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Don’t say you don’t know where to start

It happens regularly.  I’d say weekly.  We find ourselves in a meeting or in a hallway or over coffee, and someone asks about our adoption stories.

img_25191I’ve learned to trim the story down a little bit – at least Zoe’s story.  There are so many intricate details to her story….prophetic foreshadowing, meetings  that seemed chance at the moment but were momentousness later, and so on.  It’s easy for me to get lost lacing the details together and watch the listeners’ eyes glaze over.  But they’re important to me.  She’s my girl.

dsc06938Anna and Mercy’s story is so fast that people often think they misundertand us.   It’s true.  We learned about them on a Thursday morning and walked out of the hospital in Florida with them about 32 hours later.   I blogged Zoe’s adoption, but I twittered the twins, because it all happened at lightspeed.

I remember Dwayne Roberts calling me in the airport…in the midst of encouraging us in the journey, he asked “What ethnicity are the twins?” – and I didn’t know!  We’d been moving so quickly that I never asked.

Once the stories are told and they’re oohing and aahing over the girls, we often hear it….

“Wow,we would adopt too if they just dropped in our laps like this!  It sounds so easy!”

Truthfully, it’s not that hard.  Yes, there is paperwork to fill out, fingerprints to be taken, doctor’s exams to be scheduled and so on.  There’s also money to be raised (sometimes even after the fact – we’re still not done with the twins…hard to raise that kind of cash overnight!).   Even so, it’s not prohibitive.  It’s not easy, but it’s not impossible.

As for the “dropping in our laps” part….that’s where I have to fight my tendency to roll my eyes, because yes, we did adopt babies who we connected with from a comment on our blog, but we were able to adopt because we made ourselves ready to adopt by doing one simple thing that you can do too:  Get a home study.

Home study?  What’s that?

In laymen’s terms, a home study is a way for an adoption agency, a lawyer, and the court to know that you can provide a stable environment for a child.   Without one, you are not able to adopt.   Understand – if babies dropped in your lap as quickly as we found the twins – you could not adopt them without a home study.

How do I get one?

Find a social worker or counseling agency in your who will do a  home study for you.   Make sure that they will give you a copy of the study – sometimes they are contracted to specific adoption agencies and are not able to release it to you, even though  you’re paying for it.  The home study will cost you around $1000.

Whoa – $1000?  For fifty pages of paper about myself?

Yes, home study’s cost money.  If you’re going to have a child- by adoption or natural means – you’re going to get used to the fact that you will fork over multiple times more than this on a regular basis.  This is called the cost of living.    It will not be the first thousand you spend and it will not be the last – but it is the amount that you have to spend to be a viable candidate in the world of adoption.

The study itself is a series of interviews, writing of your own story, paperwork and recommendations.  It will take you some hours to get done.  You will get tired.  And once you adopt, one night at 3am you’ll be walking the floor with a baby and laughing about how much easier the home study was than actually having a baby can be.   My point is that it’s not easy, but it’s not impossible, and you’ll do harder things if you’re successful in doing this.

A few months before we adopted the twins, we felt we wanted to be ready for an emergency situation like theirs, should one ‘drop in our lap’.   Our home study was finished the day before we heard about them.  Two days before we held them in our arms.  Had we not gone ahead and got the study done when no babies were in sight, we would never have been in a position to say “We will take them – now!”.

So now you know.  Don’t say you don’t know where to start.

Suggestion – if you have a friend who longs to adopt but doesn’t know where to begin, forward the permalink to this to them…and be sure to be there when they say ‘yes’, so you can pitch in a few bucks!

Also, link to The Zoe Foundation, where one of our goals is to build a national database of thousands of Christian families who are not only willing to adopt, but have done the work of a home study, saying “we’re ready to adopt – we will take them, now!”


18 Responses

  1. We have a couple in our church who are in the process of adopting, but its a different process than in the States. Adoption in NZ is actually quite rare these days b/c abortion is so easy. Prayer for this couple is appreciated.

  2. Thank you so much for the 1,2,3’s ! 🙂
    You are doing for us with adoption what Mike did for us with the book of Revelation.
    You are de-mystifying the process.
    Many times it’s not an issue of heart but an issue of seeming complication and impossibility.
    Awesome post!

  3. This is exactly what we are doing and what I am encouraging others. Thank you so much for taking the time to write it out. I think I will be refering people to this post quite a bit!

    I do appreciate the reminder that what we are doing isn’t foolish. Because we don’t know what God has in store for the next step, sometimes I catch myself wondering what I have done spending $1000 for a homestudy without a baby in mind. I know God is allowing us, just like you to walk this out so that we can lead others down this amazing journey.

