Adoption Home Study #1 and #2

Our first home study interview was a telephone interview, and it went great! Today I wanted to blog about our second home study visit- which took place at our home. Something really cool happened a couple hours before it started the other day, so I wanted to make sure that I saved the memory here so that we’d never forget exactly how it happened!

First, a little backstory…

Kevin went to high school with a couple of kids named Billy and Suzanne, and long story short- Billy and Suzanne wound up getting married. Now, 20 years later, we’ve all become friends thanks to our church. Billy is a photographer, and he and Suzanne adopted a little girl through Lifeline eight years ago- so we have lots of things in common, and it’s been really fun getting to know them.

Fast forward to two hours before our first home study visit this past Friday. Kevin and I decided to eat lunch at Moe’s. We ordered our usuals, then slid into a booth underneath the only ceiling fan that wasn’t on. (brrr) I had just opened my mouth waaaay too wide, to accommodate waaaay too much burrito, when I heard Billy say, “Hey!“, and looked up to see him and Suzanne just a few feet from our table. I dropped my burrito with a quickness, and used one hand to wave and the other to cover my huge *Art Vandalay-chompin’ cheeks. We invited them to sit down and eat (smaller bites) with us, and we had the BEST time listening and learning all kinds of things about their home study and their adoption process. But ya wanna know the Craziest part? Billy and Suzanne hadn’t planned to eat lunch together there that day. Billy’s car broke down somewhere close by, so he called Suzanne to come pick him up and they just decided to get lunch while they were out. And ya wanna know the even Crazier part? The last time Billy’s car broke down was on a Friday, eight years ago, while he was driving to a Lifeline meeting at the beginning of their adoption process. How Wild (with a capital W) is that!?

(Me, Kevin, Suzanne and Billy at Moe’s this past Friday)

Before I wrote this post, I wanted to make sure I remembered Billy’s experience exactly right, so I direct messaged him on Twitter to make sure I had my facts straight. Here are his responses:

I didn’t know about that last bit until it popped up on my Twitter screen. So funny!

(*The Art Vandalay is a vegetarian burrito served in your choice of flour or whole grain tortilla with seasoned rice, beans, shredded cheese, lettuce, all-natural sour cream and handmade guacamole. I also add diced cucumbers and black olives to mine!)

As for our home study- our (sweet) social worker, Beth (from Lifeline), pulled up to our house just after 3 o’clock that afternoon and after a quick tour of the house, we spent the next three hours sitting in our living room talking about all kinds of relationship-y things. We answered questions like, “how do you know Layla/Kevin loves you” and “what would you say your greatest strengths/weaknesses are personally/as a couple” and “how has your relationship changed over the years“, etc.

We laughed and cried, and Grew closer with each question. It was very therapeutic and fun. At one point, I (jokingly) asked Beth if someone was really going to read every word of our entire home study from start to finish. Of course she said, “yes”, and in that moment, I couldn’t help thinking about how, one day (hopefully this Fall), somebody (somewhere) is going to use the information in it to match us with our child. #goosebumps!

I tweeted this (poorly-lit/super blurry) cell phone pic I snapped immediately after our visit with Beth on Friday night:

Like the Billy & Suzanne experience, I never wanted to forget that moment (thank you, trusty iPhone!) and even though the photos are fuzzy, I’m so glad I snapped ‘em!

Next up, we’ve got some homework to do. Autobiography writing to be exact. Then after that, we’ll schedule home study visits #2 (out of 5)- where Kevin and I will be interviewed individually. We’re learning very quickly that there are a lot of steps in this process- but they’ll all lead to our Sweet P, and it’s extremely comforting to know that so many folks are going to such great lengths to make sure our child is safe!

*Updated to add- We ran in to Billy and Suzanne AGAIN after church this past Sunday! We were in the next town over, and at a totally different restaurant, so I had to snap another iPhone pic so that I could add it to this post!

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Comments

  1. Amy B. says

    Too cool! Gives me chills to see the way God puts things together! BTW, I’m friends with Billy and Suzanne, too. My hubby grew up with them. :)

  2. says

    Your story brought tears to my eyes. So excited for you all as you go through this process and comforting knowing that God’s timing is perfect.

