Our first home study visit has been scheduled, finally. It’s taken longer than I thought, as there appears to be a backlog at our agency. I wonder if it’s due to summer vacations or more people pursuing domestic adoption since so many international programs have encountered delays and closures — e.g., China, Vietnam, Guatemala — leaving many waiting families and children in limbo. Or maybe infertility is on the rise. Or maybe Bran.gelina has convinced everyone to “just adopt.” You know, because it’s so easy. Yeah, that must be it. 

Whatever the case, our agency seems quite busy. We submitted our application a month ago, and we just got a call this week from the social worker to schedule our first meeting. Given all of our schedules, we were unable to coordinate meeting for a couple of weeks. So, two weeks from today, on 8/8/08, we will meet with our caseworker in our home for two hours. We will talk about how and why we came to adoption and explain how we are “fit” to parent. And we’ll show her where the fire extinguishers are. 

We are gathering the necessary documents, which is proving to be harder than we thought. I like that there is something within our control, a list that we can check off. But the initial application was cake compared to this, and I imagine the home study will be a relative breeze compared to the actual wait. I’m sure I’ll have plenty of time to write about the hard wait and all it entails, and then of course there will be all the tough issues that arise in adoptive parenting, I know… 

Yet for now, even the simplest task seems daunting. Getting a medical form completed by our doctors, for instance, is hard because neither of us have seen a general practitioner in years and it would take months to get in as a new patient. Thankfully, my RE’s nurse is a wonderwoman and agreed to help with mine (who cares if my RE is not a GP?). Now M just needs to find a new doctor (who will see new patients) and get squeezed in for his official clean bill of health, soon. 

Then there’s our housing situation. We live in an ideal place for children, but unfortunately we don’t own our home. So, we’re trying to get some assurance from our landlord that we have some stability here, since we don’t have an extra 2k to do another home study if we have to move before a child is placed with us. Just one more thing to worry about. 

Then there’s the matter of our references. We thought about who would be good and listed three strong references (non-relatives) in our application. They could have easily written glowing letters about what wonderful parents we will be. But the agency requires a form, not a letter. The form asks specific questions about our psychological well being and whether the person would place their own child with us if needed. Now I’ve written before about how we’ve withdrawn (and here) from a number of our friends with young children in an attempt to escape our pain, friends who may have otherwise made great references. We have kept a distance, especially from those who have not been supportive, while we’re dealing with these very personal issues and crises.

But adoption is so invasive and there is no personal or private anymore. Everything is fair game, on the table, subject to scrutiny and judgment. This is cause for discomfort, since I’ve kept a “wall” around me for years, for a lifetime. It’s not that we have anything to hide. I suppose I just have to get over it. “It” being any resentment I may have for being stuck to deal with this messed up system for the chance of a child. “It” being the fear we may encounter at each step, where we must take yet another leap of faith. I know this process is a means to an end, and it all requires hard work. 

Oh, there is so much more. I’m trying not to be overwhelmed. I’m educating myself, reading a lot about open adoption, anticipating the benefits of a truly open relationship with our child’s birthparents. We’re trying to decide whether to sign with the consultant/facilitator and undertake her extensive process to help us navigate through the maze of domestic open adoption and all it encompasses. We’re trying to overcome our concerns about “marketing” ourselves, about mis-matches, about running out of money, about everything. 

Anyone who says “just adopt” can just bite me. 


~ by luna on July 25, 2008.

31 Responses to “080808”

  1. Wow. What a process.

    “The form asks specific questions about our psychological well being and whether the person would place their own child with us if needed”

    Nice. I’m sure I seem like a nut case to most of my friends after what we have been through. I also know several good parents, but I wouldn’t want to place my children with them just because they would raise the child differently than I would. That would be a tough question to answer.

    I hope this journey goes more smoothly than you currently anticipate.

  2. I’m getting tired just reading about all the hoops you’re already having to go through already. They can bite me too. ; )

    The Chinese think 8 is a lucky number — that’s why the Olympics are scheduled to start at 8 p.m. Beijing time on 08-08-08. I hope it proves so for you!!

  3. I won’t bite.

    Just know at every step that you will be terrific parents. The SW will surely see this.

    That doesn’t help the $$ issues. But I know, I KNOW, that you’ll have what you need when you need it.

    Wish I could fill out a reference form for you. But “1 meeting and my excellent intuition” may not cut it with the State of California :-).

  4. Oh, Luna, I feel your pain! We had our intake interview today — I’ll try to post about it this weekend. Suffice it to say that it’s already invasive (“tell me about your grief”) and it’s going to get more so. This lengthy crazy process is just the next step in all those doctors, nurses, etc. who’ve peeked into my private parts in the last few years, except this time they’re peeking at my soul!

