The Spousal Unit and myself are both male and human (in case you were confused by our picture). In other words; gay. We couldn't help but wonder if there was some sort of gay parent closet we should have been looking to hide in. As it turns out, the people whose opinions really matter anyway, feel exactly as we'd hoped they would; that we're as nutty as we ever were and will make the best parents ever!
Although the world has mostly moved on from the formative days of school-aged ostracism and bricks being thrown at one's head by cowboy kids more concerned with fashion than your average drag-queen, some folks still seem to take issue with "the gays". Some of the adoption agencies we researched weren't even open to the idea of same-sex parents. Never mind what the American Psychological Association says, or the American Academy of Pediatrics says, or the American Medical Association says or the Child Welfare League of America says.
IAC seemed to have their poop in a group, so we gave them our trust and enough money for a new car. During the two-day workshop we were given a three-ring binder. In the old days, before google, we had these giant books called encyclopedias. The IAC client binder is the adoptionprocessopedia.
I did a lengthy paper in grad-school half-grounded in neuroscience and half in business and the differences between the management brain and the leadership brain. While you needn't be bored to death by my nerdom, it will be helpful to understand that I have more of the leadership brain, while the Spousal Unit has more of the management brain. So as usual, he went about setting the appointments, pulling the pertinent information and keeping things on schedule, while I worked on communications, research, strategy and design.
Three essentials had to happen before we'd be in circulation where birth-parents could find us:
1. Home Study
2. Make a "Dear Birth Mother" letter.
3. Create an online profile at iheartadoption.org
Simple enough, right? HA!
To prepare for the homestudy we'd need DPS clearance. I suppose they want to be sure we don't have Snoop-dog hydraulics on the car which have been proven to cause brain damage. We had to be finger printed for an FBI database. This must've been to confirm that we are not aliens in skin suits.
We both had to get letters from our employers to verify that we aren't broke. Duh! Weren't they paying attention when we wrote the check? We had to present health history forms and get complete physical examination by our doctor including vaccines, blood-tests, TB tests, and statements that our child will not grow up to be a frothing wild man/woman after being raised by wolves in the north wild because we suddenly keeled over while on a camping trip shortly after adopting.
Then we had to fill out paperwork on who we expect our kid to be and how we will raise them, discipline them and so on. We had to recall everything from our childhood and how twisted or not-twisted our parents were raising us. I kept waiting for some intriguing, repressed false memory to surface but, less interestingly, I really did have great parents.
Even though Texas doesn't recognize our marriage, we had to write the courthouse in Cali to secure certified copies which were over-nighted to the agency and then lost by someone in the office, later to be found again (I understand this because I frequently do it with my head). Proof of insurance, tax returns, our child-rearing proforma budgets, drivers license, auto insurance, birth-certificates, pet records, photos of the house and on and on. It may not seem like much in a few paragraphs, but everything has to be current up-to-date and so on which sometimes turns what should've been one appointment into three.
We started the adoptionprocessopedia on March 1st. 2013. This past Tuesday, the 25th of June, we finally got to the actual home study part. Lisa, a social worker from CPS came to the house for a lengthy interview. We didn't know whether to expect a nazi-nun with laser eyes of questioning and pointing stick or a hemp-wearing earth-hippy reeking of essential oils and wearing dirty velcro sandals.
As it happens, Lisa was neither of those. She made us feel totally comfortable and fit right into the warm and comedic aura of our home. The home visit was basically a recap of all the paperwork, making sure that we had two fire extinguishers, all plutonium out of reach of children, and no sweat-shop of umpa lumpas in the attic.
We haven't heard back from her findings yet, so it could be that she left the house with a fake smile and drove screaming in horror all the way home, but she did say that she thought we were going to make wonderful parents. Although it was a pleasant experience I was relieved when she'd gone, but that is only because we'd had spaghetti squash the night before, which makes any situation during which it is inappropriate to pass gas slightly uncomfortable.
Despite the home study being a pain in the ass, I have to believe it is worth it. Although I'll never know what it is like to be pregnant, I'm sure it comes with its own set of pains. It is worth it because it seems like it would provide birth moms with a measure of comfort knowing that her adoptive family of choice is well-vetted, and she deserves that sense of security.
Guess we're certifiably fit to be parents, and that's pretty cool.