    Thanks again for your encouragement!

  4. Yes, thank you for the step by step! This is perfect timing in my wife and I’s on going consideration of adoption.

  5. You’re right. Kids are being lost every day because hte church isn’t prepared yet. The twins were hours away from being put into the foster care system when you and Kelsey stepped in. The one thing that made everything else possible for them was you two being prepared. When I tell the story of the twins people are always amazed that you two had gotten your home study done before knowing which baby would be coming home with you when in fact it SHOULD be done that way. It should be normal that those with a call to adopt are ready every day. How many mothers just gave birth today and realize now that they need help? The twin’s mom was thinking up until just after they were born that maybe she might be able to raise them. That left hours for her to find adoptive parents before the state took over. You guys were crazy ready – but you’re right – that should be normal.

  6. In California home studies typically cost around $2500 …. just fyi. We had been giving guidance that they were around the $1500 mark and were shocked at the increased cost … but it’s California, so I guess we shouldn’t have been surprised.

  7. Thanks for this info Randy! It helps me to see that the process is not mysterious. I definitely have adoption in my heart for my future family. ( Must rescue those babies and bring them into the Kingdom of God!) $1000 for a home study, if that’s what it costs to save a baby’s life, it’s worth it!!
    You guys are such a blessing, I love what the Lord is calling you to in starting the Zoe Foundation. Thank you for being Forerunners in this area that is in the heart of God for this generation! Bless you guys!

  8. Thanks Randy. Clear and simple. You need to write a new book: Adoption for Dummies. We should have done all of this a year and a half ago.

    Please pray for us. We don’t have all our paperwork done and the homestudy is in progress, but not in time for the baby that is in foster care through a family in our church. Most days, I feel her slipping through my fingers, but other days, I’ve got all the faith in the world. Today is not a faith day.

    People get ready! That phrase takes on all new meaning.

  9. It seems as though this information is about private adoption–there is the option of going through a state program. In Texas, we didn’t have to pay for home visits, or the adoption–just a lawyer’s fee for legalizing the procedure.

  10. Thanks Randy! This is good stuff.

    How often do you have to repeat a home study? Or how long to they last?


  11. @KC – You’re right, there is an option for going through the state. In most cases, it takes a lot longer and is far more tedious. That said, there are a lot of kids in the state system that need good homes – hats off!

    @angela – A home study is generally good for one year; then you need to do an update, which takes a fraction of the time and costs less than a full home study.

  12. Oh man, how long until I have a home that someone can study so that I can take babies…(and, I wonder how old you have to be…)

    The girls look so little in that picture! Now they have those perfect chub cheeks…

  13. I wanted to share an option for getting a home study for zero (yes I said ZERO) cost in the state of Iowa. Become licensed as a foster parent! The state pays 100% of the cost (home study, fingerprints, etc…) and the home study is now ours to keep and can be used for adoptions outside of the state foster/adoption process.

    Foster parenting is another area that the church needs to step in and be the hands and feet of Christ in our communities.

  14. This website is very inspiring and your story really touched our hearts. We have completed our home study to adopt and have been signed up with an adoption agency since August 2007 with no results yet. Our daughter is going to be 7 this year and we are STILL hoping/waiting for another child. We don’t want her to grow up alone. She constantly asks us, when is Jesus going to give me a baby sister or brother? We are pretty good at stuffing our feelings regarding the long wait, but to a 7 yr old, 15 minutes seems like an eternity. Our agency told us if we found a baby from another source, they could still process the adoption papers for us. We are not in a financial position to sign up with other agencies but would like to know if there are any other avenues of finding a child. Any help is appreciated!

  15. Seconding the rec to get foster parenting training. It’s free – which is why we, a family with 3 birth kids and about $30k/year did it – and Christians need to be ready to take kids who’ve known the worst life has to offer, in addition to squishy beautiful new babies. Otherwise pro-abortion advocates just have more ammo for cutting off those “unwanted” lives in utero. Great post!

  16. What about single parents who feel called to adopt? Can singles adopt too?

  17. I am amazed at what you are doing…. my dream is to do the same. We looked into international and couldn’t afford it, looked into domestic with the same result, started with DSS and took in three preadoptive children only to loose them 10 months later right before we were to adopt them as their parents did the min. requirments. All I desire is chilren LOTS of children, God has closed my womb, and I have always desired adoption… I just can’t seem to get off the starting line. Any help would be great…. and I am willing to help out in the organization in anyway possible… I love kids and think they deserve the world… God said we are to take care of the elders and children and thats what I want to do…. Thank you for taking care of the children aswell!

  18. put me on the data base as I have a homestudy through MA DSS office!

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