  5. It’s a good date.

    It’s interesting how different states and different agencies do something differently. Our references only had to write letters. And I signed up with a new GP to have my medical form filled out.

    The paperwork *is* overwhelming. There’s nothing like finding out for sure on paper that you’re officially not a sex offender. I had to request a birth certificate too because neither my parents nor I could find mine. That was another $45.

    But I’m sure you’ll slowly pull all of the crap together and I have no doubt you’ll sail through the homestudy process.

  6. It sucks. But it’s worth it. Hang in there. Be confident that they’ll easily see that you’re wonderful parent material, because you are.

    The reference forms sound suspiciously like the ones at the agency we used for our first adoption. Hmmm….

  7. The home study will be a breeze! It’s just sitting at your home talking about yourself. Believe me, your social worker will make it so easy for you and so comfortable, you’ll be amazed! All you have to do is be yourself!

  8. HI Luna, Thanks for your comments the past few days.

    I know what it feels like to have things that seem like they should be simple seem to take so much effort.

    I’m really feeling for you especially that whole letter thing. I never knew that. I never thought about it since I am not on the adoption path. The whole thing about pulling away from people with kids…and now those are the people you need to write a letter is very hard. Haven’t any of those people every told you to “just adopt”? Seems like they would be first in line to write a letter.

  9. I fretted and fretted over our home study and it was really easy. A talk with us as a couple and us individually and then a quick tour of the house. Good luck.

    I agree that when people say “just adopt”, I want to rip their heads off. They think it is such an easy process but not only is it invasive, the wait is really rough.

  10. I love your last line. If only it was so simple that you could “just” do it. I’m thinking of you always, and will especially on 080808.

  11. I love your last line too. For us, the finding people to talk about us was okay, harder was writing up the paper that said which 3 people would take our (hypothetical) child if we died. We had barely discussed that one!

    Good luck.

  12. Ugh – what a long process. Makes me wonder what the world would be like if *everyone* had to do this before having children. somewhere there is, or will be, a little one who will be worth every step …


  13. Loved the juxtaposition of the weightiness of making the case about why you would be “fit” parents with the absurdity of proving that you own fire extinguishers.

    Seriously every time I read about the many arcane and hurry up and wait steps in the process necessary to “qualify” to adopt not to mention the invasiveness you describe and the personal marketing required on top of it all (e.g. “we are the perfect couple and here’s are just some of our many features…”) well it makes me wonder how many biological parents would actually qualify.

    Is it any wonder then that after all of the emotional and financial strain that IF treatments bring on that I become apoplectic when I hear “just adopt?”

    Hang in there and let us know if we can help in any way.

  14. Triple 8s! Very auspicious.

    I bet Pamela Jeanne is right–many bio parents wouldn’t make the cut. But you two will, and you’ll get to parent. Just one step at a time; you’ll deal with all the other hassles as they arise.

    I’ll be sending lots of love and support your way on Triple Eight Day!

  15. Your last line is how I have felt about people like that for years, ever since I started reading some blogs by adoptive parents or infertiles in the process of adoption. And this is a perfect post to be printed out and handed to every “just adopt” nincompoop on the street.
    I know which event *I* will be anticipating on 8/8. The opening ceremonies can bite me too. 🙂

  16. Yep, I was shocked at how invasive the questionnaires were. I think I actually squirmed while filling it out, in fact. It was the one time I was glad to be single because I didn’t have to answer all the relationship questions.

    The home study for me was remarkably easy. I hope it is for you as well.

  17. Have I mentioned how glad I am that you’re doing this? (I’m sure that I have.) When I first came across your blog you were at the end of the bio-child road (almost), and the rawness of your agony was heartbreaking. This new process, while horrible in many new ways, is a new path, and one with such a likely outcome of success.

    I read your post below, on the money, and totally understand your gratefulness at being able to draw on your father’s legacy, as well as your anger at having to do so. I never dreamed I’d have to lay out the kind of money I’ve put on the table for IVF. But even while I grind my teeth in rage at the unfairness of being stuck under yet another brutal loan (the student loans took years before they were manageable), I feel ridiculously lucky. What if I didn’t have such a great job? What if we hadn’t been able to buy a house (and thus take out the brutal loan)?

    I’m glad you’re feeling lucky. And as humiliating as it is to open yourself to the scrutiny adoption requires, the process is probably shorter-lived than the combined time you’ve spent in the stirrups. Just a different kind of exposure. You can totally handle it.

