Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Home Study Part 2

Today's home study interview was much more casual and quick than last time.  I didn't feel compelled to organize every closet and wipe down the baseboards, and we allowed the kiddos to hang around the house the whole time we were talking.

When Sylvia (our caseworker) arrived, it felt like we were old friends since, of course, we had divulged every detail and secret in our lives to her in the last meeting.   Pumpkin refused to nap through all the excitement, insisting on changing her doll's imaginary poop over and over in front of Sylvia (who found it adorable).  Peanut and Buddy had their video game time and played outside, often interrupting with important tidbits like, "We have 3 billion dollars saved up in Lego Star Wars!" and "Can we have a snack? Or a cupcake? Or a snack?" 

The funniest moment of the day (and perhaps in the history of Sylvia's profession as a Social Worker) was when Buddy came upstairs: "Mom, there's meat.....in the candle downstairs......but I think it could be poop."  Ding, ding, ding! He was right, it was poop.  Peanut had pooped in her diaper, taken it off, and shaken the nuglets into the white PartyLite candle adorning our family room table.  Total awesomeness.

 Thankfully today the questions were much easier: finances, kids' personalities, our marriage relationship,  our discipline method, and our general parenting philosophy. Now we just wait for our study to be processed, which realistically could take a month or two.  Then we will officially be certified, at which point we start waiting for a placement child (which could take another few months).  

We are sooooooo happy to be finished with this part of the process.  Woohoo!!!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Home Study Part 1

Holy cow!  That was the most intense 6 hours of my life. I am physically and emotionally exhausted.

Yesterday was our first visit for our adoption home study.  The social worker came to our house and stayed from, no joke, 1 o’clock to 6 o’clock.  And we still have 4 hours left to complete next week.

She was very friendly and professional.  She’s 72, been in the same line of work for 50 years, and said she’s seen “everything!”  More than once she also said, “I’m as liberal as they come!” by which I think she meant both liberal politically (there were a few Bush jabs) and extremely tolerant of different lifestyles.  She also mentioned that the process for adopting out of foster care is much more rigorous than international or kinship adoption.  All the children coming out of foster care are “at-risk” and the case workers want to make sure the family can handle the coming stress. 

She asked a million questions.  5 straight hours worth, actually.  Some obvious, others obscure.

Why do you want to adopt? What’s your neighborhood like? Why do you home school? What’s your typical day?  What are your specific goals for your life?  What are your specific aspirations for your life?  What is your religion?  Would you be willing to drop a Muslim child off at a  Mosque on the weekend?  What are your hobbies?  What kind of support system do you have?  How do you celebrate holidays?  Who in your family has had issues with alcohol? Drugs? The law?  Why do you have a “failure to stop at a stop sign” on your FBI report? (Oops!)  How well and where do your children sleep at night?  Do you like your job? Do you raise your voice when disciplining your children?  Do you ever spank? Etc…..etc…..etc……

To the kids: Do you know your mom and dad are thinking about adopting a brother?  Will you share your toys?  Will you share your time with mom and dad?  What happens if your new brother breaks your favorite toy?  Do you know any kids who don’t look like you do?  What will you think if your new brother looks different than you?   

To the last question Buddy smiled, and said: “That’d be really good if he looked different than me, otherwise Dad and Mom couldn’t tell us apart!”  

We filled out a questionaire on our childhood, family history of drug and alcohol abuse, and our marriage relationship.  Then she did a quick inspection of the home.  We were a little nervous since our house was built in the 50’s and we thought we’d need to update the windows or maybe put a door on the unfinished laundry room.  But the only things we need to do before next time is put a lock on the storage room door, buy some more outlet covers, and write out an emergency evacuation plan.

Our next visit is Tuesday.  We will talk about our parenting philosophy, discipline methods, our marriage relationship, support system,  and about each child, including their health history, personality, likes/dislikes, and any behavioral or learning problems.  Oh, and she’ll inspect our vehicles.  

Exhausting and exciting.  But we are almost done………