Sandboxes and social workers…

Two days before our first interview was scheduled, we got a call from our social worker to say that she would recommend we do two days of interviews rather than just the one. So, we made it work and organized more time off work to spend in interviews. As nerves and excitement were building, we headed to the big city for our big days!

Before starting the interviews, our social worker gave us a quick background of who she is. Just to get everyone on the same page, most adoptions have three social workers involved: one looking after the birth mother, one looking after the baby and one looking after the adoptive parents. She has been working for the company for 15 years – previously in inter-country adoptions with the adoptive parents, then moving into dealing with the babies and then the birth mothers. She has just moved over to national adoptions dealing with adoptive parents and we are her first family! This is so exciting because the biggest asset you have in an adoption is a social worker who really fights for you – because we are her first, she is excited and will do her very best in everything. We are not just another couple that she has to deal with.

Our first day of interviews was so intense. We answered questions about our backgrounds, childhoods, interests, personalities, families (both of our family trees took up quite a few pages and a few tries to figure out the best way to draw them!) and, of course, looked at our motive of wanting to adopt. You won’t believe the reasons some people give to the question “why do you want to adopt?” There were incidents of people saying they need help around the house, people who need friends for their children coz they’re lonely…it’s quite hectic really. After three hours, we were done.

Included among the exercises were two activities which were quite interesting. The first, we each had to choose a house where we have lived (with our individual families) that we felt most safe at and most at home in. For D, this was an easy one as he only ever lived in two houses…the first he can’t remember. For A, this was a case of picking out of the 10 or so houses that she grew up in! Once we had chosen the house, we had to draw it out and label all the rooms. We then explored where each of us spent the majority of our time in our respective houses.

The second exercise was a lot more difficult to complete. After explaining our journey to our decision to adopt, we were directed to a sandbox with boxes of plastic toys next to it. We had to each create our journey using the toys in the sandbox. This was incredibly difficult to figure out, but so fun once we got into it! It was also interesting to evaluate how we dealt with each leg of the journey and whether we still experience any of those emotions now.

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For those who don’t know how the adoption process works, this is a run-down of the standard procedure through our agency:

1. Application to agency – fill in a short application form and submit it to them

2. Orientation meeting – an initial meeting with one of their team who explain the process in detail, costs involved and possibilities of adoption.

3. Screening process – this part of the process contains a few interviews that focus on the following:
– your motive
– your marriage
– wife’s background
– husband’s background
– spiritual standing (this is a Christian organization)
– finances
– home visit

4. A four day course – this is a group training session which helps you figure out how to deal with the difficult aspects of adoption – namely, people’s reactions, telling your child his/her background, how much time to take on your own before having visitors over, adopting abandoned children with no information on their background, etc.

5. Create a profile – you put together a photo book of your lives, including family, friends, work, home, interests, etc. (we’ve already started working on ours)

6. Wait – you wait to get matched

7. Social workers sort out legal side of things (differs in each area)

8. Get a call with a weeks notice to come fetch our baby

9. Court – finalize adoption in court

10. Apply for new birth certificate with his/her new name

So, with that process in mind, our timeline has been incredible and we have really had huge favour every step of the way. We have always thought that we will have our little man by June/July – always hoping more towards June! Then, our social worker dropped a bomb on us – the next course is already fully booked, so we will probably only be booked onto the following one in June or July. Our hearts broke at that, but we kept a brave face and stood by the fact that God has the perfect timing for this.

After the intensive time, we headed back to D’s mom’s house and spent some family time together. It was great to unwind a bit before the next round.

Our second day was far less intense than the first. We were split up – one answered a questionnaire on paper about our marriage, and the other sat with the social worker and answered other questions about our marriage.

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The questionnaire we had to fill in…

Halfway through, A was chatting to the social worker outside, who suddenly said that she had spoken to her supervisor and they should be able to squeeze us into the next course instead of having to wait for the following one. She said that she could see our disappointment the day before and she will do everything she can to make it work. Amazing!!!

After the questions, she gave us a few things to think about before our course, but told us not to make our minds up about them yet, that we would cover the topics then too. Then she told us that she would like to come and do the home visit next week Thursday!!! It is still going to be confirmed, but WHOA!!! We are going to spend the next week sorting out and cleaning our house majorly!!! Time to get that nursery finished!

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This is our file so far!

As I said, the home visit and the course are still unconfirmed, but it is feeling like we are moving along at a fast pace and we are all excited about it!!

Stolen from A’s sandtray…WOOHOO!!!!

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***EDIT***
Just to clarify, I did not steal the toys from the social worker – the photo is stolen from that activity 🙂
Hahahahahaha

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One thought on “Sandboxes and social workers…

  1. Pingback: Adoption through an agency | emptytheemind

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