Courtney S. Barr

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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Adopting In Alabama: Autobiographies, Training, and New Perceptions...

Love them as they are, and forgive them everything.
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie

The past 7 days have been a whirlwind.
Last weekend we were blessed to have help from our lovely families. They gave us one of the best gifts ever…their time & their support. We had our first Home Visit this week. For those who are curious, you are required to complete a Home Study prior to adopting. This consists of either 4, 5, or 6 meetings. The reason it could be one of the three is because you might choose to combine one or two of the sessions. The sessions/meetings cover a ton of information from visiting the home, individual interviews and planning out your desired child; there is even autobiographies on each prospective parent.

For some time we have had some questions from people who hear bits & pieces about the process. My darling M addressed one question in particular in a manner that is in my opinion – perfect. We have been asked “why are you having to get the house in order and clean and rearrange for Social Worker R to visit? Its like she’s judging how you live?” So in the theme of keeping these posts utterly real, I must admit the questions are not foreign to us. We have internally thought or spoken them aloud between the two of us. But my lovely M in his wonderful perception responded Thursday to a friend “Well, I thought the same. I do still feel like we are being judged but I am beginning to understand it differently. This woman, Social Worker R, is our warrior in the trenches; she is the one sitting in the meetings, talking to birthmothers, speaking up when children will become available and gosh darn it we want her to think of us first. So if remodeling the deck, cleaning baseboards, purging clutter and finally hanging pictures on the wall that we have wanted to for months will trigger some small part of her thought process to suggest us…then we will do it and we will do it well.”

He’s right. She is our warrior.

On Thursday she inspected our little castle and we believe she fell in love with it.  She was supportive in our idiosyncrasies, those lovely personal surprises that we chose not to hide and she asked questions that made me comfortable to have her there. We talked about our story, we talked as a couple who has discovered the meaning of trial, survival, support and love. She spoke to Duchess’; learning about her hopes, dreams, and goals and also marveling at how we three look so much alike. When she left I didn’t want to vomit anymore – it was touch and go for a few days leading up to it, my nerves almost had the best of me. She spent a good 4 hours with us and it was good….we pray that she felt the same.

On Saturday we attended our first day of “training”. Going into this day we felt a little silly and thought it a bit odd to be doing a training day. We were wrong in our assumptions and we found ourselves in the midst of one of the most amazing days so far. In a quite chilly student center room we were honored to openly discuss our perception of the birthmother, the adoption and the process. About 14 couples talked among ourselves, filled out a short questionnaire and listened to social worker “R” for around 40 minutes. Then we were blessed to have in our midst a birthmother. One whose story will touch any soul and reminded us of the faces behind the varying circumstances that bring them to the decisions they make. She spoke of us praying for our birthmother. She reminded us that no matter how the birthmother came into her situation, that she is making the decision of life for her child. For that we are forever grateful. God’s presence in that room of hopeful parents was so strong. He stood there with us as we listened to her story and I know that her testimony of His love and His faith in her was a moment He always knew would happen and how wonderful it was for us to be a part of something so powerful.

We broke for lunch then continued, only now we saw 4 new couples up on the small stage. Each one has been where we are, each one has their own story of how they came to answer God’s call to be parents. Their stories have comical moments, have heart wrenching moments of loss, have terrifying moments of waiting but none of it outshines the love they share for their children and the honor they feel to experience such a blessing. We listened to their stories of open and closed adoptions. We were able to ask hard questions, to tear up when the words were too much and to smile when the feeling of love enveloped the room. We both thought we knew how we would handle the open part of our adoption – God quickly showed us yesterday that yet again, we were making assumptions and decisions without thinking of Him first.  
We now know that we want to know the birthmother if she will let us; no matter what we want her to know that we love her, that we are praying for her, that we want her to know that her child is loved even before we know him/her, that the love we have expands to her and that God loves her so very much. We don’t know what she will look like, now even more, we understand that trying to hypothesize that is useless; but we do know that she is sharing God’s greatest gift with us. We also understand that God has chosen us. That we have been entrusted to do what He loves most, that we are being moved to love a child just as Joseph was moved to love God’s only son – adoption is dear to His heart and it is His heart that we want to live within and share with those around us.

So now, we have answered a couple hundred questions on each of us – our autobiographies. On September 11 we will see Social Worker “R” again and she will take time with us individually – we will talk about those questions; because she wants to be able to share our story with the woman who is entrusting us with the child that we will all love and cherish. Once that meeting is done we will again have pages upon pages of questions to answer – these questions will pertain to the child God has for us, leading our hearts to the first of our growing family. Then we meet again in October…yes again. This next meeting will actually conclude our Home Study process. After it we will be compiling our Profile – this Profile is very important. It is literally what she will see, what our birthmother will see that will give her the smallest amount of peace that we will be who God has led to love her child. I cannot imagine that moment for her – I pray she sees us as who we are and that she loves us in all the ways she is lead to.
I’m honored to be entrusted with this task. I’m blessed to have the best partner ever in this life. I’m humbled by the grace of God and His plan for us. We are excited for the plans He has. We are terrified of the years to come but we push it away, we pull Him forward and must remember that He has shown us that trials and tribulations are gifts – are moments of education and growth that we will soon share with the most amazing child(ren) ever. Our ‘Village’ (all of you) is such a blessing – we pray for you just as we know you pray for us. Thank you; for reading a writer’s blog, a wife’s hope and a soon to be mother’s dreams…you show me hope & for that my Kingdom is brighter every day.

When you are grateful, when you can see what you have – you unlock blessings to flow in your life.

-Suze Orman