Tomorrow is the big day on the adoption front. Our last big step, our home study begins. For those who may be newbies in the adoption world, the home study is the mandatory process by which an adoption Social Worker assesses a family or individual who is considering adoption. The home study involves a series of meetings (generally 4) and helps to identify strengths and vulnerabilities that will affect both parent and child in the months and years after placement has occurred.
For us the home study is the last step in the process, with the exception of our medical reports, before our file can be presented to birth parents. It is very exciting, but also a bit nerve inducing. The reality is that we are who we are, and plan on going into it without over prepping.
I mention prepping because there are so many websites that have tips on preparing for your home study. Most of the websites are U.S based, so really don’t apply. Over prepping seems a little counterintuitive to me. The purpose is to learn about us as a couple and is truly a tool for both R and I, and the adoption practitioner to best prepare us for placement. So over prepping seems to be inauthentic to me. What is there to prep? Our answers are our answers. It doesn’t mean that I won’t be cleaning and thinking about what drinks and snacks to serve. I would do this regardless of who was coming over.
Leading up to the start of our home study we each completed two in-depth questionnaires, which are part of the S.A.F.E (Structured Analysis Family Evaluation) assessment home study. These questionnaires help our social worker learn which questions may need more detailed discussion with each of us. The questions also help us describe some things about ourselves that may be otherwise difficult to verbalize. The S.A.F.E questionaire has a significant focus on the family we grew up in as well.
I like the idea of the S.A.F.E process, because it is structured, and is based on 70 Psychosocial Factors that have been demonstrated to be necessary for safe and effective parenting. Coming from a background in Human Resources, and having studied Psychology I know that using Psychosocial Factors can be an effective and reliable tool.
I look at each of these steps as being one step closer to meeting our baby! So bring it on!