Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Homestudy - What we have accomplished so far

The Homestudy seems to be one of the most important parts of the adoption "certification" process. It can also be the most time consuming since it requires allot of thought, energy and paperwork.  When I say paperwork, I mean paperwork! Lots of it! Good thing I am organized and don't mind dealing with forms and people, or this process could be very painful. 

We first met with our Private Adoption Practitioner, Josefina Campbell, on Monday February 21st (family day - how suitable).  She is originally from Venezuela, but has lived in Canada for most of her life.  She has been in the adoption industry for over 30 years and has worked for CAS, as well as privately.  We got to know each other and she showed us lots of pictures of families that she has helped bring together.  She also laid out the process a bit for us and gave us an idea of timeline.  Some of the time variables do depend on how quickly we get things done, but right now we are aiming for late May early June to have everything completed.

She gave us a number of handouts including our references form, two sections of the application, two different memorandums regarding the Ministry of Child and Youth Services role in finalizing adoptions in Ontario or in a child's country of origin (internationally) and the first section of our SAFE Questionnaire.  Considering we thought we were just testing the water to see if we liked this women, we were both a bit surprised with the amount of paperwork.  But we were both very excited to be getting started.

We also discussed the schedule for PRIDE training.  Nic and I had chosen a few different sessions that would fit into our schedule and she had a couple suggestions.  She knows some of the trainers and thought it might be good for us to got with one she knew and trusted.  They are held in either Pickering, Toronto, Burlington, or London.  We were hoping to stay as close to home as possible but ended up deciding on a session held in Toronto on May 6, 7, 14, and 15. 

So after two hours she sent us on our way with a huge pile of paper and some homework.  She wanted us to fill out the two questionnaire's, read and sign the memorandums and get our references in order.  She also needed photocopies of our birth certificates and marriage license.  As well as a list of our doctor's with their corresponding contact information.  She said I could drop it off to her when I had it done and we would set up another appointment then.

Me being who I am, I had everything done the next day and spent Wednesday morning going over the questionnaire with Nic.  It was long but mainly involved checking boxes, versus writing so we got through it easily.  It did have allot of in depth questions about our families, how we were raised, our current relationship, the roles we play, and our values.  Most of it was to be expected although I was a bit surprised when it asked "How sexually compatible are you and your spouse/partner?". The boxes you had to check read: very compatible, compatible, somewhat compatible, not very compatible, and incompatible.  Really? What does this have to do with us as parents? I have no idea but we answered anyway.  I will leave you guessing as to which one I chose :).

I dropped everything off to Josefina on Wednesday the 23rd and she gave me another huge bunch of paperwork to take home,  including a 3" binder full of articles to read.  She suggested I put it beside the toilet to motivate Nic to read it.  He He He (I thought that was so funny, but also a good idea).  She also gave me a list of suggested books to read and the second section of our SAFE Questionnaire. When Nic and I finished his first section he said how easy it was and as long as they were not asking him to answer short answer questions this would be a breeze.  We all know how great his penmanship is.  Thanks to him part two is ten pages (double sided) of short answer questions. He just couldn't keep his mouth shut could he. I have a feeling this section will take a bit longer than the first.  She said not to rush through it, that we did not need to have it done for our next meeting.

We met again yesterday to go over our contract, watch a couple movies and give her the retainer cheque.  Everything went really well. I was a bit nervous about signing a contract since everyone keeps telling me to make sure not to get tied down to one person.  That more people you can afford to talk to the better.  But the contract did not involve anything like that.  It was just for us to agree to her fees and allow her to talk with a few people on our behalf.  So we signed our life away and officially started the homestudy journey.

The two movies we watched we short but heavy.  One was in the perspective of a newborn baby and the other was in the perspective of an older child who has lived in a number of homes.  It was meant to give us an idea of how these children will potentially be feeling when they come into our home.  The first one focused on openness in adoption and how a child will be curious about their birth family.  The second one was about traumas a child can go through without anyone knowing and how bad behaviours can be them trying to express their feelings.  It also touched on the attachment issue so common with older adopted children.

After we did all that it was time for more paperwork.  She said the next time we will meet will be our home visit.  She wants to go over the house with her white gloves to check for dust. No, just kidding.  It is mainly for a safety check and to see us in our home environment.  She will make a list of changes that will need to be made prior to a child being put in our home.  These do not have to happen right away.  She will re-check the house prior to a child being put with us.  We will also discuss our backgrounds and family more in depth. 

She is currently dealing with two children being placed so we can not do the home visit for two weeks (mid March sometime).  I am not really upset about that since I think it will take me that long to do all the paperwork and get my house in order.  We have to have the second section of the questionnaire done as well as our medicals done (if we can get into our doctors), OPP clearances for all the places we have lived since we turned 18, an RCMP clearance, I have to get proof from the vet that the dogs shots are up to date, and fill out a long financial form.  The financials would be no big deal if we did not have a business, but because of that I think I am going to have to do some of it with my accountant.  So all of this is going to take time. 

She also wants me to look into local children's programs and new mother's groups so I can show the type of resources I have at my disposal. I have no idea about this off hand so I will be calling around trying to find out about this.  I know Kaissy and I were just discussing one in Picton, so Kaiss expect me to be calling you.  She did seem really impressed that we had a park within walking distance. One point for Hillier!

So there has been lots going on and we are both still feeling really good about the process.  There is lots to do but neither of us mind, it is making us feel very productive.  The questionnaire and movies have also sparked some conversation and are causing our views on adoption to change and develop.  Josefina keeps saying that we will both grow through the process and we are already starting to see that happen.   We are trying very hard to keep an open mind and learn as much as possible.  We figure the more informed we are the better.


  1. Nic & Alexia, I wanted to send a quick message to let you know that Dan & I are here for you in every way possible to support your journey to extend your family. We love you so very much and look forward to being a part of that wonderful time when you bring your son or daughter home, because I know it's going to happen! It goes without saying; you both will be absolutely amazing parents. Lots of love (and encouragement!), Daina

  2. LOVE the updates and LOVE your attitude about this all Lex and Nic! You guys WILL get your prayers answered and I absolutely think you will be the BEST parents possible. All these steps are definately making you stronger and just making you into the parents you will be when it is your turn. I can't wait!

    As for parenting and mothering groups; definately call up your local library and see what they are offering, any toy lending libraries, daycare agencies or even local health units....they will be able to direct you about programs they offer and run or lead you to who does that sort of thing in your area. I was SO surprised by how much was offered for us here in our small town, so I am sure you can come up with a tonne of resources where you are too.

    Love ya, Bean