My Dreaded Adoption Home Study Was A Blessing In Disguise

How visits from a social worker had an unexpected effect on my family

This article is the second in a series about adoption, written by Briar Rose (name changed for privacy). If you haven’t read the first article, you may want to go back and do that now. In this segment, she has the pleasure of sharing a very positive update on her journey.

When I last sat down to pen an article, my head was all over the place with fear. I was worried that we might lose our youngest son, who had been with us since birth but was at risk of being removed from our home, due to one of the many obstacles that can arise when adopting. Unfortunately, I cannot discuss the details about our specific situation, but I can tell you it was a turbulent time full of stress and uncertainty. Luckily, all of that finally came to an end several weeks later when we found out that the judge had granted crown-wardship, and our son was officially placed with us on adoption probation—a required part of the process, but a huge step towards permanence. Perhaps it is because of the more positive headspace we now inhabit that this chapter leans on the happier side of the emotional spectrum. If you have ever thought about adopting and were unsure because of the many horror stories you have heard about how long and horrid the process can be, here is my take. 

Luckily, all of that finally came to an end several weeks later when we found out that the judge had granted crown-wardship, and our son was officially placed with us on adoption probation—a required part of the process, but a huge step towards permanence. Perhaps it is because of the more positive headspace we now inhabit that this chapter leans on the happier side of the emotional spectrum. If you have ever thought about adopting and were unsure because of the many horror stories you have heard about how long and horrid the process can be, here is my take. 

I have been approached many times since we started our adoption journey by other prospective adoptive parents looking for help navigating the process. It’s a process that can be confusing, overwhelming and time-consuming. When we started, I felt exactly the same way. Luckily, in my desire to feel like I was in control, and my excitement to move towards parenthood, I took pleasure in diving in head-first and stumbling around (by this I mean late nights on the internet, many awkward phone calls to agencies while sitting in my car on my lunch hour, and at least one information session at CAS) until I had all the info I needed to proceed. Each situation is so uniquely different, so even though we are going through the process for the third time, all I can do is offer insight through the lens of my personal experience. Although there are technicalities that are non-negotiable, what differs is how this process affects each of us individually, and how we carry our experiences forward—hopefully into a successful adoption. 

To become approved to adopt there is quite a lengthy (and at times discouraging) process that needs to be completed—but this didn’t deter us as it does some people. We saw it as a worthwhile endeavour since it would ultimately lead us to the most rewarding thing we would ever do in our lives. After completing our own research and deciding on which type of adoption we wished to pursue (which I discussed in the previous article), we met with CAS and were assigned our initial adoption worker. 

The bulk of the work (and time) came from the home study, which involved a series of interviews completed in our home by our adoption worker. After cleaning vigorously the night before and carefully selecting our outfits, we would wake up early, put the coffee on and wait for him to arrive. Then we would be asked questions that would delve into the deepest, darkest corners of our relationship, family, finances, and health for an hour or two before we rushed off to work for the day. These visits took place once every two to three weeks for several months. But as dreadful as this part of the process sounds, I actually came to look forward to it. It was a time when my husband and I got to sit down face-to-face, reflect on our past and talk about our future—a therapy session of sorts. It was during this time that we really started to rediscover each other.

After being together for over 10 years, the conversation can start to become predictable, and it was during this period of visiting that we began to see each other in a fresh light again. We became united in moving into this next phase of our lives and our (cautious) excitement grew together. We quickly became comfortable with our worker, and the initial wariness of discussing such personal matters with a complete stranger wore off in no time. We also learned swiftly that the process wasn’t about being a pass or fail. Our worker really needed to get to know the real us, faults and all, to ensure that if and when the time came, a successful match could be made. 

In addition to the interviews, we were required to complete financial statements, medical checks, police background checks, home safety plans and more. These, of course, were tricky to juggle around our busy lives, but the business helped keep our nervous excitement in check and helped the time pass more quickly.

The final part of the process that we had any control over came in the form of our PRIDE training course. This is a 12-week course, one evening a week, that must be completed in order to be approved. While the practical knowledge gained about parenting an adopted child has proved invaluable to us in the years since—in fact, part of me believes that this course should be a requirement for anyone becoming a parent in general—we had another takeaway from this experience.

Throughout our 12 weeks, we developed friendships with many like-minded people—some of the few people in our lives that understood exactly what we were going through. We developed friendships that we still cherish years down the road that I consider lifelong relationships. All of this was an added bonus; something we felt people who never had to go through a process like this were missing out on.

Well, so far this seems lovely. At least to a person like me who thrives under pressure. Loving to be in control and see progress, I really felt like we were getting somewhere. In no time—around 9 months from start to finish—we were approved to adopt!

And that is when the next stage began.

The waiting.

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