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My Home-Study away from home
Wednesday, May 31, 2006

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...

posted by Steveg @ 11:50 AM   4 comments
We Begin
First off note that I'm starting this blog after we actually have started our adoption process. But I did want to give a little history about how we got here. First the earth cooled, then the water vapor pooled together into oceans...okay, maybe that's a bit too far back to start.

How about this? My beloved wife Stefanie and I have wanted to have children since even before we were married which remarkably is over 13 years ago (remarkable because she actually has stayed with me that long without going insane). And once we felt we were set (financially, emotionally, etc.) and ready for a family we starting trying to conceive, as often as possible (practice makes perfect you know).

Well in just wasn't in the cards. And after a few years we went ahead and did all the medical tests and sure enough we had some fertility issues. We discussed all the high tech (actually I guess those are bio tech) procedures out there and we really felt those were just not "us". I should also point out that Stefanie herself is adopted and so for us it was more of a natural decision to go the route of adoption. But the landscape for domestic adoption is not what it was when my in-laws were lucky enough to bring home Stef.

So after all the issues, all the options, all the discussions (on all the issues and options in every possible matrix you can imagine) we navigated our way to starting our family through international adoption. And this blog is a record of that adventure and a record specifically from my, a father's, point of view. There were of course many factors in our choice and too many to list in a blog, but ultimately we made the decision on international adoption from Russia.

As you'll undoubtedly read over the next several months (and hopefully it's not going to be years) both Stef and I tend to do a lot of analysis before we make decisions. It's my hope the information and experiences we encounter will be informative and useful to others who may be following the same path or are currently thinking about international adoption. And that the perspective, being from my point of view, will be of assistance to other "soon-to-be-dad's" out there.
posted by Steveg @ 11:41 AM   1 comments
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Our Story:

I'm Steve and this is my wife Stefanie. This is our story, mostly seen through my eyes, of the journey to create our family by adopting a child from Russia.

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