Adoption Blog

Following the Call #14 – Transitioning Home

I HATE rollercoasters. They make me nauseous, super dizzy, and I feel sick for the rest of the day. I don’t fear them, and I’ve never been afraid of heights. But I don’t understand why people like that… “my stomach is falling out of my body” feeling.

To me, emotional rollercoasters are pretty much the same as an actual roller coaster. I’m nauseous, dizzy, sick for the duration and a while after, and I don’t particularly like the falling feeling my stomach keeps performing. BUT that is precisely what we were on for the next three weeks.

It was intense and insane. I lived half of the time up north, getting to know the girls, and the other half of the time I was at school getting my classroom ready for the teacher that was taking my place. “Surreal” is the best way I can describe how I felt. On the weekends I was a mom (and a brand NEW mom at that) and during the week I was living my same-old regular life. Every night we FaceTimed the girls to talk to them and countdown the days until we would see them again.

The transitioning stage varies depending on how far away the child(ren) is/are. Since we were so far away we traveled a lot. Luke had to work, and I really wanted to set up my classroom, because I had given the incoming teacher so little time to get ready. For some families that are in the same town or close by it can occur more quickly. It can also be more gradual in learning to become a family.

The Friday night after we met the girls, we headed back up north, in two cars, for our second visit with the girls. The social workers wanted us to spend increasingly more time with the girls, but Luke needed to keep working. (Isn’t it fun, being an adult?) We wanted him to have some time-off leftover when the girls permanently moved home with us. So the plan was for me to stay with the girls longer while he went back home to work.

I was scared. On top of the fact that I was staying by myself on like my fifth day being a mom to three toddlers, we were also doing overnight visits. Saturday morning, we went and picked up the girls from their foster family and took them back with us to Luke’s aunt and uncle’s apartment. It was a rough night. Luke and I didn’t sleep at all because we could hear every breath and movement each child made.

Sunday, we had a visit with the foster family and the girls’ adoption specialist. I thought it would go terribly and the girls would want to go home with them, but God had it under control. Everyone was fine. Then, at dinnertime Luke headed back home. For two nights I was on my own, and it was a little terrifying, but it went really well. Considering I was a new mom, had three toddlers, was in a town I didn’t know at all, and I had to find ways to entertain and contain them, I was doing well.

I also had my first experience with rude judgmental people. I had no idea that people would assume negative things about my children, and me simply because they didn’t look like each other or me. Or that they would announce these rude things so loudly and in front of my children. By the grace of God, I stayed calm (and I really don’t say that lightly). I could’ve easily ripped someone’s head off in that angry mama bear moment. But instead, I icily responded and diffused the situation.

Tuesday, I dropped my sweet girls off at their foster family and promised to be back very soon. My littlest one was quite upset at me. It broke my heart. She wouldn’t even say bye to me or look at me.

On the following Friday, I drove to the halfway point between our house and the foster family’s to pick up the girls. This time they got to come home with me and spend a four-day weekend with us. We had wonderful time. For the first time, our home life met with our new life. We went to the zoo and explored what it meant to be a family of five. Along with the fun and joy we got to experience the trauma our girls had been through.

Although the foster family, Luke, and I agreed the back and forth was getting to be too much and too hard on the girls, the adoption specialist did not. We were required to send them back to the foster family one last time. The girls went back on Tuesday, and that Friday morning we picked them up with all of their belongings (they had a ton, which isn’t always the case) and FINALLY headed home to stay.


Following the Call #5 – Mounds of Paperwork

Devastated. That is how I felt after finding out we would have to wait a quarter of a year to take the classes we needed to move forward. I was under the impression that we had to take the classes before we could begin the process of becoming certified to foster and adopt. Never have I been so thankful to be wrong!

We were quickly assured that we would have plenty to do while we waited! We had mounds and mounds of paperwork to look forward to. Paperwork that exposed all of our “deep dark secrets”. We had three packets to complete. Packet one (the application) was complete before we found out that we would miss the classes. Then we had packet two…oh packet two…the exposing packet! Packet two was fun. It asks tons of questions about marriage, the good, bad, and ugly. I mean it dives right in, sex life and all! This packet also asks a billion questions about your parents, your upbringing, and your always fun and entertaining teen years. The best part of this lovely form was that 90% of the questions were multiple choice. No need to explain your answers here…

Fost/adopt is not for the faint of heart or those looking to hide from their past. This is authenticville, the open book lifestyle! Thankfully I am open to a fault and maybe overshare on occasion. Packet two was long and it was an individual packet so Luke and I had our own. SO. MANY. QUESTIONS. I may have been a little nervous to turn it in. I mean do they read the answers to the questions about the teenage years? That can’t still be held against me right?!?!? Just kidding. I wasn’t a rebellious teen by any means, but still teenagers are crazyville. They aren’t fully baked.

