whew.

[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 already. We feel like we are on our way, finally. 

I felt fine until I woke up yesterday. It was hard to focus on work while I waited for the caseworker to arrive. Instead, I found myself out back picking our first blackberries and preparing a berry and melon salad (which she didn’t even eat), and re-cleaning the bathrooms (though she didn’t even go!). I got a little nervous when she was a few minutes late. I had to walk away from the computer, so I went outside to prune the tomato plants. Then I felt better. 

I had quite a scare when a woman pulled up at 1pm sharp (our appointment was 2:30). I was dripping wet and in a towel and M wasn’t even home yet. I thought for sure one of us had made a mistake about the time. Turns out it was some woman looking for the people who used to live here. Phew. 

Our case worker was really nice. She instantly made us feel at ease. I had put fresh flowers everywhere, which made me happy. (I got what was on sale: peach baby roses for the kitchen table, sunflowers for the mantle, irises for the coffee table, plus we had two single red roses leftover from an earlier arrangement for our dresser,* and lilies for the bathroom.)

I had tea and lemonade, but she drank mineral water with lemon. I put out a plate of gingersnap cookies and little brownies, and a big bowl of delicious grapes.  She ate maybe 3-4 grapes. M thinks she ate a cookie, but I’m not sure. 

We sat in the living room (not the kitchen table). She said something kind to ease us in, like, “OK, here we go. Are you ready?” And we began. 

We went through a bunch of paperwork and forms we need to complete (our task over the next few weeks). She asked where we were in the process. She seemed pleased by all the work we had done, and impressed that we were about to sign with the consultant who specializes in open adoption. We said we were anxious to get going since we know how long it can take, and we are ready to build our family!

Her questions were perfectly appropriate and relevant. We had already answered most of them in some form in our application. There were no real surprises, thankfully.

First, she asked us about our infertility and decision to adopt. After we explained our history, she said “That must have been hard. How did you deal with that?” (aka: tell me about your loss). We used this as an opportunity to tell her how close it has brought us. Yes, infertility sucks. Losing our son was the hardest thing I have ever lived through. Yet we are lucky in so many ways. Our strong foundation had been tested and reinforced. We had emerged even stronger and more determined and committed to becoming parents.

She asked whether we have been able to “resolve” our infertility and “wholeheartedly embrace adoption” as the way to build our family. We have absolutely embraced adoption, we said. Overcoming the loss of a biological child was hard, but we really just want to become parents. However our child comes into our lives will be a blessing. 

Here’s what else I remember: What are our strengths as a couple? How do we resolve differences? How did we meet? How long was it before we got married? How do we think parenting will change our lives and lifestyles? How do we think adoptive parenting will be different than traditional parenting? What kinds of relationship do we have with the children of our friends and family? What are our plans for after we bring home our baby? What level of openness or birthfamily contact would we be comfortable with?

We talked about our interest in establishing a relationship with birthfamily for the sake of our child. We discussed the importance of using positive language in discussing adoption. I’m sure I’m forgetting something, but that was mostly it. Oh, and she asked about religion. 

Then she asked what kind of child we want. (Would it have been facetious to say “living”?) We told her how we laugh when people ask if we want a boy or a girl. The answer is yes!  But really for us the question is silly because we just don’t care. We did explain we would like the best chance of a healthy child, that we did not feel entirely well equipped to handle many special needs. Of course if we had to, we would. Next we have to complete a form about the different types of scenarios we would consider. 

We took her on a tour of the house, told her about our great neighborhood and the playgrounds, parks and terrific schools just across the street. I pointed out our two fire extinguishers! We all had a laugh when she asked if we had any “firearms” and M said no but I said yes, because I thought she said “fire alarms.” Everyone was caught off guard. But no guns here. 

For any renters out there, we were concerned that would be an issue. We tried to turn it in our favor by explaining that our priority was building our family and we chose not to buy a home (in this crazy housing market) because we wanted the freedom to live on one income so we could raise our child ourselves (i.e., not in daycare). After all we had gone through to bring a child into our lives, we wanted the freedom to enjoy every minute. Our finances will still be scrutinized, but we can’t change that. 

And that was it. When she said we’d stop there, M said “Really? I thought we were on a roll!” Seriously it went so smoothly. I was so proud of M and the way he handled these questions. He was awesome. He says he’s “inspired.” We thanked her for making us feel so at ease.

We confirmed our 1:1 interviews, which I imagine may be a little harder. Mine is next week and M’s is the week after. From what I hear, she may ask about our parents and what we’d do the same or different, our partner’s strengths and weaknesses, more about our marriage. Anyone else remember those visits?

We scheduled our final home study visit for Friday, September 5, so our home study could be complete by mid-September!

Now we just have to face our big pile of paperwork, which grew quite a bit yesterday, and hope our finances past the test. 

Many thanks again to everyone for your support during this exciting yet trying time. I can’t tell you how much it meant to have my cyber-friends, both old and new, sending us such positive energy and cheering us on. Seriously.

*As a symbol of my openness to this process, I’m sharing a picture of my dresser with the two roses. (If you can see it, the photo in back of M and I in the redwoods was taken the morning after our wedding!) Hey, maybe that makes this show-and-tell!


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~ by luna on August 9, 2008.

37 Responses to “whew.”

  1. I loved reading this! Another step forward…

    Glad things stayed relevant, and that you didn’t have to mention all that bedroom tantra ;-).

  2. W00t! I am so excited to read how well it went.

    And how was Bill afterwards?

  3. Yay!! I knew it would go well!!

    Your roses are gorgeous!

  4. Luna, yours is the first adoption journey that I have followed from the time the decision was made on up. I cannot wait until your child is there in your arms. Thank you for sharing this experience with us. I’m glad that your visit wasn’t as invasive as that of others!

