David and I took a big step forward in our adoption process the other night when we officially submitted this:
Our application was approved, so now we just have to sign a few things and mail them back, and then we'll be starting the Home Study process. I have to admit that I'm nervous about that part! I've talked to friends who have been through this, and they all say the Home Study isn't anything to be worried about. I guess it's just weird for me to imagine sharing so much personal information with a stranger. I wouldn't say I'm a super private person in general (I mean, duh, I blog), but I'm also not one to just spill my guts to anyone and everyone either. So, this should be interesting :) I'm just praying that we really click with our Social Worker and that we feel very comfortable with her.
I'm not even sure about the timing of everything. I know the Home Study process will take a couple of months. We can't finish it until after Alaina's birthday in March anyway (Hong Kong requires your youngest child to be a year old at the time of the Home Study completion), which is why we've waited until now to submit our application. After the Home Study is complete, I really have no idea how long the process will take.
Speaking of countries, our plan is still to adopt from Hong Kong. We feel like it's a really good fit for us, but we're still open to other countries too. We're just praying that the Lord will guide us throughout this process and shut doors and change our hearts if need be. At this point, we feel a real peace about adopting from Hong Kong, and it feels nice to have a plan. It's so comforting to know that God will lead us to our sweet baby :)
We're also still praying about the special needs of the child we will adopt. I've mentioned that we really feel called to adopt a child with special needs. Specifically, we feel like the Lord has really put Down Syndrome on our hearts. There's really no reason or explanation for this outside of God. (Meaning, we don't really have any experience or special criteria that would make us feel "prepared" for that.) It's just the direction that we feel lead at this time. Again, we're just asking for the Lord's guidance and clear direction. It's hard to make all of these decisions!
In the meantime, David and I are both going to be volunteering at a little school for children with special needs. We felt like it would be great for us to spend some time around these precious kids if we're going to be blessed with one ourselves! David has already been to volunteer once, and he had a wonderful experience. It was neat to see him excited about spending time around these children, and I can't wait to go myself.
So, we just have a lot of exciting things going on right now! I feel like we're still in the calm stage, though. We're excited to be moving forward, but we don't feel like the adoption process has consumed our lives yet. From what I've heard, I'm sure that will come. Haha! Please continue to pray for guidance. What is SO weird to think about is that we could potentially have a child somewhere in another part of the world RIGHT NOW. We obviously have no idea how old our child will be, so he or she could potentially already be born. Crazy. We can't wait to meet our newest family member!