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Los Angeles, CA

The Fischer Family





1 Down 1 To Go!

Melissa Fischer

We had our first home visit with our social worker yesterday! I think it went really well. I was a bit nervous in the week leading up to it. Of course our adoption consultant, Karalee, told me there was nothing to be worried about, and of course she was right. Just the same, I think it’s probably impossible not to be nervous leading up to something like the first visit with someone who is going to play such a key role in helping you get your child home!

I wanted to share a little bit about our visit for those of you who are interested in knowing more of the details of the adoption process. I assume visits are a bit different depending on what state you live in and what agency you work with. However, I’m sure there are some aspects that are very similar regardless of those things.

Our visit took place in our home {obviously}. Although, that’s only obvious because I called it a home visit. Not all agencies do two visits in the home. I have heard of families who have one of their visits with the social worker in the agency office and then a second visit is actually in the home. Anyhow, our agency does two visits in the home.

The visit started off with going over a TON of paperwork. Some of it was paperwork we have been working on for the last couple of months and some new documents that we needed to sign with our social worker. We then spent a lot of time talking about us, who we are as individuals, our marriage, our kids, our family, our neighborhood/community, activities we like to do, our goals for the future, and pretty much every other little life detail you can think of. I don’t think anyone has ever gotten to know me in a more efficient and in depth way in such a short period of time.

Our kids were home for the entire visit as well, so she got to spend some time with them. She was so friendly towards them, and they happened to be exceptionally well behaved during her visit {praise the Maker!}. So, I would say their first meeting was very pleasant as well.

She then did a walk around our house to check for any safety issues to fix or childproofing tasks that we needed to have completed. Let me tell you, their list of requirements is intense! You would think having two kids of our own there wouldn’t be anything we should need to change. That’s not the case. Although it’s just a small handful of things, we’ve got some stuff to do.

There were a couple of things that were surprising to us on the list. For example, we have to have our knives locked away. It isn’t enough that they are completely out of reach. It doesn’t matter that we are adopting a baby that {obviously} is not going to try to grab the knives. We also have to have all medicine and vitamins locked up. Having them in a medicine cabinet out of reach is also not sufficient. Additionally, we have to have a specific type of child lock put on our cabinets. The kind we have been using and that have worked great for the last three years are not accepted. I share these things NOT to complain because I would do anything, ANYTHING to bring our child home. These things are so minute in the scheme of the big picture. I share just to give you insight into the things that are required, and that, even as parents of two, we have things to improve.

I’m not sure if all states have requirements as extensive, but I think part of the reason there are so many rigid requirements for us is because we are also getting home study certified for foster care. Because of the way California law is set up, we will technically be considered foster parents to our child until the state finalizes our adoption. Therefore, we need to be home study approved with foster care requirements.

So, how long will we be considered foster parents to our child? Our social worker informed us that California law requires that the child be with us for six months. During that time we will have four post placement visits with a social worker. After the six months, we are then allowed to request a court date for finalization. Our social worker said by the time we get a court date it, most likely, will have been eight to ten months since we brought our child home.

Now there are still a couple of things that I am unclear about. For example {if you can track with me}, the way post placement works is each state requires you have a certain number of visits with a social worker in your home with your child. Each state varies as far as how many visits in what period of time {like I said, CA is 4 visits in 6 months}. However, what you are required to do are the laws of the state you are adopting from. So, if we adopt from a state that requires 3 visits in 4 months, that is what we will do. However, that’s the part that makes it all a bit confusing for me and I will have to clarify with our social worker. I’m not sure if we will be able to request a court date as soon as we reach the requirements of the state we adopted from or if we have to wait the six California required months regardless. That would be the only factor {I think} that would shorten the amount of time before we can finalize.

Anyhow, I knew the post placement process would take months. However, being told that our adoption may not be final until our child is 10 months old {maybe older} was a piece of information I was a little sad to realize. I know that it technically it won’t change anything, but I’m sure you can understand the desire to want it to all be final and legal and complete as soon as possible. I imagine that it’s hard to relax or take that full breath until you get past that step. It’s so different that giving birth to our biological kids, walking out of the hospital and knowing they are legally 100% recognized as ours. Knowing it may be 10 months {or longer, who knows} until we can feel that relief is hard.

So, there’s my adoption ramble for the day. A piece of our journey. A part of the process maybe you didn’t know or understand. Something you can take a minute to pray for us about as we continue to walk forward. This is not easy, but we are excited. There is so much we do not know, cannot predict and cannot control. We trust His plan for it all, His perfect timing. God has been so faithful to us and we know His faithfulness does not end. So, we continue on one step at a time.