  5. Luna, that is so awesome, I’m so happy for you and M! Really. I’m starting to think that after getting over the initial setbacks with adoption, i.e., the paperwork and finances, etc. . . this process is actually pretty cool. The feelings you describe about the homestudy remind me of just why we (meaning my husband and I and you and yours) are going through this process. It shouldn’t be easy, but the rewards are going to be amazing and I am so thrilled that you both are one step closer to building the family you’ve dreamed of for so long.
    I’ve never given a cyber hug before, but I’m giving my first to you!
    xo,
    debbie

  6. I love this update. I’m so glad the case worker was nice and it looks like you handled the interview very well. Please do keep posting on the 1:1 interviews as well. Sending you good vibes and hope you have a little one in your arms very soon.

  7. Yahoo! I’m so glad that you got through it and it was a good experience. Though I’m still cracking up over the imagine of the woman who had stopped by to see the previous inhabitants at the house…

  8. Your study sounds great, glad to hear it went so well.

  9. Congrats on completing the first big step! I can’t wait to hear about the rest of your story.

  10. I’m so glad!

  11. Roll on September….not too far away at all! Best wishes for your final home study visit and beyond….LOL fire alarms!

  12. Congrats on such a smooth visit and on being well on your way!!

  13. Glad everything went so well! Yay!

  14. Glad everything went so well! Yay!

  15. Congratulations — another milestone down!

    via Mel’s Snow and Tell

  16. Wow. Sounds nerveracking, and sounds like you sailed through with flying colors. I can’t believe the intrusion necessary for all of this — I guess I sort of see their point, but then I think “really? Is that really necessary?” Anyway. I love fresh flowers around, too. Always makes things seem . . . cleaner. Congratulations!

  17. Best of luck with the rest of the process Luna. I’m glad it went so smoothly.

  18. Wow, I am so very glad that it went well and you didn’t get any of those utterly irrelevant questions.

  19. I’m so glad it went so well. Another step on the path to parenthood, and it sounds like you guys handled the entire nervewracking experience with grace.

  20. That is so wonderful!! I’m glad it went so well. It’s fascinating to read this. My aunt and uncle adopted a baby boy when I was just a few years old, but other than that I’ve never known anyone while they went through the process, you know?

    Thinking of you..

  21. It sounds like it all went great! All the mounds of paperwork will be worth it when you are holding your baby in your arms.

  22. So very happy for you! I knew it would be just fine and that you would knock ’em dead.

  23. You go, girl! That must’ve felt wonderful getting that big milestone under your belt. Congrats.

    I’ve definitely wondered about that renting thing — my husband seems convinced we need to own a home before anyone lets us adopt. I also have concerns about coming from a less-than-stellar home environment myself (e.g. alcoholism, abuse, mental illness in adoptive family I was raised in).

    Like does that “tarnish” me, and how do I talk my way out of it correctly, etc? I have soooo many fears about doing anything that would “mess it all up.” I even have nightmares about it — already! And we aren’t even there yet!

  24. Luna, I’m just so happy for you. There’s something about this that just sounds perfectly right. I feel like I may have said that before, but this post just brings that feeling up in me again. That it won’t be long until I am reading about the day your baby comes to you. Wishing that it will be so, and that you feel peaceful and secure throughout the process.

  25. I have been looking forward to this post and hoping that you would feel this way about your home study visit. We had the same experience. We felt comfortable and at ease and really almost enjoyed sharing our lives with our social worker. I am SO glad that it went well for you. You brought back a lot of memories. Despite the mounds of paperwork, I really hope that this continues to be a fun and comfortable journey for you.

  26. Sorry I’m coming to this so late. But just wanted to say congratulations on jumping this first hurdle. I’m so glad you like your social worker. That helps a lot!!!

    xox

  27. In the individual interviews, I talked about how much I loved and respected my husband. I really tried to make positive statements even about any negative aspects of my personal background. For example, any really sad events in my life were beneficial because it taught me compassion and understanding. That sort of thing.

  28. Luna, I am so happy for you and M! I am really glad things went so well!

  29. I was thinking about you all day on Friday, and hoping that everything would go well.

    It sounds as if you were asked a lot of difficult and thought-provoking questions, but that you and M handled them with your usual tact and sensitivity (although the fire arm/alarm misunderstanding did make me smile). It is so wonderful to hear you sounding so positive, and I wish you nothing but joy as you move forward to the next step in your adoption journey.

    Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with us all.

  30. It sounds like things went well, even if the social worker wasn’t very hungry 🙂 Great job, and congratulations on finishing this big step!

  31. Wow Luna, This is huge! I know you still have some things to complete but soon everything will be done and all (yea…all) you have to do is wait. When I read about all the things adoptive parents have to do I get a little mad…bio-parents don’t get scrutinized this way. . I know why it’s important but I feel for you. It does sound like the whole build-up is getting you really excited…happy even.

  32. Ah! I’m so relieved all went well (though not all that surprised 🙂 ). You’ve done so much work on your feelings that I’m sure your answers were touching and brilliant.

    Good luck with Mt. Paperwork and with the one on ones!

  33. Big hugs to you, Luna. I’m thrilled to read it all went well.

  34. […] I furiously cleaned the house, reaching corners that probably hadn’t been cleaned since our home study visit. We placed fresh flowers everywhere and decided on a menu that M and I could both make: warm spinach […]

  35. […] was the first time our case worker had been to our house since our home study visit, which was one year ago tomorrow (can you believe it? turns out 8/8/08 was in fact very auspicious!). […]

  36. […] is the conclusion of our case worker (the one who did our home study 1.5 years […]

  37. […] part two Two years to the day of our home study visit, nearly a year to the day of Baby J’s welcome to the family celebration, K and her mom […]

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