“We’d talked about adoption throughout our marriage,” said Greta Otto, while holding a smiling 4-month old on her lap. “It was always something we wanted to do at some point.”
Greta and her husband Shawn, the pastor at Providence Mennonite Church, welcomed their adopted son Matthew into their home when he was just a few days old.
The Ottos and their three biological children, Abby, Emma and Caleb, started their adoption journey last December with a home study. “The home study is nothing like what many think,” said Shawn. “It’s not a scary process. We never felt like we were being judged or that they wouldn’t like us.”
Home studies serve three distinct purposes; to educate and prepare adoptive family for the adoption, to evaluate how fit the adoptive family is and to gather information about the prospective families that will help match the family with a child or children whose needs the family can meet.
Social workers typically interview perspective adoptive parents several times as well and will visit the perspective parents home. The home visits are not so much inspecting how clean the house is, but rather whether the environment is child-friendly.
After the completion of the home study and initial paperwork, the Ottos were placed on the active adoption list in February. “We went through a law firm in Indianapolis that only handles adoptions, so the time it takes to get put on the active list could vary,” said Shawn.
Nearly every day Emma, Abby and Caleb would ask when a baby would be coming. “We wrote a letter to potential birth mothers telling about our family. Many times they (the children) would ask if a mommy had picked our letter yet,” said Greta. “For Caleb, the question was always, ‘How many more sleeps until we get a baby?’”