Saturday, December 5, 2009

1st Home Study Visit

Hi all,
I'm sorry serving up the details has been a bit delayed.
Yesterday proved to be a big day.
We started out with our home study,
grabbed a quick lunch to hash out the details,
then I had a lactation consult with a friend and her beautiful 2 day old baby girl,
and finally we celebrated my Mom's birthday last night.
I was beyond functioning by the time we made it home.
But after sleeping late this morning I feel much better! :)
I think God used a busy afternoon to keep me from over analyzing our visit. Thank you Lord for your infinite wisdom!

Our visit was scheduled for 9am.
We got the kids up early and ready for school.
Andy picked up biscuits for us and Duchess donuts for our social worker.
Joseph made his bed and straightened his room,
without being asked I might add. :)
James' was a bit grouchy, so we just let him play after breakfast.
While Andy took the boys to school I showered.
Andy wore jeans and a dress shirt.
I went with jeans, a long sleeve t-shirt and my fluffy vest.
Cute and comfy.

Jennifer arrived a few minutes early and was super nice.
She had on jeans so that made me feel better about my wardrobe choice.
She didn't eat or drink anything, although we offered.
But she did take her fresh donuts with her.
When you offer stranger food do you always feel obligated to say things like,
I promise, we don't have cooties?! :)

We spent about 2 hours sitting in our living room talking.
At first it felt weird to be telling such personal details to a stranger.
And then I kept thinking how surreal it was to finally be having our visit!
Thanks Andy for asking me to turn off the ceiling fan.
But how were you know I hadn't cleaned it in 2 weeks?!

So as we sat under my dusty fan here's what we discussed...
1. We talked about our marriage. How did we meet? What was our first date like? Did we have a big wedding? You know I busted out the wedding photo album! Once we laid the foundation of "us" we progressed into the nitty gritty. What are your strengths as a married couple? What are your weaknesses?? Who handles the finances?? What does a normal disagreement look like in your home?? Let me tell you, we were honest. We told her we send the kids outside, get real with each other, probably yell, then talk it through, come to an agreement, I might cry, then we move on. We told her we both pray about our marriage, that is was very important for us to be on the same page.
2. She asked about our kids. What were they like? What did they think about us adopting? We talked about our parenting style. And because Andy and I are the chattiest married couple, we told lots of stories about our kids! The good, the bad and the discipline. :)
3. Then we moved onto what our family and friends think about the adoption. And let me tell, I told her all the people who weren't fans of our choice. The cool thing is that she and her husband are in the process of adopting their first child. A little boy from Korea. She totally understood how your closest loved ones could be your harshest critics. But we focused on the good. We talked about the extraordinary amount of love and support we've received. The friends and family who've given encouragement, helped with fundraisers, and the donations that we've been surprised with!
4. Of course she touched on our finances. Had anything changed from our application information? I did clarify that throughout the adoption process if anything changes in your household you report it to the agency. New job, someone staying with you for awhile, marriage problems, medical changes. They keep up to date on everything. Which I guess is good. The more they know you the better they can represent you.

Next we toured the house.
She looked at every room.
The focus was on Emily Margaret's room.
My plan is to combine my office with Andy's and then convert my office to her room.
My vision is that once she's older she can play in her room while mommy works. :)
The room that will be hers is actually the formal dining room.
The main stipulations was that it was large enough, check, that it had a window, check, and proper ventilation, check.
In the state of Alabama each child does not have to have their own room.
BUT, to adopt from China they do!
So, our social worker will submit the report but we might have to make changes.
That would mean the boys sharing a room and Emily Margaret having one of theirs.
Joseph's comment last night when I told him?
But mom, we could always change it back, right??
Yes son, absolutely!

The checklist requires that we have smoke detectors by the bedrooms, check.
We also needed a small fire extinguisher in the kitchen, uhm no check.
Who knew?
We weren't total losers, we did have one in the garage.
No worries Emily Margaret,
Big Daddy's already committed to taking care of that before the next visit!

We scheduled our next visit for December 22nd.
During the next visit she'll do individual interviews with each of the Hinson four.
Please Lord, let little James be on his best behavior!
Our homework assignment?
Complete and turn in our autobiographies before we meet.
We also have Child Abuse and Neglect forms to complete and send in.
All adults and children over fourteen living in the home must submit them.
Since Joseph will be fourteen in May, yes, fourteen he'll complete one too!
We also have to mail in our finger print paperwork.
Oh, I'm also thinking I'll finish decorating for Christmas and get all these boxes out of the house!

Because I'm result driven I had to ask...
did we pass our 1st home study visit??
Her answer,
Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers.
We couldn't make it down this long path without you!
God's blessings on your afternoon, Sarah :D


Tara Anderson said...

I'm glad it went well! I wasn't anticipating any problems, though. :) It's funny how home studies vary--we had to submit paperwork with essay questions (23 of them) covering the topics you discussed with your SW as well as our autobiographies, all of our financial statements, a floor plan of our house, heath forms and guardianship paperwork...I know I'm probably missing something...when we sent in our application to the home study agency!

Kim & Dave said...

You know, I always tell people that those meetings with the social worker for our homestudy was like getting "free" marrieage couselling! It's so good to re-hash all that stuff, isn't it?

Congrats!!! Check one more box off!