January 23, 2012

First Home Study Visit - √ CHECK!

One down, two to go! We were able to keep our second appointment for the first home study visit and we completed it last week. Several weeks prior, we filled out an 11 page questionnaire about our childhoods, our relationship with each other, our siblings, our parents, etc. This visit was mostly a review and discussion of our answers to those questions. Sounds simple, but it was about three hours long!

Comparison of our answers to the same questions is one of the things they focus on; trying to determine if discrepancies might be indicative of problems now, or lead to frustrations down the road.

Just as an example, I'll share one of the more humorous (for us anyway!) question/answer segments. On the questionnaire, we were given a list of roughly 25 personality traits and asked to check the ones that described our spouse. The discussion about that question went something like this:

Social Worker: "Now we're going to discuss how you see each others personalities. This could be a difficult conversation, so please bear with me."

(We laugh, certain there's nothing that will surprise us)

Social Worker: "Virginia, you indicated that you think Jon is caring, spontaneous and outgoing. Those are definitely positive characteristics, wouldn't you say?"

Virginia: "Yes, all of those are very accurate descriptions of him."

Social Worker: "Now Jon, you indicated a very different set of characteristics for Virginia, and frankly I'm a little worried about bringing this up. I hope you can explain this so we really understand what's going on here. You marked that Virginia is rigid and argumentative. This really doesn't sound very good!"
I can definitely see how those types of answers could indicate problems in a marriage (the office director even expressed concern!). For us though, those answers make perfect sense. I knew exactly what he meant by marking those and he explained it exactly as I thought he would. He was referring to me being a very structured, thorough person (rigid) who spends a significant amount of time researching before forming an opinion that I will not stray from and am happy to defend (argumentative). She seemed quite relieved with this answer and assured us she was positive we had the perfect explanation the whole time.

Just to be clear, he marked other very positive things too :)

It's required that there be at least 1 week between each home study visit, and we were lucky to be able to schedule the next two exactly one week, and no more, apart from each other. The next visit involves our social worker interviewing us each separately for about an hour. SO separately, that the other person must leave the house completely. I'm quite curious about this one! And our third interview will be an actual inspection of the house.

After all the interviews are finished, they'll take a week or so to review and write the home study document. Then it's approved by the Bethany Global office and once that's done, we'll receive a finished copy. So we're looking at having a completed home study by the end of February! This is great news, because once we have a completed home study, we can start several things:
1. The I800A - this is permission from the government saying we can adopt, and bring a child into the US.
2. The Dossier - the enormous file containing ALL our information that is sent to the country we'll adopt from.
3. Adoption Grants. Most adoption grants require submission of a completed home study. It's a good thing we can start soon, because once the home study is completed, our first MAJOR payment to Bethany is due, and about two weeks after that, another MAJOR payment is due. We're confident God will provide for both those expenses.

In the meantime, we have training to finish and are attempting to get a jumpstart on the I800A. We're thankful that it feels like we're really moving now! And yet, this is just the beginning...


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