Ok, so after my last post I got a lot of messages from people asking why I didn’t give more specifics about the homestudy. The truth is, it’s top secret, and they make you swear never to tell anyone about your homestudy, in fact, I could be in trouble just for sharing what I already have. Ok, no, of course, that isn’t true at all. The homestudy isn’t secret, and I am not deliberately withholding the specifics. While the general processes of adoption apply to most states/provinces/countries, the specifics differ quite a bit, so the exact questions I was asked during our homestudy may not apply to you at all, depending on where you live and what type of adoption you have applied for. There would be no point for me to write out every single question we were asked and every discussion we had, because yours will be different, I guarantee. So no, no one made us sign a gag order, or warned us to keep the information of the homestudy quiet. The exact details just aren’t as important as you think they are. But since you need just a little more, I will break down the homestudy a little further.
On her first visit, our writer stayed for about two, almost three hours. We spent the time just chatting about ourselves. Why we want to adopt, what are backgrounds are, where we came from, our education and work histories and a little bit about growing up. We also talked about how we met and how our relationship has been. It was a very casual conversation which felt more like friends getting to know each other. Occasionally she would throw in a specific question, like “what do your parents think of your spouse/your relationship”, but for the most part, we were able to cover all the important questions just by chatting. We ended with a basic discussion of our expectations for the adoption and who we wanted to adopt.
For the second meeting, again, she was at our house for three hours, maybe a little more. At this meeting, she had some very specific questions that she needed us to elaborate on, based on our conversation from the meeting before. We went over page after page of every trait, behaviour, background, history, your child could possible have, to check off everything we want or didn’t want (could handle or couldn’t handle, would fit with our family or wouldn’t fit with our family). It was literally broken down into specific details. What kind of child are you looking for. And then more about us. She asked us about our fertility issues and how we were coping. She asked us about our current parenting style with KB and how we plan to parent our adopted children. She also gave us each a questionnaire to fill out, on our own, that we went through with her afterwards, in privately. This is where she finds out how much you have been talking to your spouse, how well you know each other, and if you are on the same page (and also if you are lying, or have anything to hide, as you should have a close, if not exact matching answer to your partner). There is a section about you, about your partner, your family, your relationships with your partners family ect… Be prepared to answer all the common sense questions, like do you have a history of alcohol or drug abuse, and also more personal questions like how satisfying your sex life is. If there are any discrepancies between your survey and your partner’s, be prepared to discuss them. Certain questions are ‘flag’ questions which are meant to prompt the writer to open up further discussions with you, so answer the questions honestly, because the truth will most likely come out anyways.
The third meeting was about 2 hours. She spoke with KB, on her own for a little bit, and also with my parents. She asked for any clarifications she needed, and just generally summed up the everything we’d gone through. She didn’t have any concerns with us, but this is the meeting where she would have discussed those in detail and worked out a solution to them, before writing her final report. One thing we were (pleasantly) surprised to discover is that the homestudy allows alot of room for discussion. The writer uses her training, ‘gut’, and common sense to judge your ability to parent an adopted child. It is not a perfect system, and therefore, offers the opportunity for you to disagree with the writer. That means that no matter what your past is, or what your current circumstances are (within reasonable and legal parameters), you can adopt. You may need to take a few extra steps to overcome issues the writer feels are preventing you from being a capable adoptive parent, but the possibility is there. Obviously, there are some things that are absolute deal breakers, these are children afterall, but I was happy to see that there is, at least, an understanding on everyone’s part, that the homestudy process is a human process.
Our writer took about 2 weeks to write up a report about us, which included her feelings, observations, and professional opinions, and then sent us a copy. We were given an opportunity to look over it, and give her our impressions. If there was anything we didn’t agree with, we could challenge it. Thankfully, our homestudy was great. As someone with very low self-esteem, the anxiety of being judged was especially difficult for me. It took me along time, after each meeting, to decompress. As a way to cope with the anticipation of getting the report, I convinced myself that it would be filled with all the things we did wrong, and that we would not be encouraged to continue the process. I mean, I knew that wasn’t true (for starters, she would have told us that upfront and not dragged us along if she felt adoption wasn’t right for us) but emotionally, I needed to think the worst, to be prepared. The things she wrote were incredible to read and something every mother needs to hear, that they are doing a good job, that their child is wonderful, that their best IS good enough!!! It helped me so much, more than she could ever know 🙂 When the report looks right to you (which is important because the report is the first impression case workers will get of you, and how they will place you with matches), it’s sent in to the agency, and you are on your way to being matched. In fact, we had our first match literally within the same month our worker received our report.
As always, please feel free to comment or ask any questions you may have, and I can elaborate even further, since I know this is one of the scariest, most stressful parts of the experience.
Thanks so much for reading 🙂