We spent many hours praying and talking together after our meeting with Alfred, the adoption attorney. We spent time reviewing the research that we had gone through, ensuring that our process had been thorough and that our decision was what God wanted for us.
We believed God was saying yes to Alfred. We called his office and let his assistant know that we would be proceeding with our adoption process with Alfred as our attorney.
The adventure had officially begun!
We were given the name of three independent social workers in the Seattle area and called each of them. The first lady we spoke with came across in her conversation with Jane as quite cold, she didn’t seem too excited about the prospect of working with us, and we didn’t feel too peaceful about it either. We called the second social worker and what a difference! Such a lovely sounding lady, who was extremely thorough in what she covered with us – we felt like she would be a good fit for us! Onto the third social worker, and that was quite interesting! Her email address sounded like a 13 year old’s… Interesting choice!
We prayed about the three options, and with very little to go by other than the three short phone calls and the paper work they had all emailed through to us, we chose number two! We had tried to find more information about them personally online, but couldn’t see anything. But we felt peaceful with our choice. She was by far the most in-depth and detailed with the forms we had to fill in, and while that was a little frightening, we loved it!
We called our social worker back — let’s call her Amanda. She was delighted that we were choosing to work with her, and she encouraged us on our way to fill in the paperwork! The forms were numerous. Five references for friends and family, and a reference for each of us to be completed by a colleague. A financial form detailing almost as much information as needed for our mortgage. A medical examination form to be completed by our doctor. Confidential disclosure forms as well as multiple background checks for FBI, State Patrol and DSHS. An application form, and the questionnaire… Oh the questionnaire!
The first miracle in our journey with Amanda was her discovering that the lengthy international background check for me, being a UK citizen, would not be necessary. The UK doesn’t have an exact background check for the specific type of information needed, so the additional two-month wait we thought we would have to endure was instantly cleared!
Amanda encouraged us to get on with our background check paperwork, which included our FBI Fingerprints. So, off we went to our scheduled fingerprint examination. Our first expense towards our adoption and we loved every minute of it!
From there, we distributed our references and began working on our paperwork. It’s a good thing we’re excited about this, because we sure were motivated to work on all the forms.
Then came the questionnaire! The word count just for the questions totaled 2,500 words! That was just the questions. And next to each question it said, ‘please be thorough in your response and leave no time unaccounted for’. Jane and I took it in turns writing our entire life story from birth to present, best and worst moments, questions on our relationship, on how we view children, methods of discipline, wills, interracial adoption and so much more.
On the morning of Thursday, April 23rd, I called Amanda to ask a few questions and let her know that we would be submitting our paper work that night. Jane was out at the time dropping her parents at the airport. Amanda dropped the bomb shell on me with Jane not even home. ‘So, shall we just book your home visit in now then? Would this time next week work?’ What?! Is this a test? If I say no, will she think we’re hiding something and need to time to work on our coverup plan? That’s April 30th. The following day, Jane is leading a women’s retreat and Arundel’s Dad arrives from England. Practically speaking, Amanda, that day would be a bit of a nightmare. So I said, ‘Yes!’
Oh my goodness… The countdown clock was ticking. T-Minus 7 days until the home study visit, where Amanda will walk through every part of our home, analysing it for any possible problems that could hinder us from safely having a child in our care. She’ll drill us with questions for 3 hours, together and separately. And in that short amount of time, she will come to the decision with the authority of Washington State to approve or deny us as potential adoptive parents. Yes, that’s all happening next week… God help us.
After hours and hours of writing during the rest of that cloudy Seattle Thursday, we reached page 30 and 22,600 words of our questionnaire! Our fingers were numb. That night, we collated all of our completed documents and emailed them to Amanda. Our first round of paperwork — complete! Amanda emailed back this morning and thanked us for our very thorough responses. In fact her words were, ‘Thank you for being so thorough! I am very struck by your commitment to this process.’ Exciting!
So here we are, sitting in our home, which in the past 30 hours has undergone somewhat of a minor renovation already. A new coffee table, a potted yucca plant, a new kitchen rug, a fire extinguisher, a first aid kit, shelves for the garage, a secure box for medicine, artwork for the guest room, a chair for the baby room, office chairs, and a couple of new candles to top it all off. Even the doggies are booked in for grooming the day before she comes! Perhaps we’re a little excessive. But hey, we have a home study, my Dad visiting and the biggest party we have ever hosted all in four days! Why wait any longer?
The to-do list is endless between now and Thursday at 10.30am. From weeding to touch up paint, hanging artwork to testing smoke alarms, printing pictures to mowing the lawns.
But God. He’s in every step of this process, and while we sit by the roaring fire on this cold night, we’re reminded that God has all of this under control. While he laughs at our small efforts to impress during the home study, he already knows where our baby is and he’s ready to call them home.