Our first ARE

What a day!  Not having attended an ARE before, we didn’t know what to expect!  And I’m sure that our readers are wondering about this event as well!

So first of all, what is it?  ARE stands for Adoption Resource Exchange, and it is exactly that.  In attendance are prospective adoptive families (like us) and their social workers, adoption and guardianship workers (they support and represent kids in care), and MCFD organizers as well as representatives from other organizations (for example, AFABC).  Kids are presented by their workers – first of all, the worker speaks about them, highlighting things that may not be in their written profiles or the video profile.  Then, the video or slideshow plays – this is the first time we’ve seen photos of any kids in care, and we were warned that it could be overwhelming.

Our experience was a good one!  Our sw warned us that many guardianship or adoptive sw’s would want to talk to us because we were looking for a teen – and she was right!  We had many workers come and talk with us, but it was a really cool experience!  So many of them were so proud of these kids, how they’ve overcome circumstances in their lives, the things they’re interested in, the skills they’ve mastered.  We loved hearing about them!

I did not think I felt overwhelmed or emotional, but man – was I ever tired last night!  So many emotions travel through our bodies when imagining the future for our family, or the past some of these kids have experienced.  It’s also difficult to have many profiles to look at, and discuss how each kid may or may not be right for your family (and you for them – Jean said about one particular profile “I think we would be good for them, but they might not think so as we don’t share common interests”).

But as we drove home and were discussing these kids, two really stood out for us – and not the ones we expected!  One girl, and one boy (not siblings).  The boy’s guardianship worker talked to us about him, and said she thought we’d be a good match.  And the girl’s worker talked to our sw about us already last week, we didn’t know that.  So who knows… a match might happen sooner rather than later!

On another quick note – our home study sw emailed us this week with a couple more little follow-up questions.  We have a phone call scheduled with her tonight, and we will hopefully have our home study back to read and sign in the next week or two.  Yay!

After things taking so long, it feels like they’re really pickup up now.  But it won’t be long before they slow down again – ha!

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And just like that…

…We’re done!  Well, we still require a few signatures on our Home Study, but after all we’ve been through that’s pretty minor overall.

We had our final home study appointment with our agency social worker, and she expressed once again how much she enjoyed getting to know us, and she thanked us for being so open and welcoming.  We really enjoyed getting to know her too!  I definitely think God provided us with the agency social worker that we needed.

What’s next?  Well, there are those pesky signatures.  Our agency social worker will sign the completed home study, then her supervisor must sign it, then the agency directory (?) must sign it… then the agency social worker brings it to us.  We will read it, ask for edits if we feel that something warrants that, and then sign it.  Once that happens, we’re done!  It’s been indicated that we might have all of our signatures before the end of April, or very early May at the latest… WOOT WOOT!!!

But in the meantime, we’re excited to share that we’ll be a part of the upcoming ARE (Adoption Resource Exchange) after all!  Everything came together in just the perfect way, just in time.  So thankful!

For those that do not know what an ARE (also called a “Matching Event” or an “Exchange) is, it stands for Adoption Resource Exchange, and it serves as a place of connection for families and their Ministry social workers, Ministry guardianship workers (those social workers who have custody of children in care), and sometimes even teens who are searching for families. In preparation for this event, we had two make a two minute video about us (home, family, etc.) and provide a few photos for our Ministry social worker to use when making a handout about us.  We will have the chance to be profiled at this event, and will also be able to view children’s profiles and learn more about them from those who care for them.  I have not been to one of these events before, and am interested to learn more!

We already have a few profiles that we would like to learn more about.  We saw one of them profiled on the AFABC (Adoptive Family Association of BC) site.  And another one was sent our way by our Ministry social worker.  It’s so hard to know much from the little available in those profiles, but we like what we hear so far!  One of these teens is going to be profiled at the ARE and we are interested to learn more!

So that’s where we are at!  But very quickly, for some that have asked us, I would like to answer a question.  We have been asked “You mention a lot of social workers – who is who?”.  Here goes…

Ministry social worker (msw) – As we are adopting through the MCFD (Ministry for Children and Family Development), each family is assigned a social worker to assist them through the process and advocate on behalf of the family and incoming children.  Ours is a real gem, we think she’s fantastic!

Agency / home study social worker (asw/hssw) – The MCFD now contracts out home studies to local adoption agencies.  This ensures that home studies are completed as quickly as possible.  This social worker is assigned to us by the adoption agency, and is responsible for completing the home study as outlined by the agency and the MCFD.

Guardianship worker (gw) – These social workers also work for the MCFD, but work with and are responsible for the children in care.  Every single child in case has a guardianship worker.

How exciting – our next post will be to share that our home study is signed off.  WOOT WOOT!!!  Two of those in one email, wow!  Ha