Last week, I was schlepping my bags through the Milwaukee airport after an early Christmas celebration with family back in Wisconsin. My phone was buzzing with text messages as I recombobulated myself after airport security. As I finally plopped down at a barstool in the airport Chili's near my gate, I checked the phone. I had three texts from Mr. Ladd:
"Check your email."
I opened my email and saw the following from our adoption agency specialist:
"Let me be the first to congratulate you on officially becoming certified to adopt!"
Um, what? This wasn't supposed to go this quickly. Our home study was just submitted to court right before Thanksgiving, and we weren't anticipating being officially certified and on the central registry until after the holidays. Holy crap.
I called Mr. Ladd and excitedly exchanged some combination of "Wow," and "I'm freaking out a little, are you?" and "I can't believe we're done with this whole certification process."
Attached to the email was a copy of our certificate noting that we are officially deemed "acceptable to adopt children." I thought the wording was funny, but then kind of beautiful when you think of the daunting home study process, and even more daunting task of parenting. We are acceptable. We are enough. We don't have to be the best parents to ever live. We just need to be willing, open, and ready to provide a healthy, loving family for our children. A great reminder when things inevitably get tough - we got this!
So now we are on the Central Adoption Registry and are officially a waiting family. Any day now we could receive a phone call about a potential match with our children. Here's how the next part of this process works - The Central Registry is basically a giant data base. Case managers with the Arizona Department of Child Safety (DCS) have access to the registry and look up potential families for kids on their case load based on their criteria and our preferences. If they think we are a potential match for those children, they will contact our agency for what is called a "red file" meeting along with the agencies of any other potential parents.
Our agency then represents us at the "red file" meeting to paint a more detailed picture of our family and the kind of children that would be the best match. If the DCS case manager decides we would be the best match for those kids, we are then offered placement and called into a meeting where we get further information about the children, see pictures, and get to ask any questions we may have. We then have to take 24 hours to decide yes or no, and if we decide yes, we are commited and the transition process begins to bring our kids home!
We are excited but patiently anticipating that phone call. There is no way to tell how fast this next part will go, and it is really just a waiting game at this point. So, we're enjoying our time as a couple and nesting away as we prepare for the biggest change our family has ever experienced. Things could get crazy real quick, or we could be waiting for a long while. I will keep everyone updated via the blog as much as possible, so make sure you subscribe via email to keep up with the latest. As always, thank you for your support and encouragment. It means so much to us when people ask us questions, show interest, and join in the anticipation. We're storing up all the love and preparing to welcome our little ones whenever that may be!