So, we were finally "ready", and we'd decided God's plan for us was close by... CPO is located in the heart of Tulsa, a mere 30 minute drive from The Compound. (Since we drive so fast...)
One day we decided, let's turn in our application now! So, I got on the CPO website and was disappointed to see that they weren't accepting applications for another 8 months, June of 2012.
I printed off everything I needed and began poring over it. It was a bit daunting, as I knew that every word I wrote on the application would help determine if we were accepted. I had 8 months to obsess. What fun that must have been for Jarad!
My plan was to have the application completely filled out and in the hands of CPO volunteers on June 1, 2012 when the doors opened at 10am. Pretty sure it was closer to noon when I actually turned it in, but whatevs. That just showed how relaxed I was about the whole thing.
So, June 2012 came. We turned in our application, and we began to wait. How long would it take for them to review it? Would they tell us if they didn't like us, or would we just never hear from them? Did I remember to have Jarad sign it before I drove it over there? Have they cashed the check for the application fee? With an organization run completely by volunteers, I knew the timeline might be a little delayed.
Eventually, I got an email from the director. Our application had been reviewed and we were invited to have an interview with one of her assistants!
Yay! I was sooooo excited!
Oh no! I was sooooo nervous!
Eventually the meeting came. I have no idea when it was, but I know it was at the BA Starbucks with Stephanie. She was very nice and warm, and even though I was internally LOSING. MY. MIND with anxiety, she put me at ease enough for me to be somewhat normal-acting. I mean, I don't remember exactly how I acted, but they accepted us to adopt through them, so I guess I was okay.
At the meeting, I told Stephanie that I was going to continue to teach until May of 2013, so we would wait until then to turn in our Life Book. (The Life Book is the "final step" before you start waiting to be picked; it is for the pregnant girls to look at and get a quick idea of what you're about. After you turn it in, you could literally have a baby in your arms 2 hours later... although usually it takes longer than that, obviously.) The fact that we wanted to wait about 9 months after being approved to adopt baffled Stephanie. It has since baffled many people in the CPO/adoption world. I think that in many situations, by the time a family decides to adopt, they are DYING for a child RIGHT. FREAKING. NOW. Of course, we were excited to adopt, but we had a timeline and a plan, and we were sticking to it.
And stick to it, we did. Mostly. Sort of. More on that later.
So, we started meeting the requirements needed to adopt. Because of our waiting-until-the-end-of-the-school-year plan, we had plenty of time to get it all done without feeling rushed at all.
We attended the Waiting Families Workshop in November of 2012. It was a 3 day workshop, and by the end of it my heart was beginning to transform. It would be a bit longer before my heart was fully changed, but the WFW started the turn.
******************Side note: "My heart was beginning to transform." What do I mean by this? I mean, I went to CPO intending to adopt a baby. They make it clear that they are a ministry trying to help girls in crisis pregnancies. My thought was, "Yeah, that's nice. I'm gonna get my baby and move on." During the WFW, that began to change. I began to see CPO as a ministry that I would like to be involved with indefinitely. I learned about open adoption and I began to yearn for that kind of relationship with our future child's birthmother. I met birthmothers whose lives had been changed during the time CPO was helping them through their pregnancy. I found that even after the adoption is finalized, CPO sticks by the girls. They offer them professional counseling and support groups FOR LIFE. I also liked knowing that CPO absolutely does NOT push girls to choose adoption. If a girl decides she wants to parent a child, they still offer professional counseling and support groups FOR LIFE. I started to see that this place, this CPO place that was going to give me a baby, was going to be a part of my life for a LOT longer than it took to get my adoption finalized in the court system. This CPO place was going to be MY place. My way to volunteer and help people, something I had wanted to do after my teaching career was put on hold for parenting. CPO was going to be come MY mission.
******************Like I said, it would be a bit longer before my heart was fully changed, but the WFW started the turn.
We also completed our home study and I refuse to relive that ridiculousness. If you want to read how that turned out, and laugh at my insanity, feel free. You can find it here.
After the home study, I began to work on our Life Book. And by "began to work on our Life Book" I mean I sat in front of my laptop for 14 hours and didn't move (except for bathroom breaks) until it was finished and ready to order. Yeah, once I started, I couldn't stop.
It came in around the end of March. All that was left was to buy the very basic baby supplies (car seat, crib, minimal clothing) and wait for the school year to finish.
That was the plan.We didn't stick to it.
More on that in Part 3.