Our Adoption Timeline

We tweeted a few Instagram photos of us getting fingerprinted for our background checks last week…

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We got them done at our local sheriff’s office and I think I must have smiled the whole time we were there.

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We (all four of us) also managed to figure out how to get our Adoption Timeline set up last night…

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…so if you’d like to check that out- just click on the Adoption tab in the menu bar at the top of our Home page, right here:

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We’re hoping to start our home study next week, and I look forward to blogging about that whole process here as well. Oh, and hey, that reminds me- if any adoptive parents out there have any home study-related advice for us and any other “first-timers” reading this, we’d love to hear from you in the comment section below!

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Comments

  1. Sharon says

    Relax! We have adopted 3 little ones from China. Our SW is a dream! Inhale, exhale and enjoy every moment!

  2. Erin says

    We are beginning our journey this month towards domestic adoption. Anxious to read about your journey to see what to expect!

  3. Samantha says

    God bless your adoption journey! We adopted our son, Donavan. We brought him home from the hospital as an infant. He is now three years old and a major source of joy and satisfaction for us every day! We have just started our 2nd adoption process. Advice if I may? Be patient, pray and trust the Lord, and keep up the enthusiasm and sharing!

    In Christ,
    Samantha

  4. says

    Relax! You are both so sweet they will fall in love with you! A tip that everyone gave us and that we did … We made brownies so our house would smell all homey while they were there! I think it just gave us something to do!

  5. says

    YEAH! I am so happy for you. We have chatted before on my adoption blog, and you are welcome to go back, as it documents our entire adoption timeline for our daughter from China. http://konuchfamily.blogspot.com/

    There is no special advice for your homestudy. Just be yourselves, and it will be easy and painless, you will see. The hardest thing will be the wait. Your child lives in your heart already, and it will feel unnatural to wait through all of the hoops and bureaucracy before you can hold them in your arms. But it will all be worth it and wonderful! -Donna K.

  6. says

    The homestudy is a piece of cake – social worker asks extensive questions about family life, dating, marriage, looks at every room in the house and that’s about it. I was nervous too but it was really pretty easy. You’ll do fine!

  7. Annie says

    Thrilled to read your adoption journey. (and one day hope to blog about ours) We adopted our 2 day old baby girl in October 2010. Our path was filled with twists and turns, but consider it a privilege to have walked out this journey. Buckle up and get ready for an exciting ride of a lifetime. Praying the Lord shows you His goodness and greatness along the way. When the Lord does it, he over does it!

  8. Sunni says

    I adopted my daughter from China 13 (!) years ago! The years have flown by! I knew from the moment they put her in my arms that God had made us a family before I was even born. The home study is fine…just relax, be yourself and show them around. One funny note – our counselor told us that closets are very important to the Chinese officials..having a lot of them was impressive..lol! We didn’t understand until we got to china and saw all the clothes drying outside. So many people have to share apartments that the closets are used as living space! Are you adopting from China?
    One more funny story…I literally had a valence curtain fall during the tour of a bathroom! I had thrown it up so quickly that when she went to the window to look out, it collapsed! We had a good laugh while I promised profusely I would get that fixed right away!! And see, still got my angel! Write anytime…I’ll send you my phone # if you want! Talking with other folks kept me sane during the long waits. Peace to you and your home…

  9. says

    We adopted our daughter from India several years ago. Our social worker was a joy! The only thing I can offer is try to relax and have patience. Our process was a year-and-a-half, short by comparison to many people’s experiences, but it was such. a. long. wait. Keep yourself busy and pray for your little one. He or she will be so scared and you’ll be so excited to show him the world. We had a really calm down when our baby arrived. She had to learn to do everything, except feed herself. She couldn’t communicate well at two years old. She didn’t walk. She was scared to be changed, scared to be bathed. She didn’t know how to cuddle. In fact, she still struggles with that even though she’s a very affectionate girl. Patience. Oh, you will learn patience. And you will learn about love in many unexpected ways. It took us awhile to *feel* love, but we had to act it out every day. That was really hard. Now we are so utterly thrilled with life in our little family. She was made for us and us for her. <3

  10. says

    The biggest thing that surprised me about our homestudy was how casually our social worker glanced around the house! I expected her to examine every corner and closet! The only thing we were missing was a fire extinguisher, so if you don’t have one yet, you might want to pick one up :) Can’t wait to hear more about your process!

  11. says

    First of all CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!! We adopted our 2 youngest daughters from China and they continually Bless our socks off!!!! As far as your home study visits go………..RELAX! Your SW will become your friend, if she isn’t already. I always made sure I had all the paperwork/documents she would need, for the home study, on the first visit. Mainly, I’m impatient and wanted it finished asap! :-)
    Embrace this part of your journey………there will be HIGHS and there will lows, but as your child is placed in your arms for the very first time……you will see the face of God!

  12. says

    We are in the process of adopting from China. Our adoption agency had some hiccups of their own, so we are still right at the end of finishing our home study this month and moving on to the next stages. We have been in the process for a year and a half. For the most part it was easier than I thought once all the paperwork was in. We are just needing to complete our 10 hours of Hague training to finish our home study. I am excited, but really aware that the Lord is really involved in the details and the timing and when I thought things weren’t going perfect, they were just what needed to happen. So my suggestion is trust the Lord fully in the good moments and the ones that don’t seem good, it is all for his perfect timing for your child to come to you.

