Friday, July 10, 2009

Painful Process/ Priceless Result

I have to start this post by thanking everyone who left your congratulations on my last post. It's a very humbling thing to realize that people across the blogosphere are crying happy tears for you and your family.

A few of you have sent emails asking for more details about how we came to find ourselves in this miraculous position, and how long it is likely to be before we are a family of four. I will do a more thorough FAQ post soon, but today I will introduce you all to the homestudy process, which I expect to take us a couple of months.

This morning two lovely (really, they were great, Grasshopper and I loved them) social workers knocked on our door and were greeted by Grasshopper demanding to know, "Why you no bring my baby today?" (I had told him that they were coming because they were going to help us find his baby. He seems to think that our timeline is a little long.)

They are, I know, going to be reading my blog and I'm having a bit of a hard time with that **waves weakly to A&E**. There is nothing that I have published here (or anywhere else) that I do not stand behind 100%. But this is my sacred space, and I have always written here without a particular audience in mind. It is my diary, and my tagline is quite accurate: this is the intersection of Mommy and me.

It's a strange feeling when your online world and the real world begin to intersect. When people whose job it is to evaluate every part of your life have access to the archives where you have bared your soul. A homestudy is, by it's nature, an incredibly invasive thing. I have done it before, and have no hesitation about doing it again. As I have always maintained Adoption = Painful Process/ Priceless result. The homestudy exists for a very good reason and I remain ELATED to even be in the position of needing one again.

But as my friend Good Attorney said, when someone is picking your life apart and judging you and your family (even when it is with the best interests of an utterly innocent child at heart), when they are the gatekeeper standing between you and what you desperately desire, it's hard not to view them as being on the other team. Not an enemy, not at all, but not necessarily wearing your colors either.

For those of you not familiar with the domestic adoption homestudy requirements, here's most of what we face:

1. Criminal Record check with the FBI and GBI
2. Child Abuse Registry Check
3. Sexual Offender Registry Check
4. Department of Correction Screenings
5. Parolee Database Screenings
6. Documentation from local law enforcement of all 911 calls for all addresses we have lived in GA for the preceding 5 years
7. Verification of medical insurance and copies of medical insurance cards
8. Medical Report Form 36 which requires our doctor to disclose any health problems (from obesity to hepatitis to poor ambulation), and all medications we take, a TB skin test and complete drug screening
9. Child Safety Agreement
10. Financial Statement with copy of mortgage
11. Most current tax return
12. Employer Verification Letter with salary and dates of employment
13. Copy of Drivers License and auto insurance cards for all drivers in the home
14. Birth certificates for all family members
15. Marriage certificate
16. Divorce Decrees from any previous marriages
17. Recent pictures of all family members and a photo of our home
18. Current pet vaccinations
19. References from 1 family member and 2 non-related persons

We must also complete extensive essay questions about our motivation for adopting, and since we are open to the adoption of an African-American child, questions like the following (which, to be fair, comes from the adoption agency not the homestudy agency):

Families vary in economic, regional, racial, cultural and educational backgrounds. Are you aware of any significant differences between African-American and Caucasian lifestyles? Please discuss these in relation to customs, history, struggles and accomplishments between the two groups.

JR and I will be interviewed separately and as a couple. We will be scrutinized from every angle imaginable and when it is all over, when the government is satisfied that we will be good and loving parents, we will find our baby.

I can't wait to begin.


stephlove said...

Good luck with the home study. We had to do all that paper work when B adopted N & J, but not the home visit. We're lucky to live in one of the handful of states where she could legally adopt my bio kids without me giving up my legal rights to them. (I don't remember how many, but it's a minority.)

Funnyrunner said...

Golly, Natasha! Whew! It always strikes me how some people are the BEST parents and have trouble having kids and then there are those who, say, throw their newborn baby in the trashcan... sigh.

I'm so happy that this is all happening again for you! :) Hang in there!

sitting on the mood swing at the playground said...

I love Grasshopper's greeting! His comment should be in your essay.

Oh, I remember the homestudy process very well. The list you provided is so familiar. We had to provide addresses going back 18 years. I had to dig deep in my brain for some of those summer apartments.

I'll be thinking good thoughts for you and hoping for a short waiting period so you can hold your new baby soon.

Petra a.k.a The Wise (*Young*) Mommy said...

oh my goodness! good for you. I missed the post where you announced this so I am so excited to be hearing about it for the first time! My parents adopted a 9-year-old little girl eight years ago so I know all about the painstaking process, except for my parents it also included a year of visitation and another year of foster parenting before they were allowed to adopt her. It is quite the process, but all worth it in the end! Congrats to you!