This past week has been a whirlwind. After we found out we were having the home study, I think a secret signal was sent to pull out all the stops. Work was wild, my family joined us in a multi-prong approach to clean the house and prep for a yard sale, we held said yard sale, and then the day of the actual home study. Rex the Dog had a rather exciting week with people coming in and out of the house. He’s a big fan of my niece and nephew. My mind had Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” running through my head all week. Thanks to everyone who donated things to the yard sale and to everyone who purchased things as well! The yard sale was a great success! The money raised through the sale covers the next step on the journey and the money we already have will cover the rest of the home study plus put a good dent in the money for the dossier (which is the next big milestone).
Sunday Becky and I were a bit on edge. The time leading up to our appointment seemed to drag. Thankfully, I work with a great lady who has been through the international adoption process who gave me some very important advice, “Don’t worry. The agency’s job is to make you look good. They want you to adopt.” My mind bounced around between that and more than a bit of panic. The social worker was great. She knew we were anxious and started right away to making us more comfortable. On of her first statements was that we had already applied to the agency and they had accepted us. If they had concerns they would have addressed them, this was to prepare the paperwork for the US and Polish government (which shows how common the fear has to be). Granted, always plan for a hiccup or two – ne’er did the course of adoption run smooth. The calm way she said we were accepted made a feeling of peace fall on the whole meeting.
She reviewed how the adoption process with Poland works. It was pretty much all review for us (the benefit of being a nerd who likes homework). We talked about how the referral process works and then worked on the wording for our home study papers. This will tell the various officials how old of a child we want, how many, if we have a preference of a boy or a girl, and what sort of issues we would be willing to consider. We’re going for one child, boy or girl, up to five years of age (which basically means up to four because according to how the paperwork goes a child of 5 years and a day would be too old). Along with the usual wording about special/medical needs, ours will have a sentence about being very open to a deaf child. We also had the surprise of being called a young couple. We’re both over 30. We’ve never been called young in regards to starting our family, especially by Southern standards. When we got married I was 27, just about to turn 28 and a lot of my friends from college and high school had at least one baby under their belt and several were working on number two (or more). Still, we got called young and with as much gray hair as I’m getting, I’ll take it!
Most of the meeting we were together. There was a short bit where we spoke to the social worker separately. While there had been times I had mixed feelings about that, I completely understand how good that is. It’s a time to ask questions, or to talk about parts of your history that could be painful and, God forbid, a chance for a potential parent to come clean that they aren’t really feeling this whole parenting gig. She asked about my Tourette’s and how that affects my life (aside from the occasional hoot or flap, it doesn’t) and how my family felt about adoption (they couldn’t be more supportive. I think, if we didn’t keep a close watch on my mom, she would fly to Poland, grab a kid and drop them off at our front door just to speed up the process). I actually asked her why there is the big hush around home studies. She said part of it could be the personal nature and part could be the major differences between how international adoption agencies and DSS run things. We chatted about the need to work to make the home study less mysterious. The last thing she did was a quick tour of the house. Seriously, like three minutes. Still, both Becky and I were glad for the work that we (us and the family) did on that front.
Becky and I have some more homework to do before the next meeting for the home study. It’s mostly information gathering and mailing some things off. Sometime, near the end of April, we’ll head up to Charlotte and actually go to the agency to meet folks there, wrap up the home study portion and check another box off the list.
So, there you go. A week of edge on the edge of our seat for a few hours of calm talking. If you are out there and are on the adoption journey and are getting ready for this part, listen to me closely – Don’t. Freak. Out. You can survive this and you’ll find yourself strangely at ease afterward.