  13. says

    Oh I am just so thrilled to be catching up on your story! When we had our first home study I was like a crazy woman trying to make sure the house looked absolutely perfect and a nervous wreck that I would put my foot in my mouth, like I always do, and it would keep us from adopting. LOL! I shouldn’t have worried because no one is going to take out a white glove and check for dust and the more relaxed you are the more you will just be your wonderful, warm selves! It’s an exciting and terrifying time and I am praying for you to feel God clearly guiding each step along the way! :-)
    Vanessa

  14. says

    Hi Layla and Kevin! Been following your blog for quite some time but haven’t ever commented before until now! We’re also in the process of adopting and about ready to update our home study. I was so so nervous the first time around and had no idea what to expect. Thankfully we have an absolutely amazing social worker who is so down-to-earth and hilarious. She was so disarming the minute she came into our home. We sat at our dining room table and she asked us all about our families, our childhood, what our hopes and dreams are for our family, etc. It was nothing like I thought it would be – I thought they’d be inspecting every square inch of our home, but ours was just like a conversation about our lives and our dreams. I hope yours goes well! Can’t wait to follow along on your journey :)

  15. Janell says

    So many congratulations on this adventure you are beginning! You will learn so much about yourselves in the process. We found that the homestudy paperwork was far more daunting than the actual visits themselves. Those were fun! One thing that I was glad I had the forethought to do was to make copies of EVERYTHING that we submitted. It made it so much easier when we completed an update, filled out profiles, etc.

  16. says

    Good luck! My husband and I are finishing up the last stages before we can move on to the home study. It would be interesting to me to hear what you had to do to get to the home study stage. Even from reading the comments above, it’s obviously different, probably from state to state and agency to agency.

    We had to do local, state and federal background checks, financial info, references, letters from our employers, questionnaires galore, residential history, motor vehicle checks, car insurance info, health insurance info, fire inspection of our home, tons of questions for our online profile and a video profile. Not to mention a few other things that I’m sure I’m forgetting!

  17. says

    Homestudy advice – I say don’t sweat it, it’s a formality and as long as you are decent folks you will be just fine. (you ARE decent folks aren’t you?) Don’t kill yourself making your house perfect for the social worker either, she is just there to get an idea of where you live and to make sure there are no glaring issues (big hole in the floor, exposed electrical etc.).
    Adoption advice – every step will take longer than you expect. Roll with it. You are on a path that you have little control over. Accept that and know that you are on the right path, the one that leads to your child in His own perfect timing.
    As mentioned above, make copies of everything and file those receipts and check copies for the IRS. If you take the adoption credit, you’ll be audited – it happens to everyone.
    ~Mary
    (Mom to an 8 year old from China with a 9 year old on the way)

    • Denise says

      I like what Mary wrote “You are on a path that you have little control over. Accept that and know that you are on the right path, the one that leads to your child in His own perfect timing.” So often, we try to get things done on our “timeline”. We have adopted twice internationally and in both cases, it took longer than i expected .In our little one’s case, he was twice as old as his big sister when we got custody of her but looking back, I am glad that I had the extra time with our older two before heading back to toddlerhood since I had NO CONTROL over when our little one’s paperwork was approved. Enjoy the “couple time” you have with your husband, because once you have a child, things completely change when you go from being a couple to being a parent (baby schedules etc)

  18. Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. says

    What a pleasure to be able to share your journey! My college major was child development and my senior project was developing a home study plan for an adoption agency. It was an awesome experience to work with some very special families. My advice is simple – relax and just be yourself. The two of you will be amazing parents and that will shine through loud and clear. Waiting will definitely be the hardest part. But all good things are worth the wait. Wishing you all the very best. Now take a deep breath and enjoy the ride!

  19. Amber says

    Do you read simplysmithwick.com ? It is a blog I read. They were just placed with a newborn boy a week before Christmas and found out they were chosen by the birth mom just a day before the little guy arrived. She blogged a bit about the whole process starting in June.

  20. Lynn in Michigan says

    This brought tears to my eyes. I have three nephews who hail from Russia, South Korea and China, and was blessed to be able to travel to the Far East with my sister for the adoption of her youngest son. I well know the joys and hiccups of the process. My thoughts and prayers are with the two of you as you begin your own journey. Thanks for letting us tag along!

  21. says

    Love your site, I am a regular follower!! I just wanted to give you some encouragement. My husband and I are currently in the adoption waiting process. Our homestudy has been complete for about 6 months now. I know how hard this process can be, but just stay positive! Good luck and well wishes to you both!

  22. says

    We adopted our son almost 6 years ago from Japan. (I believe the agency is not active right now. The woman who founded it is 84 and declining health.) It is the BEST thing we have done, or will EVER do!!
    We (I really mean mostly me) were so stressed out about the home study, which ultimately turned out to be the easiest part of the whole process. The case worker was very laid back, yet totally professional. My advice is to remember that they are looking at you and your home not for a level of perfection, but rather a safe comfortable home with two loving people waiting to parent a child who needs them.
    During our process I felt like the paperwork might kill me if the wait didn’t! But, I can PROMISE you that it was so worth every stressful moment. Our son is a blessing from God!
    Love and strength to you both! What an exciting time!!
    xo-Lisa

  23. Amiee says

    We are about to turn in our paperwork and get our home study done for a domestic adoption. We are both nervous and excited. We have twin girls that are going to be 9 this month. They cannot wait to be big sisters! We are hoping for a sibling set of 2 or 3. Only want is that they are under 8. We will be praying for ya’ll and hope you will lift up some for us. God Bless!

  24. says

    Enjoy the process!! We’ve adopted twice from China and it was the best decision we ever made. Hands down.

