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Our Homestudy Journey

Hello,
Thanks for stopping by! In this page you can read about our homestudy experience; certainly an enlightening one! See the drop down menu for quick access to the entries. This page includes entries from May 24, 1999 to September 29, 1999; our homestudy stage. We were placed on our adoption agency's "Waiting Family Book"...their version of a waiting list, on September 29, 1999 but that does not mean that our profile is getting shown. *Oh Well!* You can continue with the rest of our journey to our Waiting Phase section from here!

You are welcomed to E-mail any comments, suggestions, or questions!

Niece and Newphews...We miss you guys!!!
Get a closer view HERE
Check out this interesting story about a policewoman breastfeeding an abandoned child!

October 4, 1999--From the waiting front! We received our "original" contract signed by the agency officials today. I also finished putting together an adoptive nursing tutorial. Hopefully it will help answer major questions from families who are considering breastfeeding their adopted children.

I will end this section of our diary with this entry. To follow up with the rest of our waiting time please go to Our Adoption Diary; waiting phase! and thanks for stopping by *thanks for stopping by!*

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September 29, 1999--It's official! Well the agency has the signed contract.*Sigh*...now we wait and pray Angel...and think about nursery stuff!!!

I started searching for pictures to include in a photo album that potential birthfamilies can look at. Hopefully this will tell them a bit more about our family. Birthfamily can decide to keep the album after placement.

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September 24, 1999 -- Letters and pictures in agency! We turned in our letters and pictures to the agency. The agency requires pictures of us and our house. The picture of the house is to be placed to our file along with a picture of us. The prospective birthparents will only see the picture of us. It is attached to the right upper corner of the resume; what the agency calls the "Dear Birthparents" letter; which we turned in along with our "autobiography" letters.

Our meeting was akward since this was the first time we spoke and saw our SW since our little "incident" and nobody mentioned anything about the situation; this is a sad fact Sad. How I wish we could have had a positive relationship throughout the entire process. As it turns out, she had already mailed a request for the letters and pictures; her supervisor already has her "dictation" on our apporved homestudy and the only other things needed were the pictures/letters. Now...knowing how eager we are to complete the homestudy why would she not call us instead? I understand she probably needs documentation where she has requested this from us but why not give us a phone call (or drop us an e-mail) along with mailed requestt...*SIGH* We had not turned them in earlier because we were told they would not be required until the end of this week. I feel bad that I am glad that we will not have to deal with her any more. We were civil to each other but you could sense "something" in the air...very sad Sad

Unfortunately, the blunders continue. She had NOT informed us that she needed at least 10 copies of the letters (Dear Birthparents/Bios) and picture (of us, not the home; the picture of our home is just for their files). Each copy is signed after copying...so that signature is not photocopied just the document. They provide the "resume/Dear Birthparent" letter, w/picture to right hand corner, to propspective birth families. They can keep them or just return them to be used for other families to view. She said..."I guess I did not make that clear enough." Yeah right, try "I guess I did not mention that AT ALL." I could have missed the request but DH does not remember being told about it either. We will deliver the required copies next week when we go to sign the contract.

Well anyway, she's out of the picture. We will not wait to be called by our new counselor for an introductory type meeting. Looking at this as a fresh start. We are in no rush for the meeting, we have briefly met her before during our "Adoption Education Seminar." We will be on the "waiting family book" and that was our main concern. Hope to post that we are officially in the book next week Grin

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September 20, 1999--This is where things stand... Well the supervisor promptly called today to inform us of what will be happening now. We will be on the waiting list by next week; midweek...or so they say. The SW is now "frantically" working on finishing up our homestudy's dictation.

There are 13 [lucky I hope...LOL!! Hey I'm laughing again Grin] potential adoptive families in the book today; two have already matched and will be removed this week and there is another possible match; will be decided by next week and removed then. There is only one other homestudy in the entire agency that is close to us...but not as far as we are (or so they say...sorry about the sarcasm!).

The "Waiting Families Book" is not a TRUE chronilogical waiting list. The top 8 families that "fit/match" the birthfamily get presented to them. It is up to them from here. If there is no one in the group that the birthfamily feels "connected" with they present the next longest waiting group of families.

The next situation which is to our advantage; and which we am NOT counting on...at least not consciously Smiley w/Grin, is if a Hispanic or any birthfamily would request Hispanic adoptive parents. We are the ONLY Hispanic family for the entire agency (I am Mexican and DH is Caucasian). We have been informed of that fact by others in the agency.

