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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43 Comments on “Adoption Home Study: First 10 Thoughts Revisited

  1. I’m so happy to hear that your home study was a success! One more thing off your check list!

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  2. Oh my goodness!!! I am so stinkin’ excited for you!!! I am so happy that the visit went well and that you liked your social worker! Congratulations on getting through that huge hurdle! 🙂

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  3. Sounds like you *aced* this exam! Honestly I think you guys are perfect candidates–you are people with life experience who’ve made a loving and secure home and have demonstrated your desire to have children and your ability to parent. What more can they want? ❤ XOXO

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  4. I love that you’re so reflective and took the time to revisit these concerns you had before your home study. I’m happy that everything went well, and that you can move forward through the process.

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  5. I am so excited for you that it went well! I love love love that you were so true to yourselves and didn’t go crazy trying to put on a face that wasn’t yours. Congratulations! One more thing to cross off the list.

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    • Thanks Molly – I get why lots of people clean, organize and obsessive over the home study, but we decided all of that wasn’t for us. Yes, we did worry going into it, but I don’t think there is any way to avoid worrying.
      I love crossing things off the list!! 🙂

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      • I agree! No way to avoid the worry! One of my good friends is set to have her home visit in a few weeks and she’s a total wreck even though the social worker has already been over to her house twice before for other interviews!

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  6. Oh good! I am so glad that this went so well and so many of the worries/concerns were not issues at all. Thank you SO much for sharing this so openly, as I have a great deal of worry over the home study visits despite being told over and over again that it will be just fine, and this whole conversation that you’ve chronicled makes me feel a little better. Did they do the interview separately and together? I agree with the people above who have said you are very reflective–I think that’s so important and it’s served you so well. One more step closer to bringing your baby home! Congratulations on this milestone!

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    • I’m glad you are able to glean so much from our experience – knowing that just helps motivate me to keep on sharing. 🙂
      We did have interviews together and separate. The separate ones were pretty short, and nothing much to worry about. 🙂

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  7. This all sounds fabulous!! I’m glad things went so well. I need to give you a word of warning though…Benedryl doesn’t always make animals sleepy the way it usually does for humans. More times than not it will, but it can also make them very hyper, or have absolutely no effect at all. I would try it out before you “need” it, if it’s something you plan on using. 🙂

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    • Thanks for the warning! We have tried gravel and it had absolutely no effect. We’ve also tried prescription stuff from our vet and it also had no effect. We don’t tend to need to drug her, so hopefully we wont have to again in the future. 🙂

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  8. I’m so glad that you liked the social worker! I’m glad she said you have nothing to worry about! I didn’t figure you did. I”m happy that things went so well! 🙂

    Is the issue of abuse raised because it can be a cyclical family issue? I wonder if they would treat rape/sexual assault the same?

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    • Thanks so much! We are so happy that things are going well.
      In Canada rape is sexual assault. Years ago our criminal code was changed and rape was removed and replaced with the broader term of sexual assault. So, yes, I believe they would treat rape and sexual assault the same.
      Although it did not pertain to us so we never spent much time talking about it, I think abuse is raised to ensure that they are not placing a child with a person who may have abused others, and to understand how those who may have been abused are dealing with the long term effects. They really seem to like to know how we overcome challenges in our lives, so I suspect this would be the same.

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  9. We have our marital assessments, individual interviews and psych testing tomorrow. Interested to find out if our psychologist will ask similar questions. Our’home study’ apparently consists of our social worker coming over and also not caring about ‘stuff’ but she basically asks the SAME questions we were asked at orientation and goes over the legal stuff. I actually assumed people here (South Africa) copied the ‘overseas’ system. Interesting to read they certainly aren’t replicating YOUR guys’ method. Thanks for sharing your journey. I wish you folk so much of the best. I cannot wait for it-including the wait-to be over and to see pictures of your little one. Oh, I can’t wait!

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    • Based on what you said here, I think our systems are similar – in fact, South Africa is one of the counties Canadians frequently adopt from, so I think our systems should be complimentary.
      Like your experience, most of the questions and discussions were based around the 59 pages of questions we had previously filled out. Until you pointed it out, I completely neglected to think about it and therefore mention it.
      Wishing you the best as well, and looking forward to seeing both our families grow!! 🙂

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  10. Test out the benedryl first- it doesn’t make my dogs calm at all! Your vet can give you something more reliable if you really need him to be more relaxed. But it sounds like he did just fine 🙂 Mine are the same way with the first 10 minutes being crazy time and then they go away.

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    • Thanks for the heads up about the benedryl. We’ve only ever wanted to help her relax once, and we tried graval and a prescription from the vet. Neither worked, so my expectations of benedryl are pretty low, but it’ll be worth a try if we ever need to. 🙂

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  11. I knew you had nothing to worry about! Often, our fear create so much anxiety that clouds our truth. Your truth is you are most definitely qualified to become loving, wonderful parents. Can’t wait to see how your journey unveils itself next!

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    • Thanks so much for your loving words and for focusing on our truth and not my fears. It is always nice to be reminded to think outside of the fear. I too am so excited to see your journey unveil itself!

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