A lot has happened since my last real adoption update. We've officially completed everything we can do for our home study and are now in the 3-4 week wait for our social worker to write the full report on our family. I hardly know what to do with myself without something adoption-related to keep me busy every single day!
We finished up all our home study paper chasing towards the end of January. I already mentioned a lot of the specifics of what that paperwork entailed (TONS of form gathering/signing/copying, financial information, reference letters, background clearances, the list goes on and on). The most time consuming project was writing our autobiographies. I've had a few people tell me they had no idea what they would write about themselves and I probably wouldn't either, but this was all laid out like a long Q & A session. We had to answer questions about every single aspect of our lives (seriously, nothing was left out) and combined they were close to 60 pages long.
No doubt my behind is permanently imprinted on the computer chair.
Our home study agency does not start with the actual interviews until all of this paperwork is submitted and the social worker has a chance to learn all about us. We had to reschedule our first visit because of snow, so our first visit wasn't until February 26th. It was the "couple interview" with both of us and we had it at our house. It was scheduled on a day that both little boys were at preschool so it worked out well for me to come home and clean up the house before Rebekah arrived. Lily could tell something was going on and I was just hoping she wouldn't lick her to death.
I was a bit antsy in the minutes before she arrived. A friend of ours had challenged our group (we all chat most days on the YAK app on our phones) to dig into some Psalms that day so I sat down for a few minutes and did just that. Helped calm my racing heart for sure.
The visit went great. We were surprised at how laid-back it was. Rebekah talked a lot herself, so it didn't really feel like we were being grilled or anything. We found out we shared the same pediatric clinic and like the same doctors and a lot of our talk was just parent-to-parent kind of chit chat. She did ask about our reasons for adopting why we are choosing China. We talked about some of the special needs that we are open to. She asked some questions about our marriage and specifically wanted to know what kinds of things we fight about.
That was a fun topic because Matt and I agree on just about everything. Seriously we don't fight about big stuff. Ever. I don't think we've ever even had a disagreement about money or religion or politics or family relationships. If we fight it is over the most idiotic thing you can imagine. Our most recent tiff was over where a place was located. I said southeast of our church. Matt said directly south. We were both so certain that we were right and neither one of us would budge. Of course as soon as we got home I was on Google maps showing Matt just how wrong he was. It really wasn't even a fight, just both of us being stupid. Rebekah got a good laugh out of that story. I could have shared a hundred more if she'd stuck around. ;)
We had to wait till the next week for our 2nd visit. This was my solo one and we met at Panera where I discovered and fell in love with the cinnamon chip scone. That visit was really heavy on the questions. She really wanted to know about my childhood and my parents' divorce and the ramifications that had on all our relationships. We talked a lot about my mom, dad, and brother. Like a lot, a lot...nearly an hour on that topic alone. From there we moved on to some faith talk. Not sure if it was home-study related or not, but she was really interested in our personal beliefs and I was happy to share all of that. We ended with my college years...how I became a Christian, how Matt and I met, and how he proposed. It was all good stuff and then I was on my merry way to do some kid-free mama shopping (which never ever happens). I had some yummy Schlotzsky's before picking up my boys. (Turns out I had that after our couple interview as well.) Definitely a good morning for me.
Matt had his individual session the next day at Subway. What's funny to me is that they didn't talk about his side of the family at all. He had totally different questions and I guess that's good for her to get a well-rounded picture of our family. Just struck me as funny.
During all this time we were working on our education requirements. Because China is part of the Hague Convention, they require adoptive parents to complete a certain number of education hours. Lifeline, our placing agency, also has their own requirements. Between the online readings, the book The Connected Child, a 9 hour online seminar from an international adoption clinic, and 10 hours on another adoption class, we ended up with 23.5 hours (nearly double the amount that is required by China). I know we still have a lot to learn and we will continue to educate ourselves on topics that are relevant to us, but man alive I feel like we should get a gold star for getting all that done in just a couple of weeks.
We had our final home study visit on Tuesday of this week. This was the biggie that involved talking to the kids and touring the house. Rebekah had been at our house for our couple interview, but didn't really look around. Let me tell you, this house just about sparkled before she showed up on Tuesday afternoon. The boys' rooms will not look like this for much longer (big changes coming this summer) so I snapped a few pics before Rebekah arrived.
She was running a few minutes late on Tuesday so I also snuck up on my boys to see what they were doing while we waited.
The visit was totally different than what I expected. She spent most of it talking to the boys which is easy (and fun!) because they are all so outgoing and silly. They started off showing her their bedrooms and in each room she got down on the floor and played with the boys. At one point all 6 of us were in Adam's closet while she learned how to play Beyblades. Never dreamed we'd be hanging out in closets during our home study!
She did look all over the house, but wasn't snoopy at all. She really liked looking at pictures (of which we have a ton) and Drew made it a point to jump on every bed and couch and eventually they all moved out to the trampoline. When she remarked on how clean our master closet was, Drew told her, "We cleaned our house all day for you!"
Before she left she asked the boys if they were excited to adopt a little sister and they all said yes. She asked Adam what makes us good parents and he told her, "They are great parents because they feed me." Getting to a boy's heart through his stomach apparently starts at a very young age! He eventually shared a little more about our bedtime routines and nightly snuggles.
I think it all went really well overall. The boys were very charming and funny and hopefully she saw that while we're a bit of a zoo, we're a very happy and loving zoo. Guess we'll find out when the final report makes its way to us.
We celebrated at Mad Pizza afterwards. Simply impossible for our crew to contain the crazy. Heaven help me.
Now we are ready to enjoy Spring Break and also a break from paperwork. Dossier preparation is next on the agenda and I hear that is a doozy. Wish us luck!