Saturday, April 19, 2014

Home Study = Parent Study

Last week Ben and I met our social worker from Holt International for the first time. Her role in our adoption process is to help us complete the home study. The DREADED home study! Books and blogs have been written on this horrifying, insurmountable process, supposedly designed to flush out your flaws, make you quake in your boots, question every experience of your childhood and fear that the government has a file on you that will destroy all your hopes and dreams of parenthood.  As a toddler might say, "uh-oh!" Assuming that we were in for it, I went to BiMart and purchased a defensive weapon: A pen. Bring on the home study! 

It turns out that the first step of a home study is....paperwork! Copies of three years' taxes (thanks TurboTax), copies of vital records (accompanied with oohing and awing over the officialness), copies of drivers licenses (and annoyance at ODT's change of address stickers), copies of numerous other things. Federal background check and fingerprinting: been there done that and I'm still thankful that ink is no longer used! The real entertainment was in the Personal Data Information Form. Not the greatest title. It didn't get my pulse racing. But out of all the forms in this round, it was the most meaningful.

We each had to fill out a copy of the form. Twenty pages of questions and paragraph answers. Sounds a little obnoxious, except that it was all about what we want to do: parent! The questions asked us to consider our childhood, the structure of our growing up family, our marriage, our work and how all these things relate to parenting. The real purpose of the home study is to study the parents and the type of home they will provide. It's all stuff we talked about before deciding to adopt, but there was more purpose because as we answered the questions, there was a real child in mind. We don't know who he or she is, and yet we have written down our plans, expectations, dreams all centered on his/her being. It'll be very interesting someday to return to this form and see how life has changed.

In a couple days, we'll send out another large envelope of paperwork to Holt and start the next waiting process. It will take 2-8 weeks for the government and Holt to process our paperwork and collect our recommendations. In the meantime, Ben and I have online parenting classes to attend. I'm a little amused that we're going to have "parenting dates" to work on the education classes but once we're parents we'll have dates to take a break from parenting!

So that's what we'll be up to for the next couple of weeks. All of this is in addition to another piece of news I received last week: my acceptance to Sacred Heart University's Masters in Nursing program for Patient Care Services Administration!