Friday, March 23, 2012

Application and Intake Interview

We've been overdue for an update for a little while, so luckily we've got some fun news to pass along!  On Wednesday, Andy and I went to the OA&FS office in Seattle to meet with Katie for our Application and Intake Interview meeting.  After completing the seminar at the end of February and submitting our application right away, we've been essentially on hold in the process until this meeting.
  • Information Meeting
  • Pre-Adoption Seminar
  • Application Submission
  • Application & Intake Interview
  • Homestudy Interview #1
  • Homestudy Interview #2
  • Homestudy Interview #3
  • Homestudy Interview #4
  • Homestudy Completion
  • Pool Entry
  • Waiting in the Pool
  • Chosen by Birthfamily
During the meeting, we talked about a lot of things such as the remaining steps in our process.  The majority of the meeting was spent with our counselor, Katie, asking questions to get to know us.  She asked several questions such as "How did you decide on adoption?" "How do you feel about openness?" and "How and when did each of you decide that you wanted to have children?".  Even though we may seem pretty far into the process already, one of the main purposes of this meeting was for our counselor to confirm that we were a fit for their program.  To put it bluntly, saying the wrong answers could either delay us from moving forward or keep us from moving forward with OA&FS entirely.  Luckily, Andy and I didn't have to worry about those issues as we are ready to be adoptive parents and support the agency's primary philosophy of openness.

On a personal level for me,  I was able to give a great story in support of openness.  I've only ever known that I am 1/4 Swedish, 1/16 Native American, and then a mix of 'Other'.  Being a dork that loves history, it feels really cool to me to be directly connected to specific cultures.  While it's easy to tie my Swedish ancestry to Sweden, my 1/16 Native American ancestry is right in my backyard and I barely know anything about it.  The best I had to work on was that my great-great-grandmother on my dad's side was "full blood Sioux."  That's sort of helpful except that Sioux isn't really a specific tribe and there are a lot of missing pieces there.  For me, this isn't a huge deal, but it is a regret that I don't know more.  This example is something that translates in a huge way to an adopted child.  Without an open adoption and contact with the birthparents, there's almost a guarantee that our child would have no idea about their heritage.

So after all of the touchy-feely questions and stories, Katie got down to the "nuts and bolts" discussion.  First off, Katie is the Regional Supervisor based in the Seattle office, so she doesn't take on too many adoptive families due to her limited schedule.  She explained that while she would be our counselor until we are chosen, there was the potential that a contractor would do our homestudy and all of the interviews.  In the end, we both felt more comfortable with having a single point of contact so we went with having Katie handle everything for us.  That decision might slow down our progress a bit due to Katie's limited availability, but it felt like the right decision for us.  After some further discussions, the two hour meeting wrapped up and we covered the remaining steps before we can begin our homestudy.  Let's just say that we've got homework to do!

Remaining tasks prior to beginning our homestudy:
  1. E-mail Katie a copy of our Adoptive Family Info Form (already prepared)
  2. Send another check to OA&FS
  3. Send Katie drafts of our ~4 page autobiographies
  4. Send out requests for 5 recommendation letters
    • 1 from family, 4 from non-family
We're thrilled that 3 of these are really easy steps.  However, the autobiographies are really hard as it takes a lot of effort to pump out the story of your life.  Not only does it have to be coherent, but it should be well-written and interesting to a potential birth family.  Andy has already thrown together a preliminary draft on his end and I have... two paragraphs.  Apparently I'd better get moving so we can get our homestudy started!


  1. Hello. I just posted a comment to your most latest post (June) -- the one about making it to the pool!

    So, as I read your posts, I find I have so many questions. My husband and I are working with OAFS--we have our pre-adoption seminar in October, which seems like a LIFETIME away :-( question: do you pay for the homestudy portion all at once or as-you-go?


  2. Again, welcome! October is a little ways away, but it's also a great opportunity to get started on some of the paperwork before your seminar. There's a lot of materials you can prep beforehand. In essence, you can have everything for your application completed and submit it to OA&FS at your October seminar.

    For the costs, Andy had a great post back in March( on the cost breakdown. For the fees, you typically pay a fee before you can move forward with that step. Before we began the homestudy, we paid the homestudy fee right after we wrapped up our application & intake.