We will also have to attend further seminars/support meetings. The agency requires potential adoptive families to attend a "seminar/support group" at least once every three months. They have these seminars/waiting families support groups already scheduled with different topics throughout the year so you can pick and choose which you attend but you MUST attend one at least every three months to continue in the "Waiting Families Book."

Check again soon...maybe you will be reading that we are already in the "Waiting Family Book." Smiley w/Grin

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September 17, 1999--Upseting developments We were informed today by our social worker (through e-mail) that our homestudy's dictation would not be completed until October 1, 1999 Sad SmileyAngry Smiley; the day she leaves on maternity leave. This dictation is the final report from the social worker making the approval for adoption official and making us eligible to be placed on the "Waiting Family book"; their version of the waiting list. This timeline is totally different from what she has been telling us. She reminded us that when we started the homestudy she had stated that the process would take 6-8 weeks [to her the start of our homestudy was the date of the first interview (August 4) and to us was the day we turned in our appliction for the homestudy/adoption (July 16)]. She did say the process would be lengthy one, but the reason for the length of the process is due to the criminal clearances that need to be completed. This was explained in all of the meetings that we have had with them throughout the process.

We do not feel it was right that the clearances have been in since September 1 and our study's dictation would not be completed until October 1st. DH called to speak to our SW but she was not in. Instead DH spoke to her supervisor. He informed her about all the circumstances of our situation. Including that initially our medical records were requested and then when provided to our SW during our homevisit (August 31) she informed us they were not needed but now (9-14) she has informed us that she cannot proceed any further with the dictation of our homestudy without them Angry Face.

We know that the SW does not understand that it is important for us to finish the homestudy to be placed in the "Waiting Family List." She "kindly" reminded us that the wait for baby is much more difficult than the wait for the homestudy; even mailed us an article with information on how to make the waiting easier, titled "Waiting Expectantly." We know the wait for baby is difficult and long but we had informed her of our eagerness to be placed on the "Waiting Family Book." We wonder how she has missed how important this was for us. I am very upset but feel better after DH spoke to her supervisor with our concerns about the completion of our homestudy; more directly the lenght it has taken to complete even though our interviews and clearances have been finished since September 1.

The supervisor will be calling us on Monday to further clarify our situation.

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September 1, 1999--Great News!!Family Fireworks All day today I have had the urgency to call the agency. Strange because although I am not shy about doing so I really have not been calling unless there is something to taka care of...making sure they got faxed documents, rescheduling appts, that sort of thing.

We have one security clearance pending and IT CAME IN TODAY!! So that means that we are done with the homestudy!!!!...now we go on the waiting list. Well as soon as the sw writes the dictation...which she may (I hope) have already have started on it (since we had our homevisit on Monday) and if she hasn't I hope that it does not take her more than a few days to complete it.

The ball is in our court now..."Dear Birthparent(s)" and Bio letters so that THEY CAN BE PLACED IN THE BOOK!!!

I still can't get over my STRONG need to call and the GREAT news that they had for us when I did I informed DH right away of course. The rest of the family is excited as well smily w/grin graphic...keep those prayers coming!Angel smily

Geez I was already so excited because a fellow prospective adoptive parent was choosen by a birthfamily. What am I going to do with myself!!! "Go" nest some maybe LOL!!! Seriously though, we need to organize a photo album for the birthfamilies to view. This will give them a better idea of what our families are all about.

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August 30, 1999--HOMEVISIT DONE!!! It's done and all went well...thank God! We do have to take care of a few things; mainly we need to hide/secure computer wiring a bit better and place locks on DH's office, which he had talked about doing anyway. Her "suggestion" (request) will just speed up the process smily w/grin graphic There will be another homevisit before placement...which they do with ALL of their families, and then another one after placement. They also offered to come out at our request, if we wanted them to check the changes/arrangements we have made to make sure it is acceptable before the "official" pre-placement visit...

Basically we just took her on a tour of the house and she pointed our things that we should keep in mind as a safety issue; she also provided us with a couple of articles that outline the types of safety measure we should be thinking about according to the child's growth and development . We then sat down and talked a bit more about things we had questions on; our transfer to our new counselor, once she leaves on maternity leave, is our major concern; which is planned for the first week of October. She gave us the names of the two counselors which may take her caseloads and gave us a choice which she could not guarantee but would be kept in mind. We may still have to switch conselors once we get matched since the procedure is that the perspective adoptive family gets transfered to the prospective birth-mother's counselor.

