Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Home Studies; A Tutorial

I LOVE it when you guys send me ideas for my next post.... there is so much to touch on when it comes to discussing infertility, adoption, and parenting! Send me your ideas and you know I'll do my best to be as honest as possible ;-)


Heather and her husband are getting ready to adopt through the foster care system and responded to one of my Facebook pleads for new ideas asking if I could help her travel through the home study process. Fortunately (umm... or unfortunately :-/), I'm a pro at home studies!


That's one thing an adoptive parent never wants to be... a pro at home studies. LOL!


Joey and I are actually getting ready for our up-teenth home study visit this week so Heather had perfect timing, as it's on my mind, too!


I'll start with 2 myths that I fully believed when preparing for our first home study;


Myth #1; Your house needs to be spotless so the social worker can see the pristine environment your future child will grow up in....

Yeah, right. I remember our social worker (whom we have been working with through Hannah's adoption AND our current process) mentioning that, while she never wants to walk into a pig sty, it's always nice to see a family in their day-to-day environment. 

Here's my advice; pick up the house. Don't leave your underwear laying around. Other than that, hiring a cleaning lady the day before your visit will only break the bank... not impress anyone.


Myth #2; It's not in your favor to admit to the beer you have with dinner, the fights you have over money, the time you waste on Pinterest, and the attitude a certain family member has toward your adoption. 

Be real. You're not searching for ANY child, you're searching for YOUR child... and YOUR child needs YOU; not who you pretend to be. No one is perfect and your social worker is aware of that.... show her who you are, how you spend your time (productive and unproductive), how you argue, how you make up, and who you surround yourself with.  She's been around the block... she'll no doubt know the amazing qualities that will make you incredible parents but a couple who admits to their faults is refreshing and honest. 


And a few words of advice....


 ~ Have a snack and drink prepared to offer your social worker. She's probably not going to show up famished or parched but food and drinks always calm the atmosphere. We all feel a little more in control and relaxed when we have something yummy in front of us :-)

~ If possible, have copies of your home study documents within reach during your visit. Most likely, your social worker has received all of your documents from a third party (lawyer, agency, DSS, etc) and things always get lost in transit. Having copies of those documents is not only a safety net for you, should a snag appear in the adoption process, but it can really save time if something is missing during your visit.

~ If you have children already, request a time for your visit when your child/ children are most likely to watch a show/ movie, eat a snack, or enjoy quiet time or a nap.  It might even be a good idea to ask your sitter or neighbor's daughter to come over to play games or out back for a little while. Your social worker will want to see you interact with your child, if possible, but they can also be a distraction and frustration for you when you're already anxious.  

~ While your nursery and home don't have to be ready and waiting for your baby at the time of your first visit, let this visit be your permission to dream and plan a little. A home study means that things are moving and you're getting closer and closer to your child.... it's now ok to peruse the Pottery Barn Kids catalogue, go to town pinning your favorite nursery ideas, stocking up on diapers, and choosing a few cute outfits. Your social worker will want to know what your plans are... which room will be his/her room? What have you done/ will you do to prepare your home before your baby's arrival? If you get a quick placement with little notice, will you feel ready?

Your turn.... what's YOUR advice for our new home study-ees??

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