Just some more recent history. Again I started this blog a couple of weeks after we actually started our home-study (and of course this was after Stef analyzed which home-study agency to pick for about a month, okay so maybe it was two months, alright three and keep the books open).
Some may already know the process for international adoption. But in a nutshell, you jump through a bunch of hoops (one step determines if you will be suitable parents: the home-study), then work through another agency (it can be in the same as your home-study agency, but in our case is different) to jump through another bunch of hoops to find the right child. And there are a lot of hoops to jump through because you're dealing with both the US and the requirements of the child's home country (Russia in our case).
Our home-study Process
Our process (each state sets their own, so for us it's the king of stupid bureaucracies: California) is based on four visits with our social worker and lots and lots of paperwork. Both of us see the social worker together on two visits and then separately in some scary sounding one on ones. This person interviews us, takes lots of notes, and then basically either approves or denies us (sort of like a home loan but with lots more touchy-feely stuff). I believe if approved it is called "a favorable home-study", don't know what a denial is called and I don't want to. And as mentioned there is also a bunch of paperwork including getting fingerprinted (so they can search if you have a criminal record).
So we had our first meeting with our social worker two weeks ago and we both were really nervous. I think it's impossible not to be nervous, but I know we shouldn't be. These people are not expecting you to be some ideal person who is going to be the most perfect parents in the whole wild world. Because, of course, no one is perfect. But it is their job to make sure that these kids end up with good people and not Mr. and Mrs. Charley Manson (yea I know, that's a bit dated). Anyway, they ask some pretty direct questions and my suggestion is to be honest and don't try to make yourself sound as if you're some angel here on earth. I really think if they hear too many "perfect" answers they'll probably become suspicious. Of course, I wouldn't brag about how many drunken college brawls you got into either.
Anyway, in this first meeting our social worker, who seems pretty cool, explained the process. Again these folks are bit touchy-feely but she had some good "structure" on what the process was going to be. This first meeting was going to be about the present (aka why adoption), our individual meetings were about our pasts (our own childhoods, upbringing, etc.), and then the final visit was going to focus on the future. And this final visit is the only one that happens within our home (so I don't get why they call it a home-study, I know, this thing should be called a "parent-study", okay that sounds pretty stupid too).
Bottom line, our first visit went really well, she asked a bunch of questions about why we wanted to adopt, why international adoption, what do we think about incorporating the child's home country's culture, how do your friends and family feel about you adopting, and a few other things that sort of get blurred into this hour/hour and a half long talk. And as you may have figured out by now, I can talk. I'm not the king of talkers (that would actually be my dad) but I can easily carry on a four hour discussion with me doing 70% of the talking, check that, 90% of the talking. So basically this meeting was pretty easy for me.
Next stop my 1 on 1...