There are about 10 families in the waiting list right now and about 10 others whose homestudies are in progress or about to begin. She mentioned we "timed it just right" because finishing our homestudy now will get us on the waiting list ahead of the uncompleted homestudies. We just have one more clearance pending before she can "formally" turn in her approval for adoption (approved homestudy); she is planning on starting her dictation now and just add the last little bit about the security cleareance once the last one came in, which SHOULD be within the next couple of weeks.

...and then we wait some more for our little blessing to find us Angel smily..and continue to learn and do as much as possible towards our adoptive nursing goal!

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August 29, 1999--Homevisit TOMORROW Were as ready as we can be. Just anxious to finish the process...homestudy anyway!! Hopefully the homevisit won't get postponed...AGAIN!!

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August 16, 1999--Homevisit Postponed It has been four weeks since we turned in our application and we are very close to completing our homesuty. Our homevisit, which was to include the last "couple" interview as well, has been postponed Sad smily When we set up the dates for the appointments B., our adoption counselor/social worker, cautioned us that she may have to postpone some dates due to birth mom deliveries, well she had that situation arise today.

We have been preparing for today a whole week. There was A LOT that needed to be done. On the other hand, we ARE READY smily w/grin graphic for our re-scheduled appointment. B. is supposed to call us back to figure out another date.

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August 12, 1999--DH's Individual Interview DH's interview was longer than mine, two hours but it went well. He was asked essentially the same questions I was and he discussed his concerns about the homevisit, specifically the swimming pool fence; he feels better about our options now. Maybe he will write a little bit of his interview a bit later smily.

Another important,ok very important thing...OUR FINGERPRINGS CLEARED!!fireworks The only other "biggie", as far as security clearance is concerned, is the FBI report, and we know that will be OK...unless they find out about my alias (ha, ha, ha! smily)

Baby J
Introducing our
little newphew...Baby J.!

On the nursery front...We have the co-sleeper at home. I have cleared the "nursery to be" of all unnecessary items; a lot of work, but it looks SOOO much better. I will take out all my stuffed animals, which I have been saving specially for our little ones, and will place them on a hammock-type net (you know the ones), which will hang on a corner. Still no decision on the decor, but there is plenty of time for that.

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August 9, 1999--My Individual Interview Had a very nice and comfortable interview w/our counselor. Basically reviewed my childhood. She asked some specific questions dealing w/role models while growing up, my education, my family; the good times and the bad times (and how we dealt w/them), our marriage...how we deal w/certain issues. Some memories made me want to cry...like those of my Mom's perseverance through "it all." It was a very personal and intimate interview but she made it easy to deal with because she kept it comfortable. Thanks B!

It was also a chance for me to ask any questions that I may have thought of. well, I found out that our security checks have not cleared yet. Oh well Sad Smiley. DH will get his turn w/B. on Thursday. Our homevisit will be Monday. Physicals begin tomorrow w/blood work and Dr.'s appointments newxt week.

On the nursery front...we have decided to bypass the bassinet and chosen a co-sleeper.

I have found a lot of support and information on several message boards. These people are wonderful. What information they have they share and provide support and understanding when they can't otherwise. Included in these people is another family that matches where we are in the process. Thanks to all of them!!

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August 4, 1999--First interview ....Well it went very well. It was so relaxed. Our social worker made it so smooth. We discussed all sorts of topics which ranged from "How/when did you meet?" to "What kind of parenting to you envision for your family?" She kept mentioning the fact that we had the majority of the paperwork already completed and she was impressed that our dear friends had taken time to called to make sure the agency received the completed reference form...most of which were faxed.

Baby K enjoying a lift from Uncle, my DH
Baby K enjoying a lift
from Uncle DH...maybe
she knows what a
special day today was!

We also talked about getting ready for baby..AAAAHHHsmilely face. She mentioned that we did not necessarily had to have the nursery ready but it would be a good idea to at least be ready by having a bassinet, diapers, baby food, and a few elements of clothing. She also mentioned that....she cautioned us not to take this as a guarantee..but I was the only Hispanic "waiting" mom so our "turnaround" time--the time from which the homestudy is completed to the time we have our baby--may not be very long. Though there may not be any Hispanic birth-moms working with them at this time, we don't know. The fastest turnaround time she has ever dealt with is 24 HRS!...though we are not getting our hopes up but rather taking this as a caution to be ready, at least with the essentials I already mentioned.

