Friday, May 25, 2012

Home studies and more...

Well, it has been a while since my last post. It seems like we have been in a tailspin for the last month. We finished the garage sale with the help of many friends and neighbors. We were so tired that Saturday. It was a long day, but we made almost enough money to pay for the Home Study. It was perfect timing too because after everything was done for the day, we checked our mail. In the mailbox was our Home Study packet. As tired as I was, I wanted to tackle it right then. So, I opened everything up and began looking at the list of over 50 things we had to do and gather. They told us initially that the Home Study process would take 1-2 months, depending on how fast we worked on our side. Of course, with my drive to do everything in MY power to move this along as fast as possible, I wanted to get it done. It was daunting to say the least.

The process began with an autobiography for both Gary and I. Mine was 14 pages when it was all said and done and I think his was 10 or 11. They did give us a guide and questions we were to address, but I felt like I was having to really dig in my memory to write this paper. It was a reflective process though. It reminded me of some things from my childhood - both good and bad memories. It also allowed me to reflect on how Gary and I met and fell in love. It was truly a trip down memory lane. For any of you out there who are just beginning this process - a timeline would have been very helpful throughout this process. That is a timeline I created of my life as I lived it with dates, names and places. I know I am not that old - many say 34 is still very young - but as time goes by, my memory has faded some. It was nice to read Gary's autobiography after he completed it and see what he remembered that I had not.

After the autobiographies were complete, we also had to fill out a questionnaire with 21 questions on it. They were in depth questions about what led us to adoption, our views on parenting and more about us. I thought going through infertility was rough (it forced us to think about and make decisions we thought we would never need to make), but going through the adoption process really forces you to look at yourself as a person and to reflect on your ideas, how you were raised and your belief system.

The autobiographies and questions were sent in immediately so our social worker could get started. We then went to work on all of the other documents we needed. Background checks, fingerprinting, physicals, drug test, TB test, updated vaccinations, licenses, birth certificates, reference letters, etc. etc. etc. and in our case documents for Gary's permanent residency.

Before we were even halfway through with this hunting and gathering process, we got a call to schedule our first interview with the social worker at her office. It became a mad rush to gather everything and put it in order so we could spare the expense of mailing a giant package. We wanted to give everything to her in person. We did it! After a few stressed out days and a few arguments. We got everything together except our fingerprints which we did right after the interview. That was the end of our paperwork for a while. The fingerprints will now be processed by the  FBI which will take up to two weeks and our report will be completed from the social worker in about 3 weeks so we are moving along. We are ready for this part to be completed so we can apply for a few grants. Sadly, we already had to write a huge check to the adoption agency and the grants can only be applied for AFTER the Home Study is complete. We will hope for the best.

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