Tuesday, February 26, 2013

What's Next?

I am OVERJOYED and overwhelmed! Since I shared our wonderful news on my blog and facebook, we've had over 400 "likes", 70+ comments, and almost 400 blog views. WOW! Our baby girl is so loved already, and she's not even here yet!

We are still so thrilled, and so grateful to God for this incredible miracle! We can't thank you all enough for celebrating and REJOICING with us! Thank you for understanding how special this news is, and for being a part of it through your prayers and your comments. I wish I could hug you all and respond to every kind word you've posted! We feel truly BLESSED to have such wonderful friends, and we can't wait for sweet Kate to meet you all!

So... what's next?

Now that we got our approval, we are officially moving forward with our adoption! We have already applied and been accepted by our agency, and we were just waiting on this approval to take the next step. That means we're officially "paper pregnant" as they say in the adoption world! I know many of you are wondering, "what's next" and the most important question -  "How long until she's home?!" I was kind of emotional on our last phone call with our adoption agency, so I might be missing some details - but here is our best understanding of our timeline and our "to do" list!

Home Study & Dossier
Right now we are waiting for our contract to come in the mail from our adoption agency. Once that is signed, our next step is completing our home study and dossier. The home study will be done with a social worker through a Hague approved adoption agency in our state (Alabama). If anyone has any advice for us deciding between Villa Hope or Lifeline (or another one we might not know about) please feel free to share it! We're hoping to find a social worker that has experience working with Thailand, but we know Thai adoptions are rare. Our home study is extremely important, so we want to be sure we choose the right agency!

The dossier is a fancy word for "a lot of paperwork" that is needed for our adoption. I don't even know what all we need for this - we should get a list some time in the near future. From what I understand, completing both the home study and the dossier should take anywhere from 3 months to 6 months. Then we'll be waiting for a referral!

A referral is a photo and file of a child available for adoption. It will likely be around 1 year (after our home study and dossier are complete) before we get a referral - though it could be sooner. Our adoption agent said she's seen some happen in 6 months. Once we get a referral, we will have it reviewed by a doctor from the International Adoption Clinic in Birmingham. The doctor will be able to explain any health issues or concerns we might have. We have been approved to adopt a "healthy infant" (from birth to 2 years old) or a child with mild special needs (for example, a child that was born premature). We could get a referral for a child up to 3 years old. Then we'll pray about it, and if we feel peace about that referral we will accept it and be "matched".

Once we are matched, she said to expect a 4-6 month wait time before we can travel to get our little girl! At that point we'll prepare to meet our sweet Kate, and when we get the call, we'll travel to Thailand and bring her home!!!

Our Adoption Agency
We'll be using New Beginnings Adoption Agency in New York. We have had a wonderful experience with them so far and we are so excited to be working with them! The orphanage we'll be adopting from is Pattaya Orphanage in Thailand. They are a Catholic run orphanage in Southern Thailand, and everything we've seen about them is just incredible. You can see their website here, including photos of the children who have been adopted from this home (just scroll to the bottom of the page). I have stared at those precious little faces for months and prayed for our Kate. And now we finally have the opportunity to adopt a child from this home!

The Timeline
Adoption timelines are tricky, because a lot of it is out of our hands. We have to file a lot of paperwork and wait on approvals from different government offices.... have fingerprints done and wait on clearances to get back from the FBI... wait on referrals to come from overseas (which depends on how many children are available for adoption), and the list goes on! We believe that our best case scenario would be around 14 months - though that is not likely at all. We are more likely looking at an 18 month - 24 month timeline (2 years) until she's home. It could even be longer than that. We are of course praying for things to go as quickly as possible, but we are also trusting that God knows what timeline is best for us and our little girl!

***Adoptive Moms - if there is anything I've missed or any important questions I should be asking our agency right now - please feel free to comment and give me your advice! 

I'll keep you all updated as we get more details and move forward with our home study. Please keep us in your prayers as we work and wait to bring our baby girl home!


  1. I'm so excited for you and Rusty! I'm so glad you have been approved, and that now you at least have a timeline for your waiting, even if right now it might seem like a long one. Congratulations!
    As a side thought... the FBI does not fingerprint couples trying to get pregnant, seems a little crazy to me

    1. Isn't that crazy? You would think couples wanting to have children would also need to be checked for a record of child abuse too, huh? (We have to be.... from every state we've lived in since the age of 18!) It would make sense! - Anyway, thanks for the congrats! We are actually pretty excited about this timeline - several other agencies had a 3-5 year wait, so 2 years sounds great to us! :)

  2. So Excited for you!! Love you guys! I am praying for a speedy process!!

  3. Hi, I found your blog a while back and check in every so often. This post is a pleasant surprise. Congrats on being paper pregnant! My husband and I are also adopting from Thailand. It is a small club (as I am sure you have gathered) so it was nice stumbling across your blog. We are in the dossier step. The process has been challenging, at times frustrating and definitely invasive but we trust it will all be worth it in the end.

    All the best! :-)

    1. KM, it's great to "meet" you! Thanks so much for commenting. I'd love to connect with you since there are so few families adopting from Thailand. Do you have a blog? Feel free to email me at erickabennett (at) gmail (dot) com!