Even though I was crazy tired last night, I was thrilled to attend our first MAPP class! The adoption process has begun again, this time in earnest. I'm so glad.
The class itself seems like it'll be okay. I was prepared to sit through 24 hours of mind-numbing stupidity, but I think it'll be helpful. The best part of last night was learning more about the timeline, which will go something like this:Our Timeline
1. We're in MAPP training now through August 29.
2. At our 2nd or 3rd class, we'll receive profile paperwork. The profile prepares us and the social worker for the homestudy, and turning it in signifies that we're ready to move forward. We plan to complete our profiles while we're still in the MAPP class, so we're looking at the end of July through the end of August to get it done.
3. Once the MAPP class is finished and our profile is turned in, we'll be assigned a social worker. This is when the homestudy begins. S/he will try to take ~60 days to complete the homestudy, and it's done in 4 visits, usually 3 in our home and 1 at the social worker's office. When all of the meetings are done, the social worker will write up an 8-10 page document called a homestudy. "Homestudy" is a noun as well as a verb.
4. During the homestudy, we'll need to collect personal references and medical reports. Real life friends, consider yourselves warned!
5. When our homestudy is complete, we'll register with MARE
and begin to network. Once our homestudy is approved, our wait officially begins. Given the timeline, it looks like that'll happen in the beginning of November. So, by Thanksgiving we should be pregnant!
6. The Wait. The trainers said that a year is a reasonable amount of time to wait; some folks wait less and some wait more. After a year, the homestudy has to be updated.
7. The Match. Matches are made between the child's social worker and our social worker. If they're in agreement about goodness of fit, we get called. After hearing a little about the child and her/his situation, we can either move forward or decide that we're not a good match for that child. If we say we're not a match, we go back into the waiting pool. If we'd like more info, we'd attend a disclosure meeting when we'd have access to the child's files and team members. Once that meeting is done, we're asked whether we want to commit to the child. If we say no, we go back into the pool; if we say yes, we'd start visitation with the child. Since many waiting kids are in foster care, we'd be working closely with the foster parent/s during transition. Once the child comes to live with us, that's called the placement. That's when we'd be bringing home our Hester Willa!
8. Between placement and finalization, we're considered pre-adoptive foster parents by the state. DSS has custody of the child, not us. Finalization can happen in as little as 6 months (that's the minimum time a child can be in your home before an adoption can be finalized in MA) or it might never happen, especially in a high risk adoption. It's not unusual to wait years for finalization when the child is very young.
9. Finalization--FINALLY! This is when we'd go to court and a judge would declare that Hester Willa is our child, now and forever, amen. Let's hope for sooner rather than later, shall we?
So that's it in a nutshell. It sounds like we might become parents in 2007! It could take longer, of course, but in my heart I'm really hoping to have Hester home with us by Christmas 2007. Knock wood, okay?