If you haven’t already read Part 1, here is where you can find it.
In June or July of 2011, we started the home study process. We had 3 or 4 meetings with our social worker at CHSFS in St. Paul. One of the first things we did was take the PREPARE/ENRICH Relationship Assessment. We also talked some more (beyond the adoption application essays) about our childhoods, our relationship, our spirituality, our feelings on diversity, and our thoughts on “openness” in adoption. Our social worker used what we talked about to write our Home Study document as required by the state of Minnesota.
We also were strongly encouraged to have a meeting of our family’s “support system” on a day when our social worker would come to our house to go over the checklist for foster care licensing (the big thing that we had to do to prepare for that was to purchase a gigantic fire extinguisher).
We had our family and friends over on Friday, September 30, 2011. On Sunday, October 2, my dad, Eric, and I ran the Twin Cities marathon again. During this “waiting time,” Eric and I also took a series of classes through MNAdopt, called the RAD Labs, to prepare us for parenting children with attachment issues/disorders.
In October and November, I started to make photo albums to give to our future children when they found out about us. My mom is very crafty, so I spent a day down at her house, while Eric was at home studying, and put together the photo albums.
The first page of the photo album our future kids would see when they found out about us
In December, Eric and I went on a “kidmoon” – our version of a babymoon. We knew that when we got back from vacation, we would be starting on the matching process, and we didn’t know how long it would be until we became parents. We went on a Norwegian Cruise Line cruise and we also spent a night before the cruise in Downtown Disney at Bongo’s Cuban Cafe, and the day after the cruise at EPCOT center, since our cruise port was Port Canaveral, Florida, and we flew in and out of Orlando.
Eric & Liz at MSP Airport ready to leave for our Kidmoon
Out for dinner on our Kidmoon NCL Cruise
During our Kidmoon, we both read books to prepare ourselves for the adoption process.
When we got back from our Kidmoon, we made our first inquiry about a sibling group that was on the MNAdopt website. Ultimately things didn’t happen very fast with that inquiry, and we found out about another sibling group on that same website. Again, things didn’t really go anywhere. Then, one day in mid-February, Eric and I both noticed a new sibling group on the website and we emailed our social worker. Our social worker called their social worker and everyone was really excited about us being a potential match for this sibling group. Our social worker submitted our home study to their social worker, and we waited… and waited… and waited. It felt like forever.
Finally, about a month later, we found out that we were a top choice to be matched with this sibling group, and we set up a meeting (our first collateral meeting). The sibling group’s Guardian ad Litem and Social Worker came to our house, and at that meeting told us that we were not a top choice, but that we were the top choice.
Sidenote: Two days prior to that meeting at our house, we had also gone to a Wendy’s Wonderful Kids matching event, and met SO MANY kids who we also felt torn about maybe wanting to adopt. There is one sibling group that still stands out to me, and I still see them on MNAdopt, and I still struggle with wishing we could have adopted all 4 kids at the same time.
Anyway, we decided after the social worker/Guardian ad Litem meeting to keep pursing that sibling group, and so we set up our second collateral meeting with our future daughters’ foster parents, teachers, former social worker(s) in the town/city where they were living at that time. That meeting happened about a month after our initial meeting with their social worker and GAL. So there was a whole lot of waiting happening.
In between those meetings, our social worker worked with their social worker to get us more information about our future daughters (S & J). We read a couple of heartbreaking reports about how they ended up in the foster care system. It was some of the hardest reading I have ever done. Eric and I both really struggled with it. Our adoption prep classes and all of our reading about parenting children who have been abused and neglected did not even come close to preparing us for reading those reports.
We had our second collateral meeting at the end of April 2012. The next day we called our social worker and told her that we for sure wanted to be matched with S & J. She called the girls’ worker and we were told that the girls’ team was very excited about this match.
The next step was to set up our first meeting with S & J and to figure out a transition plan from their foster home to our house. I was a bundle of nerves in between the time that we were matched and when we actually met the girls. I kept worrying that something would fall through. Luckily, everything went the way we had hoped and planned.