Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Recap: Homestudy, Part 1

Yesterday was our first homestudy visit, and it went very well. Even so, it's such a relief to have it over!

I had a really tough day with the kids yesterday--v. short naps for 3 kids, plus one kid who seemed hellbent on a visit to the emergency room (he kept trying to somersault from the sandbox to the concrete patio, and he's only 22-months old). Their parents showed up right at 5:30pm, thank goodness, although one of them was all, "Oh, is tonight that thing you wrote on the sheet? We didn't know when it was." GAHHHHH! But he left quickly, mercifully, so I could change my spit-uppy shirt, hose down the kitchen table, and sweep the floors. Petunia got home at 5:45pm and took care of the furbabies' dinner while helping to pick up a little, too. Ms. Stork arrived promptly at 6pm; although I could have used a few extra minutes to calm down, I was glad she was on time. She came in and complimented the organization of our house, which was v. kind of her. Then we all sat down and got to talkin'.

It turns out we're right on target about the kinds of scenarios we can expect. Ms. Stork brought an email from a social worker who's currently looking for a preadoptive family for a 3-week old baby; Ms. Stork thought it would be good for us to see the type of match we're likely to be offered. The scenario she brought is just what we've been imagining, too: The baby's mom tested positive for drugs twice during pregnancy, and she was in a treatment program while pregnant. The baby was born addicted to methadone and a 51A was filed by the hospital. DSS took custody of the baby; the mom was discharged, left the treatment program, and disappeared. The baby's birthmom had 2 older kids who'd been removed from her home at an earlier date; those kids were living with relatives. Relatives were contacted about taking this baby, too, but they declined. They also weren't sure about allowing sibling visitation with the baby. Now the baby's social worker is looking for a preadoptive family who can weather the court process to terminate the birthmom's rights (no word about the birthdad's whereabouts), which will probably take several years. Bottom line: This baby could be our Hester Willa's twin. I'm glad we've been anticipating the right sorts of things.

So it's sounding more and more likely that Hester will be an infant rather than a toddler. That's SO EXCITING, though I'm getting scared about the whole sleep deprivation thing! Ms. Stork said that we should give it 6-8 months from November before we start getting nutty about waiting, and that feels about right to me. When it happens, it's going to happen very quickly, so it seems like we could put our time to better use by celebrating our last months of life pre-baby. Ms. Stork had news for us about the legal risk thing, too--she said that in the several years she's worked at The Home, all of the legal risk placements were eventually finalized. That's sad in so many respects, but it's also reassuring to us as a prospective adoptive family.

We asked Ms. Stork tons of questions, though I chickened out about the ABF question after we learned that it's best not to baptize your baby until after TPR (termination of parental rights). My individual meeting with her is coming up on Columbus Day, so I think I'll ask about it then. Petunia's individual meeting will happen on October 11, and then we just have one more long meeting to go until our part of the homestudy is over. Unbelievable, eh?

Here are some things I liked about Ms. Stork last night:

--She was really casual about the whole thing. She asked us questions in a relaxing kind of way, so that it was more of a conversation than an interview. I appreciated that.

--She empathized with us about the first time we applied to DSS. She told us we didn't need to have a car seat or a crib until our child comes home; in fact, she said it was better to learn more about our child's age and size before we got those things (hello! that's what we told the last social worker!). She even said, "C'mon, babies can sleep in drawers if they need to." That's my kind of logic.

--She said the word "lesbian" comfortably--no self-consciousness, flinching, or inappropriate smiling from her! I can't stress how important this is. She seems like she's going to be a great advocate for our family.

So that's that, our first homestudy visit is over. I think the next two will be more relaxed (she even said that she and I could meet in a Starbucks since her office will be closed that day), and then the last visit will be just fine. Now that she's been to the house and she didn't run away screaming, I'm more confident about her next visit.

Thanks to all of you who have kept Petunia and me in your thoughts throughout this long and grueling process. It's been so helpful to have this little online community, and I've leaned on you more than you know.


Blogger Canada said...

Oh yay, I'm so glad it went well!! (I mean, I knew you and Petunia would be awesome, and I'm just glad Ms Stork sees it, too). As for heroin or methadone-addicted babies, I found out last week (long story , I'll fill you in on the phone) that for drug-addicted infants, this is the best drug, as there are basically no lingering effects once weaned from the drug. Cocaine/crack and alcohol - very different, very bad. Fingers crossed!

3:05 PM  
Blogger M. said...

Congratulations! It sound like it went perfectly!

3:55 PM  
Blogger J said...


4:48 PM  
Anonymous Jenny PP said...

That's so great! I love Ms. Stork now! Awesome that it went so well, good for you ladies. That's also good about her experience with high legal risk adoptions.

I was talking to my mom about this and she had all sorts of questions, she's cute. She wishes you the smoothes possible adoption!

11:25 AM  
Blogger Hashbrown said...

actually crack and cocaine are not as bad as once thought. Now, meth, that is very very very bad. As is alcohol.

4:35 PM  
Blogger squasha said...

well, this is a little belated, but YAY! i am so glad it went so well. you two are awesome!

9:32 PM  
Anonymous Trista said...

You ladies Rock! Best of luck (that you don't need) on the rest of it!

11:53 AM  

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