Adoption Home Study: First 10 Thoughts Revisited
About a month ago I shared our initial 10 thoughts/worries/fears about our impending home study. Now that we are officially in the process, I thought I’d revisit the list and summarize my feelings on each one of the items.
How clean should our house be? Do you show your house just as clean as it is daily, for better or worse? Or do you clean inside and outside of every single cupboard and have the world’s cleanest storage room and garage ever? Do I refold and organize every article of clothing in our closet so our closet looks pretty, or do I leave it like it actually is?
Our house is generally pretty clean. We have a cleaner come once every 2 weeks who takes care of the grit and grime. We cook almost daily and value a clean kitchen for health reasons. Our weaknesses are that neither of us love to hang up our clothing or make our bed on a daily basis. We made an effort to make our bed and put away our clothing and called it good enough. I did make Mr. MPB move some furniture around in the days leading up to the first visit, but that was to change the layout of a room that was happening regardless of the home study.
And, just as most people told me, our social worker didn’t really care about the cleanliness of our house. She did not open any cupboards or closets. He didn’t go into our garage. She did not look for dust bunnies (or Sadie fur balls) under the couch. She also did not even go into our storage room. We did mention that once there are kids in the house we will put child locks on the kitchen cupboards to prevent them accessing any cleaning chemicals. But as we discussed, that’s something that most parents do, not just adoptive parents and she stated that clearly we do not need to do that at this point but once we have a child who is mobile.
How do you deal with a 90lbs dog? She “greets” visitors to our house with a howl that is reminiscent of a wolf. She’s big and black which for some people means she’s scary. While she is nice, we have no way to guarantee that she won’t jump or act up in some way. How do you bribe a dog to be perfectly behaved? Is it even possible?
We did not bribe or drug our dog. Although, I did love the suggestion of Benadryl, and will absolutely keep this handy for the future – I can see many instances where it would be useful. We decided not to even put her in her x-pen because we decided to let her be who she is. We decided to embrace the approach that the social worker will either like us for who we are or not and that includes our dog. When we spoke to the social worker on the phone we let her know that our dog will bark when she arrives and will be excited for the first 10 minutes of her visit but then she will be pretty chill after that. And, guess what, our dog did just that and spent most of the visit sitting on the her mat in the living room as we chatted away. At one point, she presumably just got bored with us and went to the other room to nap in peace and quite. Ultimately, she was wonderful.
What if we don’t like our assigned social worker?
So, we really liked her! We seemed to click and we enjoyed our conversations with her. It is always a bit odd to talk about your sex life and your finances with a nearly perfect stranger, but we just embraced it as a necessity and got on with it. All was good.
Will the deaths of my mom and sister impact our ability to adopt?
Nope, as it turns out most people have experienced some sort of death in their family or other tragic event. We did talk about it and it turns out I came through it all pretty well, and more than anything she marvelled at the fact that I am pretty normal. I should also point out that she was just as interested to her about Mr. MPB’s family who experienced the death of his grandparents in the last few years.
What would have been an issue is if either of us had experienced sexual or physical abuse at any point in our lives. That was something she asked more than once, and we saw a lot in the paper work. So, thankfully (for many reasons) this is not something we had to deal with.
Will the fact that we have chosen to make our home in a city away from our parents and family impact our desirability as adoptive parents?
This did not seem to phase her. She liked that we have our own family traditions around holidays (i.e. cooking epic meals at Christmas and thanksgiving, visiting with friends during the holidays, etc.). She wanted to know how often we see our out of town family – how often we visit them and they visit us. As with all of our answers we were honest that it depends on the year and what’s going on in ours and their lives. As part of the process she did speak with some of our family and family who were references, and it was pretty clear that we have a support system in place. Those who live here will support us no-matter what, and our family would also be here in a flash if we were ever in need.
How will they view our decision for me not to be working full time?
This did not seem to be an issue either way. Obviously we can afford to live without my full time income, and I am doing some consulting so it wasn’t really a concern. She was more interested in how I’m filling my days and what I am doing – volunteering, reading, cooking, etc.
Will the fact that we’ve spoken with a counsellor through our losses been seen as a good thing or a bad thing?
This is absolutely viewed as a positive because it demonstrates a willingness to seek help to solve difficult circumstances. In fact, she said that it’s a negative if you have not talked to a counsellor in our life.
With the exception of the little green rocking chair, will it matter that our house is virtually void of anything children? Should we purchase a crib or a stroller? I’m not ready too just yet, but maybe it would be worth it to make our house look a bit more baby friendly.
Again, an absolute non-issue. It turns out that most people going through infertility/RPL do not have baby friendly / baby ready homes. She saw that the room is painted and ready with very few things in it. But other than that she wasn’t worried about anything.
How much detail do we go into when we discuss our recurrent pregnancy loss? Do we mention the details of our third loss?
We discussed it all. We discussed how number 3 was my hardest, and number 4 was the hardest for Mr. MPB. We told her everything, including our decision to terminate for medical reasons. We told her about our trip to a specialist out of the country. We were honest about everything.
Are we good enough? I really think we are, so I’m trying very hard not to dwell on any self-doubt.
At one point I actually asked her if we were passing. She smiled, laughed and said absolutely we have nothing to worry about.
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