I figured I would explain the process a little more for those who are wanting to adopt and curious about what actually happens at a home study. Hopefully it will help cure some of those pre-home study nerves.
I can say that (in my opinion) our home study couldn't have gone more perfect.
Going into the adoption process, the home study seems to be the thing that brings the most nerves for many people. Us, included. I guess it has something to do with the unknown....What will they be looking for? Or just the fact you know people are coming to judge how you live and decide if your suitable to raise a child.
When we first decided to sign up for adoption, the home study was freaking me out. We've only been in our house for less than a year, it was a vacant fore-closer a while before we moved in, and it's still a work in process (It's livable). I was freaking out about the yard we just haven't had the money to fix yet, the rooms that haven't been painted yet, the chalkboard wall in the playroom that is in the middle of completeness, etc. The list could go on. Nicole told me time and time again to not worry about it, but still, it's easier to not freak when you already know what to expect.
Over the last couple of weeks, my nerves over the home study started to wain and by the time the caseworker knocked on our door, I wasn't nervous at all.
Okay, I lie....I was a little nervous about how Olivia was going to act....she was having one of those days.
I spent Tuesday doing my usual weekly cleaning and I had no expectations for it to remain perfect for the next 24 hours. I will state that I'm pretty good about keeping our house picked up. I straighten pretty much everyday, so our house is rarely messy. I do however only pick up the playroom once or twice a week. I went ahead and picked up the playroom, but by the time the caseworker got there on Wednesday, it was already a mess again and I totally left it that way. So, if your a messy person (and you know if you are or not) I would give my house a good cleaning before hand. If your like me, just stick to your normal cleaning routine.
When the caseworker got here, she immediately walked in and took pictures of our main rooms. Ours only took one picture of each room, it wasn't like she was taking pictures of every detail in our house. We then gave her a quick house tour that basically consisted of her just glancing in each room and us explaining who sleeps where and what we use the room for currently. No closets or dresser drawers were checked.
After the tour, we went and sat on the couch and she proceeded to ask us a bunch of questions about our childhoods (How we were raised? How we viewed our parents? What kind of activities we did, etc?), our families, our relationship with each other, how we meet, our favorite thing about each other, our least favorite, etc. and we talked a little about how we handle our finances (i.e. who is in charge of paying the mortgage each month). She then gave us each a "mental health test" which basically consisted of asking us if any events such as death, rape, robbery, etc. had ever happened to us.
We then talked a little more in depth about why we wanted to adopt, what type of child(ren) we would like to adopt, etc. Several people have asked if she gave us any type of idea how long we might have to wait. She didn't, but she said there was a very big need for families that would adopt sibling groups. In order to keep a sibling group together, sometimes they will keep a group in foster care for several years just to try to keep them together. That's how important it is to DFCS. Even though originally at the orientation, they tried to talk us out of our age group (4& Under), the actual caseworker seemed to have no problem with it. She didn't act as though or give any notion that we would have to wait years. She actually though tried to talk us into taking a larger sibling group! We said a sibling group of up to three. By GA state law, we actually have the room to take up to five more kids (isn't that scary?), but to live comfortably to us, we would only want three until we can finish the upstairs and add more bedrooms (Our house is large in square feet, but we still only have three bedrooms. Hopefully in about five or six years, we'll add two more and a bathroom to the upstairs). She did end our meeting saying that she was really excited we decided to do it and she thought we were going to be great adoptive parents! That was encouraging to hear from someone whose been a caseworker for over 25 years!!!
And that was pretty much it. It was super easy and it lasted for about an hour and 15 minutes. Obviously, I can't say that this is how every home study goes. I'm sure it's different from state to state and I'm sure maybe a little different if going through a private agency. From the way I understand it to be, is that if your going through a private adoption, you have to meet the state's basic requirements as well as the agency's requirements, so those might be a little more in depth. But if your interested in Adoption of Foster care, that's what happens in the home study for the state of Georgia (and I'd feel comfortable saying probably most other states).
Oh.....and Olivia did AWESOME!!!! I was nervous after she had been whiny ALL day, but she went into to the playroom BY HERSELF and played for pretty much the whole time. SHE NEVER DOES THAT!!!!! The only time we really heard a peep out of her was when she walked into the playroom with her pants around her ankles, asking for a diaper change. Overall, I was very happy with her behavior!And on a completely different note......
This picture completely makes me yearn for Spring and the warm weather!!!