    • Layla says

      Aw, thanks for commenting Lauren. :-) We really appreciate you taking the time to leave such a sweet one for us to find this morning!

  3. says

    I love exchanges like that. Gives me goose bumps too. It’s lovely and comforting to know that life is not full of just lucky happenings. Everything happens for a reason.

    • Layla says

      Sure thing, Cheri! And we appreciate your prayers SO MUCH! Can’t wait to “e-ntroduce” you to Sweet P! :-D

  4. says

    This is such a wonderful story! Sounds like adoptions can be a lengthy process but like you said, it will be all worth it! God Bless! :)

  5. says

    God is so well….God! Love how He knits our lives together so perfectly during particular seasons with those we need the most. Continuing to pray for your adoption journey! BTW…I love Art Vandalay’s too! You ordered your’s just the way I like ‘em!

  6. says

    You are so adorable…and the quick snapshot of you kissing your husband brought tears to my eyes…I could “feel” the love and excitement in that photo! Best of luck! ~Kim

  7. Elizabeth says

    God’s timing is truly amazing and it takes me by surprise each time. Thank you very much for sharing your notes about your incredible journey.

  8. Samantha says

    Love your blog! Amazed that I found it on facebook because of the design stuff quite a while back then found out later you guys are adopting too! Just going for our home study#2 here in Savannah, GA on Jan 25th. We finished our autobiographies last night. Praying for your journey, and glad to know a couple on the same exact journey. Hopefully we’ll both have 2013 kiddos!

    Peace & Blessings,
    Sam

  9. Dawn Kuhl says

    You are now pregnant!!!! THAT”S HOW THIS WORKS…The home study visits will get easier each time, and you will learn about yourselves when you read the description of your marriage and lives by your social worker.Each step will feel more real to you but somehow not in control, but that’s where faith comes in… your sweet little one has already been chosen for you by Him and these are just the steps to get her home. It is a journey, Looking forward to following it with you until you have her in your arms… There’s nothing else in life like it…Dawn from Connecticut :)

  10. Kathy says

    So happy for you…We waited years for our son, eventually having him through fertility treatments. In what ever way a child finds his or her way to a family – They are the one/ones you were meant to have – all decided by a higher power. Your sweet P is out there waiting for you just as you are waiting for them…The right child/children will find their way to you! I wish you much luck and love.

  11. Valerie J. says

    God bless you both. He is giving you signs that he is walking the path with you, even carrying through the toughest spots, always with you even when you don’t see him. May this glimpse of his constant presence comfort you always and strengthen your desire to do his will above all.

  12. Julia says

    I doubt you recall this but on one of your very first posts about adoption – I think it was when you were asking “how do you know it’s right” type of thing, I said you’ve got to pay attention to the signs, and then went on to talk about some weird stuff that happened to us during my adoption journey (my daughters were born in China, and after turning in the paperwork for my first daughter, I began to run into single mom’s with Chinese children EVERYWHERE). Well, all this to say that: SEE, I told you!! :-)

  13. says

    I’ve found that both in my own adoption 49 years ago and in our daughter’s adoption 12 years ago there are always many God-incidences. Sort of like God LOVES adoption?!

    Have fun with the home study. People have such a false perception of what they are about. They ARE kind of fun and make you look more closely at yourself and your relationship.

    Thanks for sharing your journey!

  14. Tami Bator says

    Your blog made me cry AGAIN. I was so filled with joy for you and Kevin. I love hearing about God’s timing. It is just so perfect and He is just so awesome. I will keep you and Kevin in my prayers.

    PS. I just received an email from LifeWay Christian Books and the book Mended, is on its way to me. So excited! I’m biting at the bit to get started on that novel.

    Have a blessed week you guys.

