Since our beautiful Scarlett turned five months old yesterday and that means our adoption hearing, finalization and sealing is just over a month away I thought I should share the story of how Scarlett joined our family.
JD and I decided very early that as soon as we would be able to apply to adopt again we would start the process. We figured there was no way that another adoption would happen as quickly as Gavin's did. We had to wait until a year after placement of Gavin to start the process again so that meant October.
We attended the adoption orientation class that LDS Family Services requires the first Friday in October. We got our first packet of paperwork and had it filled out and turned in within a few days. Let me just add- that is the easy paperwork- very basic. We met with our caseworker, Hayley, for our intake interview to make sure we met all requirements and to get the next packet of paperwork from her. I have to say I was very impressed with our Bishop and the speed that he filled out and returned the recommendation form to the office- that is a requirement with LDS Family Services- to have a bishop's recommendation. Anyway, we started the second packet, paid the application fee of $1000 and were on our way. We had our information to start filling out the online portion of our profile and application. This is the stuff that expectant parents see when they are looking at profiles. It had been so recent that we were able to cut and paste most of the stuff from Gavin's adoption. Let me tell you that is a HUGE time saver. It's stuff like how we met, how we plan to discipline, what are life it like, etc. basically things that don't or didn't change. The biggest change this time was the training classes that are required were now online. I have to admit I didn't care for the online classes. I can see the benefit if a couple had never adopted before but I would have liked different options since this was our second adoption. The review was good for us but different would have been nice.
We had also just finished Utah Foster Care training which is 32 hours of class time. I'm so glad we did that training! We had started prepping our house for placement from Foster Care before we even started paperwork with LDSFS but decided there was nothing wrong with working with both avenues while we waited for our baby. We had bunk beds purchased and set up and tried to prepare as much as we knew was necessary while we waited to get the call that they were coming to do a home study. We decided that we would apply with LDSFS too since we didn't have a strong feeling one way or another where our child would come from.
Since we were on the FSA board and in charge of sending out emails we got an email from Melinda who was the Children's Services manager for the American Fork LDS Family Services office. She had just met with an expectant mom that day that needed housing. This is what the email said...
One of our caseworkers met with an expectant mother today who is in immediate need of a temporary place to live. Our young friend is 33 weeks pregnant and considering an adoption plan. She has very little local family support (most of her family are in Southern Utah), and hardly ANY support for an adoption plan so a sweet family experience may be exactly what she needs. She’s looking for a home that is as near to Orem as possible. She works in Orem and doesn’t want anything to disrupt her employment. She does NOT have a car so she’ll also need help with rides to work as well as to her counseling appointments and group sessions at the agency. She’s hoping for this housing help to be a short-term solution since she has plans to start school at UVU next semester and would prefer to live close to the school.
JD and I talked right after I got the email and decided we would tell Melinda that we had housing available. We didn't fit all the criteria since we live in American Fork and she was in Orem (actually Provo) but we both felt very strongly that we needed to make it known we would be willing to help. Since we were in the early stages of filling out our adoption profile information we didn't know if she would consider us for placement but beyond that we just felt like we needed to help. After several emails back and forth between us and Melinda we set up a time to meet Stevie.
She came over on a Friday afternoon and met JD, Gavin, Roxy and I. I showed her around the house and the room we had available in our basement. It felt like a good fit to me but ultimately the decision was up to her. I made sure to tell her that our invitation to move in with us wasn't because we had expectations that she would place her child with us but rather we wanted to be able to help and support her and give her a safe place that she could make a good decision for her and her baby. JD and I talked after she left and both felt good about offering her a place to live until her baby arrived and for a short time after and let Melinda know. Stevie had contacted her and felt like this would be a good fit for her too. She moved in the following Monday.