We are officially home study approved! Guys… this adoption thing is really going to happen! It’s been a week since our home study (yes, the approval happened that soon after the home study!), so I thought I’d take some time to reflect on the process.
My home study take-aways:
- It was nothing like my Google searches said it would be. I think this has a lot to do with the fact that every agency/home study provider is different. That being said, my experience may be nothing like the next anxiously-awaiting-parent-to-be’s (so take my comments with a grain of salt).
- No one counted the particles of dust on my blinds. When I scheduled our home study with the social worker, she told me not to spend 4 hours cleaning the house. Obviously, I ignored this. When they arrived at our home, we did a quick tour (< 3 minutes) of our house and then sat at our kitchen table for the remainder of the home study. At least my house got a good cleaning?
- Similarly to my last point, I was surprised that they didn’t care about baby-proofing our house. I had actually purchased several fire extinguishers in preparation for the home study, but they never even asked about them (below is a picture of me looking very proud in the Lowe’s parking lot with my new purchase). I had heard stories about social workers examining electrical outlets to make sure they are covered, the distance cleaning supplies are off the ground, and the sharpness of furniture corners. None of that happened. The one thing they did ask about is guns/a gun safe, but we don’t own any.
- The nursery didn’t have to be complete. PTL because ours isn’t close. We showed them which room will eventually be a nursery and chatted for about 30 seconds regarding our plans to make the room baby-friendly (we are planning on installing carpet instead of hard wood, moving all the junk out of the closet, etc.).
- What we DID talk about was our lives, pasts, and views. We talked about each of our own parents and how we were raised. We talked about past relationships and any premarital sexual experiences and/or abuse. We talked about our own marriage and what our pressure points are with each other. (This part basically felt like super-expensive marriage counseling.)
- The most interesting part to us was our discussions on parenting. Since neither of us have ever done it before, Ryan and I aren’t committed to any particular parenting style or technique, and we welcome any advice we can get with open arms. The social workers wanted to hear our thoughts on discipline and child care. They wanted to know what kind of support system we have and if there are people who will step in and give us some respite when needed. When we told our friends some of the specific questions they asked us, every single person responded, “I wish EVERY parent (of adopted OR bio kids) thought about these things before having kids!” A couple of examples (including adoption-specific questions):
- How would we react if our child decided to believe in a religion different from ours (and would our reactions change depending on the age of our child at the time)?
- Same question for if our child told us he/she was gay.
- Who would we ask to parent our child if we both died unexpectedly?
- How would we feel if we tried to have bio kids later in life and were told that we waited too long?
- How will we respond to insensitive comments if we have a child who looks very different from us (and how those responses will be different depending on the situation and our relationship with that person)?
- How will we talk to our child about their adoption story (once again, age appropriate steps)?
- How will we create appropriate boundaries with the birth mother in order to make her feel loved and included but to prohibit co-parenting?
Overall, our home study was no biggie. Exhausting? Yes. Intense? Yes. Had a glass of wine the minute the social workers left? Yes. But we actually almost enjoyed it. Keep in mind that Ryan and I are both talkers and analyzers and are VERY open with our lives in general (hence this blog), so the home study wasn’t completely out of our range of normal. It was basically seven hours of talking about how much we love Jesus and each other, how freaking awesome our family and friends are, and how excited we are to adopt a baby. Who could complain about that?!
TWO MORE STEPS before we can be matched. First, we have to make a profile book and video. Know any good photographers, videographers, or graphic designers who’d be willing to help us out? Hit me up. Second, we owe our agency a $20,750 payment. As always, you can donate to our adoption.