“Mike, how many smoke detectors do we have?”
“Mike, did you make sure all the outlets are covered?
“I already cleaned the shower, why are you cleaning it again?”
“Fire extinguisher? Do we even HAVE one of those?”
“Did you bribe the children to act like reasonable human beings, not interrupt and stop fighting for two hours?
“Callum can’t actually open that closet with the Lysol, Advil, bleach, Tylenol, and Scrubbing Bubbles, right?”
This was pretty much our life this past week. Today, we had our first home study visit. We had our first visit to assess if we are suitable to adopt a child. If you know me, you know that I had done PLENTY of research into what this would entail. It seems that “home studies” have a sort of stigma about them. And I can see why! I never had to interview to see if I was fit to get pregnant! No one had to clear my home as safe for our newborn babies! All I had to do to bring home three previous LITTLES was buy a car seat and plug up a few outlets, RIGHT???!!!
But things are different in the adoption world. And we have to follow the rules. And the more we learn about the process, the more we realize everything is for good reason. This home study process helps all parties involved to be sure that adoption is the right path for both the child and parents-to-be. There are specific things being assessed depending on the country one is adopting from.
And being sure your home is safe is, of course, part of the home study process. But it is also much more. A social worker comes to your home and looks around. But mostly she speaks with the prospective adoptive parents. She asks questions about adoption, about your marriage, your family. She learns about your discipline strategies, your childhood, your employment and finances.
And from all the research I did, I knew that it was not going to be quite as scary as it seemed. I knew that it would likely go smoothly and we would learn a lot through the process. But still, she was coming to STUDY my HOME! Eeeeeekkkkk! 😳😁
So, we prepared.
Our house hasn’t been this clean since before we gave birth to Anastasia in 2004! No lie! We scrubbed and cleaned and organized. What would she be looking for?! We have three kids, we are safe and fit parents, right? Right? I think we are…but…
What about the basement stairs? We have no railing…Callum just
slides dives down the stairs, he doesn’t need a railing!
But off to Home Depot Mike went and a railing we now have!
We put more outlet covers on the outlets that somehow, we missed. Or maybe I recently unplugged something in that outlet. Or likely, Cal pulled the safety cover out of it.
We found all the POISON that was just waiting to be drunk by one of our precious LITTLES and locked it up. ☠
Then on saturday morning we relaxed! Our house was clean and it was safe, But WAIT!!!!! We forgot about the matches sitting in my desk downstairs…our newest addition was certain to find these and light our home on fire (good thing I now know where our fire extinguisher is!). So we moved them. And it can’t be good to have a melted pot of smelly wax out in the open, right? (I mean I don’t even light candles…I use diffusers and warming trays). But this was going to be bad for her to see! So we unplugged those and put them away.
But eventually, 10am rolled around and we had no more last minute stashing time! We hoped for the best!
She didn’t even use our new railing on her way downstairs!
But guess what!??? It was perfect! She talked to us and we did nothing more than tell her our story! We told her all about ourselves and how we came to where we are today. We talked about how we met, when we DATED, and how we manage disagreements. We talked about why we wanted a fourth child, why adoption was our path and why we chose China (Read “WE CHOOSE CHINA!” to learn why!).
Then we look over and see naked BUNS! OH. BOY. Callum is dropping trou in attempt to use the small potty we keep downstairs for emergencies (or mom laziness). Then he proceeds to POOP right there, no holds barred.
But our social worker took it in stride, likely breathing through her nose for a solid five minutes, waving back as he sat pooping and waving to her. And after we cleaned the basement from any residual odor, we got right back to business.
She finished up asking us questions. She scheduled two more visits: one for her to speak with Mike and I separately, and one to take a quick look around our house and talk to the kiddos.
And come to find out…it seems as though our house might be safe enough for a little one from China! For real! It seems as though the dust and hot melted wax weren’t going to hold us back from our future CHINA LITTLE after all!
So, maybe we over prepared. Maybe we freaked out a little more than was necessary to be sure we could prove that we are “the world’s OKAYEST parents”. We are not perfect, we are far, far from it! But I think we might just have the perfect home for another Fitzgerald baby.
And I sure was glad that Callum waited until after she left to find his curiosity about what hot oil in a pan on the stove feels like. Yup, not five minutes later, me standing right beside him, he climbs a stool, looks at the hot pan preparing itself for lunch to be made, and sticks his finger right in! (He is fine by the way…this time! PHEW!).
WORLD’S OKAYEST PARENTS…we got this!