There are three interviews left to be completed. We scheduled them all for the next two weeks. DH and I will meet with her individually and then she will do the last "couple" interview at the time she does the homevisit. So next couple of weeks are going to be very hectic with all these appointments. We also have our physical appointments within the same two weeks.

We discussed what the procedure would be if we were to find a bmom outside their agency. Major "con" is the financial side of this. Any funds that are allocated towards a specific bmom outside the agency are lost, that is, it is our financial loss rather than the agency absorbing it...something major to think about. Also something interesting the agency cannot "solicit" the situation to any bmom we find...or finds us (again, outside the agency). We have to inform her that if she want us as parents to her child SHE needs to contact our adoption counselor at the agency. This is very important, because if it can be proved otherwise this can be legal grounds to terminate/reverse an adoption.

The agency we are working with has an Internet site and it includes listings of families waiting to adopt. Well this service is free and we will have the chance to feature our "resume" here. This is somewhat of an advantage. When a birthfamily visits the agency to view resumes of waiting parents they are shown the top eight, out of the ENTIRE (usually 15 families) waiting list, that make a match. Having our resume on-line allows it to be more accessible, although there is a smaller population for this media; of course it will ALSO be shown in the office to any bmom that we make a match with. Just one last bit of trivia...they completed 17 adoptions last year, this year they are already on their 18th.

Just a quick Thanks to everybody that has helped us so far...with filling out forms and just by asking about our adoption and keeping our family in your thoughts and prayers! You guys are angels...Angel smily


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August 2, 1999--References What great friends we have...all of them,but one, that we listed in our references have returned their documentationsmilely face. This is SUPER as this is the type of situation that could delay our homestudy completion. We have completed all paperwork involved and we have appointments for our physicals next week. After that all that will be lacking is the rest of the required interviews, which include the home visit; that is, if there were no problems with our fingerprints.

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July 20, 1999--First Interview!! Well we were assigned to a social worker and we have our first interview on August 4 smilely face. I was mistaken about the order in which the interviews are to be completed. The office appointments will be before the home visit. We were informed to expect the homestudy process to be completed in 2-4 MOS but I would not be surprised if it took longer.

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DH feeding baby a bottle
DH in his early
stages of fatherhood experimentation...
with friend's baby!

July 15, 1999--Application We picked up our application at noon on Wednesday. By 5:00 PM I was calling them back about returning it. They were surprised that we had it finished so quick. The application was not as difficult as we expected. There were a lot of essay questions but they were generally straight forward. One thing that we had to obtain from a public office was fingerprints. That went pretty smooth. One of my fears is that they will not be readable. In this case they will have to be repeated. No big deal...except it we won't find out until weeks from now. That is how long it takes for the criminal background check results to return.

Well it took us a bit more time...just finished this (Thursday) PM. Getting all the info to a "clean" copy took a bit longer than expected. I will deliver it tomorrow.

The next step is to be assigned a social worker/adoption counselor. At that time we will set up appointments for the family and individual interviews. The first interview will be at our home. After that one DH and I will meet with the counselor at separate sessions and individually

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July 13, 1999--Just a thought I have found several adoption topic bulletin/support boards. It helps to know that others are going through what we are. It helps that the feeling of anticipation and impatience is normal...don't know why I would think otherwise smilely face. I am anxious to start the paperwork. I have been gathering documents which we will need. Doing this makes me feel like I am doing something to speed up the process...and I guess in reality I am. Other things we are working on is the required autobiography statement and "Dear Birthmom" letter. During the day long orientation we learned that we could provide an album of family pictures so that Birthmom could review it. Doing this will also help from feeling as if things are on idle.

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July 9, 1999--Adoption Education Seminar --Long day today. The seminar ran from 0900-1700. We were eight couples and two women who were pursuing single parent adoption.

The AM portion was pretty slow...informative but slow. The most interesting portion of it was the questions asked by us--the attendees. The PM session was way more interesting than the AM session. Maybe because a lot of the questions asked in the AM session some of us had already reviewed during the free Domestic Adoption Seminar (May 25, 1999). The PM session featured a panel which consisted of an adult adoptee (closed adoption), birth mom that just placed her child with an adoptive family (open adoption), and a family who had newly adopted (open adoption)--the baby was with there and she was sooooooo cute. WOW! what a perspective, from all of them.

