Since my headaches have gotten remarkably better my husband and I have decided stop the short pause we put on the adoption process when I was in not so good of a state. We had gotten a TON done in the process between when we first contacted our agency to get everything started in February and when we put the process on pause in April. We were up to the home study interviews having done all the applications and paperwork and all but one training.
So, now that we are back in motion the next step were the home study interviews and the house inspection. We scheduled those with our social worker (it is still weird to say “our social worker”) for June 4th. I was doing my individual interview at our house directly followed by our joint interview and the home inspection.
We will start with the Less Intense: As someone new to this adoption thing I was SOOOO nervous about the house meeting the social workers standards. We cleaned, dusted, did a BUNCH of laundry and dishes, heck we even shampooed the carpets and vacuumed under the furniture! I was so nervous about the house living up to all the expectations that I imagined the social worker to have. Normally we live in a very clean and organized house so I imagine her coming on any day would be fine (OCD can be a super power) but I was nervous.
There is something very intimidating about opening your home to the evaluating eyes of (seemingly) the person who gets to decide if you get kids or not. I know that in reality this is not how it goes, that the social worker is on your side and not against you, but logical reality and emotional reality are sometimes FAR apart. It feels so judgmental. Well, that’s at least how I thought it would feel before she got there. When she was actually doing the home inspection it was like it was no big deal at all. She did mention that we will do a more in-depth one right before kids are being placed with us, but we passed this first one!
I had built up the home study house inspection to be this huge deal in my head (even though people told me it would be no big deal) so this was markedly less intense than I had predicted, which is good as I needed it after a more intense individual meeting then planned
Now to the More Intense: As I was focusing all of my irrational worry on silly things like carpet shampooing (which I am still glad we did as the carpets look really nice now!) I had completely neglected thinking about the individual interview. As we sat down in the backyard to chat (it was gorgeous that day) my internal intensity level began to rise and I was caught off guard! The questions were not, themselves, that overwhelming. I am a very talkative and open person and I have talked about all the things we talked about with others, but not ones that would be writing up reports that would decide who kids get placed with.
Let me fill you in by telling you that my life could very well be turned into a soap opera (one that no one would watch, but one nonetheless). My life is no worse or no better than the average person’s, I have come to learn that. However, as I sat answering all these very deep and VERY personal questions about events that formed the basis of who I am, I was left wondering something very disturbing to me at the time. I know in the normal population my history is about par for the course give or take a few traumas, however for the adoptive parent population I have no idea where my history lies on the bell curve (and yes I know that comment makes me a nerd and I embrace it!). As the questions continued, I got more comfortable with our social worker (as she is awesome) but also got more nervous. She would say things like “It’s good that you can laugh about it now” and “That’s a lot of ____”.
I continued to answer the questions fully and truthfully as I have absolutely nothing to hide or be shameful of. The things that happened in my life (either to or around me) are just things that I have had to learn how to deal with effectively and move on with my life. Some were harder than others and some I am still working on. I was honest with her about my weaknesses and my strengths. This was hard as I just wanted to tell her all the great things about me and how much I want to be a mom, but the truth is, I’m not perfect and no one is. She needs to know in what ways I am not (and Joel is not and We are not) so she can help us navigate these very unfamiliar waters. In the end I left feeling positive about the experience but apprehensive.
I was apprehensive for this reason (and it may be a tad selfish or self-perserving): The interviews are for the purpose of aiding our social working in writing up the home study report which is basically a term paper on Joel, I, and our relationship. Then as Joel, I, and our social worker see kids that we think are good matches for us we send this report to the childrens’ social worker. This social worker (we will call her #2 as a tribute to all the star trek lovers out there, #1 was already taken) gathers home studies from all families interested in the children (anywhere from 10 – 40+ families). #2 then reads the home studies and chooses the top families to meet with. That’s right, that report is the ONLY thing #2 knows about us when s/he whittles the piles down.
So, knowing that, my anxiety is this: I am anxious that #2 will see my (in normal society) par for the course (plus or minus) life and then see the life of other prospective adoptive parents with the 99.9%-tile life and have to choose. Hence the intensity of that day (my mind can totally answer questions in-depth and honestly and still think of all this s*** (sometimes OCD is a super power, sometimes not).
Here’s my conclusion (Yes, I have labeled the conclusion, get over it): My life has been my life and I will not sugar coat it for anyone. I feel strongly that God uses all things for good, I have come out the other side of a dark place and I hope and pray with all of my heart that the children that are placed with us will take my hand so I can show them the way out too, if not I will sit next to them in the pitch black darkness until they are ready to find their way out. No one should have to be there alone.
So if you are a social worker or an adoption placement person just remember that the people with the not perfect lives have HUGE hearts and can be a great resource for kids in need. I hope the adoption workers around here know that…