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Our Home Study Part 4: Wrapping It All Up

Our Home Study Part 4: Wrapping It All UpNote: This is the fourth part in a series of posts chronicling our home study process. The purpose of this series is to give you an idea of what the home study process is like so you can know what to expect. Just keep in mind that not everyone conducts the home study exactly the same way, so your experience may vary. Feel free to read part 1, part 2, and part 3 before reading on if you haven’t already.

At long last, my wife and I have completed our home study!

It’s been quite a while since I wrote the last part of this series. As I explained in my last blog post, we’ve gone through a lot over the last several months. Life got crazy, we went through some changes, we suffered a few delays and setbacks. Overall it took us over a year to finish our home study. This is not typical (it was supposed to take us around 2 to 4 months), but our circumstances were different. (And we procrastinated. Yeah, I’ll admit it.)

None of that matters now, however. The home study is complete, and we are ready to move on to the next step, putting our adoption profile out there and waiting for a match. I will share that process as it unfolds, but first, let’s wrap up this home study series.

We already went over the interviews and the home inspection. In addition to these, your home study agency will be looking to get a little information from you. Okay, a lot of information. They will want to know just about everything about you, from financial information to your medical history to your favorite doctor on Doctor Who. (Just kidding on that last one.) It may all seem excessive and invasive, but it’s all part of the process of making sure you can provide a suitable home to your future child. In addition to gathering information, you will most likely be required to do some type of adoption education to prepare you for adoption.

As always, the information your home study requires may vary, but here is a look at what our home study required.

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Confessions of a Procrastinating Adoptive Dad Wannabe: 12 Lessons I Learned in the Last Few Months

Confessions of a Procrastinating Adoptive Dad WannabeI have a confession to make.

It’s been almost a year and a half now since my wife and I started our adoption journey. Back when we first talked with our adoption attorney around January 2013, we set a goal that we would have a baby by that Christmas. We knew this was an ambitious goal and there was no guarantee that it would happen that fast, but that was what we strove for at the time.

Now here we are, halfway through 2014, and we are still trying to finish up the home study.

What happened?

In short, life happened. Things got crazy. We got busy and started to lose sight of our priorities. We ended up putting the adoption on hold for a while as we focused on other things. Even this blog got put on hiatus for a few months.

It all started last fall when we decided to move into a new house. There were several reasons behind our decision, but mainly we decided we needed a little more room, especially with the prospect of a baby on the way.

Moving in and of itself is always stressful, but on top of that, things were getting miserable at my job, so much so that it became necessary for me to leave. I was able to find a new job that paid a little less but was much less stressful. I’m much happier at this new job, but it was still a big adjustment for me at first.

There were other things that happened in our lives that I won’t go into detail about, but the bottom line is that things got overwhelming for a while. As a result, we stopped focusing on getting our home study done while trying to tend to all these other things. We also suffered a setback when we found out that some of our paperwork for the home study had been lost and we had to re-do some of it. This meant more waiting, more frustration.

However, I can’t make too many excuses for the slow pace of our home study. I will admit that a lot of it is our fault. My wife and I have a terrible tendency to procrastinate, especially when it comes time to the parts of the adoption process that aren’t “fun.” For example, it took me forever to go to the doctor’s office for the required physical because I hate going to the doctor. Nonetheless, it’s one of those things that needs to be done, like it or not, if you want to adopt.

Thankfully, we are almost done with the home study as I write this, and should have it wrapped up in the next week. I will have a full update when it is done.

I don’t know if any of you have experienced something similar in your adoption, where things went much slower than you expected due to life getting in the way or you losing focus. If so, know that you are not alone. I’ve learned quite a few lessons over the last few months, and I thought I would share 12 of them here in the hopes that they might help you out as well.

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Our Home Study Part 3: The Home Inspection

Our Home Study Part 3: The Home InspectionNote: This is the third part in a series of posts chronicling our home study process. The purpose of this series is to give you an idea of what the home study process is like so you can know what to expect. Just keep in mind that not everyone conducts the home study exactly the same way, so your experience may vary. Feel free to read part 1 and part 2 before reading on if you haven’t already.

Today came the fun part of the home study. The part that everyone dreads. The part where they come to your house and do the whole white glove test to determine your fitness to be a parent based on your housekeeping skills.

