So we completed the PATH classes this month, and we completed a ginormous stack of paperwork. Yay! We've bothered our friends, family, and even coworkers for reference forms (and special thanks to them!). We've bought fire extinguishers and a carbon monoxide detector (and put the batteries back in the smoke detector over the stove). Our Spare 'Oom is ready for a tiny occupant. But the most exciting exciting step was yesterday. It was out first chance to sit down with our adoption coordinator, Darla (not her real name).
She came to visit us at home and spent two and a half hours with us. We worked through a questionnaire about our parenting skills. What we are comfortable parenting, what we feel we might need help with, and things we feel are beyond our capacity. It was a helpful exercise that gave her a chance to get to know us. It was a pretty casual conversation and it gave us a chance to ask the questions we've been amassing:
- How long does this take? Another 6-8 weeks. During that time we may have two more meetings with her and she may call to speak with both of us individually. She will prepare a home study report and then we will do fingerprinting and background checks. She will pull all of that together and send to the state for approval. We will complete CPR and first aid training in early June. We should be approved possible as early as sometime mid June.
- After a placement what kind of support do we have if we have questions/problems? A team is available 24/7 for questions and brainstorming. Support with practical issues of transportation and doctors appointments is available as well. They offer respite care if we need a break.
- How long until we can adopt? A placement may come quickly, but the child will be in our home for 6 months before we can complete the adoption.
- What does this cost us? Nothing. They cover the costs of the home study, background check, and legal fees. We would be paid a stipend monthly after a child is placed with us, even AFTER the adoption is completed.
- Can our parents and friends help with occasional childcare? Yes. They do not need to also go through a background check or home study. Omni trusts our judgment on who to leave our children with.
- Can we travel with the children? Yes, but we need to communicate those plans to Omni. We would need to get approval for overnight stays out of state.
What is hard to explain is the feeling we got from the meeting. We came away from the conversation very positive. Darla seems as excited to be working with us as we are to be working with her. She said that she would talk to the other Omni adoption coordinator and they will be looking out for a child who would be a good fit for our family.