A lot of people have asked us about our homestudy– what it is, what we have to do, etc. The purpose of a homestudy is to get a homestudy report, to mail with all of the rest of your paperwork to the country that you are adopting from. The report tells about your family, why you will be good adoptive parents, who you should adopt, etc.
To do a homestudy, you have to find a licensed social worker, licensed in home studies that is. When I was searching for our social worker, it was not easy! This is partly because I was looking the Kansas City area, and social workers are licensed by state, so I would find some licensed in Missouri and not in Kansas. But, anyways, I asked potential social workers lots of questions BEFORE picking one. About our ages, length of marriage, finances, all of that, to check and see if any of it would be a problem for her.
Once I picked someone, the first thing that she did was mail us oodles of paperwork, some of it which needed to be completed before we met with her at all. What we needed to get done before we met her: application to work with her, financial sheet & autobiographies for both of us. Other paperwork included: info for reference letters, medical forms, HR letters, etc.
We had to write our autobiographies. There were lots of questions (four pages worth) to work with. Questions about our family of origin, schooling, childhood, spirituality, spouse, pets, EVERYTHING. My autobiography was like 6 or 8 pages… I think Aaron’s was 4.
I can’t tell you much about the financial info we had to fill out– Aaron did that all. But, it was mostly budget, etc.
Now that we had the preliminary stuff done, we mailed it all back to her and then scheduled our first meeting. And in the meantime, I started bugging everyone for reference letters.
Our first meeting was two hours, it was a lot of listening to her speak about adoption. The challenges. Things to consider. Honestly, it was nothing new, because I have read SO MUCH– books, articles online, blogs, accounts from parents, even corresponding with adoptive parents. And, I highly recommend that if you ever decide to adopt. READ EVERYTHING. It was nice to sit there and have everything reinforced, not hearing it from the first time and trying to commit it to memory.
We have three more meetings with her. Two in her office and one in our house. She told us it will be more questions for us. Judging by the few questions that she did ask, I expect it is very therapist-style, if you know what I mean. The few questions that she asked us reminded me of our pre-martial counseling which we did. Questions like: “What did your parents do that you liked? What would you change for your own parenting style?” “Why do you want to have children? What do you enjoy about children?” “What made you decide to pursue adoption?”
I hope that I am not wrong in saying this, but I am not too stressed about the homestudy. Not TOO stressed. I don’t think it is so much a test of whether you are fit as it is an educational experience about how adoption works and to get us thinking about the questions which we need to ask before we will bring children home. I do think it is a lot like pre-marital counseling, but in the end, there is a report that gets written up on your adoption & sent to the children’s country.
I hope this helps shed light on the homestudy, and what we’ve been up to lately.