  15. Carrie in Spokane says

    To the point: ;)
    1. So glad you’re sharing your adoption story with us on your blog.
    2. We used Lifeline and have 3 beautiful daughters from China.
    3. As you can already attest to, God will use this experience to grow your faith.
    4. I will definately be buying your new song and spreading the word about it.
    5. “Faith nor Fear” was my anthem during our adoption processes.
    6. Know that a woman in Spokane, WA is praying for your family. . . . ME! :)

    Carrie

  16. says

    So, so awesome. Layla. One of my best friend’s is going through this right now as well and they’re using Lifeline, too! I was over at their house watching their two older kiddos when the adoption caseworker came over to do the home study. It was so cool to meet her and see the process firsthand. My friend Kate just got their adoption “number” last week, which as you know, is a huge deal! Praise God! They are number 88. Praying everyday that their kids (they’re adoption two from Ethiopia!) are safe and come soon! Will pray the same for you. xoxo

  17. says

    Funny how life works sometimes, isn’t it! What an incredible journey you are on. I’ve gotta say – it’s pretty interesting how much adoption parents are vetted to make sure they are the right fit, when having a child biologically faces no additional scrutiny. Of course it would be extremely difficult to implement a process where you had to be deemed a fit parent prior to getting pregnant – but none the less – adoption is a very different journey. I so much enjoy reading these posts, and can’t wait to hear more!

  18. shelby says

    Very cool to see what The Lord is doing in your life! Btw, listening to your church’s recent sermon online, Great teaching, Love that the focus is God’s word, too many church’s are going the way of pop culture, alot of man’s opinion, less gospel, not your church, very cool! Thanks for sharing:)

  19. Marla says

    My husband and I always say, “there’s no such thing as coincidence”. It’s all in the plan. Exciting times for your family. Can’t wait to hear the rest of this wonderful story.

  20. says

    Wow – GODbumps, that is so cool! Love how God writes in all these amazing details into our stories – glory be to Him!

    Congratulations on your adoption! Must have missed the initial announcement. We adopted our little Cocoa from Ethiopia 18 months ago. Reading about your homestudy brings back SOOOO many memories, haha!

  21. shar y says

    Wonderful, wonderful story. Years ago, (I’m a grandmother, now), I was around several couples who were going through adoption or had been. We had more fun celebrating everytime a child came into the new family!
    Love the photo of you and Kevin. You should frame it and put it in the future child’s room as a reminder of how much love there is between you two. Praying for you!

  22. says

    Amazing with a capital A and M and……!!! Wouldn’t the world be an interesting place if we all had to go through what you and your husband are doing to be parents???? You are a beautiful couple–your love and dedication to this process, life, and each other is so apparent. It warms my heart to see such devotion. God Bless you in your continued journey.

  23. Melissa roberts says

    As an adoption counselor I am enjoying reading about your experience. Personally I find my greatest joy in seeing how God makes Himself so obviously present in our lives. He could not have been more conspicuous. I hope you feel His love and rest in the assurance that He holds every detail in His care as you go through your adoption journey. You’ve been chosen. Your child has been chosen. You three will soon be united.

  24. says

    Love the hands and feet pictures! As soon as I said that sentence in my head, the phrase, “be the hands and feet of Jesus” came to mind. :)

  25. says

    I am so excited for you and Kevin! In the State we live in (CA), you have to go through the Fostering program even if you plan to adopt. It was a lengthy and nerve racking process and it seemed that the end was so far off. We were prepared for a loooong wait of finding the right match, then the phone call came. Pretty much immediately after finishing our studies. We ended up with not one, but two little boys (siblings). They ended up being adopted by another family that had previously adopted another little boy. I sure miss them. In considering going through the process again a few years ago, we ended up choosing not to…. I got pregnant… with twins …. boys. :) Looking forward to the day you have your Sweet P(s). God Bless!

  26. says

    Hi Layla. I have never commented before, but read often. I wanted to tell you that from the very beginning, even before I knew through your posts, I knew you were a Christian couple. I could just tell through your writing and your relationship to each other. I am truly excited for you and Kevin to be on this journey even though I don’t know you personally. Whoever God has chosen to be your little one with be so blessed to have you as parents.

  27. says

    Hey Layla, thanks so much for sharing your journey with us. For those of us that have not gone through the Adoption process, it is and will be an eye opener for sure. What amazes me about a journey like yours is the process itself. You have to go through home studies, self questioning, legal stuff etc….. If only everyone thought half as much about having a child…..well this world would truly be a different place. I wish you both peace, joy and love throughout this process and in the end I hope that you are blessed with the child you so rightly deserve….that will be one lucky child for sure. Can’t wait to see what comes next.