Except that it’s not like that at all! 🙂

Seriously though, the home inspection is not as big a deal as it seems. They are not necessarily looking to see how tidy and organized you are. They just want to see your home and make sure it is safe and secure enough to raise a family. Most homes fall into this category, but it never hurts to make sure you have all the proper safety precautions in place before bringing a little one into your home.

The requirements for your home study will depend on who is conducting it. Some agencies may have stricter guidelines than others, so be sure to ask. While it’s probably not necessary to be a neat freak, it’s a good idea to try to tidy up a bit; you don’t want to be living in filth. Go ahead and mop the floors, dust the furniture, clean the surfaces, and make the beds. But don’t worry about making the house look immaculate, especially if you already have children. They will not have a problem with a house that looks lived in.

In this post, I’m going to give you a rundown of what our social worker was looking for and what we did to prepare. As always, your requirements may vary, so this post is only to be used as a guide. For a more general guide on making your house safer for children, check out this handy resource. It will give you a good idea of how to prepare your home for the arrival of your child.

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Our Home Study Part 2: The Individual Interviews

Our Home Study Part 2: The Individual InterviewsNote: This is the second part in a series of posts chronicling our home study process. The purpose of this series is to give you an idea of what the home study process is like so you can know what to expect. Just keep in mind that not everyone conducts the home study exactly the same way, so your experience may vary.

Today was the second session of our home study. As you may recall, in our first session Courtney and I sat down with our social worker for the initial interview. This interview was basically a “getting to know you” kind of interview. Today’s session continued on that, but instead of getting to know us as a couple, this session focused on getting to know us individually.

At first, we thought these interviews would be conducted at her office, but it turned out they would be conducted at our home instead. This meant we ended up spending much of the last week scrambling to get the house cleaned up. Even though she was only coming to interview us and not do the inspection, we still wanted the place to look presentable. (We probably wasted our time getting everything spotless, but oh well. At least it will be less work for us to do for the actual inspection!)

When our social worker arrived, she first talked with Courtney while I went in the other room. Then I came out and talked to her while Courtney went in the other room. In all it took a little over an hour to conduct both interviews. Like the first interview, these interviews were pretty easy.

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Our Home Study Part 1: The Initial Interview

 

Home Study Part 1: The Initial InterviewToday, Courtney and I started our home study for our adoption.

For those of you who don’t know, a home study is basically a document prepared by a social worker that details everything about your family: your background, your medical history, your financial situation, your reasons for adopting, your views on parenting, your values and beliefs, details about your home and lifestyle, etc. It usually involves a series of interviews and one or more home visits by the social worker. Typically it can take anywhere from 45 days to 4 months to complete.

Many people, myself included, are initially scared about the home study because of the fact that it is such a thorough analysis of your home and your life, and it can seem intrusive. But don’t let it scare you too much. The purpose of a home study is not to put you under a microscope and scrutinize every detail of your life. It’s simply to get an idea of who you are and what kind of life you will provide for your child. It also helps you by educating you and preparing you to deal with the issues that are unique to adoptive parents. It may seem like an arduous process at first, but if you take it one step at a time, you’ll be fine. As our social worker put it, “We laugh together, we cry together, we pull our hair out together, and in the end it will feel like I’m family!” 🙂

This post will be the first in a series of posts about our home study. For each session of the home study, I will write a post describing what took place in that particular session. Once the home study is complete, I’ll do a round-up post summarizing the entire process. My goal is to help you understand what the home study process is like and give you an idea of what to expect. Keep in mind that not everyone conducts the home study exactly the same way, so your experience may vary from mine. That said, you can use this to get a general idea of what it’s like.

Sound good? All righty then, let’s go!

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Our Adoption Journey Begins

Our Adoption Journey BeginsI never thought I would find myself thinking about adoption, much less starting a blog about it, yet here I am. Life doesn’t always go the way you plan. My wife Courtney and I certainly didn’t plan on taking this journey when we said “I do” eight years ago. We both always knew we wanted to become parents. But when we discovered that pregnancy was not an option for us due to infertility and other health-related issues, we found ourselves faced with a tough decision. Do we give up on our dreams to become parents, or do we find a way to become parents? In the end, we chose to find a way. We chose adoption.

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