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.

 

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!

Am I Back in School?

In my adoption paperwork is a guideline to use to help me write my autobiography. Really? In the info session they made it seem like it was going to be 1-2 pages but at the top of the page is states 7-10 pages – typed! I wonder if I can use size 16 font and double space…LOL.

So I started tackling the first section FAMILY ORIGINS and at first glance it looks like it will be easy to answer all these questions, but as I stared at the blank screen, I realized this may be harder than I thought.

But it’s okay…

I plan on taking it one question at a time…one section at a time, and just write a bit each day. The agency states that other adoptive parents have enjoyed having this…once it was done. I think they’ll be right, but right now I’m looking at this and thinking to myself, I don’t remember what activities I did when I was 5 years old, or what my neighborhood were like when I was little. But luckily I have my mom to help answer some things while I still make it known that I don’t remember a lot of the details. After all, this autobiography will be used during the Home Study so they have a guide for asking questions. So I can’t add too much if I don’t remember too much of it.

So 7-10 pages; size 12 font; single spaced….am I back in school? Sure feels like it.