Home Visit

November 30, 2005 at 4:02am By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

Our case worker dropped by the house last night for our home visit. The visit was part interview, part information session, and part real estate appraisal.

The interview portion was easy enough. She didn’t really ask any questions we weren’t prepared for. In fact, many of her questions were similar to items we had responded to on the questionnaires that we each completed. There were a couple tricky questions, though. One that caught us off-guard was “What are the biggest challenges in your marriage right now?” It’s not that we don’t have our ups and downs—every relationship has them—but honestly, the biggest challenge we could come up with was deciding where to go to dinner each Date Night. I think part of the reason we had such a difficult time identifying any major challenges is that The Missus and I are very much in tune with each other right now, and it’s mostly because of the adoption process. Not only has this process forced us to think and talk about a whole host of topics (and come to some sort of a consensus on many of them), we’re also on a “we’re going to be parents!” high. After we’ve had a few sleepless nights with a screaming baby I’m sure we’ll have identified a few challenges in our marriage.

Our case worker also updated us on what comes next. In short, after completing just a little more paperwork, we will officially be approved to begin the “Pick me! Pick me!” process. It may seem strange to think of it that way, but in the open adoption process that’s not too far from how it actually works. Generally speaking, a placement with a boy happens within around five months, while girls take about eleven months. That’s not to say that five months from today we’ll have in our arms a baby boy, or eleven months from today we’ll be holding a baby girl. Those are just averages. There are far too many variables to consider to say that we’ll have a child in our home by

X date. Likewise, there are too many variables involved to say at this point whether we will adopt a boy or a girl (we have not expressed a preference).

The “real estate appraisal” actually was pretty basic. Our case worker noted the number and type of rooms in the house, number of smoke detectors, size of the yard, and other pieces of information that might be relevant to the appropriateness of our house for a child.

We’re getting closer. Hopefully before the end of the year we’ll be able to say that we are “expecting”. The major difference will be, of course, that we won’t have any idea when our due date might be.

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Mr. T November 30, 2005 at 4:47am

Say Mr. Wilson, have you gained any insight on what the differences are between the international adoption process and in-country adoption process? I have some friends who are considering adopting (either internationally or w/in country) and are trying hard to find reliable information on what exactly is involved. Your insight and perspective is interesting and valuable as a parent going through the adoptive process currently.

The other reason I ask is because I once pursued a research project on transnational marriages/families involving US military personnel abroad and nationals of other countries. Unfortunately I never managed to follow through with this research project, but still maintain an interest as a passive observer (at some point I may end up finishing that project when I have the time).

Mr. Wilson November 30, 2005 at 4:12pm

I’m not very familiar with the international adoption process, beyond the very preliminary research The Missus and I did. A handful of basic points:

1. Procedures vary dramatically by country. Some practically give their kids away, while others (e.g. China) make the procedure as difficult as possible.
2. International adoptions can get very expensive, both in terms of actual costs as well as income lost while traveling (in some cases for several weeks).
3. In some countries, you get the kid they give you. If you’re picky, be sure you know each country’s policies.
4. The domestic adoption process appears to be pretty straight-forward. There are hoops to jump through, but they are manageable.
5. It is virtually impossible to adopt a white infant through domestic programs. If you really want a white American infant, you will have to go private ($$$).
6. Lots of older children (i.e. toddlers and up) of all races need families in the U.S.
7. Most domestic adoptions these days are open (i.e. there is contact with the birth family). Most international adoptions are closed.

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