After the affirming and fascinating 4 days of Preparation Group Training in April 2011, I began my home study preparation. I know that the home study assessment is changing with the upheaval of the adoption process, to have more emphasis on empowering the prospective adopters to drive this stage of the adoption process and hopefully make this part of the process faster - time will tell - but I hope that this post might be of some use to you, nonetheless.
I had 8 assessments home studies to complete, each week. They each followed a different theme - for example my own family history, previous and current relationships, work experiences, finances, my friends and support network, housing and local community, child and youth experiences and desire and approaches to parenting and potential adoption issues. I was given a page of questions for each of the topics to be covered each week and I then had to write my answers and email them across to my social worker each week a couple of days before our meeting up at home one evening after work each week.
It was hard work and thorough, as I spent most of my weekends on it and as you are reflecting quite deeply on your past and your values too it is also quite emotionally draining.
It took longer than 8 weeks as some weeks the sessions took more than one visit as they was so much to discuss and some weeks it was difficult to meet up each week with diaries or sickness or information gathering - writing down every place and worked and finding the right referees and building your support network map and your family tree - all took time.
all this ran alongside medicals, getting pets assessed by a vet, sorting out references, getting the house ready for all the health and safety checks and also building up a competency file - that filled an A4 file to capacity - the competency file took a while to complete as everything in it needed cross referencing to the competency they were looking for and the evidence - it was like doing a degree!
The biggest advice I can give is this - work hard, do as much as you can and be as honest and open as you can.
The urban myths are - the are out to get you - and they will dig and dig until they find something they don't like and then they will get up and leave.
The truth is, you need to work hard, be open and honest and a self aware as you can be and be committed to wanting to adopt. It is a learning curve for yourself too as you discover more about yourself and what makes you the person you are today and a chance to discover more about the kind of child you could - or could not - likely to parent as you face adoption.
I poured out my guts and heart and did as much soul searching and reflecting as I could and got others to help with all the practical things like fitting child locks!
My social worker and I started the first home study assessment in may 2011and had completed all the home study assessments by July 2011, leaving me the summer to get the room ready, the competency file completed and for my social worker to get all the references and all the paperwork completed and ready for approval panel.
We hoped to be ready for approval panel for September 2011.