We have our first visit scheduled for this Saturday. I would appreciate any advice on what to expect.
Is this at your house Michelle or are you meeting somewhere? Our first visit was at our house. It was much easier than I thought. Of course we cleaned our house like I have never saw it before and I am sure you are doing the same thing. I have learned one thing though--don't worry about having the perfect house. Someday there will be a child ripping it apart so not being perfect looks better to the SW.
Our SW actually walked through our house and wrote down stuff like how many rooms and details about Olivia's room (which was just a little throw together spare bedroom at the time). We discussed safety precautions that we would do before the baby came but we didn't have to have this done for the homestudy. Then the SW just sat down and talked to us about the adoption and then did some biographic stuff with us. It was very easy. We then went over stuff that we needed help with in completing our dossier. She gave us stuff to complete (financial paper, criminal checks, etc) and have ready for next time.
I can't remember all the details as that was a few years ago. I can tell you to "try" and relax. Your will be fine. And by the way, you are one step closer to your child--YEAH!!!!!
Good luck and let me know how it goes.
I was more freaked out about the home study than anything else. Everyone said don't freak out, it will be fine. I thought they were insane.
Turns out they were right :)
When we first signed with our agency, we had to provide several things before she'd come out - many of our dossier documents, autobiographies, rough drawing of our house (and trust me, it was rough ;) ), and certain background checks.
Once she had those we set up our first meeting. Chatted a few hours at a restaurant and it was great - we felt totally at ease. Made our next appointment at our house a few weeks later (our delay, not hers)
I was a little wigged out - yes, our SW was nice but oh my gosh, she's coming out to our house and I don't have everything picture perfect and she's going to hate us and OMG I think I'm going to puke :D
She came by and we were totally at ease. Our pets even behaved so it was an added bonus. She chatted with us one on one and also as a couple. Did a brief tour of the house (no white glove checks!) and that was pretty much it. Very painless.
Plus, she was fabulous and wrote everything up quickly and accurately. I'm pleased to have our SW on our side. I think she'll be a great resource :)
Best of luck - let us know how it goes.
The biggest piece of advice I can give you is DON'T SWEAT IT!
Our one and only meeting with our SW was at our home and it was a piece of cake. I am a neat freak by nature and I swore that I woundn't be like those in stories we've all heard: Crazy people who wash their mailbox, vacuum the livingroom with tweezers, etc... I mostly succeeded, but believe me, you don't need to do these things. Don't run out and buy a bunch of baby furniture or outlet don't need these either. Just be prepared to answer questions about which room will be the child's and what areas of the house will be babyproofed.
If you've completed an autobiography of questions already, read through it a few times, jot down some questions for the SW, and encourage your husband to do the same thing.
I did probably overdo it in the cleaning area, but for the most part, we just put out some coffee and storebought cookies, and had our adoption binder and copies of everything we had sent her up to that point, which came in handy at the end when inventorying what she still needed from us.
A few more tips:
Put post its or stickers on the obvious areas that you know you need to babyproof. We have electronics and candles galore and we have no kids, so I didn't want her to think that our child would be tripping over wires and trying to eat wax. She really appreciated this. Incidentally, she wasn't at all worried that our pantry contains martini fixings and a boboli shell. We've been D.I.N.K's for 11 years, so this is partially to be expected, I think.
I DID buy 1 fire extinguisher for each floor of our house because my cousin who when through our agency said that the SW asked about them when she came for the homestudy...sure enough, this one asked too. They're good to have anyways and were only $10 each at Target.
We have 5 parks within a 5 minute walk of our house. I took pictures of each of these and the child centric services and businesses within walking distance. I knew she wouldn't know enough about our neighborhood to see them on her own and she was very impressed by how child friendly our neighborhood is. If you have something like this that you want your SW to know about, take a picture or remember to mention it during your meeting.
Finally, if you have a dog, take her for a REALLY long walk and make sure she goes #1 & #2 before the SW arrives. This was something I wish someone had told me ahead of time...
I have a lengthy explanation of our Home Visit in my blog.... After reading the Nov. 23rd entry, this will make sense: If you get the vibe that your SW might, let's say, spend Sunday with the Big Guy, tell your DH not to talk about aliens!! LOL! :darth:
Like everyone else - it really is NO big deal! We cleaned like there was no tomorrow!!! She went through the house and spoke to DH and my older son. I was at work at the time. DH said she was out of there in under an hour!
He showed her the baby's room. She didn't check to see if we were baby-proofed, or anything. Not sure why.
In any case, I think people stress out much more than necessary. It is daunting, but in reality, they just want to do right by you and by the babies!
Good luck and breathe!
May I jump onto the "don't worry" bandwagon?
Ours was 4 visits spread over mid-December to early January and only one of them was at our home. Our social worker told us that there would be no 'white glove test.' She also said that while it's important for a home to be clean, it's better if the house doesn't look like a showcase. I jokingly answered, "It needs to look like a place where it's okay if someone gets grape jelly on the coffee table?" and she empahtically answered, "YES!" with a big smile.
It will be fine. :cool:
I was very relaxed about the meeting and more nervous about writing my autobiography since I'm not on the best of terms with my brother and sister at the moment and really didn't know how to address that issue. When the SW interviewed us, we sat together and helped each other when one of us got stuck or didn't know what to say. After the first few minutes, the conversation flowed and we felt very comfortable.
The SW came over to our house the first & second visits. We sat and talked for a while. She did our interviews and of course asked me about my relationship with my family. I kind of skirted around the question a bit but explained my situation.
Anyway, she looked for how many smoke alarms we had (some states require that you have those rolled up stairs you put out the windows for the second floor bedrooms in case of a fire), fire extinguishers, a gun safe (hubby carries a gun for a living), a pool fence and that the house had enough bedrooms for a child. It wasn't a major inspection, more like a walk through.
Prior to her coming, we sent over a floor plan and our autobiographies. The agency had already given her our local police background clearance and I believe a copy of our medical exams.
I think our second visit was about the guardianship form and a parenting class discussing attachment issues and various medical issues.
The last meeting was at her house where we went over a draft of the home study and made corrections.
You'll do fine! Just be yourself and relax. Good luck!!
Oh, one more thing - the room doesn't have to be ready for a child. Ours has car parts stored in it. We are in the process of redoing an old Mustang and have brand new car parts in the box in the bedroom we're going to use. We told her that this will be the room for the baby minus car parts.
The first visit for us was very relaxed and easy. I didn't exactly clean the house like a maniac, but I did pick up around the house, vacuum and burn some candles to mask any pet odors (I have four pets).
Our conversation with SW was nonstressful. With the last HS visit, I felt a little stressed, because we were interviewed separately about our views on child-raising, family background information and other personal information.
Every thing went very smoothly. The SW was kind and easy going, which was a plus. We have one more visit next week and she said we'll have the report within 1-2 weeks after that.