Archive for March, 2006

The Home Visit: White glove time


So, part of the adoption process, whether adopting locally or internationally, is a home study. My understanding is that this is essentially a report, written by a social worker, about our life. In order for the social worker to write this report, she is gathering a bunch of information about us, reviewing the autobiographies we had to write, and meeting with us to talk.

We had out first meeting a few weeks ago. Molly dropped Dillon off at school, and we met at the local agency’s Elm Grove office. For those of you who have been to a shrink or therapist, you will understand what this was like. We came in, declined the offer of a beverage, took a seat on the over-soft couch, and tried not to look uncomfortable.

In truth, it wasn’t that bad. A lot of open ended questions about out parenting style, our reasons for adopting, and our marriage. I love talking aboutt his stuff, as my office mates can attest, so the challenge for me was shutting-the-heck-up so it didn’t look like I was running over Molly. Of course we all know that there is no way Molly would allow herself to be run over, but she is terribly polite when it comes to interrupting people talking about things they are passionate about. What a softie.

Well, this week is the second meeting…The Home Visit! That’s right, the social worker will be coming to the house, meeting Dillon and the idiot dogs, and making sure we have at least 1 bathroom for every 8 people living in the house (seriously, this is the requirement). Really, they just want to see us with Dillon, and to make sure the house is safe. There will be no white glove or Acme Dirt DetectorTM. That doesn’t mean we’re not spending time dusting the places we never dust, sweeping behind the appliances, and sterilizing every exposed surface of the house. I’m thinking about shavuing the dogs, as well.

I’m sure the home visit will go just fine, but I’m still a little nervous. 

Spring Cleaning


So it’s Sunday and we have a big day of cleaning ahead of us.  Thursday we have a home visit scheduled with our social worker.  They have said a couple of times not to go ballistic with the cleaning and everything, but I really don’t see how you couldn’t.  Someone’s going to be looking at our house to determine if we are fit to be adoptive parents.  It just puts you in a weird place, even though we’ve me with our social worker before, she’s very nice, and we had a fun time talking during the first phase of the interview.

Of course, Chuck can be a real chatty Charlie and goes off on these weird tangents (I am sure that’s really hard to believe)…  Mostly about how cool Dillon is.  But we didn’t even get through the first set of questions.  This time she has questions for Dillon, too, so that should be interesting as well.  

Better get started on my to do list, though, and stop procrastinating.


So, Molly called and asked me to stop by our bank on my way home. They had prepared another of the thousand documents needed by the one or another of the agencies and organizations we are working with. (Many of these documents are notarized letters that say we are “members in good standing” of various groups and communities) So, I left work at 5:00, headed around the corner to our bank, and parked in the lot.

As I walked up to the door, I scanned for the ‘Hours’ placard. I found it just as I was tugging on the already locked door… open ‘til 5:00 on Mondays. Almost immediately I heard someone approaching the door from the inside. I took a step back and waited for it to open. Three people emerged, including what I assume was an office of the bank…

Big Brown Guy: You guys are closed, huh?
Little Suburban Woman: Yup…
BBG: Dang… ok, thanks.
BBG: Actually… I was just coming to pick up a letter… My wife dropped it off earlier…
LSW: I’m not sure what letter that would have been… the drive through is still open.
BBG: It had to do with an adoption…

Apparently, ‘adoption’ is a magic word. It got me into a bank branch manager’s office after hours. It also got me a brief story about her brother’s international adoption. Well, I got the letter and made it home just in time for Molly’s super-fly burritos (with fresh home-made salsa, home-made hummus, and some big @$$ tortillas)



We got some information in the mail today from CHSFS (one of our adoption agencies) detailing some fun facts about Ethiopia. It’s very interesting… Charles and I are pretty clear with ourselves and each other that we aren’t doing this to “SAVE A CHILD” or whatever altruistic and noble reason people might think. People keep telling me how brave we are, how special, etc. that we are doing this. But ultimately, we are doing this for pretty self-interested reasons. We want another kid. We have always wanted two kids. I specifically want a girl. Being pregnant sucks. We have the means to provide for another child (biological or adopted). We have a little space in our life that we can fill with a kid, so… cool. Let’s do that.

But anyway, the more I read about Ethiopia, the more I start to feel like we may be doing a bit of saving along the way. Since only about a third of girls there learn to read, the life expectancy for women is about 40, and one in twelve women die in childbirth. We were working on this transracial parenting plan (Charles teased me that only I should do it, since he’s not technically another race than the new child), and there was a question about if you would incorporate celebrating holidays of your child’s birth country into your family life. So I did some reading about Ethiopian holidays (which mostly seem to be Catholic holidays, so we sort of celebrate them anyway), and their big celebration day is Timket (American Christians know this as the feast of the Epiphany) which is celebrated through feasting, parades, festivals, etc. Anyway, it turns out (according to the materials I read, anyway) that the girls stay home. I didn’t include that in our plan though.

Gender issues aside, Ethiopia seems to be a very cool country. I’ve always been particularly interested in ancient civilizations, and Ethiopia is supposed to be the only country in sub-saharan Africa with tangible historical remnants from ancient times. Of course, that’s mostly because they were never colonized (briefly occupied by Italy during WWII but never colonized).

Anyway, the packet of stuff also included a bunch of recipies which seem to be Americanized versions of Ethiopian foods, since the recipe for inerja (sort of an unleavened pita-type bread) has pancake and biscuit mix in it… That frightens me a bit. (C says I sound cynical, that’s not what I’m going for here. I know you can’t get the same ingredients and whatnot in the U.S. I just am highly skeptical of faking it with pancake mix… I have a very eclectic style of cooking. Like tonight we had burritos with hummus instead of refried beans. I don’t keep my “ethnic” foods segregated, I guess.)

So, out of time for now, time for Dillon’s violin practice. If you want to look up stuff about Ethiopia, you can always check the State Department website: