After picking the country we wanted to adopt from and finding the adoption agency to work with, it was time for the deep-dive into the process. There are two main parts to this process. First is the adoption agency that deals with the child referral, child placement, a full range of consulting and social services. Lifeline Children’s Services was founded in 1981 when they began promoting the sanctity of life through domestic adoption services. In 1999, they began responding to the needs of orphans internationally and currently have 15 countries in which they coordinate adoption services.
Second is the home study provider. Their job is to provide an assessment of prospective adoptive parents to see if they are suitable for adopting a child. Sometimes, the adoption agency may also be the organization that also provides the home study. But, since we are living in Germany, we had to find one locally. For our home study provider, we chose Adopt Abroad, Inc. Started in 2003, Adopt Abroad assists the U.S. military, Diplomats, missionaries, international school teachers and other expatriates with their adoption needs while they are living overseas. Thankfully, Adopt Abroad had a social worker living within just a few miles of where do. What a blessing!
All Systems are Go!
We started our research in early April. We had our first conversation with the adoption agency on May 5, 2015. On May 19, we officially sent our application for adoption to Lifeline Children’s Services. On June 12, we were officially accepted into Lifeline’s China program.
As I write today, I have sent and received roughly 400 emails. I currently have 103 pieces of “evidence” to supply for our home study verification, with some still being acquired. With all the research we’ve done so far, this seems to be one of the most daunting parts of the process. Thankfully, my slight case of OCD came in pretty useful during this part of the process. Some years ago, I decided to get a bit more organized with personal records and had digitally scanned and organized everything record-worthy into digital, OCR’d (optical character recognition), PDF files on my computer. There was a handful of things we needed to still acquire, but most of it was within arms reach. My biggest recommendation during this part of the process – breathe deep. It is easy to feel like you are drowning trying to collect everything. Make checklists and systematically go through them. Use folders, stay organized, and make continual progress. Set yourself reminders. It’s doable.
The required documents collection is…thorough, to say the least. Leave no stone unturned. Here is a list of what we have needed to provide so far:
We’ve also had to send in fingerprints for FBI investigations and acquire state background checks for every state we have lived in since the age of 18 — that number is currently at 5. There is 10 hours of online training we need to do, multiple books we need to read, and workbooks we have to complete. Needless to say, the process is a bit involved — but certainly doable! If there is no struggle, there is no progress. We just keep focusing on our end goal – our little China Joy. Find your goal and you’ll find your motivation for success.