Labor Day is tomorrow. Most folks around us are gearing up to attend festivals, go to pool parties and barbecues. Wish we could say the same, but we have dedicated this weekend to a labor of love instead.
We have spent the whole of the last two days indoors working on the basement that we still have not finished. We have most of the basement painted. Our special-order flooring will go down starting tonight or tomorrow morning, depending on our energy. All the physical labor is beginning to wear us down, but as we get closer to finishing our paperwork and thus closer to our home study, we need to buckle down.
When you are adopting, you obsess about how perfect your house needs to be for someone to allow you to bring a child into your home. Are they going to look at my dingy baseboard? Just how much dust is acceptable? Should the social worker be able to detect the scent of organic disinfectants like citrus and vinegar? I am already overly bad about obsessively cleaning before guests come over. D had learned after five years of living together that the two hours prior to a visit, I am going to be bustling about like the Tasmanian devil putting things away and wiping down every surface in reach. The 24 hours before our home study will be interesting, but I’m sure D will survive my madness.
We are slowly making our way through the pile of forms that we have to complete before the rest of our home study meetings can proceed.
My hand is currently cramping from filling out twelve pages of clearance forms with all our personal information in blue ink. I did email our local agency a few questions to clarify that we understood what to do with each type of form. As far as I know, one form just needs to be signed and sent in. Another need to be notarized (thus finding a notary and signing in front of them) and sent in. And the last forms all need to be taken in to a LiveScan location to get our fingerprints done for state and FBI background checks. The last batch also seems to be the only portion that requires we pay fees to a third-party and not the local agency. Also put in our requests for our complete driving records; these must be certified and cost us about $25 total.
The rest of it is mostly done. We have fire and safety inspections that will need to be done after we finish redoing the basement and a few more minor repairs. There is also still 10 hours of international adoption training that we need to complete. The longest bit of paperwork is turning out to be the autobiography we both must write. For D, who is very much an introvert, the exercise is a little too personal and awkward. I like to write, but even for me, six pages about my entire life is tiring. Just trying to do a little by little and hopefully we will both be finished by the time every other bit of work and training is complete.
There are some other changes going on in our household currently affecting our adoption process that I am not yet at leave to discuss. But I do plan on writing about how we navigated the issue and the advice we were given by our social worker.
Last bit of news – we finally heard back from the international adoption agency and they’re ready to start talking to us about the process on their end. It is all slowly coming together!
Background clearances were part of the list I posted last week of paperwork needed for our international adoption. Clearances are needed for any adoption, though the state you live in may have different laws regarding the depth of the investigation. Our process to gain clearance is about double that of domestic adoption. A Hague Convention adoption requires that we do a more exhaustive background check.
We were assigned our social worker a week after we submitted our application for adoption with the local agency. The list of documentation needed has also been unlocked for us to work on. According to the agency, our social worker will be contacting us soon for a first meeting and to go over the paperwork with us to make sure we understand the disclosure and the process for inspections, etc. Seems simple enough, right? I hope so.
The schedule, we have been told, is that after our first meeting we will need to complete our documentation before we are scheduled for our second and third home studies with the social worker. At that time, we will also be paying our home study fee. The only question I have here, which hopefully will be answered in the first meeting, is whether we just need to finish our part of the paperwork or whether all of the paperwork must be completed in full (meaning paperwork with the county, CPS, FBI, and other third parties).
Brief list of what we have been given to work on
- Child Protective Clearances (State Police, FBI, and another CPS agency in Europe due to a study abroad)
- Personal Documents (Birth certificates, marriage certificates, etc.)
- Extended Family Information
- Physician’s Report
- Statement of Net Worth
- State Motor Vehicle Records
- Emergency Preparedness Plan (In case of natural disasters, etc. requiring evacuation)
- Home Safety Checklist
- Fire Safety Report (Done by local fire department)
- Sanitation Report (Done by local county government)
- Guardianship Statement (In case of our passing)
- References (Three references required)
- Miscellaneous Disclosures