FRIDAY WAS THE DAY!
FRIDAY WAS THE DAY!
As of Friday, February 7, 2014, Jarrod and I are officially licensed by the state of Illinois to adopt! I have been waiting for this day for what feels like forever, but we are finally here! Hallelujah! God is good!
In the past few days I've been asked several times, "Now what?"
Ha...the answer? Now the real fun begins. Now we pray for a match and wait for God's provision.
It has been an exciting week in our world nonetheless. Even before Friday, before our official licensed date, we have already been approached about three possible birth families to present to! We are fervently praying through presenting to these families and asking for the Lord's guidance in these situations. But what this has communicated to us is that it could be a very short period of time before we are matched to our baby. We will let our yes be yes when we choose to present but we understand that it doesn't matter what we say. Instead, we need to be willing to let the Lord lead us to our baby, whether that baby will come in 3 days, 3 weeks, 3 months or 3 years.
What this all means is that any day we could have the potential to present to a birth family for a potential match and we need to be prepared as we possibly can be in case we are chosen.
So, what does all of this mean? What is presenting? How can you be as prepared as possible? Let me answer some 'frequently asked questions' for you at this point in our process.
"What does it mean to present? Do you actually go 'present' to them?"
Well, no. When you are adopting domestically, you create what's called a 'profile' book. Basically this is scrapbook of our life. It outlines how we met, why we are adopting, what Jarrod thinks about me, what I think about him, what our home and community is like, etc. When a potential match is shown to us, we can choose to 'present' to the birth family. This means that the adoption agency working with the birth family shows them 3-5 profiles and then the birth family chooses an adoptive family based on the profile books. So, no. We do not go present to them in person. Instead, we have the option to say 'yes' to a potential situation and agree to present and then we wait to hear the decision. It is all, entirely, an act of faith.
"What happens once you're chosen/matched?"
Once we are matched, I will cry tears of joy for days.... Just kidding (although I'm pretty sure I'll do that too)! Once a birth family chooses us, we officially accept the match and begin working out the details of the adoption with the agency and birth family, this includes travel plans, openness arrangements, birth/hospital arrangements, etc. Depending on the due date of the baby and the desires of the birth family, Jarrod and I would love the opportunity to travel to meet the birth family prior to the birth.
"What happens when the baby is born?"
Each state has different laws for how the adoption works once the baby is born. There is usually a waiting period between the time that the baby is born and the time that the birth parents can sign the papers relinquishing parental rights to the adoptive family. In Illinois there is a 72 hour waiting period, but, as I mentioned earlier, each state has a different law and this time period can vary. The consulting agency that we are working with directs adoptive families toward 'adoption friendly' states where this wait period is minimal (usually 24-48 hours). Once these papers have been signed the adoption is irrevocable and the baby is legally ours.
As far as the birth arrangements for the baby, it is entirely based on the desires of the birth mom. She may desire to have one of us in the delivery room with her or she may choose to be by herself in the hospital with the baby until the papers are signed. Jarrod and I are okay with either and want to be respect of the wishes of the sweet birth mother who blesses us with her sweet, sweet baby.
Once the relinquishment papers have been signed and after the baby has been released from the hospital, we will need to wait approximately 7-10 days to be cleared by ICPC (interstate compact for the placement of children) to travel out of the birth state and back to our home state. This means that, in all reality, we have the possibility to be in the birth state 2-4 weeks until we are able to come home.
"How can you be as prepared as possible to be matched?"
As I mentioned before, Jarrod and I were not expecting birth family situations to be presented to us this soon. However, we are thrilled and quickly realizing that a lot of things that need to fall into place for us to be able to accept a match. The most important piece of this 'preparedness' puzzle is the finances. Once we are matched with a birth family, 100% of the adoption costs are due within 7-14 days of the match. Currently, after all we've saved, already raised, and a loan, we are about $15,000 short of our goal to be matched and to be able to pay in full. The reality is that finances are the number one way that we need help right now to be prepared to be matched. Once we are matched and have met our financial goal, we will then need to finish preparing with all the essential baby items (diapers, wipes, etc).
With that in mind, we are humbly asking and presenting our supporters with a challenge. We are humbly asking 200 people to donate $50 each towards our adoption. If we can meet this goal, we would be able to supply a large part of the remainder needed for our adoption. Although please hear me say that if $50 is too much, any amount will make the biggest difference in our adoption right now. We have created a way for you to get involved in this challenge online. Just head on over to http://stichterchallenge.eventbrite.com to get involved. (Or use the orange button on the right side bar of this blog to navigate to the donation page).
Now that all of that is out there, let me say this. We are so excited to where the Lord is leading us and we are so excited to think that it could be any day that we get a call about our baby. We are trusting the Lord's guidance in this and trusting that he will lead us and help provide the financials to get this process completed. My stomach feels like it's in constant angst right now with all that I know that needs to get done and all the money that we need to complete all of this...This is a huge leap of faith but God has brought us this far already and we are trusting him.
The Lord gives us peace and is on our side. My prayer tonight is that you would let the Lord be on your side. Would you consider praying for our baby, for our hearts as we wait now to be matched, for your involvement and if you would consider joining our challenge to find 200 individuals willing to donate $50. Would you just consider letting the Lord move your heart towards how you can be involved in adoption? I ever so humbly, without one ounce of pride, just ask that you open your heart and let God direct you in your involvement. For that I would be SO grateful!
God is GOOD..... and He will provide. He WILL provide. It's in HIS hands.