Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Home Study Happy Dance

I sealed up the envelope provided to us by American Adoptions and just mailed in our completed, notarized, super thick home study and all supporting documentation.  I'm pretty sure I shook my hips in excitement a little as I dropped it in the mail slot.  I'm also pretty sure that several people saw me.  Hopefully, they got a laugh out of my giddiness!

As promised, I'm laying out the full home study process for us so someone can get a sense of what to expect.  But before I get there, a quick update on our never-ending/ending/never-ending-again miscarriage:

Our mini d&c was last Wednesday (July 3).  The doctor said to come in Friday or Monday for another hcg check to see if the hormone had left my system.  Since it seemed pretty obvious that he got something out of me, I was expecting my body to drop that hormone like it's hot.  (I never say stuff like that.  I must still be pretty giddy despite this body stupidness!).  Anyway, with the 4th of July and all that, I never really thought about it - SHOCKER, I know - and it only occurred to me again Sunday night that I should be in the clear.  I peed on my last digital test, stepped in the shower, and completely forgot about looking at it until T found it on top of the toilet.  Pregnant, it said.  Damn. Damn. Damn.

T convinced me that I was likely just at that 20-25 level that those digital tests read, and it should just be a couple days.  I popped over to the lab on Monday morning to give blood yet again, and receive a call that afternoon.  My level was....109.  109?!?!?  Yes, 109.  And the analysis on the tissue they took out revealed that it was not placental tissue.  So no clue what it actually was, which is weird in its own right.  But I guess, the levels are technically decreasing, even if it is at a snail's pace (actually a snail would leave my hcg level in the dust in a race).  So.  Yeah.  I go back in a week or two to get my blood checked again and we go from there.  Yippee.

But giddiness > frustration, so onto home study process!

No matter who you are, where you live, or what adoption process you are going through, you need to have a home study done.  This is basically blessing you as good parents, because the stuff on paper matters more than anything, right?  While I totally get why it is necessary, and would want something like that if I were the birth parent, some of it does get kind of ridiculous.

The majority of the home study is just documentation.  You make copies of a ton of shit and put it in a file.  Each state has their own home study requirements, but I think they are fairly consistent for the most part.  In our case, the home study provider was in our state, but did a few extra things to conform with our agency's requirements.

In the massive envelope I sent to American Adoptions today:

  • A post placement supervision letter.  Our home study provider filled this out basically promising that they will do the follow-up visits once our baby comes home (visits at 1 month, 3 months and 6 months).
  • Original home study, signed and notarized (2 copies):  Our provider dropped this off at our house last night.  She gave us 4 originals, 2 for American Adoptions, 1 for us, and 1 extra.  This is the result of all her reporting based on our interviews and the other supporting documents she included.
  • Clearances: FBI Clearance, Criminal Background Check, and Child Abuse Records Check.  The FBI check is super easy nowadays.  We just went to this link online (provided to us) and requested an appointment for digital fingerprints at our local UPS store.  They were uploaded to the FBI right there, and we got our clearances via email in about 10 minutes.  The others required us to sign a form to give to our home study provider to do the checks.  They put the results in our file.
  • Reference Letters:  American Adoptions requires 5 reference letters, and only one can be from a family member.  Our state requires 4 reference letters, but TWO must be from family members.  Therefore, we needed 2 family and 4 non-family to meet all the requirements.  These generally (except for the family ones) should be from other families that can speak to your ability to interact with children, are familiar with your ability to cope with issues, etc.  Our letters were so touching and were the best part about the whole process.
  • Health Statements: We both had to go get physicals at our local doctor and have him sign a form indicating that we weren't likely to keel over and die any time soon.  
  • Latest Tax Income Return:  Makes sure you actually have income 
  • Financial Information:   We needed to put together a balance sheet (net worth) and a monthly income statement.  This was a little difficult, because you were supposed to include some variable/discretionary expenses like gas and food.  I actually went back to look at our mvelopes software (love that system - I should blog about that sometime) to see what we spend on both.  It was not good.  T and I love to eat and drink waaaayyyy too much.  Luckily, we're still well in the black, so no issues there.
  • Copies of Birth Certificates, Marriage License, Divorce Decrees and Drivers' Licenses:  Stupid divorce decrees.  It was fun to read T's though :)
  • Insurance Form and Copy of Insurance Card:   I needed to show confirmation from my insurance company that the child would be covered at the time of placement.
  • Most recent paystubs:  Damn.  They really want to know how much money you make!
  • Disciplinary statement:  We attested that we wouldn't use corporeal punishment.
  • Guardianship statement: We declared that my lovely little bro would be our children's guardian in the event of a horrible situation that we will not speak of.  It was nice to be able to ask him and have him say yes, though.
And....that's pretty much it.  Our home study provider said really nice things in our report, like "this marriage is quite sound, characterized by strong bonds of affection openly and reciprocally expressed, good communication, shared decision-making, and mutual recognition of the dignity and strengths of the other person".  See??  Home studies are actually super fun and nice to read!

Now, American Adoptions will officially review on their end and come back with any clarification needs.  We'll need to wrap up our profile stuff (upcoming post!) and then the waiting begins!


  1. Hurray!! I think it must be very reaffirming to have so many people wanting and able to write you those letters that gushed about what great parents you will be. I can't wait to hear more and hope that you get some good news soon. So excited for you!

  2. Congratulations on getting your home study done and sent off! While I agree that as a birth mother, I'd love to know that my child was going to be adopted by sane, loving parents who would give them everything they needed, but sheesh! It's amazing everything that you're asked for. Sometimes I think we need to do the same for some of the unfit parents in this world.

  3. WOW that's a lot of info. I see how it's necessary, but WOW that must have been daunting. What a nice comment on the home visit, though! You two must be very pleased :) (Hello from ICLW!)


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