house that looks lived in.

In this post, I’m going to give you a rundown of what our social worker was looking for and what we did to prepare. As always, your requirements may vary, so this post is only to be used as a guide. For a more general guide on making your house safer for children, check out this handy resource. It will give you a good idea of how to prepare your home for the arrival of your child.

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Decisions, Decisions: Considering Your Adoption Options

Considering Your Adoption OptionsOne thing you will learn as you begin your adoption journey is that there are so many decisions to make. One of the great things about adoption is that you have a number of options. Whether you want to adopt a newborn or an older child, from a different country or from right here in the good ol’ U.S. of A. (or whatever country you live in), there is a way to make it happen.

Most people know what they want from the very beginning. Maybe you do too. Or maybe you’re not sure. Either way, I think it is a good idea to consider all of your options and look at the pros and cons of each. That’s why I decided to write this post breaking down the different types of adoption and the major decisions you will need to make. It’s important to make these decisions before you choose an adoption professional to work with, because you want to work with someone who is able to help you pursue the type of adoption you want.

(Note: This blog is focused on domestic newborn adoptions because that is what my wife and I are going through. Nonetheless, I want you to know your options and explore them as much as you can, so you can make the choice that is best for you.)

So without further ado, let’s take a look at your adoption options:

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