So, the paperwork is pretty intense but surprisingly not as bad as I imagined at this point. I'm sure it will get worse ;) We've sent back about 80% of the paperwork they need for our home-study. Then there are various things we have to wait for like background checks, driving records, child abuse registries, etc. But we were fingerprinted and sent all of the requests in. So that is probably where we will see a big wait as we have to wait for records to be checked and then sent back. Going through this I have so much empathy for military families who decide to adopt as you need all sorts of background info etc. from every state you've lived in!
We also started our first online class that we need to complete, it's called "Because They Waited" and it is through Heart of the Matters Seminars. We just finished it this weekend after watching a module every few nights around midnight when we finally had a minute to slow down. They've talked about the consequences on brain development for children that spend time in less-than-optimal care and what can be done for these kiddos when they come home. There are so many really simple things you'd normally never pay attention to, or that traditional parenting books would tell you never to do, that you have to consider and do when you have an adoptive child. I can't decide if it's harder as first-time parents or an added benefit because we're starting with a clean slate and don't really have our previous experiences we'll have to either change or adapt. Probably both.
One of the saddest things they were talking about is how some children came come home and can be extremely quiet, "out-of-it," or seemingly complacent. One woman gave an example of how everyone told her how great her baby was because she was so quiet and didn't make a peep, however now when she looks back she realizes that that was how her baby was panicking by disassociating and just being "quiet." To think of a little teeny one internalizing all of their fear and knowing that crying is useless since they aren't used to having their needs met is really heartbreaking! At our orientation (more about this later) we were told a story about walking into an orphanage that was completely quiet and what a terrible experience this was. If you think about how unnatural that would be, and what that really means, it makes my stomach hurt. :(
We're about to start another seminar which is actually free through the month of November for anyone to take, and if any family members or friends want to take it, you should think about it. They are offering it for free for November which is National Orphan Awareness Month. You can find it here. After our online seminars are finished, we have to read a book and answer a few questions about it: The Connected Child.
Last but not least, we talked earlier about how this adoption process is really a chance for us to share our faith in God and His hand in this process and that has been really awesome these past few weeks. Whether it be friends, family, colleagues, etsy-friends (yes they get their own category) or whatever, we've had some really great conversations with people when they ask us why we're adopting. We've had people say, "you know I didn't have the courage to do it, but I'm really going to pray about it now," or "even though we don't know eachother outside of a professional environment, could you email me and let me know your story and whatever you want to share - I really want to know more," or "I totally believe in God and his plan for you and I'm so glad I can talk with you about this now, never realized I could." Honestly, probably 2 out of 3 people have said something of the sort to us and that has been really awesome to experience.