Attention all moms out there!!! Do you have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen? Do you have smoke alarms in every floor of your house? Did you have every aspect of your marriage/relationship and physical/mental health checked out before you gave birth? Because you might not be a fit mother if you haven’t done these things. Well, at least you wouldn’t be approved to adopt.
The homestudy process is interesting. Most people think (I thought like this before we started the adoption process) that someone comes in, inspects your house to make sure it’s completely child proofed, safe, and clean. That’s part of it, but the homestudy process really delves into your life (starting even before birth) to now and looks ahead to the future.
To begin the homestudy process, Husband and I had to answer several questions individually about our lives growing up, our personalities, our life together, etc. I know that everyone’s family has its issues, but my husband’s family has more than most. I remember Husband and I talking, and he said, “I hope my family doesn’t mess anything up for us.” ***I feel like I should clarify, most of Husband’s family is lovely, it’s just that the last time he saw his dad (who he rarely talks about, and I’ve never met) was when he was 16 and it was in court because he still owes back child support from then. (Husband is now 35) There’s really nothing positive I’ve ever heard about him.*** There are other issues, but this isn’t the time or place to air dirty laundry…
The first day our assessor came to our house, we cleaned and organized everything as best we could. We wanted to make a good impression. It didn’t much matter though because she was a lovely person and the whole process wasn’t as much of a pain as I’d originally thought it might have been. She came a few times, always checked around our house, but mainly spent time talking with us about adoption and our families. She always wrote a lot down to include in her report.
We had to get a fire inspection, which is why our kitchen is now a proud owner of a fire extinguisher. We also have smoke detectors on every floor of our house. Even before we were in the system to get a baby, we had to make sure all of our cleaning supplies were either in a high cabinet or locked under a sink. Basically, we baby proofed the house for a baby that we had no idea when they would be coming.
We also had to fill out a several page form about the type of child we’d be interested in adopting – the child characteristics checklist. This form is used for all adoptions from birth – age 17, so some of the things (masturbates in public, child is pregnant, child has a criminal record, etc.) did not apply to the baby we knew we wanted to adopt, however, there were quite a few things to think about that caused a few issues between Husband and myself. The first one was race. You can choose from every race imaginable, and I was ok with parenting a child of any race. My husband was not. We discussed it and decided the specific races we would (and would not) feel comfortable parenting. We decided about disabilities, diseases, if the birth mother did drugs or alcohol during her pregnancy… Part of me just wanted to check “will consider” for everything. I almost felt like I was playing God by putting “will not consider” for certain criteria, but it is what it is when you’re not the one carrying the child inside you for 9 months.
When talking to other perspective adoptive parents, we all joked that every single pregnant person should have to go through this process. Maybe it would wean out some of the crappy parents we hear about in the news.
Husband and I are “approved” parents. We literally have a license to parent.
After mountains of paperwork, doctor’s visits, signatures, and lots of checks, we were officially in the system. The whole homestudy process took about 6 months…and next, the waiting.