Sunday, June 24, 2007

the home study

Well, the first big step towards becoming a mom was picking a home study agency and getting started. My friends L and D both used Vista Del Mar for their home study. I had worked with them as a social worker and child advocate and I knew they had a good reputation. So, on February 1st I sent off my application (and a check) to initiate my home study.

In return, Vista sent me a packet of paperwork. I had to write an autobiography, which honestly, up to this point, has been the hardest thing for me. I had to summarize my life in 4 pages or less. I'm 38 years old for crying out loud...what do you include and what do you leave out? Somehow I managed to get it done in 4 full pages, double spaced. The rest of the stuff was pretty easy - criminal record statement, fingerprinting, medical exam, employment verification, tax returns, bank statements, birth certificate and a bunch of agency forms. I also had to ask 4 dear friends to write letters of recommendation for me. Thankfully, they were all more than happy to do so. (My friends rock!) I finally finished everything and dropped it all off to Vista on March 14th. The next day, I was assigned a social worker.

I was nervous about my first visit with the social worker. I just didn't know what to expect. The visit took place in her office on March 28th. It was pretty casual really. My sw was very friendly. She asked a bunch of questions about me and my family. A few, I'm embarrassed to admit, I couldn't about my family ancestry. We spoke for a little less than an hour and then we were done. Needless to say, I went home and immediately starting researching my family history. I didn't want to look stupid in the second interview.

My second visit was on April 4th, again, in the sw's office. Again, it was pretty casual. We discussed the information in my autobiography. We also talked about why I chose Vietnam and my parenting style. The final visit, a home inspection, was scheduled for the following week.

This part made me nervous. I cleaned my apartment like it had never been cleaned before. I actually unpacked boxes that I'd had in the closet since I moved in 3 years earlier. I threw out old magazines even cleaned out the fridge. I bought fire extinguishers and had flowers out on the table. I even moved the cat's food off the dining room table and down to the floor where normal people feed their animals. *side note* I keep bailey's food and water on the dining room table because I had a horrible ant problem a few years ago, and this was an easy solution. Since I'm single, I rarely eat at the dining room table anyway. And when I do have guests, I just move everything. I know it's not normal!

When the sw arrived at my place on April 12th, she had a draft of my home study with her. She asked me to read it over and mark any errors. I can't tell you how it felt to read the last page where it said I was "approved and recommended for the adoption of one child." The sw stayed for a short while and really wasn't interested in the nooks and crannies of my place. She didn't open a drawer or closet. She just wanted a quick tour and then we sat on the sofa. When we were talking about baby proofing, I had to bite my tongue when she told me I'd have to find a higher place to keep that cat food so the baby can't get to it. I told her I'd see what I could come up with. We talked about what my next steps would be and about the vacation I had planned. I was going to London and Rome for 2 weeks and she told me I could start buying things for my daughter-to-be.

And just like that, the home study was done. All that was left was for her to print the final copy. Then it had to be signed by her supervisor and notarized. I was going on vacation so she told me I could pick it up as soon as I got back.

We got home from Rome on Monday, May 7th. I took the 8th off work to recuperate and picked up completed home study on May 9th! Now that was one thing I could check off my list!

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