We are officially in the home study process! This step seemed like such a distance from the present for so long that it is hard to believe that we are actually here.
Our social worker came over on Monday, the 21st. We were so anxious and could not stop cleaning our home and pacing around until she arrived. Our fears were put at ease once she came inside and we started talking. She was very nice and gave us time to talk and ask questions, as well as, gave us a lot to think about.
One of the main issues we have to study and reflect on is to what degree of adoptive openness we are comfortable with. Adoptions were long found to be closed, meaning no contact between the birth parents and the adoptive parents. Our social worker informed us that agencies are now leaning more towards open adoption. There are varying degrees of openness, but all include some sort of contact between the birth parents and the adoptive parents. This contact may be mediated by the agency, or it may be an ongoing direct relationship between the two sets of parents. This topic is very difficult for us. We both know we need to keep an open mind, but we also have to follow our hearts. Before any decisions are made, our social worker recommended we read, “The Open Adoption Experience.” This book should shed some light on the topic of open adoption and hopefully make the decision of to what degree of openness we will accept a much easier decision.
At our first home study visit we were also given homework. We are each to write an autobiography of our lives. The autobiographies are to be turned in to our social worker a week before our next meeting. At our next home study meeting, which is going to combine meetings 2 & 3, we will each be speaking with our social worker separately and discussing our autobiographies in detail. No one said that the adoption experience was not invasive, right?! As a co-worker mentioned, it will be a good way to be reflective in a way that neither of us have been in a long while.
We have been working on our Parent Profile Book and hope to have it complete very soon so that it can be reviewed by our social worker and our adoption agency. This book is an essential part of the adoption process. It is a way that birth mothers choose an adoptive family and can get to know the type of environment the child will be raised in.
The adoption process is lengthy, invasive, costly, reflective, exciting, emotional, but most of all, worth it to have our child in our arms in the near future.