Thursday, October 3, 2013

So...This Happened: Vol. II: The Home Study - by Will

So, you saw all those documents on our kitchen table in our previous post, right? If not, the picture is to the right there. We gathered all of that background-checking, health-screening, and weird stuff we didn't even know existed detailing all the intimate parts of our lives all in an effort to set up our home study. Yes – THE HOME STUDY. This is where a social worker comes to your house to make sure you aren't crazy people living in filth. I mean they verify that you are a stable loving couple with a healthy home that can support the addition of a child. The Home Study is technically the only state-mandated legal process a family must go through in order to adopt - so everyone, no matter if you are with an agency, law firm, or going independent, has to have a home study!

I believe we have already told you about the questionnaires that we had to fill out before this could happen. We had to write about our relationship, our childhoods, our anticipated parenting style, and our feelings about adoption. So, as it turns out, the social worker who performs the home study receives those answers and then uses that information to plan their in-home interview with you.

But before that, THERE WAS THE CLEANING. Oh yes, they say don't worry about your house being perfect, BUT come on, we wanted our house to be as perfect as we could make it. Why not try to look really great, and spotless, and fresh, and Martha Stewarty (pre-jail) for the social worker who is deciding whether or not you are fit to bring home a baby? There are also things the agency said we needed to have in place LIKE: a fire extinguisher on each level and a carbon monoxide detector. Also guns had to be locked up (we have none, check) and absolutely no torture dungeons (we walled that up, check). Here's the sweet part about doing a massive clean like that – we are still riding that wave 60 days-ish later. Nice! My office hasn't looked cleaner. My office's closet has...before I moved all the clutter that was in my office into it for the big clean. Sorry closet, you hide dark terrible clutter secrets inside you better.
Terrible clutter closet!

So, the big day came for the in-home social worker interview on SATURDAY AUGUST 3rd. And it was totally casual and cool. Our social worker's name was Pam, and she couldn't have been more chill. We all sat down at our kitchen table and essentially talked for half an hour rehashing the questions from our questionnaires. It was actually kind of fun. Super easy, no sweat. Pam basically said that they like to watch you answer the questions in person and with each other to make sure no one is giving off any weird vibes (paraphrased). Weird vibes like: “crazy liars,” “uncomfortable relationship,” “terrible people,” etc... I also made up all of those categories. The social worker is just there to make sure that all of the information and answers you offered in your questionnaires lines up and that you can interact positively with people. The last thing she did was take a brief tour of our house. She did look in every room (except for you terrible clutter secret office closet, SHWEW). It was fun for us to show her the room that will become the nursery! It already had a few baby things in it that we might have swiped from our own garage sale donations. Don't judge us. And, Pam did notice our new fire extinguishers and carbon monoxide detector. Oh yeah! We have the safest house what I imagine she was thinking the entire time. Totally.

Nursery room with stolen baby donations. :)
So she left telling us that it would take her two weeks to write her report, two weeks for the agency to review, and another week or two for the state to approve it. If you're doing that math, that is several weeks. By SATURDAY AUGUST 31st, we received a certificate of home study approval for Andrew Joplin and Will Jenkins – a very awesome gay couple who are also with the IAC who we were very happy to see also had an approved home study. But yeah, not the right certificate for us obviously. They put the wrong one in our packet – the rest of the study was our information. We just got a corrected certificate a couple of weeks later. The certificate is really just a memento – nothing official official. So, it only took 4ish weeks to totally complete our home study! We are officially approved to receive a child into our home legally and everything! Now we are on the clock too. Your home study only lasts a year. Tick Tock. Time to find a birthmother... but alas, more work to be done before we can officially “be found.”

We gotta get our “Dear  Birthmother Letter” finished! (Our next post will be ALL ABOUT THAT...)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

So... This Happened: Vol. I: Eclectic Fundraising

It has been a little while since we last posted, and A LOT has happened.  So much so, it's hard to even remember where we started from.  We are going to roll out several new blog posts over the next few days to update you on all of the different changes and news on the adoption front.
  • More Garage Sales and Fundraisers
The month of July was insanely busy.  Besides the fact that I started a new job, we were busy fundraising.  We had a "last hurrah sale"of the summer in July at the last minute when Will's sister told us her new neighborhood was having a sale.  So yet again we carted all of the contents of our garage, plus a few new items we had picked up, over for another long and hot weekend in the garage!  I know we say it alot, but we have been so blessed with amazing friends, and their generous donations, as well as great weather for these sales which has helped.  
I also had an old friend from high school contact me and offer to hold a Lia Sophia Jewelry party with proceeds donated to our account.  So I had some family and work friends over for snacks while we played dress up.  I bought a few of their pieces and wear them a lot now.  

Finally toward the end of the month, we were asked by a friend of Will's, Daron Earlewine, to be guests at an event he hosts in town called Pub Theology.  That week they were at the Stacked Pickle in Fishers.  Pub Theology is a grassroots mission to bring church to people where they are every day - restaurants, bars, etc.  They have music and a message.  Daron asked us to share our story and our journey so far. They took up a collection for us which we did not expect!  You can read more about our visit here.   It was a little nerve-wracking for someone like me, who leave's the limelight and speaking to Will, to stand up in front of a bunch of strangers who thought they were just coming for dinner and tell them our trials and tribulations.  But it ended up being very cool, and several people from the audience shared their adoption stories as well.  

We are excited to say have raised just about all of the money we are committed to spend directly with the agency.  There will be additional expenses once there is an actual birthmother and potential baby.  Suffice it to say we are still fundraising.  We are so grateful that our community and friends have shared this journey with us. We are still in the early stages, and most of this stuff is formality and legality, but we are just now beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel and imagine an actual baby being the end result of all of this work.  It really has been a cool journey.  We have heard stories from people we never would have otherwise met, and experienced what we already knew - we have the best friends and family on the planet! We had several friends and distant relatives offer personal donations as well.  
Oh yeah, how could I forget Marlys Pedigo and Connie Leak, who offered to put our "ad" / poster in their program for Avon's Distinguished Young women event as a gesture of good will and support of our cause!

Continue checking back all this week for more updates and sequels to the story!  Wait till you hear Will's version of the social worker visit!