Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Operation: Home Study/Packet II Starts Today!

I knew there was a lot coming my way, but I wasn't prepared emotionally.  After my last post, I may or may not have had a small break down that consisted of some girl time on the phone with my best friend, in order to see things clearly.  I'm good now, back to my senses, and ready to move forward.

Since my last post, I've contacted three local agencies and spoken with our agent at Love Basket. Here is what I've learned:

Packet II from the Love Basket has yet to arrive, but I knew we needed to have a Home Study done by a local agency because the information is state regulated and our agency is in Missouri, while we are here in Nebraska.

A home study consists of the following:
Background checks for both of us, at the state and federal levels
A local police screening for each of us, including fingerprinting
A physical for each of us
6 hours of interviews with the local agency, including an interview in our home and conversations with Adam and me individually.
The local agency calling all of our references and receiving feedback from each one.  Most of our references are married couples, and my understanding is that each person will be interviewed individually.
Possible adoption training (online class, DVD lectures, books, etc.)

I called Lutheran Family Services, Child Savings Institution, and Nebraska Christian Services.  Prices ranged from $1300-$2100 and did not include the price of our physicals or fingerprinting.  Each agency charges for driving mileage related to our case file.  My understanding is each charges the government regulated rate, but I haven't confirmed that fee.  All three agencies are in the city of Omaha, so I wasn't worried about this expense rising to high.  
Our physicals will be priced based on our insurance coverage and fingerprinting/police screening in Nebraska is $32 per person.  Once our fees are confirmed and paid, I will post them on our expense page in section two.

Considering the service I received over the phone, prices, services provided, and accessibility, we have chosen Child Saving Institute.  They charge $1600 for the home study and may offer the possibility of making 2 payments, as opposed to all funds up front as usually requested.  I am not sure what qualifies a couple for making payments, but the option would be nice, so hopefully we make the cut!

In addition to our Home Study, we will need to read the following books: Raising Adoptive Children and Dear Birth Mother, Thank You For Our Baby.  I've ordered both books through Amazon and am expecting them within the week.  We may have online training to complete through CSI, but won't be certain until we received our packet and checklist from them.  I plan to call CSI tomorrow to start the Home Study process!

The Love Basket requires training of us beyond our assigned reading.  Adoptive parents within 500 miles of the agency's office are required to attend a training day.  Because we are not in that mile radius, we will be sent a DVD to watch unless we choose to make a trip home for an in-person training day.  I was told today that the next training day is booked, but we could attend the following training...in March.  If we choose the live option, our packet II process will not be help up.  A note will be made in our file that our training is pending, and we can proceed with the adoption as normal.  Otherwise, we will be mailed the DVD and proceed as planned.  I'm not sure what follow up we may have to do, if any, but will have a better idea once each packet is in my hands.  I have been under the impression we will need to write a paper or answer questions about our training, but that may not be the case.

As I type this blog and pull up appropriate links to paste, I've stopped to look through the CSI website a little further.  They have a page of children awaiting adoptive families, complete with photos and a paragraph of information.  I'm falling in love with a girl named Brittany who looks to be about 14 years old.  Adam looked at her photo and listened to me read her bio.  He smiled, shook his head, and told me to stop "looking at that stuff."  He's a sucker as much as I am for little girls in need.  Note to self: stay away from adoption bios unless strongly led to do so by God, an agency, or my husband.  We are applying for an infant adoption, but I would open my home to a teen in a heartbeat.  I remember being 14, and can't imagine what it would have been like for me to live without parents.  My childhood has good and bad memories, but I had parents.  And now I'm on a rant about adopting a teenager whose photo I've happened upon within an hour of blogging about adopting a baby.  Oh sheesh.

Back on topic: We are looking at the above process taking about two months, possibly a little longer.  Some items that can hold up the process are-references making themselves available for the agency to contact (hint, hint, if you're on the list) ;), doctors forwarding results of each physical, and the police department forwarding their information after the scan and fingerprinting.  Most of Packet II is out of our hands aside from reading, making appointments, and staying on top of everything else.  I'm pretty good at phone calls, and even better at insisting on quick answers....this should go pretty well for us.  We shall see...

I've left out details for the sake of keeping this blog entry readable without getting boring.  If you have particular questions regarding anything I've addressed in this post or any others, I am more than happy to answer them for you via email or comment.!  Of course, if you have my number and have questions, you can call me, too. 

Your continued support is appreciated.  Our current prayer is still revolving around our birth parents and a unified decision of adoption, and now for our Home Study and Packet II process to go smoothly.

Thanks for reading and thanks for the comments.  Its reassuring that people are interested in our journey and I'm not just humoring myself by keeping track of all of this online. ;)  Keep the comments coming!

I'm sure I'll have more information tomorrow....stay tuned.

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