    I can remember getting fingerprinted and when they did the pinky on my left hand, all these lights went off and it beeped and said there was a match. I was like, “What the heck has my pinky been up to?!” Gee, I had no idea! Thankfully, all was well and my pinky didn’t block our adoption!

    Keep a sense of humor about the oftentimes CRAZY process of adoption!

  25. says

    I remember (long ago) when you showed pictures of a couple quilts you purchased for your future child(ren). SOOO excited for you to join “The Mother’s Club”!!!! ~Kim

  26. Lee says

    My nephew and his wife just adopted their second child and it went much faster than expected…I should ask her for advice for you. They now have two adorable children. I know they made a book about their family for prospective mothers to read. They were going to make a video but the baby came before they even started working on it. I guess you can say it is in God’s hands….be yourselves and be patient. Good luck!

  27. says

    As I look at your pictures and read your story, I’m reminded of our daughter and son-in-law. They have two biological boys….who have their Nannie’s heart (that would be me), but they felt God calling them to adopt from Uganda. They are there as I type this and have already received custody of a precious 2 year old baby girl whom they named Ruby Kate, after her paternal Grandma!!! Hoping and praying for them to return home soon so we can start the spoiling!! Keeping you and Mr. Kevin in thought as you go thru this special time together!!!

  28. Ter'e Crow Lindsay says

    I am so very excited for you guys!
    Since I have “sat n the flipside”………and I have been the child looking for a home……..I am even more excited for you. Luckily I had wonderful foster parents that took me in and gave me a good life. I wasn’t adopted…..but I was taken in as a forever child……..that was 52 years ago! Seriously!
    God Bless You on this wonderful journey.

  29. says

    A home study is about ensuring you’re of sound mind, your home is safe and your intentions are true. I have complete faith that by just being yourselves, you’ll roll through it with flying colours!

    I think for me, the part that was so fun was attending the sessions. I learned so much and kept saying to myself, “every parent needs to go through these courses!” You’ll make lifelong friends there too. :)

  30. says

    My only home study advise is this: Don’t get uptight about it. It’s not as bad as you might dream up in your head. Enjoy, ask questions, soak up the experience.

  31. April says

    Congrats on your baptism!

    We adopted our son locally. The homestudy is pretty straight-forward. The wait is the hard part. After being chosen and adopting, the courage begins. My advice is strongly not to skip on ethics for a faster adoption process. If you don’t have much for pre-adoption classes, read read read and connect with other adoptive families. It’s hard, but no matter what country your child is born in, as much as you can encourage the best relationship/counseling/future for your child’s birthparents. You and your child will have no regrets if there is complete honesty, and openness and respect with birthparents and history if possible.

    If we adopt internationally someday, we will include our current children in the process. We lean toward Haiti because of our relationships with people who actually live there and because there is such need in the country.

    And pictures. Take lots of pictures! :-)

    God bless you! :-)

  32. says

    Best Wishes to you as you begin your journey! Having 3 Blessings of our own from China I would say that our best advice during the home studies is just to relax. From following your blog during the past couple of years I can see that you are more than ready for any and all challenges. Think of your SW as your partner in the paperwork maze to help make your dreams come true.

  33. Dawn says

    Congrats! The process most days is a joy, some days it is downright frustrating! We will be sending our dossier to China by the end of the week, so we are right in the middle of our adventure. The home study was fun and not at all what I expected it to be. Be yourself and know that the house does not have to be perfect (I went nuts the day before). Your SW is looking at who you are and the love you have. Looking forward to following your process! God bless!

  34. Kari J says

    We adopted our younger son from Guatemala almost 5 years ago, he was 6 years old when we brought him home. I am social worker, but I was still a little nervous when we had our first home study visit. We had no reason to be nervous, I felt like an old friend was visiting us. W were very sad having to say goodbye to our social worker after our 3rd (and final) post- placement visit. Be honest and be yourselves.

  35. says

    I have been through the home study process three times — once to adopt my older (now adult) daughter, once to adopt my Haitian sensations and, sadly, once to become a foster parent to my grandson who was in protective custody. Remember the goal of the home study isn’t to make sure that you are perfect people so you can relax. It is just to make sure that they don’t place vulnerable children (every adoption — even infant adoptions — involve a loss for the child) in the homes of psychopaths or garbage hoarders. Every home study is different. The first time, my home study took forever. The second time, my husband and I each wrote an extensive autobiography. The social worker had read them prior to coming to our home and the whole process took only about an hour. The SW spent about 3 and a half minutes in the unfinished basement that my husband and I spent two weekends cleaning and organizing. The third time my grandson was already in foster care with a non-relative caregiver. Our home study was done emergently. We didn’t clean, write a biography or do anything to prepare other than to agree we wanted him with family. Our case worker got a copy of our second home study and just attached an update.

    You may have done this as part of your application, but if you haven’t I would discuss what kind of child you both feel you are prepared to parent. My oldest daughter was exposed prenatally to drugs and alcohol, has many developmental/behavioral disabilities and was in foster care for many years. She was in 8 different homes before she came to me the week after turning 7. She has an attachment injury. None of my children are white. One child has an infectious disease and all the stigma that goes along with that… It is important to know what children you, your family and your community can support with your treasures, talents and time.

  36. Sharyl says

    Congrats! We have adopted 4 children over the past 8 years. It has been a wild ride to say the least–your home will never be the same–and I mean that in a good way.