  28. says

    Layla, our daughter and her husband are going through an adoption process as well, so this naturally catches my attention. They went the fostering route. It is a little different from the route you’re going, but a lot the same too. They had to have the in home studies and all that. They actually have the little one they’re trying to adopt. My daughter said from the beginning that she just knew the first baby they were allowed to foster, would be the baby God would allow them to adopt. It seems, at this point, that that is exactly what’s going to happen; much much sooner than they thought. If all goes as planned, they may be able to adopt her as early as Feb. They (we) are soooo excited! What a blessing! Also how wonderful for couples like you and my daughter and her husband who want to be such a blessing to precious children. I’m excited for you! Also excited about your recent steps in following Christ. (Baptism). I have loved your blog for some time! Best wishes!

  29. Nicole says

    After six years of trying and many losses, my husband and I are finally expecting a little girl to arrive in late April. I was feeling discouraged just before I read your post because so many things are changing and I have felt uncertain and inadequate that I wouldn’t be able to give her the best life possible. After reading your post I am once again reminded that God is in every.single.detail. There is never any reason to doubt or fear. You will be blessed with your sweet P soon!!!

  30. Becky Wood says

    Wow! How cool is that….just reminds us how BIG our God is, and yet SO into the details! Love reading your blog….thanks for including the adoption journey. I don’t even remember how I found your blog, but I have been so blessed by it. Keep sharing….amen and amen!

  31. says

    God is always at work for the praise of His name and the good of His people! Thank you for sharing how He’s been at work in your life lately. :) You guys are going to make awesome parents!!!

  32. Denise T says

    Thank you for sharing a great post! Goosebumps!!! May God always be with you both in the journey.

  33. says

    Awe you made me cry… Such a wonderful experience. It got me thinking that its too bad we all don’t have to be interviewed before we become parents, since some of us really shouldn’t have been allowed to in the first place. Just sayin’! I think you guys are going to make wonderful parents and any child would be blessed to have you. So excited to follow you in this journey. By the way, I LOVE the song. It’s absolutely beautiful!!

  34. says

    When I read about your journey, it reminds me so much of our daughter and son-in-law. They’re returning from Uganda on Friday evening with our 2 grandsons and our brand new 2 year old grand-daughter. We are so excited!!!

  35. says

    I love that you say you’re enjoying the journey. We adopted twice, and now, looking back 19 years ago, I see that time goes by in an instant. You’re right to enjoy each step of the process. Just savor it because it will end up with your sweet P and his/her whole life before you! Bless your hearts xoxo

  36. Lori says

    Wow, what an amazing God moment! For what it’s worth, we’ve adopted 3 kids and we had similar God moments when we met each of their birthparents. Maybe not as dramatic but small similarities or odd things in common. I pray you continue to have these nudges big and small!

  37. Holly says

    I was adopted and when I was a few weeks from turning 18 my mom passed away. I have the autobiographies and updates on me that she sent the agency. It is a precious thing to have to have what my mama and daddy wrote about their lives growing up. Then, to have the updates on how I was growing and the things I was doing in the updates. You could hear the overflow of love and adoration my mama had for me and how excited she was with every little thing I did. I encourage you to journal now as you go through the process. Journal once you recieve your special gift God has for you. I always knew I was adopted, just as I knew I had blonde hair, and green eyes. My mom presented it in a way that my birth mother must have loved me so very much to know she couldn’t care for me and wanted me to have a great life so she gave that gift to me, And how she wanted a little girl so very much to love and was so glad she had the opportunity to raise me, her special gift from God. I am excited for you and Kevin and know one day your family will be complete.

  38. says

    Layla I am so excited for you and Kevin, I don’t have the pleasure of knowing you in person but your sweetness and warmth comes through and I know that one day (soon?) a child will be very lucky to have you two for his/her parents.

    • elizabeth carter says

      Reminds me of our adoption process 30 years ago…and again three years later. Wishing you all the happiness we’ve known!

  39. Danielle D says

    I love this! Very excited for you! On a side note, I love how y’all are all 4 color coordinated on your second random meet up!

  40. brenda says

    walking with the Lord no coincidences only Divine Appointments. Thank you for including all of us in your journey.

