Another step checked off our list! On Tuesday we had our first in-depth home study meeting. We had read a lot about home studies, and about the SAFE home study process, but none of the information on the websites truly articulated what was involved or what the process was going to be like. We were also initially nervous because we had never met this individual before, so the individuals that we were familiar with were not going to be the ones conducting our home study.
We were fortunate, our social worker is fantastic and easy to talk with. I can tell you, that the process does not feel like you are being heavily scrutinized or judged. I think that is a major fear for many people going into it; I know it was for us. Rather, the process felt very conversational and natural. Our social work, whom we will call “Meredith” (not her real name) simply reviewed our questions that we had answered prior, and then used those as jumping points to probe or ask for clarification on some of our responses. “Michael, Why did you check off stubborn as one of your Dad’s character traits? Can you elaborate?” . It made sense, no curve balls… but definitely questions that made us think about past experiences and why we answered things the way we had. Our meeting was held in the office, and lasted for 3 hours. Afterwards you feel exhausted, but it is a good exhausted. I characterized the meeting as being like one part interview, one part therapy session.
In our case, it helped to reinforce that we are ready and on the right path. What also was amazing was that Meredith had also successfully adopted through Adoption Options. So we could ask questions about the experience, how she handled certain feelings.. were these feelings or worries we had natural etc. It was a very supportive and safe process. Even though a couple of questions caused us to cry, it was a good cry. No bamboo shoots under the finger nails, no bright lights shining in our face.
I found in the research I had done, that most websites addressed the purpose of the home study and what was being looked for, but failed at describing the actual experience. My advice for my readers who are entering the process or getting ready to do so.. be yourself, don’t be afraid to laugh, there may be tears, and most importantly be honest and open. Trust in the process.
We have at least two more of these visits, one of which will take place in our home. So far we are really enjoying this journey. We like the opportunity to be introspective, and it gives us a true appreciation of how strong we are as a couple.