    Home studies are fun–be yourself–share the good things and the challenges and how you worked them out. It really was not hard for us at all. Ours were very simple and conversational and I saw our SW as a friend and someone who was getting to know us.

    We did USA adoption and we got our first call for our two boys within 4 months of completing our home study. Then our daughter 2 years later and then our other daughter that third year. They are a blessing.

    One thing that I did that helped was I started to read adoption books on how the child is affected. This really helped me be prepared for that new child in our home.

    Ask lots of questions and plan for the future. Congrats!

    Oh and diapers…pink package means girls and blue package blue—we got the girl ones for our boys the first time. We were so nervous we were thrilled we got diapers. ROFL

  37. says

    I am so excited for you guys! We just adopted our sweet little boy (domestically) 3 weeks ago so I know all of those emotions well:). My advice, it’s all not nearly as scary as you think it may be so relax, pray & be yourself! Can’t wait to hear about the rest of your journey!

  38. Jan L says

    My two sons were adopted (1975/1978)- wonderful blessings. At our first home study, we were so terrified although we had a brand-new home. Like others have mentioned, the Social Worker was interested in us and our views/beliefs/thoughts. When he got ready to leave but had not looked at the nursery, I asked “don’t you want to see the bedroom?” He let us know that he believed we had bedrooms in our house. Funny how we stress ourselves over things that really were just things!

  39. says

    We were right where you are AT now…but this time last year. THIS year we are in month 4 of a 6 month preadoption placement. We are adopting a 12 year old from the VA foster care system. She has waited 8 years for a forever home. WE pray to also adopt the last sibling in her family group soon as well. (we have run out of room at home) BUT first we must legalize her then move on. There were 5 originally. so He is the last young man standing. :( While you are waiting may I recommend reading….The Connected Child by Karyn Purvis. EXCELLENT resource! :) look her up. and if you get that done and are in “waiting” limbo you can come design an addition for our home! :) We have a building materials co. that has offered to donate up to 95% of the materials needed. just don’t know where to START! :) love what you do and WHAT you are doing! God Bless!

  40. says

    Congratulations on starting your adoption journey! My husband and I had our home study approved in November for a domestic adoption and are currently in the process of waiting.

  41. says

    Don’t stress out about it. I know, easier said than done. Just be yourself and relax. I had totally “prepped” our house – which is funny since my house is always company ready and our SW only was interested in common areas and the room we would be using for our child. I’ve heard other have had different experiences – every SW is different. Make sure they know you have pets. Enjoy the process – it truly is a journey of a lifetime. We have two wonderful and amazing kids. I also recommend the Connected Child. It is a great resource for anyone parenting.

  42. Jessica May says

    I don’t have adopted children, but I am an adopted child. Adoption is so wonderful and your child is so special. I am grateful everyday for my parents and I’m so lucky they chose me. My sister adopted a little girl from China 6 years ago and her experience was very positive. Best wishes to you both and your future child(ren)!

  43. Kate C says

    We adopted our daughter six years ago, domestically (we are at her birth!). While the timeline seems impossibly long when you are still waiting, one day you will look back on every single milestone along the way – even the homestudy – so foundly because each was a step towards your new son or daughter. I’m lucky to have had one biological child and one adopted child. And I thank God every single day that adoption was part of my journey. It brought me greater joy than I have ever known. You soon will know that joy too! Blessings on your journey!

  44. says

    How wonderful for you both! I have friends who both foster children and have adopted two boys. Their journey has been an amazing one, and it truly takes special people to do this! You are so blessed–best of luck to you that the process is not too drawn out!

  45. says

    Relax, be yourselves and don’t try to make your home or yourselves too perfect (it makes them suspicious, ha ha!). I’m sure you’ll do great…what an exciting journey!

  46. Jennifer says

    Having gone through the homestudy process about 5 times, I can say it is pretty easy. Don’t worry about cleaning too deeply. (They don’t look in closets or drawers :)) They are mainly making sure the space is safe and adequate to raise kids. I have no doubt you have that covered! :)

    Basically be prepared to have your life scrutinized inside and out. It is amazing how much they require to adopt a baby/child when there is none in giving birth to a baby. None of the info is difficult, just thorough! Blessings on your journey! It will be one of the most exhilarating experiences you will ever have!

  47. Stacey says

    We on on the waiting list, adopting from Ethiopia. My suggestions: relax about the interviews and home tour, just be yourselves – your SW is on your side! For me, it was the paperwork and classes and requirements that were such a struggle to get through. (Seems we had more than most people, but God knows what He’s doing!) I made a gigantic 5 page list with every single thing that had to be done so I felt really good checking them off and seeing how far we had come! Plus it’s handy to show to others in your life so they can understand all you go through. We also made copies of each document before sending them in to our SW or agency just in case anything was lost or there was anything we needed to check on later. Praying that all will go well before you in this exciting journey!!!

  48. Karen Johnson says

    Layla, I am so excited for you to start the adoption process! Documenting your timeline/feelings/etc. is so special. Just last night I ran across my journal when I was anticipating my baby, and OH how special it is! I was also touched to see your baptismal photo. I’m so happy to know that you are a believer and that we are sisters.

  49. says

    congratulations! i adopted from china nearly 3 years ago and it was the best decision of my life! the journey can be long, but so rewarding in the end. document everything and be patient. i have my own timeline including the cost of things along the way on my blog. you may find it helpful. one thing i included in my documentation was all the little ways God provided for me throughout the process so i’d never forget. the times when i would “randomly” meet an adoptive mom when i was out and about and she shared her story with me or when i received some unexpected money that provided for and adoption related expense. it’s so amazing to go back and read how God had his hand on the whole process from beginning to…now. my daughter is now 4 years old and is doing amazingly well. she was on the “special needs” list, so if you have any questions about that let me know. (she has a finger/toe deformity due to abs) enjoy the journey!!

