We are paper pregnant now!! Have you ever wondered why people adopting often use this phrase or seem to be constantly talking about paperwork? The reason is we truly are paper pregnant. If you have ever been physically pregnant in your life you know that it doesn’t seem real until you get the papers from the doctor, a sonogram shot or sometimes even the paperwork from your appointment. You are finally able to believe it, your family is changing dramatically and you know a miracle is on the way. When you officially begin the adoption process (with your classes or paperwork) you get the same feelings. You get the same glow. Take a close look at the face of a pregnant woman and an adopting woman; you will notice a similar look of exhaustion and elation. Both women know something miraculous is coming but it is taking a lot of work. If the women are complete dorks like me you may catch them humming the song “Something’s Coming” from West Side Story. I apologize to your ears now if we are caught in a store or elevator together.

We finished our foster/adoption classes last weekend and they were amazing. We watched two videos that really brought you into the mindset of a child in foster care. They were heart breaking, inspiring and a great reminder that we are on the right path. I have to remind myself we cannot adopt them all, but we can make a difference in the lives of at least the four children we will adopt and probably more children with the foster care kids we will have as well. The second day of class covered the topics of: Sexual Abuse, Drug Exposure, Normal Child Development, Attachment and Bonding, Diagnosis/Medications, Behavior Management/Disciple, and The Next Steps. The next step in the process is to begin submitting our mile long pile of paperwork. We have to submit the following (and this is just a sample not an exhaustive list of the necessary paperwork): an application that asks for all addresses or jobs in the last ten years; about 20 different legal disclaimers and agreements we need to sign; a typed four page questionnaire (each); a typed 3-5 page autobiography that covers every aspect of our lives since birth (each); copies of our drivers licenses, auto/home/medical/life insurance, birth certificates, marriage licenses; at least three background checks each; a financial disclosure sheet; an acceptable behavior/disability checklist; pet vaccinations; three references and our home safety check. The paperwork is insane but with each page we fill out and every question answered I feel closer and closer to us finally becoming parents. As with all expectant parents we are simultaneously thrilled, anxious, nervous and overjoyed. There are some things that are not required for us to do but are suggested and may help us find children as well. We have created a family flyer to hand out to social workers that gives them a snapshot of our family, home and community to allow them to determine if we would be a good fit for the children they represent. Additionally we need to create a photo album (digital and real) that we can give children to introduce them to our family, extended family, home, pets and community. This allows children to prepare for the changes they will experience as they become a part of our family.

It is a thrilling, exhausting time and new things crop up daily that need our attention. It will all be more than worth it the moment we welcome our children home. We will then be on a whole new adventure, one we are trying to prepare for but living it is the only real preparation to be found. Keep us in your prayers and if you see us be sure to shake our hands gently, they are tired from the work of bringing our children home. Also please indulge us as we babble about books, adoption, paperwork and the new little ones we found on an adoption site.

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