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Home Study Preparations

August 19, 2011

Timeline so far: Application submitted Monday. Acceptance on Friday. Orientation on Wednesday. Home study scheduled for Monday. That’s right. From application to home study in two weeks. We had in no way anticipated the lightning speed at which the we would proceed, but we just held on and kept going. We had four days to prepare for our home study. Which was insane.

Objective #1: Eight hours of online training

We were given a website to go to and sign up for adoptive family training. In seven segments, we watched a series of videos and read many, many articles relating to all aspects of the adoption process, post-adoption placement follow up visits, and raising an adopted child. The training was exhaustive, very helpful…. And very time consuming. We did as much as we could but were held up by internet connection issues and website construction issues. Thankfully, our social worker understood the time crunch she had placed us under and let us finish later.

Objective #2: Individually writing detailed autobiographies

This was crazy. The questions asked ranged from childhood experience, relationships with parents/siblings, involvement in a local church, state of marriage, parenting philosophy and more. We were so thankful to have been given a second computer by my brother a few weeks earlier because we wanted to work on them separately and give truly individual, unique answers. We worked late into the night, each of us at a different computer. It was funny because we would call out to each other, asking which question the other was on and whether we could read our answers aloud, then we would quickly reconsider because we didn’t want to influence what the other was writing. We were encouraged when, once we were both done and looked over what the other had written, we realized that many of our answers were so similar. It led us to praise God that He has unified us and led us to speak with one voice in many areas of our life together. We are so thankful to Him for that gift.

Objective #3: Filling out paperwork

Most of this was not that daunting, simply requiring us to read and sign. The most difficult sheet was the one I mentioned before, with all the disorders we had to accept or reject. It was so hard. We prayed before and after we filled this sheet out, and we read over, discussed, researched and agonized over each one, trying to imagine what our life would be like with a child with the listed disorder. I had the most difficult time every time we agreed that we should probably to check “no.” Each time I felt like I was rejecting a child in need. We eventually had to look over the list one last time, pray we filled it out as best we could and set it aside. It was torturous to me to keep going over and over it.

Objective #4: Preparing our home

We were sent a list of items the social worker would be looking for in examining our home, which was helpful, so we just started checking things off. We had to do things like install additional fire alarms and baby-proof (yes, I know, at this point we already have two children, why is our house not baby-proofed? couldn’t tell ya… it is now, though). And of course, you can imagine the cleaning and organizing frenzy that ensued, knowing a stranger was coming to look at every corner of our house. Fortunately, we had some kind friends and family members who offered to help us clean and/or watch our kids while we tackled our house to-do list. As a side note, do you know how humbling it is to have a friend clean your gross refrigerator? Quite humbling, let me tell you. Even more humbling when the social worker didn’t even open the refrigerator.  But we were so blessed and thankful for all the help we received with getting our home ready.

Looking back, I guess it is pretty nuts that we agreed to have a home study with just four days notice. But we have figured that God is in control of this whole process and gave us the opportunity to get one of our most dreaded steps out of the way quickly. We have also heard stories from other adoptive families who have been forced to wait for a long time for a home study to be scheduled for various reasons (insufficient staff, lost paperwork, etc.) So we were grateful that God provided a way for this step to happen in a timely manner. After an exhausting few days, we felt we were as prepared as we could be for our home study. Here goes nothing…

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