  50. says

    Congrats!! We are working on our 11th adoption and our 9th from China. We are praying to be DTC this month. Things change so fast the road is different every singe time.

  51. Jennifer Clause says

    Ok so we are about 3/4 of the way through our home study process. I live in CA so I am not sure the difference from state to state.. I was freaked a little bit by the questions they asked, ours felt a little like a counseling session, but I took a breath and worked on it over three days. We are setting up our interview’s right now and I am nervous about that we have a 1 1/2 each of seperate interviews and then a 1 1/2 of a couple interview. (i’ll let you know how it goes). Praying for you both through the process.

  52. Shalah says

    The waiting is the hardest part. We adopted our daughter 3 years ago. Everything about her was unexpected, and everything about her was a perfect design for our family.

    We have 5 children (4 bio). The adoption process is an emotional pregnancey with your heart going through the labor pains. I urge you to pray for your son or daughter. Maybe even write letters to them once in a while. I would also urge you to pray for your social worker and everyone else involved in the process. We prayed the God would give us (my husband and I) a “like mind” when it came to making choices. You will get so much well intended sent with love free advice, but you and your husband are the ones on this particular path. Let God lead you. OK…I guess that’s some free advice.

  53. says

    We are in the process of adopting from Ethiopia. We are currently waiting for a referral and just went on the waiting list a month ago. My advice is just to relax and be yourself during the home study process. Prior to the process, I felt like the social worker would be judging us and everything about our house. This is so NOT the case at all. It is more of a conversation and she brings up good questions that needed to be discussed (e.g. what will be doing to help our child experience diversity since we live in mostly white town; how adopting a child with significant special needs may not be the best route for us because we both need to work full-time). I laughed at myself after the home study because I scrubbed my bathrooms top to bottom and made sure everything was in place. She never used the bathrooms once! Since she is writing your home study report, this process gives her the chance to really get to know you so she can make you come to life, and let others feel like they really know all about you when others read the report. Anyway, do not worry about a thing!! You will be fabulous!

  54. says

    So excited for you guys. We just finished our home study the week before Christmas. We took three times longer than the estimated time but know God wouldn’t have it any other way. Enjoy learning about each other through this process.

  55. says

    I’m so excited for you guys. I’ve been following you for awhile….I actually think I found you when I first read about you wanting to adopt because we were just starting the process. We just came home from China (3 months ago) with our sweet little girl.

    When it comes to the Home Study (and the whole process in general) I say just take it one step at a time….don’t look ahead too far or you’ll get overwhelmed.

  56. says

    Hey y’all! I just wanted to tell you that adoption has been on my mind lately I’ve done fertility for wow…going on four years now. I have been following y’all’s blog for years now and just love the spirit you two give off for your love for each other, your family and home! I just know your adoption will be full of love as well! I will be praying for y’all and just know that your not alone in anything! Hugs

    Toodles-
    Sarah

    P.s,
    Come by and give me a visit sometime!
    Lifeasasteelmagnolia.blogspot.com

  57. Brittny says

    I love that you are doing this! We are in the very, very beginning stages of our adoption process so it will be fun/helpful/encouraging to follow along and see what’s to come!

  58. says

    Hi Layla!

    Welcome to the journey! As a fellow Lifeline-momma, I’m excited to hear about your process. Our social workers have been absolute dreams. At our home visit they walked in, sat down on my orange couch (in the sitting room I had cleaned ever-so-carefully), and said “Ashley, you should relax. I left my white gloves in the car.” Hilarious!

    Honestly, my advice to you is this: relax and know that God is in control! The time consuming part of the home study is the parent education. Do not put it off…just tackle it and it will be over. Even though we have been in the adoption process for three and a half years (long story), the parent education instigated a few really cool conversations for my husband and me.

    Enjoy your work with Lifeline! I look forward to your Gotcha Day pictures!

    Blessings,
    Ashley

  59. Shanny says

    Congratulations! I remember how nervous I was when we completed our home study years ago. I made sure the house was spotless & organized every closet & drawer. The day of our appt. I followed my 3 kids around to make sure they didn’t get a single crumb of food on the ground or a single toy out of place. My husband thought I was crazy, especially since I am a social worker myself. ;) Like others have said, just relax & be yourself. The home study really is the easy part. It’s the waiting that is torturous! We brought our beautiful daughter home 3 years ago from China.

  60. says

    I didn’t know you all are planning to adopt…guess I need to swing by here more often. How exciting, Layla! You guys are going to be wonderful parents! Praying for peace, joy, and wisdom for you. :)

  61. says

    We adopted our youngest daughter from the state department of social services. Originally we thought we would adopt an older child, but after a few temporary foster care situations, we decided perhaps our family was not cut out to handle the problems that came with an older child-mostly due to our youngest at the time’s inability to handle new children in the house.

    We said we didn’t think we would proceed with adoption and then we got a call that there was a 3 month old little girl all ready for adoption., At first I was like, no way! Our oldest was 18 and youngest was in 3rd grade.. but after a visit, how could we say no! :) She is now 9 years old and an energetic, social delight. (most of the time= lol) The homestudy was a LOT of paperwork and time.. but the home visits.. super easy! Don’t fret the small things and just enjoy the journey.

