Soldier Through: The Adoption Home Study

Adoption social workers will tell you otherwise but few things are as daunting as the adoption home study. I personally think that the spectre of it deters a lot of people from going down the adoption road.  Guys especially are put off by the idea of a social worker asking a lot of questions.  Women? They’re kind of used to over-sharing and are likely to figure that if answering a bunch of intrusive questions about one’s life, marriage, finances, relatives, attitudes, beliefs, and child-raising philosophy is the price of getting a child, so be it.

Most of us have things in our pasts that don’t look so wholesome in the light of day.  Poor Newt Gingrich might have something to say about that.  But believe me, presidential politics and the muckraking it involves come nowhere near the water-boarding that is the adoption home study. 

My husband and I have been home-studied three times – once for each adopted kid.  The first time was by far the worst since we had been married only a short time and didn’t actually know much about each other.  Alot of the stuff he said in our interviews was a complete surprise to me.  Like, huh?  The social worker, an overly plump, officious woman who spent a lot of time complaining about her own 16-year old adopted daughter, set him off right away.  Each question just made it worse.  “How did he feel about my biological daughter?”  (He was still figuring that out.)  “Would the children be Christians or Jews?” (We had no idea. They ended up being Jews who celebrate Christmas.) He threatened to bail after every interview.

The kicking under the table became the steady beat that accompanied all of our visits with this lady who, mysteriously, changed her name — her FIRST NAME — between home study #1 and #2.  So odd.

Then there was the fingerprinting and the background checks and asking people to be references for us.  Yuck!  The only people we knew who would do this were people who would have to lie about us.

We got through it.  To me, the home study was the conversational equivalent of labor and childbirth.  Painful, intrusive and then over with.  The home study process is comprehensive and lengthy and there are no decent drugs or epidurals.  There’s also no sympathy or nice people waiting in the corridor.  No one strokes your forehead and tells you that you’re being strong and it’s almost over. 

You just feel really, really exposed when it’s done. Sort of like having your legs up in the stirrups. Ladies, you’re with me here?

My advice? Hold your husband’s hand or your partner’s hand or your own hand and soldier through it.  Strap on your backpack.  Lace up your boots. And just plow through it.

We’re waiting for you over here on the other side.


Another good resource is The Adoption Guide.

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