Friday, April 24, 2009

Not Quite the Spanish Inquisition

Ryan and I our first official step towards adoption this week -- our home visit. It really wasn't a big deal, just a formality required by the state -- requiring a complete stranger to come to our house and evaluate whether or not we would irrevocably mess up a kid if we are fortunate enough to be able to adopt one. Yeah, I think you can see why we were a bit stressed out about it.

We had a week's warning for the visit, and almost every minute was spent on gathering paperwork, filling out paperwork, or worrying about things in our house that could appear offensive, dangerous, juvenile, or terrifying. You have no idea how many things we found. We not only questioned pretty much every piece of art on our walls, but also all the items in our fridge, the arrangement of the clothes in our closets, and books that some groups consider "sinful." We had no idea to expect, so we got ready for anything.

On Saturday we got the yard ready, figuring it was the first thing the stranger/social worker would see. We weeded. We mowed. I got dirt under my nails and whined. Ryan gritted his teeth and wished the leaf blower could go louder. On Sunday we tackled the basement. I had no idea how much shit was down there. I mean, I did, since I put most of it there, but I just didn't think I would ever have to deal with it again. We actually got through it pretty quickly. We made three piles: keep, toss, and give to charity. Oh, there was also the pile of stuff that Ryan had to go through that I thought should have been thrown out, but I know got hidden somewhere in the basement until we clean it out again -- but I won't go into that. After we were done the basement once again looked like we use it for storage, instead of for refuse.

While Ryan and I handled the big gross jobs we had been putting off for months, there was only one woman I trusted to help with the main part of the house -- the Queen of Clean -- my Mother. She showed up on Tuesday morning with her sprays, powders, and steam cleaner in hand to take on our actual living space. I offered to help, but she refused, even threatening to leave if I didn't leave her alone and let her clean. Yes, I had the stomach flu, but I think she would have said that regardless. She wanted to make sure that my bad dusting didn't keep her from getting a grandchild. By the time she was done the house smelled like pledge, and looked like a museum. I have never been happier for her compulsions.

The day of the actual interview dawned with both Ryan and I doing our best impersonations of assholes. We were both nervous, and taking it out on each other. In the ten minutes before the social worker/stranger arrived we almost got into THREE different fights. One of the fights was about how we shouldn't be fighting when she arrived. When she finally got here I swear the smell of our flop sweat was greater than that of the Pledge. And then? Well, it was fine.

She asked about why we wanted to be parents. Why we chose to pursue adoption. What we thought about child rearing. What we thought about each other. If we had criminal records. If we had happy childhoods. Then she walked through our house. Just walked. She didn't go through the trash, or try on our shoes, or question our choice of toothpaste. And then it was over. She shook our hands, said the report would be filed within three weeks and, pending the outcome of our criminal background checks, could move forward with our adoption plans.

That night we laid on the couch like marathon runners after a long race, or at least what I picture that would be like if I ever ran more than half a block. We watched a show on whales. And then we both realized that the thing we had feared, the home study, was nothing compared to what is ahead. Next we have to make a profile, and then we have to meet a birth mother, and then we have to hold our breath to see if we actually get the baby, and then, if everything goes well, we have to be parents.

I kind of wish that we were still just worrying about offensive art.

Full speed ahead.


Amanda said...

No comments about the covert spy mission going on outside of the house while the home visit was going on???

Cate said...

There is nothing offensive about the humperdome sign.

Sandi said...

Is there anyway you will email and give me all the dirt?

Did you know I ran my own adoption agency from 99-05? I am a pro and can help you get a baby in your home quickly.

I would love to hear who you are working with, which worker came to your house? What kind of adoption you are hoping for yadda yadda yadda. I'm here, if you need me and/or want to share.

sandibenson at gmail

Lorrie Veasey said...

O Libby
This is so exciting!
I can't wait to hear more about this journey and know that it will end with your baby in your arms, and then you'll have even MORE reasons to snipe at your DH--plus many of us actually WITHOLD SEX once the new child is in the house..but hey, am i going too fast for you?

Take Sandi up on her offer: it seems fortuitous.

Logical Libby said...

We are very excited. This is so much better than all the fertility stuff that was just draining us.

I will e-mail you today, Sandi!

Ellen said...

So excited for you Libby. And now you can also sit back and enjoy a clean house for awhile. That's what I need right now. Best of luck with this whole process. Things will turn out great for you. You and Ryan deserve it!

Amy Jane said...

Do I have to have a pending home visit in order to enlist your dear mother? :(

DC Diva said...

You're forgetting your next step: cleaning up those criminal histories...

Congratulations. I'm REALLY excited for you. And for the future posts all this will surely bring.

MomZombie said...

Found you via MommyPie. From personal experience, the anticipation of the home visit is far worse than the home visit/home study itself. We survived too many to count and now they are behind us. Best of luck in your adoption pursuit!
-- adoptive mom

Dunc said...

I felt like I was there with you for all of the prep working after reading this....glad it went well!

Yellow Trash Diaries said...

Good thing you cleaned your basement. Make sure you leave out an extra big bucket of water and fresh feed.
Good luck with everything- even with all the childhood trauma I whine about, I'm thankful every day that I was adopted and not left to become a child prostitute or anything in Korea. Hope all turns out well!

Anonymous said...

Hey, I will clean your house ANY DAY OF THE WEEK if you and Ryan come do the same thing to my basement. I have had it on my To-Do list for three years now, and it still looks like a trash dump down there. Ugh.

Good luck with the adoption! Sooo excited for you!!!