  62. says

    Congratulations, you two! I did not know you were adopting…we have one daughter from China, and a son on the way(also from China).
    I would echo what everyone else is saying, just to relax. Our social worker has become one of our dearest friends, and they are just there to help you bring your child home!:-)

  63. JOANNE says

    I have 3 cousins that are adopted and one of those cousins has an adopted daughter, too. If you were to meet our family you could never pick out the ones that are adopted. They are all the same. Love them all. I will say a little prayer for your success. Hang in there.

  64. Kristin says

    make a pot of coffee and picture it like you’re talking to a good friend… they WANT to help you adopt! congratulations on your adoption journey! very exciting times… our first was born in Vietnam and is such a blessing to our family. we are very close to canton, mi and our kids were sick when you were here… I would have loved to meet up at ikea and talk adoption over some Swedish meatballs!!

  65. aj says

    Can I just say that I LOVE that you are sharing your adoption journey on your website!

    We are also adopting through Lifeline and hope to begin our home study in the next couple of weeks. So fun to be at the same step in this process as you guys. God bless!

  66. Barbara says

    I attached myself to to your site when I moved into my house and you’ve encouraged me so much. Now your adopting and I hope I can give back a little bit. My sons are adopted; the oldest is 22, the younger 18, and we were one of the first open adoptions at the agency we worked with. Very positive for us all though we have some funny stories.

    My best advice is that you be yourselves. Let yourselves shine through everything you do because it’s all about you and your little one finding each other. The odds are that a birthmom will pick you because you are the right parents for the baby she carries. Just be yourselves and trust…and of course pray.

    Good luck to you both. Let it be a joyous wait!

  67. says

    I love the responses others have shared. I’ll simply add what our adoption agency director told us the day we officially completed our paperwork, which is “CONGRATS, you are now officially pregnant!” Your sweet baby will find you (like our son found us) and, while I know that you will have ebbs and flows of emotions during your journey, the *second* you hold your son/daughter in your arms for the first time, you’ll know that every emotion you experienced was well worth it!

  68. Larena says

    I enjoy reading about your adoption journey. We just had our home study approved a month ago for a domestic infant adoption. I’m finding it hard to wait patiently. We have 2 boys and tonight at prayer time, our 3yr old asked to pray for our baby that’s coming. Children are such a blessing!

  69. says

    I was SO nervous the first time we met with our social worker. In my mind I was picturing the home study visit being like an interview with question upon question that we had to answer correctly. It turns out that the visit was one great big long conversation about our life and hopes and plans for adoption. I sweated for nothing. :)

    I think the biggest thing to remember is to just be yourself!

    (Oh yeah, and I baked a few yummy treats and had them on a giant platter in the middle of the table. All of us stuffing our faces kind of broke the ice at the beginning of the visit.)

    ;)

    P.S. Good luck!!! Although I know you’ll do great.

  70. says

    I haven’t experienced the adoption process first-hand, but some friends of mine adopted two children from Africa last year. (They blogged about it at letloveguide.blogspot.com in case you want to hear their story.) Just from following their process online, I would say to expect the unexpected. Things won’t go as planned. My friends had an incredibly drawn out process. They expected to be overseas for up to 8 weeks and were there nearly a year. Needless to say, it wasn’t what they expected. But through it all, God was faithful and wrote a beautiful story for them and their kids. I’ll be praying for you guys and your sweet little one out there.

  71. Katie says

    My advice is to TRUST. Have faith that this little one is longing for you as much as you are for him/her. I heard SO many stories of these instant adoptions that happened overnight and with no hiccups or bumps in the road. These DO happen. However, our adoption was more like a roller coaster from hell- that ended miraculously and perfectly…. But it was easy to feel frustrated and sad and sometimes hopeless when our adoption process didn’t go as smoothly as I expected and hoped. Our time from beginning until we got our sweet baby was 14 months. There was a lot of disappointment and what felt like rejection along the way. We had TWO failed placements. One of those was a baby we had for two days and then had to return to his mother when she changed her mind. I don’t tell you this to scare you. I tell you this because I never thought something like that could happen, and at the time it was the worst agonizing pain I had ever experienced- I never thought I would heal from that. But when we got our baby, I knew that instant that HE was our baby. He was the baby meant for our family. We went through a lot in the process, but without those hardships and heartbreaks, we never would have found him. And he is the baby I saw in my dreams, the baby who grew in my heart, the baby who’s soul has always been connected to mine. So that is my advice. Trust that God sees the whole picture. He knows the longings of your heart. I hope your adoption is smooth and quick and flawless…. But if there are some bumps in the road, TRUST that there is part of the story God has not yet revealed to you, and that he will bring the baby to you that is meant for you in HIS time.
    Love and joy and hope and patience to you both on your amazing journey. Take care of yourself. Nurture yourself. This baby is growing in your heart right now. :)

  72. Anna says

    I’m coming out of lurk-ville to encourage you about the home study. My advice is to RELAX!!! I was petrified of the home study, social workers, everything. Absolutely terrified. And it was so anti-climactic. We loved our social worker (which was good because we saw her over and over during the post-placement period) and it was just so easy. I’m not saying you’ll lover your social worker, because I’m sure there are some that are annoying. But it really was no big deal. I cleaned my house like it’s never been cleaned. I washed and ironed my curtains. And the social worker just walked through each room for like 5 seconds. She didn’t care. So do what you need to do to feel prepared, but realize you’re doing it for yourself, not because the social worker expects it.

