Home visit…two words that are sure to strike fear in the hearts of nearly every adoptive parent. Especially first timers!
Depending on your state and agency requirements, often there is more than one visit involved in completing your home study. The paperwork for home studies can be daunting; but often it is the home VISIT that scare the buh-gee-bers (or however you spell that not-real word) out of people. Hopefully this post will set your minds at ease.
What a home visit is:
– A home visit is a scheduled time for your social worker (SW) to come to your house. (Don’t stress yet! Keep reading!)
– A home visit is a time for your SW to get to know you and your family. All members of your family are important to them.
– A home visit is a time for your SW to go over paperwork required by your state and point you in the right direction for necessary clearances and inspections (if necessary) such as fire and health department.
– A home visit is a time for your SW to help you determine which age/needs may fit well with your family.
– A home visit is a time for your SW to point to or help you discover valuable resources in your community that can offer support to your family or services to your new child.
– A home visit could be a time for your SW to meet and chat with one or more of your personal references.
– A home visit is a time to review your entire completed home study to make sure it is free from errors and contains everything required by your adoption agency.
What a home visit is NOT:
– A home visit is NOT the time for your SW to see your perfectly cleaned house! Of course, a nice and tidy house is desirable. However, organizing your closets and cleaning your refrigerator are probably not necessary.
– A home study is NOT a time for your SW to meet your PERFECT children! Manners and cleanliness are appreciated, to be sure. But if your 6 year-old decides to let out a huge burp right in the middle of your conversation, it will probably not make your SW decide you are unfit parents. (Not that I know this first hand…ahem.)
– A home study is NOT a time for you to convince your SW that you have all of your ducks in a row and do not lack in any area of your parenting. All of us have parenting flaws…and knowing what they are and working on them makes us better parents. No matter how many kids we have or how old they are!
– A home study is NOT a time to hide your nervousness or outright fear of adoption. No matter how much you research or how many Adoption Learning Partner certificates you have sitting in your inbox, this adoption will CHANGE the dynamics your family. IT IS OK to let them know that you are preparing for this big change, but this is kinda scary!
Bottom line…your SW is there to support you. To build a relationship with you. Ideally, once you come home with your child and you end up needing some help in areas that you were not anticipating or in ways you did not previously think would be necessary, you SW will be there to make sure that your family finds and receives exactly what you need. But I can almost guarantee that they will not care what is in your refrigerator or that your kids’ closet is organized by color. Ahem.