We had our final home study visit last night, and it went really well. I’ve surprised myself throughout this process by not getting nervous, but for whatever reason I felt butterflies in my stomach last night. Maybe it was due to excitement surrounding the fact that we were wrapping up this phase of the process.
The meeting lasted for about an hour and a half. First we went through the financial information we had submitted with our pre-home study paperwork. I got a bit flustered when we looked at some of the information again (she actually had us do things like pull up our bank account balances on the computer so she could see what they were). Some of the simple things like gross pay and taxes weren’t quite the same as what we had submitted, and I have no idea why. However, the changes in amounts were small and in our favor, so it was all fine in the end. The really exciting part was to see how much our retirement accounts have gone up since we filled out those papers in April (yay for the economy making a bit of a recovery!) – especially after our cash savings amounts had gone down due to adoption expenses (which she thought was totally understandable, of course).
We also had to show her originals of our birth and marriage certificates, as well as the rabies certificates and vaccination records for our dogs. We had the social worker sign off on our last bit of paperwork we need to send to the placement agency before the dossier, which was our checklist showing that we have met our educational requirements. This was primarily met by the one-day training we went to in April, plus an online course in medical issues in international adoption and assigned reading in a book on adoptive parenting.
We gave her a tour of the house, inside and out. I was surprised at how many notes she took on the tour – like noting whether there was a linen closet in the bathroom or which direction windows in bedrooms faced. The dogs provided entertainment, particularly Macy, who after being on light duty for a week after her spay has enough energy to run about 500 miles without tiring. (She is off restricted activity as today, and yes, we are going to take a LONG walk tonight.)
The last part of the discussion had to do with our religious/ethical/moral beliefs and also with our community. We talked about the diversity in the neighborhood and access to parks and hospitals and things like that. Throughout all of this we have felt very comfortable talking about very personal issues with our social worker, so we are really appreciative of the fact that she has helped us feel so at ease.
So, we’re pretty much done on our end of the home study. She will work to write our home study report in the next couple of weeks, and she may ask us for bits of information here or there if she realizes she has gaps she needs to fill in. By the end of the month we should have the chance to review what she’s written and provide some input if necessary, and after that, this part of the process will officially be done!