first home study visit

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Our first home study visit was on Thursday this week. I'm very glad to have finally met the lady that we will be dealing with from now on. Not only will she complete our home study, but she will also be one of only two people who make placements in the agency. So we'll be in contact with her quite a bit given the placement thing and the yearly reviews. Beyond my initial amusement when she explained both her daughter's and granddaughter's personality traits based on their astrological signs, we thought she was really nice. She seems very down-to-earth; I was afraid we would get someone who was really attached to the idea of the "rules" working in the same way for everyone...idealistic about how the system works...harsh regarding practical life situations. Not sure why that's what I expected, I guess we've just heard so many horror stories at this point that we don't tend to expect the best. We've been pleasantly surprised throughout this whole process with the people that we've worked with.

This visit mainly consisted of confirmations of some of the info in our application - work, birth dates, what college majors we had declared, etc. We did have the distinct honor of being on record as Spanish-speaking. Even though we don't speak fluently, both of us have a little skill and speak enough that we are confident we could communicate with a young child. Toddlers won't have as much language anyway, so we might actually speak the same amount of Spanish as a child we may get in our home. :)

She did a home safety audit. Most of the stuff we are fine on; we have a few things to complete yet. We can't have hook and eye closures on our doors, so we have to take those out. We also have to safely secure all of our hazardous cleaning supplies and such. Amusingly, they are not safely secured right now. We've just never had a problem with our kids getting into that stuff. Scissors, yes. Can't leave scissors unattended in our home. But bleach? disinfectant? They could care less. However, we need to secure them to be approved for fostering. Also, our guns. We have to have them locked up separately from ammunition - right now they're just packed away in the garage attic, but we need to make sure they get locked up...

So in the next week, we'll be finishing up the minor stuff we have to secure for the safety audit. She is meeting with Wendell on Monday and me on Wednesday to finish up our individual appointments. Then the following Tuesday, we'll meet as a family so she can talk to Ben as well a little. And that's it! We'll have to wait for her to finish getting all the paperwork complete and send it off to the state for approval. Marsha (the case worker) said that could take up to six weeks depending on her caseload. Apparently right now they're in kind of a lull so maybe it won't take that long. I hope it won't take that long!

One weird thing that we have to complete for the home study is this 6-or-so page thing about what characteristics we will and won't accept in a placement. This ranges from medical stuff to emotional stuff to personality traits to familial background; it's really odd to think about. I have such weirdness regarding the whole packet because I feel like we're saying that we couldn't love a child who had certain issues or that we only want this specially-ordered perfect child or something. At the same time, I know it's a practical thing we have to deal with, especially because given our family make-up, home situation, and family life, we couldn't take a child with severe medical needs. Still...it feels wrong to be able to choose that when so many people have no choice with the children that are born to them.

I came away feeling a tad ambivalent about our appointment as well because one of the things that Marsha told us was they've placed a LOT of babies lately. Drug-addicted babies, which means extra care at first. In fact, she told us that when they have babies, they look hard for stay-at-home moms which puts us at an advantage. They've also apparently placed enough babies that she could not think of ONE open foster home in their system for babies. That sounds well and good, but I've been preparing myself for not receiving a baby. I just assumed it would be really unlikely, and I didn't want to be disappointed. So I'm a little disappointed that she told us this stuff about the babies because I feel hopeful again about it. Not that I just love babies more than anything, but I love the idea that it opens up the possibility that if we get to adopt any particular child, they will never know or remember any home or any family other than ours. Not sure if that's the right attitude to have, but I do know that the idea appeals to me greatly.

This ended up being a little longer than expected. I better write what I can now though, because there might be quite a few weeks of waiting with not much to write about ahead for us.

in expectation of thursday...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Thursday is our first meeting with our home study case worker. Which means we are finally almost done with all this. I am ready.

Random thoughts this morning:
  • If you live in our area and you haven't come to eat at the church on Monday nights, you should. It's a lot of fun. While everyone is down in the dumps about the economy, government, etc...I have never been more excited about being the church. Not to completely brag on the church we belong to, but if wherever you are feels a little less than exciting, come to visit Huber, and see what the people of God are doing in this small area of Ohio. It is inspiring. (Now that I think about it, maybe I can post a slide show of some of our activities; I'll have to research that a little)
  • If you're friends with my cousin Jeanne on facebook, I recommend you read her note posted today. It's worth your time. I'll see if she'll give me permission to post it...
  • A close friend of ours begins chemo tomorrow for ovarian cancer. My heart is hopeful for her recovery and heavy for her family. Her son is nine months older than Ben, and knowing how difficult my thyroid problems have been for Ben, I know that this eight-year-old probably has some hard times with his mama ahead.
  • Wendell's home community lost a firefighter yesterday and a few more were injured. While I am sad for the families' and community's loss, I am overwhelmingly grateful that it doesn't really cause me to live in fear of Wendell doing his job. I could live that way (especially when we are touched by these types of tragedies), and when he began, I thought that maybe I would be a lot more fearful, but I think there is something about knowing that he is called to this job that makes me rest a little easier.

finally! a case worker

Friday, March 13, 2009

We finally have a caseworker assigned to complete our home study. Hopefully within the next couple of weeks, we'll be working on that. We also found out about some more paperwork that we have to send in -new requirements by the state. Of course, I asked about this paperwork quite awhile ago since we know people being licensed in another county that had to do it. We were told we didn't need it, but Clark County is apparently just a little behind.... Not that it's hard stuff to do; I was just amused because she explicitly told me we didn't need it.

Now's the time for us (and you, if you are willing) to be in prayer regarding our home study. I am praying that we click with our case worker, that things go quickly and smoothly, that God gives us and our case worker wisdom on how to fill out our file so that we are set-up to receive the kids that will fit best in our family.

In other news, I made a foster-parent friend this week - a lady my dad works with. I am excited to know someone else who is committed to this ministry and who has experience with the system. A lot of the things that she's gone through won't be as applicable to us because we will be accepting different types of placements, but nevertheless, the support is invaluable. We're excited, but still cautiously because until this home study is done, nothing can really happen. Government is SO SLOW!

waiting, waiting, waiting

Monday, March 2, 2009

So we are done with all of the things that we need to do to be approved...well, with the exception of some child-proofing. We want to be sure that the latches we have will be acceptable to the case worker before we install them. Our crib is (thank goodness!) up to code. I think we will need to buy a high chair because ours is wood and doesn't have straps. But we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. I don't want one of those giant pieces of furniture taking up room in the house...

Anyway, we are waiting. Waiting for the county to call us and set up our last couple home study visits. Depending on their workload, I guess it could be a couple more weeks yet. I hope not!

While we're waiting, I'm trying to prepare myself. I'm doing a bible study on Esther, albeit rather slowly. Such is the benefit of doing a bible study by yourself! Wendell and I have been listening to a lot of podcasts lately. A couple that we benefit greatly from are Foster Parenting (www.fosterpodcast.com) and Creating a Family (www.creatingafamily.com). I also have been so blessed by a blog I read by Kerry Hasenbalg, a well-known speaker and advocate in the national adoption community. Her website is http://kerryhasenbalg.typepad.com/

We'll keep you posted...
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