Sunday’s Home Study Visit

houseLet me just preface this with something that is off topic from the title. I originally started this blog to document my adoption journey – the ups and downs and every point in between – however I also ended up blogging about random life things. I’ve decided to break up my posts into more individual blog sites, keeping this one specifically for adoption. I know many of you are probably following me for some of the various posts I posted so if you want to remove yourself from this blog and add yourself to the other blog, that would be fine.

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So on to the original topic of this post – the home study visit! It was yesterday from 9-12ish. My case worker met with my friend first and then my mom. I stayed downstairs for both of their interviews. I’m not going to lie, I was nervous, but only because I didn’t know what she was going to ask them or what she was going to talk to me about.

Once we got to my portion, there was some paperwork I had to correct which was no problem. The main topic of our talks were around finances. Because I’m single I don’t have a double income coming in that will allow for a bigger savings account. All I can do is save what I can, try to make money on the side and hope that nothing in the house breaks. I have the next two years planned out financially for my mom and I and I do believe I will be able to do it. Another option is taking out a loan which I have no problem doing. We discussed all of this in great detail and length. We also discussed extending my mom’s stay so she can help out more and that is always an option.

We discussed the placement agency I’ve chosen to do the adoption through and once we are both in a more relaxed state, she would like to learn more about them so her agency can continue to utilize them.

She loved my house and can visualize my child sitting at the kitchen island on the bar stools doing homework while I make us dinner. It was nice that she could see that. She loved the dog and cat and thought that they were both very friendly pets.

Overall it wasn’t bad. I did feel like I was under an interrogation light in some respects but I did feel like she was just being thorough in her job. I hope that I get approved but don’t see any reasons why I shouldn’t. She could sense my determination in making this all happen so I hope she passes that along in her staff meeting.

Keep your fingers crossed! And if you’re interested in helping me in some way, just let me know.

Wondering when…

approvedI turned in my home study when I had training class – back on March 8th. It really hasn’t been that long since I dropped it off, but it feels like months have gone by. Yesterday I started wondering when the home study visit was going to be scheduled. My case worker said she is going out on March 25th for knee surgery and well, we are approaching that date. I worried that she would schedule the day – a day or two before – which leaves me no time to coordinate with my mom and my friend. ┬áThen I’d feel bad because they would have to rearrange their plans in order to make mine. If it’s possible.

I reviewed my dossier paperwork and I’m not doing too bad. The items I can do that I still need to do are:

  • local police clearances
  • two references (again and already asked those friends)
  • letter from HR verifying that I have health insurance (sent email today)
  • letter to Ethiopia government (working on)
  • copy of passport and social security card (need to get and looking for)
  • email six passport photos to my placement agency case worker (not sure why I need six).

Tasks completed: 14 out of 28

So overall I’m not doing too bad considering once the home study is complete, then I can apply to USCIS (immigration) which takes up to two months. So it looks like I”ll be waiting for them and not the other way around.

I emailed my home study agency case worker this morning and asked her, out of curiosity, about when she thinks the home study visit will take place. She emailed back asking if this Sunday would work, from 9-11 am. Yikes! I wanted it but now that’s it scheduled it makes me nervous. What takes place during this home study visit? What will she ask me? What will she talk to my mom and in-person reference about? I’m sure I’m worrying for nothing, but I always worry about the unknowns. I don’t think that abnormal though. All she told me was that while she is talking with my mom and friend, I’ll be reading through my home study write-up.

 

Home Study Submitted!

officepaperwork600
Yep, it’s submitted. Now I wait and hope I filled out everything and did everything correctly. I handed my case worker most of my paperwork when I went to the full day of adoption training, but I was waiting on one last document – my mom’s test results from her physical, along with the form the doctor has to fill out and sign.

Friday we received those documents and Sunday I scanned them in and emailed them to my case worker.

I’m 100% submitted.

Please pray that all of my paperwork was done correctly. ­čÖé

 

Adoption Training

ClassroomWhat a week. Monday was the health department inspection, Thursday I sat on a call with other families to hear about our case workers trip to Ethiopia, Thursday evening I had the fire marshal inspect my house and I passed, and Friday was a full day of adoption training.

At first I was really dreading the training day, thinking that this could be a waste of time. But now that I’ve gone through it, I wouldn’t say it was a waste. The morning talked about the adoption process. Most of it I knew but it was good to get it again. The afternoon was to discuss race. Since we will all be a transracial family, they want us to know the different situations that could arise.

Honestly, it did make me think, but in a good way. It made me more aware of what the child may be faced with and what types of questions they could be asked because will be a mixed race family.