When we turned in packet two and no one told us to take a hike, we moved on to packet three. Now I have to say, I am list person and Koinonia was very kind to supply me with the ultimate list. Packet three had the most things to check-off, so naturally it was my favorite. It also had way less questions and a lot more things to do. We had to get fingerprinted twice for the foster care and adoption background checks (please do not believe that California shares fingerprints you have to get different ones done for everything). The prints are the most expensive part of getting certified, I think Luke and I paid around $150 each. That is one of the very few things that we had to pay for.

We also had to get our DMV records ($5 each), take a CPR class ($50 each), and pay co-pays for our physicals ($20 each + blood work cost). Yes, you have to get a physical to adopt! They gotta make sure you are healthy enough to chase after little ones! That is basically the total cost we accrued through the certification process. We did have to spend some money to get our house up to home study standards, but that cost will depend on what you already have in your house and usually isn’t much (more on this later).

Packet three also required us to draw up floor plans for our house and yard, make an emergency contact list, write rules for our home, name someone guardian of our kids if we croak, get vaccine records for the pups, prove our income and employment, make a detailed financial statement, and I am sure there’s other stuff I am missing…


I was so anxious to check things off our list that I may have become a little bit of a stalker. I definitely called our doctor’s office a few hundred times and might have camped out in their office on a Friday afternoon to make sure they gave us the LAST piece of paperwork that we needed before they closed. I’m pretty sure the receptionist thought I lost my mind. She might have contemplated calling security when the words, “I will wait as long as it takes” escaped my lips. They were already closed at that point.

In my defense, that piece of paperwork was SUPER important, it meant we could start the home study process. So ya know, it had to be done because waiting until Monday sounded like eons of torture. Plus I was fairly confident the Lord would do what He needed to do to slowdown this crazy train if He wanted to, even if I was camped out in my doctor’s office.

Did I mention waiting isn’t my strong suit?


Following the Call – The Decision to Start #3

One year ago, almost to the day, our journey towards adopting started. I was getting ready to start a new school year. As I sat on my bed prepping and watching TV, a commercial for an online school came on and I had the strongest feeling that the Lord was telling me this would be my last year teaching. I was very excited about going back to school and so I shook it off, thinking that can’t be right!

As the school year continued, more and more signs started popping up, it was a rough year to say the least. The year started with severe behavior issues, difficulties with parents, and quite a few CPS calls. Interacting with CPS and having to put a student in a cop car, in September, that would take her to a foster family was really heart-wrenching. I didn’t know if I would ever see that student again or what the family would be like and she kept asking if she could come home with me. That broke my heart.

Luke drove right over to the school and comforted me. His first response when I told him the story was, “Is that an option? Could we actually take her?”. We weren’t approved, plus we lived with Luke’s parents at the time, so it didn’t seem like a possibility. But at that moment I knew we needed to start praying about adopting from the foster care system in the very near future.

Our dear friends, Russell and Janna, began the process to fost/adopt shortly after that day. I was so ridiculously excited for them and a teeny bit jealous. Luke and I started picking their brains, maybe annoyingly. We wanted to know everything about the process!

The school year continued down a sad road, I called CPS several more times on many different students. I really started to fall into a dark sad place realizing what some of my students and their families go through. God really used that dark place to lead Luke and me.

In January, Luke and I started researching adoption agencies. I had always thought that you only used an agency if you were adopting out of the country or if you were doing a private adoption. I also thought that if you used an agency, that you would have to pay agency fees. That is NOT the case. We found out from Russell and Janna that there are agencies that you can use free of charge for adoptions through the foster care system. On a side not, I just want to let you know adopting from the foster care system is very low cost (I will cover cost in depth in another post). These agencies help people to navigate through child protective services, educate, and teach what to expect.

After researching for a week or so we decided to use the same agency as Russell and Janna, Koinonia Family Services. We know a lot of people that have used Koinonia and loved them! We were ready to get started!