Grampy and BabyK
Baby K thinks Grampy makes a good doll stand

Although not fully stated as such I have the feeling this session also serves as a "touchy-feely" session for the agency to gauge the perspective adoptive families general state of mind *smile*. Next the staff will meet on Wednesday AM and after that meeting homestudy packets are mailed out. And NOT until then. I have a feeling that among other pertinent information they discuss the prospective adoptive families...or as they stated it "Review any 'clinical' issues." Understandable..I guess. They don't want to be passing out applications to anybody that walks off the street and into their office asking for one. Some agencies will mail you their application with a simple Internet request...I see this as scarry!

Anyhow...We can't start the homestudy application until Wednesday. More waiting. I think I better get used to it smilely face.

One other interesting thing...we privately asked about adoptive breastfeeding. The counselor mentioned a couple of the families who have decided on that--breastfeeding their adopted child. One thing about this agency...we have always found them willing to help out any way they can. The adoption counselor offered to ask these families if they would be willing to meet with us. Of course we took the offer!...but maybe until after we are done with our homestudy.

Meanwhile, did I mention we have some more waiting to look forward to!? *smile*

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June 7, 1999--Meeting with counselor We were offered a meeting with a counselor to review health history concerns which we were having. We met with C., one of the pregnancy and adoption counselors. She was very helpful. There is a lot to do but we can not begin until after the Adoption Education Seminar (July 9, 1999). C. did inform us of a few things we can start doing at this point.

The agency requires a letter from the insurance company certifying that the child will be covered. It is a Federal Law (also look under "Adoptive Family Issues" under our Adoption Links for more articles/sites on this) that your insurance carrier cover an adopted child--no pre-existent condition clause/limitation applies. Apparently health insurance companies move rather slow towards providing one with this required document. I called to request the letter and was transferred to two people before someone said they would mail it. We will have to wait and see how diligent they are about mailing it.
Wedding Bubbles
C. also provided us with a couple of titles to books which she has found people find very useful--see our Adoption Links.

Oh, and by the way...there should not be any problem with our (MY) health history!!! But, If we would want to she offered to have my medical records reviewed before we went any further. We feel certain that this would be an unnecessary procedure, but it is good to know it is available.

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May 24, 1999Big day tomorrow The first of many! Free seminar on Domestic Adoption at the agency.

May 25, 1999-- Free Domestic Adoption Seminar was time well spent. There were a total of five couples. The atmosphere was very comfortable. Began with the Social Worker providing general info and evolved into specific questions from the group. She was very well informed and for the scant info she was not familiar with she knew where to refer one towards.

We discussed the dreaded "Home study"--2nd dreaded only to the "waiting list." This evaluation ensures the agency, and through them the state, that our home will be a safe environment for our child. They will look for safety issues, i e covers on the electric outlets (the covers and other safety measure have to be in place right from the start), fences around pools. If one has pets, they want to know if there is a plan in case the pets become aggressive towards the child. Child proof blind/curtain strings is another measure they want implemented.

The home study also includes interviews in the office with the couple and then with each other alone. This individual interview will be a venue to discuss one's upbringing. The interview includes questions such as what type of activities were shared as a family, how the family handled conflicts and financial issues. Having had a troubled childhood does not bar one from adoption, what is important is how it has been dealt with. During the interview the couple will also be approached about what expectations they have towards being a parent and the ideology of the couple's parenting philosophy is also discussed.
DH's 10th yr High School Reunion
Legal issues were a big topic, specially the possibility of the birth parents deciding NOT to place the child for adoption. There are all sorts of legal actions taken throughout the process, but it is a possibility right up to 48 hrs after birth--and technically up to 3-6 MOS, depending on the state the adoption is being filed in.

Which brought up the question of wether to be present during the birth (which is possible with the birth mother's approval) and then the birth parents changing her/his mind, therefore causing a lot of heart break to the prospective adoptive parents. Not being present for the birth and the adoption going through could leave the prospective adoptive couple wishing they had decided to be present. Ultimately how much difference does being present during birth makes towards loving the child? It doesn't.

The hospital stay brings everyone's fears and apprehensions to a new height. At times the birth parents relatives are present during the birth. A benefit of being present is the possibility of beginning to nurse your child then, if one chooses to do this. But breast feeding one's adopted child is a whole other issue--will talk about that later.

Through the net we have found two families which have had help from the agency. Both of the families have been very willing and prompt to contact us and answer any questions we have had, and will have. This is very generous of them, thanks, you know who you are!

Next is the free International Adoption Seminar in June. We have decided to apply for the opportunity to parent a child through a local agency. There is a day-long class, Adoption Education Seminar--a sort of adoption college--in July. There is a fee for this seminar. The application process begins there smilely face.

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