Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Dreaded Home Visit

I've told you a little bit about starting the adoption process and how every family goes through a home study.  Aside from the mountains of paperwork, thinking about under what situations you would accept a baby and analyzing who you are as a person and as a couple, you also have a social worker visit your home to assess your living environment.  Most people, including me, overreact to this visit.  I had adoptive parents who had been through "the visit" tell me to relax, it's fine.  Not a big deal.  But leading up to the visit you start to think about how your home represents you. Is it clean enough, safe enough, homey enough?  And the next thing you know you are doing all these crazy things to prove that you are going to provide the best home for a child.

Luckily, we had just moved in about six month before, so the actual cleaning part was not that bad.  We do what we call an "hour of power" each week, where we clean as hard as we can for an hour and that usually does the trick.  But "the visit" calls for a more thorough cleaning like I would do for a party or company.  Easy enough. We started on that the weekend before.

The real problem was that the apartment did not feel homey.  We had not put art on the walls yet or really decorated after the move.  The walls were blank and the place just didn't reflect our personality.  This is where we (I) really decided to pour it on.  Marlon is an artist, we had several paintings to choose from to hang on the walls. Done.  We decided we needed pictures of people and of us on the walls. So we bought tons of black picture frames from Target and when we still didn't have enough we asked our friend Jackie if we could have hers.  She had told me a few weeks before that she had a bag full.  Pictures up. Done.  Then I thought maybe we needed new fluffy white towels for the bathroom, a new shower curtain and those sticky things that go on the bottom of the tub. Purchased all. Done.  Oh and we definitely needed rugs.  Purchased three. Done.  Then I started to think we needed plants to show that we can take care of living things.  (Uh, we do have two cats and take care of them fine.) But yes, we need plants!  I know, I am going to make a terrarium in the midst of my mania.  Terrarium, done!  (RIP terrarium, it started to die a week later) The place is looking good now.  We are ready, right?

The day of the visit, our social worker was supposed to come at 2 pm.  I took the day off.  Marlon decided that it was best to stay out of my way and go to work a 1/2 day.  Smart man.  So the day of, I decided the apartment needed to be cleaned again, so I cleaned. Then I thought my kitchen floor looked a little dull, so I waxed it.  I had not put down my rugs yet because I didn't want them to be covered in cat hair. So I laid down all the rugs.   I also thought I needed to bake some cookies, so I baked.  Something in the bottom of my oven burned and the place smelled smoky instead of like chocolate chip cookies. So I opened all the windows, sprayed air freshener and lit candles to make the place smell better.  And then Marlon got home.  Honey bunny, you ok?   What did you burn? Nothing.  Did you wax the floor? Yes.  What do you need me to do? (Other than shoot me with a tranquilizer gun).  He put the finishing touches on everything while I showered and got ready.  The place looked spectacular! 

Our social worker called to say she would not be there until 3 pm.  Totally fine with me, I hadn't sat down since 6 am.  So I chilled out for a minute and then the buzzer buzzed and we were on!  She came to the door sopping wet, she got caught in the rain without an umbrella.  At that moment, I realized she is just a regular person doing her job and not there to critique our homeyness.  I instantly relaxed about the visit.  I gave her a towel to dry off with (a fluffy new white one), she ate a cookie and we gave her the tour of our apartment.  She didn't have white gloves on, she did have a checklist to make sure we had smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and a fire extinguisher. Check, Check, Check.  She admired Marlon's artwork and said she hoped we didn't go to too much trouble for the visit.  Oh no, of course not.  She read through our entire home study compiled from all the paperwork we filled out and the answers we provided during our interviews.  It was kind of strange to hear your life summed up in a few pages. She said everything looks great and her supervisor would review our file and then we would know in a few weeks whether we would be accepted into the program.  She didn't see any reason why we would not be accepted.  I gave her a spare umbrella to go home with and then she left. She was actually only there for about an hour.  I breathed a sigh of relief.

Twiggy was totally freaked with all cleaning and arranging.

We heard back the very next week that we were in, not in a few weeks.  Then it sunk in, we are adopting!!  It was definitely the umbrella.

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1 comment:

  1. I think it was the old ...old...maple dining room table your Granma gave you..or..was it the leather arm chair I salvaged from the dump that really impressed her. I can totally relate to cleaning before a party or house guests. I wonder where you get that from?


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