  41. Mel O says

    Yaweh is Great!!! Got a lump in my throat also!! My very first experience upon praying to God to reveal himself to me, and show me the way, was a dream I had that night where myself and my husband were swimming in a pool, and he was being called over by two ladies at the poolside, and I was trying to catch up with them all, and when I did, the ladies introduced themselves as Katherine and Lorraine!! (Side note: my husband was already a Christian) The next morning I casually told my husband about the vivid dream, but not about the prayer the night before. We both stood gaping at each other at the door that day, when two Christian ladies turned up on our doorstep and introduced themselves as ‘Katherine & Lorraine’ from the local Christian Church!!!!!! I later told my husband about the prayer!! ‘AWE-some’!!!

  42. says

    Layla, thank you so much for sharing your heart and your adoption process. We too are in the process of adoption and are so excited to see how the Lord is going to use it. I haven’t blogged about it yet but would love to in the near future. We finished our home study last summer and are waiting on a match. We know and trust God’s timing is perfect so we are leaning on Him. Praying for you guys and know that these precious children have been God’s plan for our lives since the beginning of time. Love to you all and God bless. Oh and I love the house!! :-)

  43. Denise Gebalski says

    Been following your journey over a year now. Things are falling into place. Will keep you and Kevin in my prayers……sweet p too. Can’t wait to see your new addition to your family.

  44. says

    You two are soooo cute! God really does have it all planned out for us doesn’t he? A little one will be very lucky to have you for parents. :)

    Btw, I started watching Photography 101 and it is so awesome! My new Canon t3 is on it’s way to me as we speak and I’m so excited to start putting my new knowledge to use!

  45. says

    My husband and I have been married for 26 years; out of all the wedding cards we were given, my favorite said “May you always have the kind of love depicted in fuzzy pictures.” Looks like you and Kevin have that one figured out!! :) –Fran

  46. says

    So happy for you and Kevin and I know the Lord is bringing you the perfect Sweet P for your family. Nothing is coincidence when God is in it and He IS in EVERYTHING!! Wishing you a beautiful day, Blessings, Linda

  47. Heather Patterson says

    God’s timing is always perfect! He always knows the plan and its our job to listen, learn and go along for the ride while we do our part!!! So excited for you and your journey and may you have peace every step of the way!
    xoxo
    Heather

  48. cheri says

    I love those God moments when He brings people and special situations together. Those God moments engrave in our spirits how much He cares for us and what we’re going through.
    I would say you’ve not experienced the last of these with your friends..

  49. Crystal says

    I have so enjoyed your blog over the past few years. I have prayed for you and Kevin from afar and have been so moved to see what God has been doing in your life. I smiled with tears in my eyes as you showed your picture of your best transformation of the year. And loved reading about your divine appointment with the Popes. God is so good and I know He is orchestrating a beautiful symphony in your home and future. A little one is being prepared just for you and Kevin.
    Blessings and prayers for 2013 and the journey He has for you!

  50. LT says

    This will all be very interesting for those who have adopted and plan to, but will your blog turn into an adoption blog? I hope not! I’ve been a loyal fan for years and would miss the home decor part. Have you considered a separate blog for the adoption part and the story of this journey?

    • Layla says

      Hi LT!
      We haven’t really thought about that because we want to keep our e-journal all together in one place. (Not only for our senior-selves, but for our future child(ren), too!) :-) Like the messages in our welcome widget and blog header say- “Our blog is our playground, and we’re enthusiastically passionate about sharing stories, making music, and interior design. We created it as a place to document our days, and we enjoy adding pages to it whenever we feel inspired to”. We’ve always enjoyed blogging about whatever it is that tickles our FUNcy on any given day, and we look forward to sharing lots more stories, and music & design posts in the years to come! :-D #ICan’tStopSayingFuncyNow Ha!

  51. says

    that is so cool! when i was going through my adoption paperwork and waiting stages, stuff like that happened all the time. total ‘GOD winks” i called it. i ran into adoptive single moms who i didn’t know who were right here in my community. it was great reassurance!! keep documenting it all so you’ll never forget how God smiled down on this process for you guys!

  52. Rhonda says

    You all are going to be AWESOME parents. God bless and God speed. I love how our God surprises us. He orchestrated the lunches. So fun! So like HIM!