  18. Thank you for sharing your experience with adoption. Speaking of bio-parents not having to jump through adoption hoops, it’s ocurred to me that some bio-parents wouldn’t even qualify to get a stray dog from the pound.

    I’m not at all familiar with the adoption process, but I’d imagine that the social workers want you to succeed and most of the paperwork is just as annoying for them – a necessary evil to weed out the wackadoos, who I doubt come along too often anyway. They probably know within 5 minutes of meeting you whether you’ll make the grade, fire extinguishers or not.

    I read the $ post as well. It is angering all the $$ IF takes. After 3.5 IVFs, I’m starting to feel like a obsessive gambler. Funny considering I won’t even spend a buck on a lottery ticket.

    I will keep reading your story, and I hope the hoops you have to jump through become more tolerable.

  19. Wow, some of the homestudies people have described were way easier than hours. We had several 1 1/2 – 2 hr interviews spaced over 2 1/2 months, including separate interviews, lengthy questionnaires, etc. ALL that was just the homestudy. And we had to do online courses, of which at least 2 were completely useless. ANYWAYS, as it’s been said, if biological parents had to go through what we did, there would be a lot less children in this world.

  20. You said it. This is why I think it’s not really “the safety net” everyone imagines it is, but really an apple to an orange, with it’s own set of issues and setbacks and invasions and disappointments. Ugh. I watched my cousin trot around to doctors and psychologists and ride the up/down roller coaster with travel times and photos and video and pediatric reports . . . . and now know if anyone tells me that’s an easy out I’m going to rip their head off. Or maybe have her do it for them.

    I will say: she thinks it’s the greatest thing she’s ever done. Even if she’s still paying for it.

  21. While I can’t relate exactly to what you are embarking upon, taking things one day at a time, or one step at a time (to the extent you can), always helps me through overwhelming situations. I appreciate you sharing this process with us as I think so many people can learn so much from watching you go through this process. I wish you the best of luck and will be reading along!

  22. Thank you, Luna, for sharing your process with us — of course as much as you are comfortable. I’ve heard only a bits and pieces about the process, the questions the interrogations, the waiting on people instead of on your body.

    You use the words daunting and overwhelmed and I think, “how could anyone not be?” I know you will handle this with grace, and as a team with the Amazing M. I will be here on the sidelines quietly (and not so quietly) cheering you on in this next part of your journey. Actually, I’ll cheer you all they way through, or as far as you’re open to taking us.

  23. I can only imagine just how overwhelming all of this must be for both you and M. Please know that I am thinking about you, and wishing you all the very best for your home study on 08/08 – I’m sure any social worker will be able to see that you will make amazing parents.

  24. You would be laughing at me- we have our homestudy scheduled for tomorrow, and when I read this I thought “fire extinguisher???? Where is that thing???” and had to get up and check! Too funny. I’m right there with you on what a daunting process the application is. One piece of advice- our MD forms were held up waiting for our lab tests (cholesterol, PPD, STD screen if you haven’t had one recently) to come back- if you are using the same universal California form, you might want to see if your MD would order them ahead of time, so they can fill out the form on the day of your visit. It’s all quite a hassle, isn’t it? All the best, Dot

  25. As a doc, I really think you want to see an internist for your physical rather than leaving things to an RE. You should have enough time to schedule this physical. We signed up with our agency in June and didn’t get our homestudy paperwork in until November and our home study was fully done in January. Not the quickest process ever.

    Good luck! The journey is so worth it in the end.

  26. I remember this time very well. All I can do is promise you that at some point in the future it won’t all be this awful anymore.
    How’s that for a stoopid comment!?

    I wish I could wave a wand and get all you waiting blog pals to the other side. Instantly. Harry Potter won’t lend me his.

    I’m sure social workers vary as do all people, but our actual interviews were pretty “easy” . . . a wise person told me this: they are looking to approve you not disqualify you . . . I hope that idea helps in some small way.


  27. […] Thank you all so much for your support and comments about our initial home visit next week (on 08/08/08, very auspicious!). M and I really appreciate your kind words and encouragement. We’ve already […]

  28. […] of life This past weekend, amidst furious house cleaning for our initial home study visit this Friday and more pre-adoption busywork, we had house guests. No, not the kind of visitors that […]

  29. […] Gearing up for our home study visit on Friday, I realized that aside from cleaning our house, there’s not much we can do to […]

  30. […] [Warning: long update!] Well, we survived our first home study visit! I’m happy to report it was really pretty simple. We are both so relieved to have this part […]

  31. […] my failed FET in March. I was so happy to learn that day had been surpassed in popularity by the auspicious day of our home study visit for our adoption in August.  And after inviting readers to say hello and introduce themselves, I […]

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