Paperwork, Paperwork, Paperwork
A good portion of the home study involves completing paperwork. We made copies of birth certificates, passports, driver’s licenses, marriage certificate, tax form, and health insurance cards. We submitted fingerprints, statements from physicians and employers, proof of residence, and background checks. We requested six letters of reference from friends and family members. We even had to decide who would be guardians to our baby in the case something would happen to the both of us.
Our First Interview
Prior to our first meeting, we completed a 10-page questionnaire... a very invasive list of questions. Topics ranged from where we grew up, how we handle anger, our strengths and weaknesses, financial information, how we will discipline our children... and much, much more.
Wouldn’t it be great if all parents had to be legally approved before raising a baby?!
Before meeting with our case worker, we researched questions to expect during the interview and practiced some of our answers. We were nervous. What if we didn't answer a question correctly? What if we weren't what she was looking for?
It turned out that our case worker was fantastic. She was friendly and didn't make us feel uncomfortable at all. In fact, she is on our side and wants to be able to approve us.
Getting Our Home Ready
Our case worker told us in advance that she wasn’t going to do a white-glove test (phew!). However, knowing that she was the person who would ultimately approve us to become parents, we wanted to make sure we were extra ready.
We purged our closet and dresser drawers and got rid of things that didn’t fit or we didn’t wear anymore. This was one of my favorite ‘projects’ because I finally got permission to throw away four of Josh’s old t-shirts that I despise. WIN!
I cleaned out a shoebox full of old birthday, Christmas, and thank-you cards. I made sure to keep the really special ones that make me laugh or put a smile on my face.
It was actually nice to have a reason to do such things as weeding the driveway, unclogging the shower drain, and vacuuming spider webs between the beams in the basement ceiling. 'Nice' isn't the word that Josh would have used to describe doing so many extra chores around the house, but he was a trooper and didn't complain.
Day of the Home Visit
On the day of the home visit, our case worker didn’t look for any of these things. In fact, the entire visit was much less intimidating than we thought. She didn’t care that we had an alphabetical, color-coordinated filing cabinet. She didn’t notice that we cleaned behind the refrigerator. And she didn’t even see that our ‘junk drawer’ was actually organized. (Although, all of these things have given me a much better state of mind.)
The purpose of the home visit is to make sure that we have a safe home to raise a baby. She asked lots of questions to find out if we are emotionally ready for this commitment and have a good support system. She wanted to make sure we were prepared for a possible bumpy road ahead.
At the end of the visit, our case worker assured us that she had no reservations in approving us. (hooray!) We’re hoping to get our official approval somewhere around the end of November. We are anxiously awaiting this day!