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Home Study Day One

August 31, 2011

Monday finally arrived. I honestly woke up with butterflies in my stomach. It felt like the first day of school back when I was teaching. Except there was a lot more riding on this day. We had scheduled our home study for the afternoon so that Tim could work the first half of the day. My sweet friend Maggie had offered to keep Eliza and Jude at her house that morning so that I could get some last minute chores done. Well, upon waking, I realized I had gotten to the point that I just couldn’t clean my house anymore. Just. Couldn’t. Do it. I felt like I had been cleaning, organizing or in some other way preparing for this home study non-stop for four days straight. If it wasn’t done now, it just wasn’t gonna get done. So instead, I got my kids up, fed them breakfast and headed to Maggie’s house just to visit and keep my kids from wrecking my house before the social worker arrived.

As it turns out, this could not have been a better plan. Maggie has a son named Shepherd who is just a few months younger than Eliza, and they LOVE playing together. I left Jude at Maggie’s house for his morning nap and walked to a park near their house with Eliza and Shep. They ran, played and laughed for hours. It was a perfect morning because even though it was pretty cool the sun was out and warmed things up just enough to make it pleasant. Eliza had such a blast with Shep, Jude got his morning nap as usual, and I had so much fun chasing the two crazies that it kept me from thinking too much (in a worrisome, unhelpful way) about the home study. We ate lunch there and then headed back to our house, arriving about the same time as Tim did, which was about 10 minutes before the social worker (giving me only a very small window in which I had to keep my kids from destroying the clean house, perfect!).

The social worker was so sweet and immediately put us at ease. She suggested we walk through the house first, so that she could meet the kids and see how they interact with us as well as see everything she needed to see before we put our kids down for a nap. This part was not nearly as painful as I was expected. She had the exact list she had sent us over email. So we just took her through the house and showed her that each part of the list was taken care of. So simple. After the tour, we put our kids down for naps and sat on the couch to talk. (Another benefit of our morning out: Eliza and Jude were both exhausted and slept nearly three hours! Enough time for us to finish the rest of the homestudy without little ones to tend to. We were so thankful it worked out that way.)

The interview part of the homestudy was “intense” in the sense that there were a lot of questions to answer but not in the sense that it was scary or nerve-wracking. Our social worker has such a bubbly personality that it felt like we were just having a conversation about marriage, parenting, adoption, church, family, etc. with a friend. The autobiographies we had written were helpful because it gave her a jumping off place from which to ask questions rather than starting from scratch. She also gave us the chance to ask questions, and we took turns peppering her with questions about some of the things we had learned in our online training. These questions prompted her to enter the training portion of the homestudy and give us information mostly on post-placement visits and how to make the coming-home transition smoother for all involved. It was very helpful.

The question that she asked us that most stood out in our minds was, “What is your biggest fear or concern in pursuing adoption?” We answered almost in unison: “The expense.” We explained that every time we looked at the breakdown of how much adoption would cost, we were tempted to worry. I will never forget the look on her face. She looked really confused. I half-laughed and said, “What? I guess you were expecting us to say something else? Like, we are afraid that we won’t be able to love or care for an adopted child like we do for our biological children, right?” She acknowledged that that was exactly the response she had been expecting. This gave us the opportunity to explain that God had really grown us in the past few years in such a way as to help us see that a child does not have to share our DNA in order for us to love him (or her). We have friends whose children we love fiercely, and we are certain that we will love our newest little Ganger the same way, because we already do!

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