Archive for January, 2008

Jan
07
Filed Under (Uncategorized) by catharine on 25-04-2007

Before the holidays I limited myself to one phone call and one email to our agency about the homestudy.  I told myself I would not annoy them and press them to schedule the homestudy in the midst of the holidays, I would wait until after the holidays like a normal, rational person who is also busy and has things to do herself.  So, like all of you undoubtedly do when you have resolved not to appear overly desperate when a) applying for jobs, b) dating someone new, or c) adopting children, I pulled out my calendar, counted precisely four weeks out from our health inspection and pencilled in “call regarding homestudy.”  Then, at precisely 9:45 on the designated day, considerately allowing for morning coffee, message checking, and a one-hour I’m-not-a-crazy-woman buffer, I called to check on our homestudy.  They were polite and evasive like all good administrators, and told me they’d call me back, per usual.  But, within hours the social worker was on the phone.  It was like magic!  He was on the phone and could come as soon as this Friday, so I took the first available date.

We took the first available date because it was exciting and because the spring semester begins on Monday so it would be logical to do this before I start hassling with lesson plans and grading, but I mostly took the date because we were anxious to have the undevided attention of an adoption professional–a captive audience if you will–in our home for hours!  Although the whole idea of the homestudy is that he is supposed to ask us all manner of personal questions, I have a well-rehersed list of questions I want to ask him.  Cliff has told me he is not the magic eight-ball of our future adoption.  I cannot flip him upside down and shake tid-bits of significant information about our future from him; nevertheless, I persist.  I persist in this fantasy knowing full well I will be disapointed when he leaves and I still don’t know our children’s names or ages or conditions.  Yes, yes, I know; my husband has already told me–I will practice looking non-predatory and avoid using phrases such as “I’m you’re biggest fan” when he arrives.  I will be on my best behavior because, afterall, we are being judged.

When adopting, you read about the all-important homestudy, how everyone is so anxious beforehand and then finds it’s nothing to worry about afterall, how you don’t have to bake cookies or clean behind the fridge, and about how kind and gentle all social workers are, blah, blah, blah.  Yes, yes, of course.  But do you also know that they separate you and then ask you questions presumably looking for chinks in your amour like some sort of demented newly-wed game.  I feel like Gerard Depardieu in Green Card–we’ve been practicing our talking points, getting our story straight all week.  “Now remember, if they ask us “a” our answer is “b.”  A discerning look from me, then “it should be more non-challant than that.  We don’t want to look too critical, use a non-challant hand gesture.”  We practice this sort of thing with each other in the bathroom mirror.  How to look non-critical, how to execute an artfully convincing non-challant hand gesture.  All because this is going on our permanent record.  It really will.  I’ve read examples of homestudies.  They say things like, “The Smiths are a warm and inviting couple.  They obviously love each other and have an inviting home.”  Reading that sort of thing only makes me look at my husband and say, “make sure you act like you love me when the social worker is here.”  “I do love you.”  “Yes, but make sure you act like it so he can write that we’re a loving couple.”  “We are a loving couple.”  “Don’t you understand!?!  This is going on our permanent record!!!”  At which point, my husband gets this look I can’t define–he pauses for emphasis, then asks me when I ate last.  This is when I know the conversation is over for the time being and then usually find a toasted cheese sandwich thrust into my hands.

So, we are waiting for what has been promised to be five hours of the undivided attention of an adoption professional.  We have vacuumed and dusted and steam cleaned the stains from the living room carpet and all traces, we hope, of any stain from the rest of our lives as well.  We’ll let you know how it goes…