    • Layla says

      Thank you, Anna! We LOVE our social worker, so we’re super stoked to get this party started! :-D

  73. says

    I haven’t adopted myself, but a dear friend just recently adopted three boys (her nephews), and even though they were blood relatives, the process took over a year to complete (it was a nightmare!), so the best advice I can give you is *be patient*.

  74. says

    Breathe. Remember their job is not to judge but help you prepare. Burn a memory of the feeling of not being in control into your heart, so you can empathize with what your child might be feeling when the day comes they are placed in your (a stranger’s) arms.

  75. Diana Minutelli says

    Good luck tomorrow with your orientation interview. My heart is bursting with excitement for you and we’ve never even met. Anyone as good at expressing themselves on a blog will be pure gold in person. I’m eager with anticipation for the coming year for you and Kevin.
    Sincerely, Me

  76. Lisa says

    Hi :)

    The reality of this process is that even when 100’s of us who have been through it say “don’t stress,” you will…because you want everything to be perfect and you don’t want to leave anything to chance.

    When we finally had the date for our SW to come “inspect” our house, I went CRAZY! I stressed over everything…right down to how big the cracks were in between the rocks that separated our driveway from the walkway to the house. I made sure all the towels matched in the bathroom(which is something you all do everyday, but not me!), that my cupboards were organized to perfection, that the house smelled like fresh baked cookies (those were really good cookies.) But the reality was, she just looked around. Suggested some changes (outlet covers) had a cookie and some coffee and went on her way.

    Enjoy this time…it’s your nesting. And remember, for the most part, it’s a marathon not a sprint…so don’t forget to breath :)

    Lisa

  77. Graciela Iglesias says

    Hi!
    Firstly, sorry for my bad english… I’m from Argentina and since 5 years ago we have a beautiful and great kid, Tomy.
    In our country the laws are very complicated and we had to wait 3 years but when Tomy came was amazing!!!
    I will follow your history because is wonderful adopt kids, is something amaizing, thanks for share with us!
    God be with you and everything is gonna be great!

    Grace

  78. Alicia says

    Congratulations! I remember when we went through getting fingerprinted……after our homestudy was complete and our USCIS Visa was applied for, we had been fingerprinted 3 different times within a few months! We’ve now been matched with our child and are in the process of bringing him home! God has been faithful throughout the journey! Our SW was good, but she also dropped the ball sometimes. I don’t say this to criticize, but you need to be on the ball and organized with everything! If you don’t know what needs to get done and when or pay attention to the details, they may not finish on time or gloss over important things. Our first homestudy had to be corrected because they incorrectly named my birthplace AND didn’t include the post-adoption visitations. We had to go back and get our organization to fix it before submitting it to the orphanage. So, pay attention!

    I have 4 pieces of advice:
    1. Try to enjoy the journey! It can be long and frustrating, but it’s also the last time it’ll be just you and your husband as a family of two before your child comes along. Enjoy these moments!

    2. Don’t compare your journey to anyone else’s journey! It may seem that other families have a shorter wait time, are matched faster, go to court faster, etc. It’ll be tempting to think that other families have it “easy”, but you should try to enjoy the journey for you and your husband (refer to #1). :) The journey can make you crazy if you let it!

    3. Find other adopting families from the same country or local organization and reach out to them! They’ll be an encouragement during hard times and a lifeline when you’re trying to figure out how to navigate the system once you’ve been matched, etc.

    4. The most important one: PRAY!

    Good luck with everything, and may God bless your family as it grows!

  79. Noelle says

    Congrats! We have been a waiting family since February 2012 for domestic infant adoption. The paperwork will seem overwhelming and intimidating, but just look at your social worker and agency as your advocate and ally in the process (not as judges) to help you meet the baby meant for you! Our journey to adoption has been long and difficult, and being patient during the wait continues to test us. However, we have already been blessed by adoption through the people we have met and connected with who are in the same shoes. Try to find other waiting parents or adoptive families for support and encouragement. Although our baby is not here yet, we know it is worth it! My prayers go out to you!

  80. Stephanie says

    Congratulations on the start of the most wonderful journey you cannot even imagine! We just finalized our adoption of 3 on Dec 28th…it was truly a Christmas miracle. Something no one told me but I did out of necessity to keep everything straight; document everything! Document appointments, visits, every thing and any thing. Keep a detailed calendar and copies of all paperwork. I had to testify in a trial to terminate parental rights of our children and I had to recall events that happened months earlier. I was able to use my notes during questioning. It will also be important for the future when our children have questions. We had several social workers through the process and on several occasions my notes helped them.

    Every adoption is its own process and you’ll learn a lot long the way. Its a remarkable experience and worth every minute. You’ll have so many new feelings and experiences. It’s the greatest gift God can bestow. And the first time he/she calls you mama…you will melt into tiny pieces! Congratulations!!!

  81. says

    They just wanna make sure you’re not crazy people! I have no doubt when you share about your lives and they see your home, they’ll love you (and may ask for color scheme advice?). Just know any recommendations they give (“You’ll wanna lock up those cabinets”) are suggestions not criticisms. :) Enjoy and be blessed!

