For anyone considering adoption, the thought can be quite overwhelming. When you look online you are bombarded with websites leading to adoption agencies international and domestic, advertisements for adoption services, state agencies, and the list goes on. Where to begin? Our adoption journey began with an idea of international adoption. Fauzia’s father was traveling to his homeland and we asked for him to inquire about orphanages that we could work with. While her father inquired abroad, we inquired in the US about the logistics of an international adoption. Quickly we discovered the complexities of adopting from a country that is not a member of the Hague Convention, not to mention the longer wait times and longer travel times required for international adoption. So after much consideration, we decided to go forward with a domestic adoption.
Once this decision was made, we did some additional research to find out what state and what agency we wanted to work with. At this time my friend Carrie served as an invaluable resource. Having been through two adoptions, Carrie was excited for us and could not wait to help us with any questions we had. In the end we decided to use the same agency that she and her husband used for their second adoption.
Once we reached this point, the next big daunting task was getting through the stacks of paperwork required from both the adoption agency and the home study agency in our state, we also had to write a biography and assemble a photo album. Yes, on top of spending hours locating all types of records, from birth certificates, to previous addresses and tax records, we also had to write a bio describing our life and how we were raised. We asked ourselves why do they need this much information about us? Why do they need to know every single little detail about our life. The reasons did not become clear to us until we were compiling all the information and read all the descriptions as to why all this information was needed. So we decided this is what it is, they need all this information to formulate a profile of who we are, so they could make sure we will make a good family for a little baby. So we came up with a strategy to tackle this enormous task, Fauzia was in charge of compiling all the paperwork and I was in charge of putting together the photo album. This worked out great, because I got a chance to be creative and she is way more organized with paperwork than I am.
The next big task was the home inspection! Boy were we nervous, first they have to see if we are acceptable people, now they have to see if our house is suitable. The thought of someone coming to our house telling us whether our house was acceptable to bring a baby home really scared me. As an architect I have spent hours designing other people’s houses and evaluating their buildings for code compliance and safety, but the thought of having some “mean” lady (or man), come to my house and point out things that were unacceptable made me cringe. Preparing the house was the other part of my task, since Fauzia was still filling out paperwork and chasing down FBI clearances. So I went down the list, word for word making sure that all the items were covered. I bought a baby gate, an emergency ladder to escape from the upstairs bedroom, I moved all the cleaning supplies and medications, and even made sure the water temperature was set just right. We cleaned the house and made sure everything was perfect. Then the big day came and there was the knock at the door. We opened the door and the social worker stood there with a big smile. She was nothing like I imagined. It turns out we had nothing to fear, she is super nice and gave us recommendations on repairing a few items that needed correction. Needless to say we passed the inspection and a huge weight was lifted off our shoulders.
The next big step was the personal interview required as part of the home study. As we prepared ourselves for the interview, we looked online to see what type of questions we might have to answer and after reading some of the questions we became pretty nervous. What was she going to ask us? How long was this going to take. So we called the social worker to see how much time we should allow for the interview and she said one and a half hours. One and a half hours! What could she probably ask us that would take that long? The day finally came and I think we both had a hard time sleeping the night before, since we had no idea what to expect. The funny thing is that once we sat down with her at the table, she told us that she only had a few questions for us. She said, “Your bios were so carefully written and detailed, that I really don’t have too many things to ask”. Wow, guess all that time we spent answering each and every question on the bio was worth it. The interview only took 30 minutes and the only really awkward question she asked was, “How do you show affection?”
So there you go, five months later, our home study is complete, our interview is over, our album is printed, all our paperwork is signed, and we are on the wait list. Now comes the waiting period and the next task, securing the funds to complete the adoption (next topic of discussion). We are super excited and for us, this step is the equivalent of finding out you are pregnant.