Now we wait to be matched up with birth parents. The adoption process looks different for everyone, but generally speaking here's what happens:
1. When birth parents express interest in making an adoption plan for their child, they fill out paperwork similar to what we filled out...plus more. Once that is turned in, someone in the main office pulls a certain number of profiles that match what the birth parents are looking for in adoptive parents and what adoptive parents are looking for in terms of family history, health, etc. The birth parents then read the four-page profile letters and select one couple.
2. If time allows, there is a pre-birth meeting between birth parents and prospective adoptive parents. Kind of a get-to-know you first meeting. Sometimes (again if time allows) the birth parents and adoptive parents continue to meet after that to form a relationship. At this point nothing is finalized.
3. Once the baby is born, the birth parents can't sign relinquishment papers (document releasing the birth parents' rights to NCHS) until 48 hours after the birth of the baby (Nebraska law). Both parents need to sign that document.
4. Then a baby is placed with the adoptive parents the birth parents selected (sometimes this happens before relinquishments are signed depending on the circumstances).
5. The caseworker working with the adoptive parents then completes a few home visits to make sure everything is going well. If all is well, the adoption is finalized in court some time later. I believe this is when a new birth certificate is issued.
At some point between steps two and four, the birth parents and prospective adoptive parents work with their caseworker to draft an open-adoption plan. This is a set of guidelines that both couples agree to follow in terms of contact and relationship---this isn't a legally binding contract, but is an important document that will guide the relationship between birth parents, child, and adoptive parents.
The information we share from now on will be extremely limited. Because so much could happen and change, it will be unlikely that I will share any progress in the process until we are actually placed with a child and relinquishments are signed. We've heard a few stories of "failed adoptions"---where birth parents and adoptive parents met before the birth of the baby, formed a relationship, and then when the baby was born, the birth parents decided to parent (which is completely legitimate since relinquishments can't be signed until 48 hours after the birth). But...I would hate to announce that a couple has selected us, and then have that happen and have to announce that the adoption didn't go through. In that case, I can imagine it would be almost like grieving the loss of a child.
In a nutshell, only God knows from here on out. It could be a two-week wait, and it could be five years. Either way, we appreciate your support. If you're the praying kind, here are some requests:
- Peace during the wait. Of course we would love the wait to be short and the process smooth, but more than anything---we want a sense of peace while we wait.
- Pray that we would take advantage of this time to continue to build our marriage.We realize how important it is to have a solid marriage in order to be effective parents. Pray we would use this time to continue to grow our strengths and work on our weaknesses.
- Pray for birth parents. I cannot imagine how difficult it would be to decide to make an adoption plan for a child. Pray that the decision-making process would be as smooth as possible, and that they would have support during the process.