Yesterday we completed our third home study.
Seems like just yesterday when we were doing our second home study refresh. But here we are, over a year later, and completing our third home study.
If you read home study refresh, you can learn more about what the home study is, what happens during it, etc. Because we are three in, the one we did yesterday was a little different. In fact, not so much different, as it was just shorter…..about one hour to be exact.
But nonetheless, anytime you adopt a child from the foster care system you will have to go through the home study process. And yes, even if it’s a sibling. There are no exceptions. You still have to do all the paperwork, answer all the questions, and get several references. (Thank you to everyone who did ours for us!) The only piece we didn’t have to do again were the individual interviews, and the state only had to come once vs. twice to complete everything.
The social worker who did Isaiah’s home study is also the one doing Amiya’s. Even though Amiya is not being adopted from San Joaquin county, Alameda county contracted out with our old agency in San Joaquin to take care of the home study. This makes it much easier for all parties involved, and I was especially happy because our agency worker is really wonderful!
Our Third Home Study
Instead of sharing the same things I did before, I thought I’d share with you some of the answers I gave during the “questions” part. Most of our hour was spent answering questions on our current home life and the kids. Both Ryan and I spoke up, so I’ll just let you know how I answered these questions. Please make note that what I’m writing today isn’t verbatim because, well, I can’t remember what I said verbatim in my last conversation, much less almost 24 hours ago.
These are some of the questions you could expect to be asked during the process (and this is how I answered them).
- (Social Worker) What has been the hardest part about adjusting to life with 3 children? Their ages. It’s been hard to adjust to 3 children who are all so little, and so close in age. It’s also been hard adjusting to such different schedules, all of which are demanding, i.e. feeding and napping mostly. (At this point, she also interjected with, “I bet when you started this process, you didn’t think you’d have so many children.” To which we both responded that we did think we’d have this many, just not this quickly.)
- (Social Worker) How do you find time for just the two of you? Ha. We don’t. No, we do. Like last Friday for my birthday, we went for a quick minute to Napa, and that was lovely. But honestly? We don’t do much else, and really, we have the babies on such great nighttime schedules that by 7:30 or 8 pm they are all in bed and we hang out. We do have a couple great babysitters that we can rely on if we choose to get out alone. But again, it rarely happens. And again, that’s okay. (Note for Ryan: Now can we please move back to Minnesota yet?! Just kidding.)
- (Social Worker) What is your discipline style? Time-outs work best for both of them because it allows a cool down period. That’s pretty much it for Isaiah because he’s still too little and doesn’t understand much else. For Samarah, though, time-outs allow her to cool down and then also gives us the opportunity to talk to her about why she’s there, what a more appropriate behavior might be, etc. We’re basic.
- (Social Worker) What is Isaiah like and how is he adjusting? Isaiah is very strong-willed. He wants to be such a sweet boy, and we are working really hard on his communication skills. We spent months being very frustrated with almost no communication, but now, we at least understand his way of communicating. His words for things are different, but it’s all a process and one that we all have help with. He is a busy boy, allllllllll boy! And he loves his sisters.
- (Social Worker) What is Samarah like and how is she adjusting? Samarah is the mother hen. She is nurturing, calm, sweet, and our little butterfly. Preschool has been amazing for her, and the only way she has had a hard time adjusting are on the days when she sees the babies getting attention with feedings, diaper changes, and other 24/7 care. She can revert to wanting to be a baby like them, but quickly snaps out when we let her know that she is the best big sister.
- (Social Worker) What is Amiya like? She has found her voice, and she has a piercing scream, but that baby is incredibly sweet. She is our little Maya Bee. She is super strong, sleeps well, and has a playful giggle.
Here is what I enjoy most about the home study questions…..it helps me reflect once they are over, which is something I would not otherwise do in the chaos that makes up our days.
Seriously, nothing about these past several months has been easy. If you have 3 children all 3 and under and say, “What? Easy peasy. What is this woman talking about?” Then to you, I say, “Please tell me your secrets. Please.” It takes a lot to take on so much in so little time. And no, that doesn’t make us some sort of heroes. But it has been a lot.
And yet I look back on those questions she asked us, and then I sit here and think…..yes, this all makes sense. I stumbled across this quote on Instagram the other day. Stopped me dead in my tracks.
If God is making you wait then be prepared to receive more than what you asked for.
You know you want to PIN this quote for later!
We waited a really long time for a baby to come into our lives. And no, no I was not at all prepared to receive all of this. But these little lives have been received with big, tall and wide, open arms. All that God has given us are beautiful blessings. It’s hard to see them (even in the depths of hardship) as anything else.
p.s. Happy Valentine’s Day. Samarah and Isaiah have their first haircuts this afternoon. I’m hoping to report back on this adventure tomorrow!