We had a big meeting early this morning with our social worker and her supervisor.
I was really nervous going into it.
Remember when I told you about my confrontational phone call?
Well, that phone call had to do with our adoption homestudy, and at the last minute (as in, after our social worker approved and signed it), a higher-up at our homestudy agency (not our social worker) was concerned about us adopting because we already have five children, and because we homeschool, and we're wanting to be approved for the adoption of two children with "mild to moderate medical needs". This particular agency primarily places healthy infants, or so I'm told, and they don't see a lot of families pursuing children with medical needs. This is a whole other can of worms that maybe, eventually, I'll explore further on here. But probably not until after our adoption is complete. :)
The upshot of the phone call was this: a supervisor had to come and talk to us, maybe we'd only be approved for up to ONE child, how can we possibly pay enough attention to all of our kids, how are we able to homeschool our five kids, and why did we feel the need to do a medical needs adoption?
This of course led to a very stress-filled week for me. I am a worrier by nature--as laid back as I am, this is definitely a strange and rather annoying quirk of mine--but I tried ever so hard not to obsess or fret too much about it. Mostly I succeeded, though I did have my moments.
By last night though I was worrying again--not so much about the outcome, but about having to sit in a meeting and defend myself and our values. Would they believe me if I said that for us, homeschooling is LESS work-intensive than putting our kids into public school? Would they believe me if I told them that my children receive no shortage of attention from me, Kevin, or their siblings? That a typical day in our home is quiet and calm? That sometimes I can even sneak a nap in?
SO, this morning we were up bright and early (6 am! That is SO EARLY for me!) for our eight-o'clock meeting. Shower, get dressed, get kids dressed, feed kids breakfast, put on some makeup, sweep up crumbs until there is a knock on the door. Oh how I was dreading the knock.
But you know what? The supervisor was really nice. Right off the bat she said she wasn't here to judge us or critique us. She wanted to hear our story, and was totally supportive and acted impressed. We were apparently not what she expected to find when she arrived at the home of a family with five children ages six and under. (Maybe she'd been dreading the knock too!)
There are so very many stereotypes today about larger-than-average families. (I say "today" because historically speaking, it wasn't so long ago that Western families were generally having several children.) What is so funny to me is that most of my friends seem to have at least four children, and they all have such lovely homes, and are so organized and put-together. (Me not as much, but THEY are.) So where are these stereotypes of the over-worked exhausted mom with a filthy house and loud, misbehaved children coming from? I honestly don't know. My life feels chaotic sometimes, my house gets messy sometimes, but I hear these same things from single friends with graduate degrees working in well-paying jobs that they love.
Nope, I really don't know why it is a base assumption that a family with five children is automatically always a hotbed of chaos and disorder. I do a better job of cleaning my house now than I did when I only had ONE child. Go figure. (This may be more of an indicator of my past housekeeping skills being TERRIBLE. But you get the point.)
Hopefully today we were able to demonstrate that not all large-ish families are neglecting their ragamuffin-ish, foul-word-spewing children. :) Well, from my perspective anyway. There ARE people who believe that you CAN'T properly parent/raise five+ children, but I'm clearly not one of those people.
What alllllllllllllllllllllll of this means is that our completed homestudy was finally signed today, and I hope we'll be signing placement agreements soon. We sent our completed dossier to AAI today as well. We are so dang excited and I'm so anxious to share more with you about our adoption. But I want to wait until we've signed the papers, because nothing is official yet, and I don't like the idea of divulging information about specific children who I literally have no claims to.
I will say that this will surely be our last adoption for quite some time. It feels strange to say that, but it's probably true. I am envisioning the adjustment period and imagining that it is going to be HARD. And yet I cannot wait to see God's hand in all of it. I have such peace about this being our last "in the foreseeable future" adoption. When we brought our boys home, we KNEW we'd be back to Ethiopia to adopt again. We simply knew. And we knew it wouldn't be TOO long after. This time, though, I'm very aware that it may be our last Ethiopian adoption. I feel like our family will be "adoption complete" for now. (I say "adoption complete" because God could always choose to bless us with another biological child, and we remain open to that, although of course in my human wisdom I hope that doesn't transpire for some time.)
I feel nervous and thrilled and awestruck all at once, so grateful that our paperwork is finally all in and that we are once and for all approved to adopt up to two waiting children with medical needs from Ethiopia, in the state of Colorado.
God is so much bigger than my plans or anyone else's thoughts or views. He turned a horribly stressful situation today into something positive. It felt good to have a professional come into my home and act impressed and like we generally have our act together--when she was initially assuming the opposite. Beginning an adoption feels so daunting, and really it SHOULD feel daunting because it's a huge undertaking with lots of variables and unknowns. So it helps to have a vote of confidence, and I think God knew I needed that today.
So. Homestudy done. Showed we're not too disorganized to have more children. Dossier mailed.
Did absolutely nothing for the remainder of the day.
But still a productive day overall, I'd say!