  53. Lori Ann says

    I remember all the steps to our wonderful adoption years ago. We were going to Ukraine – what a great experience. We had thought we were going to come home with a little girl 0 @ 3 years old but Ukraine is a country where you have no idea until you are matched up once you show up at the country! Turns out that we came home with a healthy, 15 month old boy (unheard of by many – healthy and so young!) So God truly does
    decide – no matter what our human plans are. We came back to the States and repainted the pink room blue the first week home and I slowly gave the hand knitted sweaters to friends when they had baby girls. It all falls into place with the right child, the right country and (most importantly) the right timing! You are so blessed to be having the opportunity to experience this process!

  54. says

    This is so wonderful to read. I love how, no matter what is going on where & when, we can ALWAYS count on God to confirm we’re moving in the right direction and to close doors when moving against His will. It sure reads like you two are moving in His will. So thrilled for both of you and honored your choose to share your story publicly. Not an easy thing to do. Here’s looking forward to the day Sweet P is in your arms and THAT’S the fuzzy pic you snap with your iPhone.

  55. says

    Layla and Kevin, I first read your blog when my wife, Julie, suggested we vacation in Tybee Island after reading about it on your website. We spent a week there and loved every minute of it so thanks! Our son was a year and a half then. We adopted him after a long season of prayerfully waiting for God to write the story of our family. We are currently pursuing our second adoption through Bethany Christian Services. Beth is a good friend of ours. We went to church together when she lived in Mobile and she was a part of the small group at our house! Small world. Guess I just wanted to say we will be praying for you on this journey. If we can ever help in any way let me know. Beth has our info. Thanks for sharing your stories and your life. Chris

  56. Heidi says

    I’ve been reading your blog for years-and I just know that one of these days I’m going to open up your page-and there you’ll be with your child! I can’t wait to see those happy photos.

  57. says

    L…Thanks for this post. It just has God’s blessing all over it. There is one lucky little child fixing to be blessed beyond belief. What struck me in reading this was how much work one has to do to adopt a child when so many have biological children that are unwanted and there is no work involved beforehand. What a wonderful world this would be if all the unwanted children could end up in the arms of someone like you. xoxo, Julia

  58. Penny says

    Layla,

    You are a true inspiration !

    I appreciate your gift of how to share your experience(s) in such a way that is an absolute gift to others.

    I personally have never gone through the adoption process other than for a puppy but your determination and spirit will definately see you through.I’m sure that you and Kevin will make exceptional Parents’.

    All the best to you both and God bless…
    (He certainly does work in mysterious ways.)
    .Penny

  59. Elizabeth says

    This story brought tears to my eyes. I will keep following your story and pray for you both and your soon to be baby to meet each other very soon.

  60. Suezi Gurzi says

    I am so excited for you two! I went on this wild ride with a dear friend and to say that our lives have been blessed by their Sweet P “Jonathan” is an understatement! The handiwork of God’s plan will be so evident at every step and you will look back one day and be in awe!! Enjoy the ride!!
    xoxo

    • Layla says

      Thank you, Suezi! We’re really looking forward to meeting our baby P and can’t wait to e-ntroduce you to her! :-D

  61. says

    YOU’RE ADOPTING!!! I just found your blog tonight and was thrilled to find out your adopting too… We’ve been in process with South Korea since June 2011 and we’re still waiting for our match. I stumbled across your blog b/c I was searching DIY tutorials, as I’m trying to decorate our house on a budget. The adoption is currently consuming that area! :/ Anyway, so thrilled to have found another AP! Congrats!!! xoxo, Brooke

  62. Jenni says

    I love your site !! What a great story! God works in mysterious ways. You two are blessed with so much love hope the adoption goes thru relatively fast,God Bless.Jenn

  63. Dana says

    Hi! I recently found your beautiful blog as I would also love to start my own (but really don’t know where to start). Anyway, I smile whenever I read your adoption posts. I so wish that I blogged, journaled about my own adoption story 11 yrs ago when I adopted my beautiful daughter from China. It took me almost 2 yrs. but was so worth it. She is a beautiful, very active 12 yr old 6th grader now. I remember my finger printing and home studies, etc. Hang in there -it is so worth it. Best of luck!!! I just signed up for your e-mail. Yay!

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