In talking to a number of our friends and loved ones I have discovered that the adoption process is somewhat of a mystery. I would like to try and explain what we are going through in order to offer some perspective. This is not meant to garner sympathy it is intended to be informative so please try not to read to much into it. Also, our experiences are with LDS Family Services, agencies will differ in their methods and procedures.
Once we decided that we wished to adopt again we needed to initiate the process by paying a small deposit and getting interviewed by a social worker. From there we needed to complete several background checks. We had to be fingerprinted and checked by both the state and federal government (the FBI takes forever to get this done so if you are considering adopting I would do this first of all). Our financials are also reviewed to ensure economic stability. Lastly, we undergo a physical examination.
The social worker visited our home to complete a walk-through and check the overall safety of the environment (as a result we purchased fire escape ladders which I am quite frankly glad to have).
The toughest part is the paperwork. Included in it is a letter to the birth mother, family backgrounds and histories. Perhaps most daunting is the preference sheet. This is where you express your comfort (or discomfort) in having a child placed with you that has different psychological or physical disorders. Your preferences are specific to each disorder (we spent a lot of time on WebMD while completing this). You can also express ethnicity preferences as well as age and gender.
Once all this is done you are able to complete your on-line profile that is first reviewed by the Family Services staff and then is posted once your background checks are cleared.
All the background checks are renewed annually and an annual service fee is charged.
From this point you wait. This is the stage that we are at. Birth mothers can search your profile and even contact you with questions. They also fill out preference sheets which can then be matched with your own to determine compatibility (along with other profiles which also match).
Referrals are really key in the whole process. Because someone at Church knew that we were adopting we were put in contact with a wonderful woman who chose adoption for her unborn child. The decision was very difficult for her. She did it out of love for our mutual daughter and her name will forever be honored by our family. We love and respect her so much.
I want to have another child so badly. I sincerely hope that it is the Lord's will that another be placed with us.