Well, it’s a wrap! On Tuesday, March 28, Stephen and I had our fourth and final home study visit. We have a few more pieces of paperwork to complete (tax returns, medical forms) and 30 minutes to complete of our 10 required education hours, and then we are good to go. I don’t think Allison, our adoption counselor, expected us to go through this process so quickly! Our first visit was on March 3, and here we are, wrapping things up within a month. When Stephen and I set our minds to something, we’re kind of an unstoppable team. 🙂
Many people have been asking about these visits and what goes on during the meetings, so I thought I would give a short breakdown of each one. Some of the stuff we have covered is personal (challenges in our marriage, how we budget our finances, things we argue about, etc.), so I won’t get into the nitty-gritty details. But, if you’re thinking about adoption, this will give you a high-level overview of what the process looks like (for our agency at least).
The First Visit
The first visit took place on a Friday afternoon at our home. (Side note: Although this process is called the “home study,” only one visit was actually at our house.) Goodness, y’all. My house was sparkling clean. The Wednesday before the first visit, I sent Stephen off to church and Rosie to my in-laws so I could scrub the floors. Over the course of that week, I cleaned the baseboards, organized linen closets and scrubbed the windowsills. On that Friday, I left work early so that I could make a batch of chocolate chip cookies. I complained to Stephen that I didn’t get the opportunity to mop the garage floor (don’t ask).
As it turns out, she didn’t look once at my linen closet, didn’t inspect my garage floor (and laughed when I told her I wished I had time to mop it), and didn’t eat the cookies. She simply went through a checklist to make sure our house was clean, safe and ready for a baby. I stressed out for nothing.
During that visit, we turned in the first (large) batch of our paperwork, answered questions about our relationship and marriage, and discussed how we share chores, argue, budget, etc. It lasted about 2.5 hours.
The Second Visit
For the second visit, on March 16, we went to our agency. Stephen and I were interviewed separately about our upbringing, childhood, and family. We were asked about our relationships with our parents and siblings, how our families disciplined us and how that will translate to our own parenting styles. After our separate interviews, we were brought back together to discuss the values and standards that we want to instill in our own children, fears we have about parenting, and ways we want to discipline and encourage our children.
The Third Visit
This visit was also at our agency, and we narrowed our focus on learning more about birth mothers. We discussed our feelings about open adoption and how we have a desire to have a relationship with our child’s birth family. We talked about how every woman’s situation is different, and their reasons for making an adoption plan are across the board. We also talked about how to answer questions people have now (be on the lookout for a future FAQ post!) and how to address potential questions in the future, particularly related to a transracial adoption. This was a fantastic informational meeting, and we learned a lot.
The Fourth Visit
Our final visit was short, sweet and to the point. Originally, we would have discussed transracial adoption and the potential challenges related to that. However, the night before our visit, we attended a panel discussion where two parents talked about their journey through a transracial adoption and covered several of the topics we had planned to discuss. So we were able to bypass that discussion. We filled out the last forms stating we wouldn’t abuse our child (isn’t it sad that they actually have to ask people to sign that?) and acknowledging appropriate forms of discipline. We turned in our profile books, and then headed out, celebrating with lunch at Puckett’s.
Now, we’re just finishing up our required education hours and then waiting for our adoption counselor to write the home study report. Once it’s finished, we’ll start playing the waiting game!