Thanks for the many comments and emails about our fire inspection experience. I am glad to hear a bit of outrage from friends and family and also from others who have been through the adoption process. I keep thinking that some of this stuff is fairly ridiculous, and it always helps to have someone agree with a feeling like that!
The state of Maryland requires a health/housing inspection. This is the one that resulted in the mandate that we repair our flaking exterior cement retaining wall. We are also required to have a fire safety inspection for our home study (the agency requires it), if our county can provide it. Our county (Baltimore City) does have an inspection system in place, so we have to submit to the inspection. Apparently some other counties don’t have an inspection process set up and if you live in one of those counties, you can just submit a fire safety self survey and fire evacuation route on a floor plan of your house.
I think the crux of the issue is that these agencies (the Health Department and Fire Marshal) don’t treat a regular adoptive family any differently than someone operating a foster or group home. The forms the inspectors fill out actually say “foster home” on them where they ask for the reason for the inspection. So, when you look at it that way, it makes a bit more sense that they require at least some of this. But, when you’re just regular people in a regular house wanting to adopt a child, it’s somewhat unreasonable. I’m not quite sure why a separate system hasn’t been developed.
It is what it is. I can’t tell you how often I repeat that saying to myself!