How exciting, you’ve decided to become parents through the process of adoption. There is nothing more incredible than the love between a parent and a child. Your life will forever change for the better in every single way. But until the day when you finally get a child to call your own, there is a lot to do. Aside from purchasing all of the necessities, there is another really important process you need to be aware of: the home study.
Everyone will have insight to share; everyone will want to tell you about what parenthood was like for them the first time they became a parent, and every story will be different. If I may, I’d like to take an opportunity to share with you our experience of our home study as we prepared to bring our daughter home.
The adoption agency we chose to use in our own adoption provided a list of the many things we needed to do in order to prepare our house for having a baby, which was helpful. Although, like I said everyone will have something to add, knowing what was important from our own adoption agency helped us prepare the right path. After we felt comfortable that we had completed every single item on the list—from installing outlet plugs to baby proofing the cabinets with latches, buying baby gates for the stairs, and relocating all the chemicals to upper cabinets—we were ready for our home study.
I remember my nerves were running high; questions were continually running through my mind. What if we’d missed something? What if we hadn’t done something properly? What if we didn’t pass our inspection? On and on and on the questions ran through my mind.
The day of the inspection, I don’t think either my husband or I had slept the night before. We were worried about all the things we could have done wrong. The inspector came to our house, clipboard in hand, gave us a brief introduction about who he was and what his purpose was, things he’d be looking for, and asked that we let him tour the house on his own.
Items were checked off one at a time, but the inspector stayed quiet, not letting us know one way or another how we had done. He opened cabinet doors, checked the locks on all the doors, tested the stabilization of the baby gate, checked every nook and cranny, and made notations all along the way.
The process took about an hour; it was extremely thorough. Our only job was to stay out of the inspector’s way and to answer questions as they came up. Nothing more intimidating than having someone come in to critique your house specifically looking for all the things you’ve done wrong all while keeping quiet; it was torture.
At the end of the tour, our inspector made his way back to us, and for the first time, showed any real emotion as he smiled and told us as far as he was concerned, we had passed the inspection with flying colors. He gave us a short list of additional things to consider doing in upstairs rooms as our child became mobile. A huge sigh of relief came over me and one more hurdle in the long line of hurdles had been completed; we were one step closer to becoming parents.
We were lucky that my husband is very handy with tools. He knew the proper way to install the baby gate, attach internal cabinet latches on each cabinet door, how to add out-of-reach door latches to the basement door, and how to secure furniture to the walls, preventing it from tipping. We live in a society now, though, that you can easily find and hire an agency to childproof your home. So for those less tool-savvy, it might be the best option.
In the grand scheme of things and looking back on at the situation, it seems almost like a nonevent, but at the time it was happening, it was in fact an essential part of moving closer to becoming parents, and one we took very seriously.