Adoption Meeting

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Ok. Where to start. Um. Today was my first adoption meeting with my local case worker. I was nervous – only because I didn’t know what this meeting was going to be about. The only thing I was told was that I would be given a written assessment and some homework to do when I leave. Vague huh?

I arrive to meet my case worker at 12:45 and we went to a private room. A little bit of small talk was made and then she jumped right in with some questions she had based on my autobiography. They were good and thorough questions.

We move to some paperwork that she had to fill out while asking me questions, some other paperwork that she had to read and disclose to me. Honestly, it’s all a blur. I feel like I should have brought a tape recorder with me.

I took a bunch of notes of questions I need to find out from agency #2 and a checklist of what my next steps are.

  1. Finalize my decision on agency #2.
  2. Apply to the agency #2 that I pick.
  3. Order two copies of certified birth (me), marriage (me), and death certificates (Rob).
  4. Get fingerprinted (me and my mom)

She gave me a huge packet of paperwork for my home study. Most of it I can fill out myself or read over and understand. There are online courses I must take and some books I must read. But first, she suggests that I work on the things that are out of my control. They are:

  1. Medical physicals – my mom and I both have to do this. Mom has to because she is currently living with me.
  2. Schedule the health department home inspection.
  3. Schedule the fire marshal home inspection.

They provide two training days. Day 1 is a full day where they go over the adoption process in more details and then because I’m adopting internationally, they will discuss racial and cultural issues. Again, sort of vague, so we’ll see what happens when it happens. My Day 1 training is scheduled for March 1st 2013. Day 2 is a half day of training and won’t happen until after the referral and before I travel to meet her/him. So this one is nothing to think about yet since I have quite a bit of time before this happens. This training will be more specific to my child and how to bond with him/her and how to prepare for bringing him/her home.

Okay, enough of saying him/her. For blog reasons and of course my preference, I’m going to refer to my child as her. My preference is a girl so that’s what I’ll go with until I get my referral. So, him/her = her – for writing reasons.

Back to the training, I have some homework to complete BEFORE the training and some of it scares the cookies out of me. But I’m sure if I take it one thing at a time, it will all be okay.

The home study paperwork consists of things like:

  • Transracial/transcultural awareness plan of action – So I have to jot down five activities that I will do to gain awareness of my child race. I have to really think about this and come up with five things for what I’ll do before placement, when the child is 1-4 yo, 5-11 yo, 12+. Seriously? I have no clue.
  • Transracial/transcultural research homework – This is a more creative way to learn about the culture. They don’t want me to google it and simply write it down, but maybe go to a church affiliated with the country and talk to someone and document what they say. That is just one example. I’m not sure yet what I’ll do for Ethiopia. Maybe a┬árestaurant?
  • Online courses – I have to take these and mark the date I took them, plus print out a certificate to prove I took them. This will be fun.
  • Financial statement – Provide a list of my finances and an average of what they cost.
  • Gynecological exam results – Self explanatory.
  • Medical self report – I answer a ton of questions and then get my doctor to sign off on it.
  • Health Insurance Coverage – This verifies that I carry health insurance.
  • Three references – I have to get three people to write up something about me. One has to be present at a home study. They are sealed up so I can’t read them. Dang!
  • Medical Issues Checklist – This list is for me to go through and check off what I am willing to have in my child and what I’m not comfortable with.
  • Guardian(s) Information – This is a legal document but the country needs to know that if something happens to me, there is someone on file that will be able to take care of the child. Any takers?
  • Home Safety Checklist – Few questions about safety in my house. Should be easy enough.
  • Firearm Safety Checklist – Not an issue.
  • Inspection Checklist – This is great because it will help me prepare the house before the Health Department visits my home.
  • Letter to Birthparents – Self explanatory. This will be hard to do.
  • Parenting Questions – I fill this out.

I know this was a lot to read and I’ll be surprise if anyone actually reads it. But see why I’m overwhelmed? And I didn’t even list out all the documents, just the more critical ones that will require some work.

It’s feeling very real now and I’m really terrified. I’m sure it will pass, but holy hell!

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4 thoughts on “Adoption Meeting

  1. Advice from someone who has been there:

    The most important decision you will make is your placement agency. Choose wisely. There are, unfortunately, too many unethical agencies operating in Ethiopia right now. You will hear about short wait times and quick referrals. Be afraid. Spend LOTS of time reading reviews and check the Yahoo boards.

    From there, take it one step at a time. Be organized. Get some sort of system for pulling together all the documents you will need. It will get even more crazy when you add a dossier list to your needed items, so start a system now that you can grow with.

    I don’t know what your vice is (mine was wine, others have used chocolate), but stock up. You’ll spend a lot of time waiting on others, which can be maddening.

    • In the beginning I was looking at three that my local agency work with. Two of them are not excepting applicants for their Ethiopian program, only for their waiting children. The other agency is still accepting but are preparing families for a longer wait. It looks like my options could be limited. My local case worker said to apply for agency #2 (for the country) so that I can begin the dossier process as I’m doing the home study because some of them are the same and can be done at the same time. Sounds really tough to coordinate all that but we’ll give it a shot. I’m not sure what system I’ll use because looking at all this paperwork makes my swim. Maybe I’ll just create a prior list and go from there.

  2. I was making copies of my kids birth certificates today (the paperwork never ends…) and I thought of one more piece of advice. When you get copies of your documents (like birth certificates), be sure to get 3-5 certified copies of everything. You will think you only need one, but then when you get your dossier list, it will be on there again. Save yourself the headache and order them all at once.

    • Hmm, when I asked my local case worker about that, she suggested I get two of everything. I contacted the potential agency#2 to find out if they need certified copies (and of which ones) or will copies work. I haven’t heard back. Thanks for all the advice – keep it coming! ­čÖé

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