Friday, May 29, 2009

The Leaning Tower of Paper

"Oh the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pour them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away."
-George Eliot

There's something intrinsically comforting about being around certain people in our lives, especially those who we are closest to, who provide what I call "safe place" comfort. I have found that inexpressible comfort in my marriage with Alan, and I think you'd agree with me that this sentiment is worth cherishing and celebrating! With this in mind, I've written the following story/update with much thankfulness for God's provision for us, even at the very start of this potentially long and tedious process.

What has been really encouraging and confirming to both Alan and myself about starting our adoption process is finding a similar (although obviously different) type of relational comfort with our social worker at Bethany Christian Services. When we initially met her back in November 2008, she impressed us from the start with her personable style of conversation, laid-back and yet really professional manner, honesty with which she presented both the joys and the challenges of adoption, and her passion for her work which naturally radiated from her. After three long hours of high-speed information downloaded to our brains during November's introductory meeting, I walked back to the car with Alan -- in silence at first -- dying to know what he thought about the evening. I wasn't sure what to expect, but hoped that my prayers for comfort, peace, and trust in God had been answered for Alan as well. As we processed our experience during the car ride home, we were pleasantly surprised to echo the exact same opinion: Our social worker had totally won us over, and if she was to be the one to walk us through the adoption process, we felt like we could really do this!

Now, six months later, we are encouraged to report that after meeting with our social worker this past Wednesday, which involved tons of paperwork and tons of additional information, we were not too overwhelmed, partly, we think, because she continues to exhibit such a comforting and inviting presence. (This is a miracle in and of itself, especially if you know the hate-hate relationship that Alan and I share with regards to paperwork!)

To break it down a little, Wednesday's two-hour meeting involved us receiving and being walked through a stack of papers (about an inch thick) that we will be completing over the course of the next several months.

This mysterious "paperwork" includes the following:
  • Medical reports
  • Child abuse and criminal background clearances (required by the state for all adoptions)
  • Financial statement
  • Personal questionnaires
  • A "homework"/required reading packet
  • Information and examples which will guide Alan and I to create our own family profile that will be shown to birthparents.

While this may be interesting info for some of you, and not so much to others, I figured since adoption process details are generally not widely known, it would be helpful and educational to share some of this here. (Honestly, Alan and I had no clue about the ins and outs of adoption until we started doing research and going to meetings). Also, who knows, maybe some of you will end up adopting a child in the future as well; all the more reason to learn some stuff now!

Our next steps from here include tackling all of this paperwork (mainly setting aside intentional time to do it) and then subsequently, setting up our three home study meetings with our social worker. These meetings are in place to counsel adoptive parents and also for the agency to ensure that we live in an environment that is emotionally, physically, financially, and spiritually stable enough to welcome a child into our home. While, on one hand, this can feel very overwhelming and invasive, Alan and I view this series of meetings as a refreshing preparatory season in which we can look honestly at our lives and examine parts of ourselves that we might want to be aware of and/or work on before we become Mom & Dad!

We are excited that you are following along with us! Please continue to drop us notes of encouragement and pray for us. We are thankful for your involvement and friendship in our lives.


  1. Tara and Alan,

    They will absolutely love your home! And your porch! And maybe Bailey. :)

    I'll be sure to pray for you and your little baby,


  2. Stumbled on to your blog by chance looking for info on domestic adoption. I live near Philly too and am just starting the process. It feels overwhelming for sure. Good luck to you both on your journey.

  3. Prabha, thank you for your comment. So glad you found our blog during your search. All the best to you as you begin this beautiful journey! I agree with you about the overwhelming part. Feel free to email me or my wife (email contacts on the left) if you'd ever like to discuss adoption specifics. Thanks again!