  82. says

    We adopted our son a few years ago and we have been waiting to adopt #2 for nearly 3 years now (ugh!). We are just getting ready to update our home study (again…) and the best advice I can give you is to just relax. The paperwork (endless forms, background checks, fingerprints, etc) can be overwhelming and the anticipation of the social worker’s visit to your home can seem terrifying – just do your best to take it in stride. They are basically just checking to make sure your house is safe and that you have a home that will accommodate a child. However, I will say that we have several friends that adopted little ones through the county and they had to make sure that their homes were completely childproofed before they were approved – that involved modifying deck stairs (installing the footboard “backs”), adjusting the space between spindles on railings (or installing plexiglass), installing the cabinet locks where cleaning supplies are kept, etc. They had to be READY. We were lucky, and that was not the case for us. The wait truly is the hardest – we waited just 6 months the first time, and now we are at nearly 3 years for the second. I have blogged a little about adoption on my blog (http://momsgonnasnap.blogspot.com/search/label/adoption). During the wait time for our first, I sometimes found it very therapeutic to buy something for the baby. If I was at Target and walked by the baby aisles with a longing, I just changed my attitude and said, “We will get our call. I’m buying something for the baby today” and would pick out something small – a package of socks, a rattle, etc. Just enough to keep reminding myself that it WOULD happen. It just takes time.

    Congrats to you as you continue your journey to parenthood!

  83. Dawn says

    Don’t know if you have thought about it at all but how will you protect your new little person’s identity on your blog? My daughter and her husband have requested that I don’t use my grandson’s name on Facebook or anywhere to protect his identity until he is an adult and can decide for himself what should be public and what shouldn’t. I hadn’t thought of it until they brought it up but in this age of internet bombardment it seems worth it to protect a child. Good luck with your process!

  84. Martha says

    Best advice I’ve ever heard about a home study – they are not there to run a white glove across the top of your refrigerator – they are there to make sure that you HAVE a refrigerator!

  85. says

    Good luck on your journey! We’ve adopted 5 kids from Russia and it has been an incredible ride. Are you adopting domestically? It is a long process but you will get it all accomplished! If you’d like to read our story please go to http://www.zukorville.com. Life gets crazy really fast!!

  86. says

    Hi There! We adopted our now almost 9 year old son from Ukraine two years ago and I remember being TERRIFIED of the home study! We worked for days getting the house ready, studying for possible questions our social worker may ask, all for a barely 10 minute meeting! Our worker hardly looked at our house, asked us 3 easy questions each then left, so no sweat! (The real work is NOW–dealing with a kiddo with major Reactive Attachment Disorder), so good luck! I’d be happy to let you know of our experience if you’re feeling bogged down by the adoption process. :) Feel free to write any time, if you feel the need. God bless!

  87. says

    I remember being nervous before our home study, too.
    If I could tell you one thing it would be to enjoy it. They aren’t looking in your closets to see if you’re organized. They are really getting to know you and Kevin and your story that led you to adoption.

    You guys are going to be wonderful parents…can’t wait to follow along on the journey. :)

  88. TerriE says

    Get a fire extinguisher! Or two. Everyone I know has gotten dinged on the home study for this one. If you have guns, have them locked up (or lie!) and be able to show her the security system. You may be required to have smoke detectors also–can’t remember that one. Your pets’ vaccination records–have those available. Social workers are wildly tolerant of all sorts of things that people worry about–you can be gay or Wiccan or whatever, but they also have boxes to check, and these are some that trip up a lot of people and require a follow up visit. It has been 13 years since our home study, so there are probably more boxes to check now. Good luck!

  89. says

    Holding you in a so great journey! Will look for your progesses, fingercrossed for you! Oh, so sweet to me this new! I know what’s in your hearts!!!! Hugs

  90. carla carvalho says

    Hi Guys! I have read your blog for a few years now on design and really enjoyed it, so you can imagine my surprise when your blog again popped up on my google search today for “adoption timeline china.” Congrats, and join the party! We’re waiting for our travel approval and will be heading out to China this month to pick up our daughter. Just be patient and have fun (and keep posting about your design adventures!) cheers! carla, palo alto, CA

  91. Delane says

    This is so sweet! I will be keeping posted to see how it all pans out. Good Luck!!! You will make great parents in my opinion!

  92. Nicole says

    Hi! I just wanted to say good luck a my husband and I are also in process of our first home study. I just noticed the adoption posts and read through them. We just took our CPR class this past weekend and we’re still waiting for our background checks to come back. We’re researching attorneys and we think we are going to sign with an agency here in IL. Send me a message if you’d like to compare notes on this amazing process. It’s gonna be a crazy ride right? :o) And all worth it in the end. Good Luck to you!!

  93. Andrea says

    Just wanted to say how excited I am for you. I am the mom of 3, a now married bio son and 2 beautiful daughters 10 yr old and an almost 8 yr old that came to us from S. Korea in 2003 and China in 2006. We have been so blessed.

  94. Sunny Madurski says

    Seems like only yesterday I brought a little boy home from the hospital to have a nice first Christmas not in the hospital before he died. Long story short- 16 Christmases have followed and he still cries when I take the decorations down. Adoption is a roller coaster,but so worth the trip. You will be in my prayers.

  95. says

    I am so moved by your posts and journey. Kevin’s song had me in tears. You all are so precious and I know you are going to be such wonderful parents. How blessed you and your little one will be. Praying for you each step of the way. xo

  96. Amy Cozad says

    A friend shared your blog with me. We are in the middle of our home study. We have 3 beautiful daughters and now God is leading us to adoption in Uganda. We are so blessed knowing God has a plan for our family that we would not have thought up ourselves. God is good. It’s neat to read about others going through the process. Ours has been good this far. We are excited to see what lies ahead. We have heard from others that adoption is a long, sometimes hard experience , but definitely worth it! I know you are experiencing the worth and blessing in your adoption journey.

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