For those of you aren’t familiar with the adoption process, once the application is approved, you are assigned to a social worker who basically becomes your advocate through the process. This person is also responsible for the final recommendation to approve you for placement with a child.
In our case, we were assigned a social worker who was located in Iowa, but not in Des Moines. Our home study process consisted of 3 in-person visits and many correspondence in between visits. This is also where our 9 references came into play.
Our first in-person visit was in late April. I read waaaay too much about what to expect, what to do and what not to do. For instance, do NOT obsessively clean your house. Let the social worker see the “real” you with dishes in the sink, beds unmade, whatever it is that is your typical “lived in” feel. I really do not like to clean, so that was a bonus for me! 🙂 I was still stressed. Would she like us? Would she approve of us? I had no idea what to expect. All I knew was the meeting would last 3 hours and that would put us past our normal bedtime. Sacrifices, right?!?? LOL
So, I did what I would normally do to calm my jitters. I poured myself a glass of red wine while I lightly cleaned the kitchen, cooked dinner and waited for Josh to come home from work.
The social worker showed up right on time. After introductions, we sat down and began with questions that Josh and I had for her. And, in true form, we had a list of questions that I pulled out, eager to get some answers! What does a typical relationship with birth mom looks like? What happens if birth mom changes her mind? What does this process all entail? Who gets naming rights of the child? Can we begin to decorate a nursery?
Then, we dug in. How did Josh and I meet? What is our biggest struggle in our marriage? The first meeting focused mostly on us as a couple and then focused solely on Josh. How was he brought up? What is his relationship with his family? What are his hobbies? Etc.
Before we knew it, 3 1/2 hours had past. We ended with a tour of our house. And that was it. The first visit was done and it felt “official” now. We were on our way…
And all was rainbows and unicorns, right? Ha!
I struggled big time after this visit. The answer to one of our questions was not what I expected nor wanted to hear. Our social worker strongly recommended that we don’t begin to prepare a nursery in advance. She explained that in the case we are placed with a child and it falls through, it will be harder to come home to an empty nursery. Realistically, I get that. I can understand and appreciate that. But it is not what I wanted to hear. In order for this to feel real, I needed something tangible to be excited about. I felt crushed and frustrated. Cue more tears. For days. Cue the whining to family and friends. For days. Something seemingly so small completely derailed me off the path forward.
In the end, after counsel from Josh and family and friends, we decided to do what we need, as a family to prepare our hearts and home. And we have begun to prepare a room for our baby. 🙂