Jessa Duggar and Ben Seewald continue to talk about adopting, and a recent headline even claims that they're in the process of "finalizing paperwork" to begin the adoption process. However, the headline is a bit misleading.
On May 2, Us Weekly published an article titled "Jessa Duggar Reveals Latest Adoption Plans: We're Finalizing 'Paperwork and a Home Study." Jessa told the magazine that she and Ben want to adopt because they have a few friends who have adopted children, but she never actually said that she and her husband are finalizing any paperwork—Jessa simply revealed her desire to take the necessary steps to begin the adoption process.
"We don't know what the future holds, but as the Bible says, 'Man plans his way, and God directs his steps,'" Jessa told Us Weekly. "So we want to move forward with paperwork and a home study, and just be ready for however God opens those doors."
Notice how Jessa said that she and Ben "want to move forward with paperwork," not that they've actually filled anything out.
During a previous episode of Jill & Jessa: Counting On, Jessa admitted that she and Ben had to put their adoption plans on hold because adoption agencies won't let them begin the process while they have a baby under nine months old at home. Their son, Spurgeon Elliot Seewald, is currently 5-months-old, so it will still be a while before Jessa and Ben can begin the adoption process in earnest.
Even if Spurgeon was nine months old, it would still be quite some time before Jessa and Ben could bring a new baby home. As Jessa mentioned above, she and Ben have to complete a home study after they fill out the initial adoption paperwork. According to Baby Center, this can take three to six months. A home study includes visits from social workers, physical exams, and criminal background checks. Adoption.net lists specific information that social workers in Arkansas will require from the couple, which includes the following: the maturity of the applicants, the financial status of the family, verification of employment and income, the family's discipline practices and religious affiliation, and an assessment of the safety of the family's home.
While it will be many months before Jessa and Ben can even begin the adoption process, this isn't stopping TLC from using the adoption talk to promote the May 3 episode of Jill & Jessa: Counting On. As Radar Online reports, a teaser clip for the finale shows Jill and Jessa Duggar talking about their dreams of adopting. The episode will focus on a family trip to visit missionary couple Jill Duggar and Derick Dillard in Central America, and Jill and Jessa will be shown touring a local orphanage. Radar observes that the sisters are "turning the abject poverty of the local children into a storyline," and it seems as though the Duggars and TLC are also using the adoption storyline as a ploy to drum up interest in a potential second season of Jill & Jessa: Counting On. In the Counting On sneak peek, Jana Duggar teases viewers with the possibility of a televised race to see which Duggar can adopt first.
"I can definitely see Jill and Derick adopting in the future," the oldest Duggar daughter tells the TLC cameras. "They definitely have a heart for babies and little ones and I know that Jill has talked about it in the past."
According to the Duggar Family Blog, Jana Duggar told TLC about her own desire to adopt after a 2010 mission trip, but she can't join the family's adoption race because she's unmarried.
TLC even plays up the Jill vs. Jessa adoption competition on its website.
"Who will be the first to adopt?" a teaser for this week's Jill & Jessa: Counting On episode reads.
Ben Seewald has proclaimed that he wants 15 sons, and adopting would be the best way to ensure that he gets his wish. However, Jill & Jessa: Counting On will have to be renewed for multiple seasons if Ben and Jessa plan on a TLC camera crew documenting their good deeds.
Do you think Jessa Duggar or Jill Duggar will actually adopt a child in the near future, or are they simply talking about the possibility of adopting to keep viewers tuning into Jill & Jessa: Counting On?
[Images via TLC/YouTube]