As both of us work with at-risk populations in our city, we have seen regularly the brokenness right around us. I think the Lord has let the darkness we’re surrounded by soften our hearts for the “least of these”, who are often times children. When we said “yes” to adoption, there was a definite draw to domestic adoption because of what we have seen in such close proximity. As we researched and googled and prayed and researched some more, we decided to adopt with International Family Services (IFS). Their domestic adoption is a cross-cultural program, with the awareness that some children are more at risk of not being adopted than others, and also that when we adopt, our family becomes multi-cultural. The expectation isn’t that the child absorbs our culture alone, but that we incorporate their ethnic identity into our family identity. We loved this way of looking at it. So we are preparing to start the journey with IFS. You can read more about them here: http://ifservices.org/united-states/ They have already been so great to us. We got to speak with the co-founders (Carol and Bob) on a couple occasions, and Carol is going to be our go-to person throughout the process. I’m already grateful for the personal involvement she is demonstrating in our adoption.
If you know one or many families who are either in the middle of or have completed an adoption, you probably know that no two stories are alike. And the process can be different for each family. Here is the break down of what it looks like for us:
Step 1: Complete Home Study and Contract with IFS
From my understanding, a home study is a licensed review of EVERYTHING in your life. We have applied to begin the home study and will have a meeting in the coming weeks to get started. As we learn more specifically what this will entail for us, we will keep you posted. We have already received a very kind gift from some very kind people to pay for the home study.
IFS breaks up the adoption fees into three phases to make it easier on adoptive families. So, the initial fee for applying and contracting is around $5000. We are saving, cutting back on Starbucks, preparing a garage sale, and putting stuff on Craigslist to start toward this goal. We have also made a way for friends and family to come alongside us in jumping this first, major hurtle.
We have a fundraising page that can be found at: http://www.youcaring.com/adoption-fundraiser/welcome-home-jon-and-krista-agler-s-adoption/352024
Once the home study and the contract are complete, then other options open up and we can move toward Step #2!
Step 2: Fundraising, Profile Books, and Becoming “Active”
The second phase with IFS is submitting profile books (detailed, involved pamphlets full of pictures and details of our life to be shared with birth moms looking to find a home for the baby they are carrying). With this step the second fee is due, and at this point we become “Active”. (By the way, with IFS the average time between becoming active and having a baby in our arms is 4-6 months).
To pay for this step, we have some work to do. Once we are contracted with IFS and have a completed home study, there are some additional options for fundraising. We plan on applying for grants. There are a lot of generous organizations that think adoption is so important that they make money available for adoptive families like us. We will be applying for as many grants as possible, and we’ll be keeping you updated on some of these amazing organizations.
A project we are super stoked about is a Both Hands Project. Both Hands is an organization that works with adoptive families to create a team to serve a local widow needing to be shown some tender loving care, while also raising funds to put the fatherless into homes. Pretty incredible. One hand extended to the widow. One hand extended to the orphan. Both Hands. You can learn more about Both Hands here: http://www.bothhands.org/ (PS. If you see on the Both Hands website the story of the Opliger family, that’s Krista’s sister, brother-in-law and family).
And once all this is done…. We will be at the hardest part. Waiting… waiting… waiting… For Step #3.
Step 3: Being matched with a birth mom and meeting our baby.
After becoming “active”, Carol with IFS will be working with the birth moms who have come to IFS and assist them in making many important decisions, including choosing an adoptive family for the child they carry. When one chooses us, we will be notified and we will then have less than three months to get ready to welcome home our baby. Additional funds gathered from grants and the Both Hands project will comprise the final installment of the adoption. A lot of papers will be signed. Tears shed, I imagine. And we will bring that child home.
So this is the path of the journey before us, at least as far as we know. Thank you for being on it with us.