During lunch we had to give our research presentations and my case worker had me go first so she could leave the training for the day. I gave my presentation on the wonderful experience that my mom and I had with the coffee ceremony. Both case workers were amazed and giddy – just like I was before and during that day. I passed out handouts to show pictures from the ceremony and on the back I provided the websites to the Blessed Coffee and Ethiopian Festival. They mentioned that both will go on the newsletter. They have never had a presentation like mine and were so excited for me. The others in the training group didn’t want to follow me after that…LOL.

I also turned in my Home Study paperwork (minus one item that we are waiting on for my mom). So I can almost say the Home Study is done.

My next steps are to work on the dossier paperwork…

 

Home is Healthy

choosing-perfect-family-house (1)

Health department came this morning to inspect my home and deem it healthy enough to adopt a child. The house passed – perfectly!

I stressed for no reason but in my defense, it is scary to have some stranger come into your house to determine if you live in a pig pen or you actually clean, not knowing exactly what he or she will be looking at.

The things she looked at are:

  • Fridge/freezer temperatures
  • Under the kitchen sink
  • The future child’s room
  • The bathroom tub
  • Tested the hot water temperature at the sink
  • Check the laundry room for flooding

Only thing that I didn’t have for the inspection was Molly’s rabies vaccination certificate. But have no fear, I can email it to her tomorrow (after the vet appointment) and she will then email the report to my case worker.

Check!

Well maybe half a check!

Conflicted Options

In January 2010 I lost my job at a really great company despite the fact that the team I was on was not what I consider a team at all. I was devastated and angry, scared and upset – wondering how I was going to survive on unemployment that barely covered bills and left me little for food, gas, etc.

After nine unsuccessful interviews, I went for my tenth interview and thought this would be the perfect place to work however it was a contract to perm position. I was offered the job and started in August. Yay for me! This was a new position for this team so it was a trial with the anticipation of the position becoming permanent by the end of 2010 – so they said.

It’s been over two years and I’m still a contractor. The pay is great, but lacks benefits such as vacation or sick time, no matching 401k, no bonuses – basically I get paid for hours I work and that’s it. I’ve been fighting each year to become permanent and I really thought this would be the year. The department I’m part of moved under a new, and much better, department so the hopes were┬ádefinitely┬áthere for making this happen.

Between talks with my new director and my boss, I REALLY thought it would happen. I felt good about things for once. Last week my bubble was popped when the bad news that my position becoming permanent wasn’t going to happen this year. After today’s meeting, it was realized that there was a huge misunderstanding so the three of us all were able to get on the same page.

I have options now.

Left Hand | Take the pay cut

  • company benefits (vacation, sick, bonuses, etc)
  • annual raises
  • room for growth in skills
  • can’t save for adoption
  • feel happy and sad

Right Hand | Remain a contractor

  • no benefits
  • higher salary
  • no raises
  • room for growth in skills
  • can save for adoption
  • feel happy and sad

I feel sad and happy…conflicted.

And scared that adoption won’t happen or could be delayed.

What to do.

My Life in Words

I’ve started writing my autobiography for the adoption agency. I didn’t get far though. If someone were to ask you to write about your life using a guideline of questions, your first thought might be…oh that will be easy. Well it’s not. Not for me.

Once I sit down in front of the laptop and try to write, it’s amazing how quickly a draw a blank. I look at these questions and can’t figure out what to write. For example, “Based on each place you’ve lived, describe what kind of neighborhood and types of friendships you had in that location or in your school that were rewarding or disappointing” Really??? I don’t remember where I lived five years ago and they want me to remember where I lived when I was five years old and what the neighborhood was like and the kinds of friendships I had?

Should I just summarize the fact that I don’t recall names of friends or what my neighborhood was like if I can’t remember?

I look ahead at the upcoming questions there is a whole section on religion. Great.

When I was younger my mom and I went to church every Sunday. I can’t even remember what age I was when we stopped going, but I haven’t been since. I think part of it was my anger at God for taking Rob away. Sounds stupid and silly I know, but at that time that was a big part of my thoughts. I don’t have that anger today, but I haven’t found my way back to the church. I still have my beliefs and my moral compass is in tack. Does it make me a bad person for not going? Will I be a bad mother because I’ve been out of touch with God and the church?

I feel like by them devoting an entire section to religion that it could be a key factor in this adoption. Since Rob died, I’ve always said that when I do have children I plan on raising them up with beliefs, which involves me taking them to church. I don’t have a problem with that as I want my child to have that experience and knowledge of the Bible. So in my autobiography, should I say exactly that?

Part of me fears that I will put something in this autobiography which will sway them in the wrong direction ending with me not being approved to adopt a child.

Anyone have any experience with that or advice?