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You Don't Need to Be Perfect: Preparing for a Homestudy

The homestudy. The first part of the adoption process everyone – domestic or international – has to go through.

Everyone has a story about this time – from the insane amounts of paperwork to perhaps how smooth it all went, but one thing is for sure – it’s a huge step that ends up with someone deciding if they think you’re a good fit for the child they may end up placing with you.

Most of this is exactly the same through each agency. You apply, get approved for a country through the agency, sent the paperwork, fill it out, get assigned a social worker, and then face an interview with both of you, a walkthrough of your home, and a write up of what the social worker saw. In between this are doctors visits, reference letters, and perhaps announcing to family about your decision.

The process can take a few weeks to months – and a lot of it depends on how fast you can get the paperwork sent in, how quick your agency works with you, and the country you are working with.

I can only speak for ours and others I’ve spoken to, but here’s some tips and advice for surviving and preparing for what prepares you for the rest of the adoption process.

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  • Read Up. 1 of 7
    Read Up.
    There are so many amazing books out there about adoption: from choosing an agency to bringing your child home. Read at least one that takes your through some of this process by sharing other parents stories.
  • The Agreement. 2 of 7
    The Agreement.
    Every adoption agency requires a contract between you and them. If you're working with more than one (a separate homestudy) you'll sign two. Make sure you completely understand what it's saying before either of you sign, and have researched your agency thoroughly.
  • Get Inspired. 3 of 7
    Get Inspired.
    There might be a few people in your life less than enthused about adoption. Horror stories (and movies) seem to be something everyone remembers when the topic comes up. Have a phrase that comes to mind when they want to inform you how it's a crazy decision. It will keep you from wondering constantly if you're doing the right thing for you and your family.
    Photo Credit Etsy: The Dreamy Giraffe
  • Be You. 4 of 7
    Be You.
    Don't pretend, don't cover up. Just be you, and be honest. No one is perfect, your social worker that interviews you for the homestudy isn't expecting a robot - they want loving parents who are thrilled to add a child to their family.
  • Get Your Signing Hand Ready. 5 of 7
    Get Your Signing Hand Ready.
    Holy paperwork. Get ready to sign your name repeatedly over the next few months (and then longer) as you complete your homestudy. Between filling out forms and writing an autobiography (plus addressing all the letters for references) it's a lot of writing. Make copies of it all and keep it in a safe, easily accessible place.
  • No Perfection Needed. 6 of 7
    No Perfection Needed.
    Growing up, did you ever think, "I sure love how much time my parents spend with me but I wish they'd buy a bigger house?" No. And neither will your children. Offer up and be proud of whatever you have and do - from a work out the home parent to a stay at home parent. Know that many people raise children with whatever kind of money or life you do or don't have - and they turn out great.
  • Figure Out How To Tell. 7 of 7
    Figure Out How To Tell.
    The timing is up to you - announce it when the thought of an adoption crosses your mind, wait till the paperwork is in, or show everyone a pic of your new son/daughter. Many couples choose to tell their family and friends during the homestudy process. This aids in getting references, eliminating (most) hurt feelings if telling later on might make them feel left out, and adds another form of stress relief when you need to spill how frustrating or amazing the adoption process can be.
    Photo Credit Debbie Weldon

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Diana blogs on raising a toddler daughter, the loss of her twin boys, and their families’ Korean adoption in progress on the aptly named Hormonal Imbalances.

Smaller glimpses into her day are on Twitter and Facebook.

MORE FROM DIANA:

Where This Road Has Led Us: How we decided to choose adoption

Adoption: It’s not a purchase

Adoption and Grief: Mourning a loss while planning for a future

Paper Pregnant: How adoption and pregnancy are similar

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