The first mega-step after AGCI approves us is completion of the home study. Now, that doesn't sound 'bad' (home study) but talk to anyone who has adopted. It's document after document, personal conversations with a social workers with parts of your life you like and don't like, etc, etc. Now, I totally get why we have to do this and I'm grateful they validate the parents in this way ... but it doesn't mean we have to be thrilled about it. I'm sure there will be many future posts on this topic as we get knee-deep in it.
AGCI does not do home studies in Tennessee but have cooperating agencies they use. In looking at AGCI's website, I noticed that there were NONE in middle Tennessee ... only in Memphis and East Tennessee. This can't be right, can it? What are we going to do!? How can we complete the home study being 3 hours from the closest agency? (You can see I need to work on my faith here). I called AGCI and they informed me that they had 2 agencies in Nashville that were not on the website and they'd email their info. (Thank you, Lord). I'm sure this was just a little lesson in how the process will all unfold ... there will be bumps in the road but you have to stay the course and have faith of the path God has you on.
AGCI also recommended not starting the home study until after we get acceptance into their program. That totally makes sense so we don't spend money on the home study and it not pan out with AGCI for whatever reason.
However, we have picked our home study cooperating agency - Miriam's Promise. I called them on Monday and asked if there was anything we can do to start preparing for the home study while we wait for AGCI's approval. They were very nice, informative and said that we could come in for an initial hour-long discussion and receive the information packet that will fill us in on what we need (financial info, health physicals, autobiography (ugh), birth and marriage certificates, etc, etc). The best news is that there is no financial commitment until we turn in our paperwork. Our meeting is scheduled for Tuesday July 15th at 4pm at their offices. We're excited to start because that is one more step closer to going to Ethiopia!