So for posterity, I am going to share our journey over a few blog posts so that I will remember this whole crazy journey we have been on. Today, I'm posting about our decision to adopt through the foster system.
A couple months ago, I posted this. Something I had written back in 2008, around the time I felt like God was saying that adoption is something I should do. Notice I didn't say "we"...not yet anyways. I love how the Lord took us on our own journeys to get to the same decision. I have laid out a timeline and overlaid what details we now know of the kids' lives as well.
Summer 2008- Eryn wrote this and felt the Lord calling her to adopt through the foster system. Our lives were hectic. David was working 55-60 hrs a week and was also getting sick with an illness that would plague him for the better part of a year and a half. (At this point our oldest girl, A, is 1 year old.)
October 2008- Eryn feels called to go back to school for a MS in Counseling Psychology and enrolls in a school in Colorado for a quarter.
End of 2008- We decide to move back to Tennessee from Colorado so that Eryn can go to a good school for my MS in counseling and we can be closer to family after David decides to quit his PhD program to focus on his health. Clearly, it wasn't the time to adopt or foster for that matter, and moving states would have negated that even if we had of begun the process in Colorado.
2009- David struggles with the decision to go back to school to finish his PhD. He has been teaching as an adjunct professor up until this point while Eryn goes to school and nanny part time. He decides after much trial and prayer that he wants to pursue a Doctorate of Chiropractic instead and he chooses Life University. Eryn has two more semesters to finish school at this point. (M, our second girl, was born in April '09.)
January 2010- David begins Life University in Marietta, GA while Eryn finishes up school and works on her internship at Agape Nashville (who incidentally also does foster to adopt through the state of TN, but obviously this was not a good time since we lived apart for 4 months, seeing each other on weekends, and were about to move to another state!). (February 2010 is when B, our youngest, a boy, is born.)
May 2010- We find a home in Marietta, Georgia (two counties over from the county the children we hope to adopt, but they aren't placed in the state's care just yet). Eryn continues to travel to school in Nashville for one night a week while David is in the throws of Chiropractic School. Eryn also works at an internship at an Atlanta counseling center.
August 2010- Eryn graduates and stays on as a newbie counselor at the center she did her internship at. We also decide to check out a local private agency that specializes in foster-to-adopt programs with the state. We feel good about what we learned and decided to sit on things for a while.
October 2010- Eryn gets an admin position at her job site and earns extra money while she decides to build her clientele. David also has a vision of two little girls running around our home and feels like it's time to pursue adopting, feeling very strongly that with the Lord all things (no matter how overwhelming!) are possible.
January 2011- We attend a three day training, right on our 5 year anniversary weekend no less! Also, our children are put into foster care at the very same time. We also get checked out by a clinical nutritionist to help us with some health issues (David really hasn't felt back to 100% by this point and would like to be by the time he becomes a dad!). We also have our first adoption homestudy with a wonderful contract social worker.
February-May, 2011- We complete a vast amount of paperwork, gather records, get tested for various things, get fingerprinted, etc. for our homestudy to be complete. We didn't particularly feel a rush during this time, but we felt like we had a bit more time before we needed to be approved. We get the official word that we are approved just for adoption at the beginning of May.
May 2011- The referrals start pouring in for children who are free to adopt. We don't feel led to pursue any particular referral. We begin to be more open to sibling groups of TWO. In fact our adoption agent said that she thought of us for a couple sibling groups of THREE, but we weren't approved yet at the time. We were like, "Three? Yeah right!"....
June 2011- We receive a referral for three precious children who Eryn, immediately feels a connection with. We just have an email with a small blurb about a paragraph long and no pictures. Eryn calls David and says well it looks like we have a referral we need to talk about. David excitedly listens. Eryn says, "Well it's for a sibling group of two sisters 4 and 2.....and their 1 year old baby brother!" To Eryn's surprise, David laughs and says, "OK, let's find out more about them!". We both felt a connection with these kids that we can't explain. But we still aren't approved for foster care yet, and we have been trying to get approved for a while!
This is where I leave you till next time for a posting on all the obstacles!