The next big step in our adoption is our home study.
Going into this process I had some laughable misconceptions about what the home study process actually entailed. Perhaps it’s the Realtor in me, but I envisioned showing the house- giving a room by room tour, sporting a snappy outfit, perhaps offering a color flyer of the property’s best amenities… Not really. But I did worry about silly things like “Should I take down the Smith & Wesson sign in our den? The Guinness sign from Ireland? The one that boldly states ‘MAN CAVE- no girls allowed.’?” As we are parents of girls seeking to adopt another girl, this MIGHT give a bad impression.
*On a side-note, please know that I actually had the sign custom made for Alex and the females that reside with him in no way comply with it, it’s a source of many laughs in our home.
At this point in our journey I’m SO THANKFUL for the many families in our circle of friends who have gone before us in the adoption process. Back in Salem, we have several friends who have adopted and a few more in process, essentially “pregnant” with us. In many ways, it really is similar to being pregnant- not the least of which is noting/remembering every other expectant mother. (I’ll bet every mom who has carried a child can recall, for instance, a celebrity who was pregnant at the same time as herself. I was pregnant with Julia Roberts both times.) One family in particular whom we have known for most of our child-bearing years is basically tracking alongside us, pretty much at the same pace. (Which is amusing since they are both accomplished runners and uber-athletes, in general. I affectionately refer to wife/mom as “Sporty Spice”.) She and I were in a small bible study group together a few years back and announced, almost simultaneously, that we were expecting our second children. We gave birth at the same hospital within days of each other- she to her second son and me to our second daughter. Arranged marriage might just be inevitable.
In our new town, I am also blessed to be a part of a weekly adoptive moms group. This has become a mid-week highlight for me. We’re all at different stages in the journey and adopting from various countries (or domestically), but it’s a place we can go to encourage, process, and just be real with each other. I was impressed and surprised to learn that the relatively small town of Bozeman has such a strong and supportive adoptive community. What a blessing, indeed- and how affirming that God has truly called us to adoption, providing for us in both big and small ways regardless of our physical location.
Many of these friends have spoken wisdom and truth to me as I’ve confessed anxiety and fear with every step of this journey. Tangibly, they have also educated me as to what a Home Study really IS:
A Home Study is a thorough and professional evaluation not of our house, but rather our home- and those within it’s walls. We will complete pages and pages of questionnaires and then meet with our appointed social worker several times for formal interviews. I expect this will be somewhat easy for me as I LOVE to talk and am always eager to make a new friend, yet I still find myself somewhat nervous and fearful of rejection.
Now let’s be honest: Prior to our Home Study visit I will still surely scour the house from top to bottom and employ my best Realtor staging tricks. (Every light in the house on, windows open, counters clear, fruit bowl overflowing, toilet seats down.) But my prayer is that I would not be consumed with anxiety and will instead focus on being authentic and open with our social worker as we field some very tough, personal questions with vulnerability and candor. God is bigger than our circumstances and our comfort, and we will continue to place our trust in Him.