A lot of folks have been asking about the homstudy and how it went, so I thought I would lay it all out here.
It was a dark and stormy night....Okay, not really it was morning around 10am and it was raining; not really stormy. So the dilemma was do we keep the dogs inside or not. When it rains we usually bring them in, but not all people like dogs. What if the social worker hated dogs? If we let the dogs come in and out there would be mud on the newly cleaned carpet and the house would smell like dogs and no amount of candles would take it away. In the end, we decided to keep the dogs inside.
We woke up the morning of the homestudy and started tidying up and as Sam was taking the garbage out the front, he ran into the social worker. She was at the door and had not yet knocked. We invited her in and Sam finished taking out the trash and she realized I had emailed her when I was first beginning to interview agencies. Lutheran Services had contracted her to do the homestudies for them, since they were behind. She no longer actually worked at the agency. We invited her in to sit down. Sam had run in to Gary outside, who was painting our house. Gary was piling up all the rotten wood out in front of our house.Oh, I forgot to say homesteady day was also junk pick up day in our neighborhood, so obviously I was thrilled about that.
The house was all dressed for Christmas and the smell of cookies was wafting from our candle. We were ready. The social worker petted our dogs and mentioned she had blue heelers (score!) She took out her folders and I noticed our giant application we filled out and her long list of questions single spaced. She did a brief outline of how the day would go and then we got started.
First she interviewed us together as a couple. A lot of those questions, were things we could answer together and I tried to make a conscience effort not to do all the talking. The questions had to do with our parenting philosophy, our discipline philosophy, how we would handle insensitive comments about adoption or race/ethnicity issues. They also wanted to know if we had a fire extinguisher and smoke alarms. They wanted us to designate a guardian for the baby in case we died, and suggested parenting classes. She asked what are hopes and dreams were for the child and how would things be different raising an adopted child. A lot of these things we answered in our application already. When it kinda veered from the application she would go back and say, "Well in the application you said this, do you still agree or do you want to add, etc." She also went through the application with us together to make sure we still agreed on all the things we had checked concerning the kind of family and child we would be matched with and how open we wanted to be with the whole adoption experience. Oh, I forgot to mention. in the middle of this, Ruben showed up to do our lawn. . Sam had to jump up in the middle of the interview to get Ruben his money it was really just fine because we went on chatting. She did not make a big deal about it at all.
Then she did the dreaded home tour. I say tour because she really did not look at anything in depth. She did not look under mattresses or behind shower curtains in the bathroom. She just noted our floor plan and the layout of our house. She commented on our big backyard, but did not go outside. (Yea for rain!) We stood in the baby's room and she scribbled notes and noted I already had a diaper bag and some baby items (thanks Sara!) That was it! The whole things took 10 minutes. I was amazed. Everyone had told me not to worry about it and they were right. I guess you just had to live through it. Really, the important part was yet to come. The all encompassing questions.
Then we broke for lunch. The night before I had bought all this food thinking that we may have to feed her, since we were meeting for so long. We offered, but she needs to go somewhere private to write things up. We had about an hour to ourselves. We thought it was going well and Sam thought she was nice. I thought I talked too much, but Sam said I was fine. We then sat down to eat. Sam had a slight headache, but thought he would be fine.
Fast forward one hour. The social worker came back and commented on the crazy De Zavala construction and we all agreed it was soul sucking. She said she just manged to get to McD's before she had to turn around and said she would write up her reports later.
She then did individual interviews with both of us. I went first and talked a lot because I am super chatty. Sam went next and his interview was much shorter. The actual individual interview was very detailed and again fell in line with our application. Sometimes she would look at her notes and if you gave a different answer she would say, "Well Sam said...this..." This was interesting because we did not read each others answers, so I was suddenly seeing what Sam really thought of me. Woah, Woah! It was good and nothing new. For example, when he said I was stubborn I laughed out loud and mentioned that we both were quite stubborn. Then she followed with, "How do you think this will affect you being parents?" Also, there was the sex questions. What!? We had answered these on the application, but it is much different when answereing them to a live person. No, not awkward at all. Yea. That is pretty much how the whole interview went. It was intense and long, but really not as bad as I thought.
Sam and I hid in the office why our individual interviews were going on to give privacy. I did come out once to feed the dogs and heard Sam say, "What I like about Sharis is her empathy" and I almost cried. Then I thought no crying in interviews, bad form. The whole thing went from 10 AM to 6PM. After it was done she shook our hands and said she would be in touch.Well, fast forward after the holidays and it is official... we passed! It was not for the faint of heat, but we did it and are on our next step to babyville. Can't wait!