Archive for August, 2005

Of Homestudy Jitters and Paperchase Blues

Monday, August 8th, 2005 by janice

Yes, once again it has been several weeks since we posted. But really, do you want to hear how I wrote a check to this government agency for this piece of paper or how I sat on my best friends to make them write letters of reference? OK, maybe you do, but it’s not really as much fun as you might think. If anyone ever entertains the notion that adoption is the “easy way” to have a baby, they ought to think twice.

I will tell you about the fun of the homestudy. First, “homestudy” is something of a mis-nomer as it is more about you as potential parents than one’s house. The homestudy is a report about the potential parents that is submitted by a license Social Worker. The practical elements are a bunch of vital records, including a criminal background check, then several meetings with a social worker, at least one of which is must take place at the house. Essentially, they want to make sure that people know what they are getting into, that they don’t have unrealistic expectations of being a parent in general or parenting a child who has been institutionalized in particular, that they don’t have issues they need to work out in the marriage or their own life before taking on kids. Among other things. Sort of a cross between a job interview and a therapy session.

Since our social worker contracts to our homestudy agency, she came to us for the meetings. So in a few hours over a couple of weekend meetings at Caer Corvus, our wonderful social worker basically made sure that we weren’t axe murderers or baby-sellers. It actually wasn’t as nerve-wracking once it was underway as it was perparing for it. And the best thing was that at the end of the last meeting, our social worker told us she had absolutely no reservations about recommending us and that we would make great parents. It made us both feel like $1 million. It’s one thing to feel that to be true and another to have that wonderfull level of validation from someone whose job it is to decide who gets to be parents and who doesn’t.

As I said, the house is not really the primary concern. They want to make sure that you live where you say you do, that you have a enough room for a child and that the place is basically safe. Unlike foster parents, there are not a lot of requirements for the home. Our social worker spent all of about 15 minutes looking at the house and about 10 of that was asking us about the renovations in the office. Now mind you, I had spent literally weeks cleaning, unpacking all the boxes we never unloaded from the move and Mom’s house and generally making sure the place was presentable. All to have her look at the house for about 5 minutes. But realistically, I knew from other people who had “been there, done that” that the sw does not care about your housekeeping so long the Health Inspector wouldn’t shut the place down, so I sorta have myself to blame. ‘Course, all the same people who had told me not to kill myself over it still said they did it anyway, so I suppose I’m just normal.

So now Darren and I are in the process of wrapping up the last big step for the Homestudy proper – the physicals. This is also a big step for the Dossier so we are killing two birds with one stone. Fortunately we found out from our Dossier consultant that we do not have to drag Notaries to our exams. She’ll print up some forms for us that say we asked the doctors to do the exams and that they prepared the paperwork for us. Then we can get that notarized. Much easier. Trust me, it’s hard enough to set up an appointment for a physical for an adoption (don’t you love insurance companies?) without having to drag a mobile notary along.

So we should very soon have the draft of our homestudy at which point we can apply to the USCIS (or whatever the INS is calling itself these days.) Yes, we have to get approval from the Burea of Homeland Security to adopt. Yeah, gotta make sure we are not terrorists or emmigrating terrorist babies! Ah, well, just another step in preparing our Dossier.

For those of you who have not had the pleasure of hearing us go on about the Dossier, this is essentially what the name implies: a bunch of papers that document who we are. It consists of the homestudy as described above, our vital records, pictures of us and the house, a letter of intent and various things such as the physicals etc., all of which have to be notarized and/or certified by the State and then authenticated by the Chinese government. Add to that the approval by the US government and you have the Dossier.

Now this may sound to you like a lot of work. Well, you would be right. Fortunately we’ve had a lot of handholding and great advice from both Adoption Options and Harrah’s. In addition, we have a Dossier consultant to help us navigate the ins and outs of the various governments. When all of this is finally all together, it gets sent to the People’s Republic of China, an event which is called in Chinese adoption parlance being DTC (Dossier to China.) If the Universe is very kind we could be DTC in September.

Once the Dossier gets to China, it is officially logged in by the CCAA (the Chinese agency that oversees adoptions) and this is when the clock really starts ticking. 6-7 months after that, if the CCAA maintains its pace we should see a refereal of our very own daughter, Lorelei Shannon Friese.

Next time we’ll talk about the name. In the meantime, love you all.

Janice and Darren

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