That is the question we are being peppered with.
Today our caseworker visited our house for a two hour meeting too conduct the physical aspect of the Home Study. The Home Study is actually a 90 day process where she takes a stack of paperwork asking the where/when/why/how/who of your life (similar to here), the information of a face-to-face interview and a plethora of background and child abuse clearances and financial information and creates a report. This report is meant to present the best side of the adoptive parents and show them as the loving, kind, caring people they are to the different Child Protective Services or Adoption Agencies to match them with the best children. This report is also a clearance report of sorts where our Caseworker is signing a document endorsing us as parents. It's a legal binding document that if she were wrong could be very messy. She seems very official in what she does so I doubt wrong is a thing she does lightly or ever.
Today was spent reviewing our paperwork, meeting her face-to-face, asking some odds and ends and getting a list of additional documentation we need to complete the 90 day process. It's been a busy 30 days lining everything up, dotting all the I's and crossing all the T's. My three-page to-do documentation list is down to a handful of things and a few small additional extrapalations. These things we can do.
So we are at an interesting stage. We are waiting for our background and child abuse clearances to be returned to us from a few states. We have a handful of documents that need to be expanded, edited, created and returned to our agency and caseworker. We need to be ready, willing and able to answer different questions that will be asked as our caseworker drafts our 18-20 page in-depth bio. We have to be patient and wait.
Once it is all done and it is submitted to our agency we decide how we want to go about selecting children. We can choose to do it ourselves with the understanding that some of the Child Protection Services divisions won't work directly with families, or use our agency. If we select the agency we than sit back and wait as she best tries to match us and child(ren). Once we find a 'match' we fly stateside to meet the child(ren) face-to-face. If it's a good fit we coordinate getting the guardianship/foster-status and the kids get brought over. We have 6-months to make sure it's the right fit before we are able to adopt them. At that stage the children will be fully ours.
We hope to have children in our house within the next 9 months. I see it like a pregnancy .... but with more papercuts and less cankles. We do have specifics about what ages/situations/races/medical issues we are willing to consider. At this stage I'm not comfortable explaining or defending our choices. As our caseworker says there is no right or wrong answer. In these situations we are the architect of our family and the choices we make not only effect us but will affect our children. If our children get treated with bias or prejudice it will be our fault and that is a decision we are weighing heavily.
So 'where are you in process' is an interesting question we continually receive. I say it's a fair estimate to say 'past the first trimester.' We are past the morning sickness stage and now at the growth period. It's time to celebrate Christmas and test drive the new family vehicle and chase the mother-in-law's doctor appointments and work the holidays so my co-worker can take a much needed vacation. That is where we are.