Thursday, August 17, 2006

So you need a Home Study Eh?

So for all of you familiar with adoption, you know that getting a home study done is an integral part of the adoption process. For those of you who are not... Well... It is. :)

So... After Carrie and I decided to begin the formal process (Actually start filling out paperwork, writing checks, etc.) I was assigned the homework of "Find a Home Study Provider". I figured, hey, I'm a grown adult, I should just have to call around and bingo, I'd find somebody, right? Apparently, I was mistaken. Sorely mistaken.

To begin the process, I started my search like anybody who wants to find something nowadays. I went right to Google and entered home study providers and the name of our town. Well, that was a complete bust. So I then began to look for state agencies that handle adoptions.

I had more luck with this search. Soon I was calling the first agency that looked good. This began a long circular road of “Out of the Office” messages and “You need to talk to So & So” who incidentally I had just tried to call and got the “Out of the Office until next November” message. This first round went on for about 2 days straight.

Needless to say, about now is when my head started spinning around again. So I tried a different tack. I started calling Social Service agencies in my town. Apparently what I was asking was a very complicated question, because the responses I got to my question ranged from “I have no idea” to “So & So used to do that, but they Moved/Aren’t doing anymore.”

Not be deterred (It’s rather hard to be deterred as every night when I came home, the question of the day was always: “Did you find a home study provider yet?”) I then began to call larger cities in the state. Lo and behold, I actually found an Agency that KNEW what I was asking FOR! I was just ecstatic! Feeling brave, I then asked if they knew of anyone that was doing this in our town. They said no. They did however give me the name and number of another agency in another town that would quote “Probably know”. So, only slightly crestfallen, I labored on.

This is about a week and a half into Home Study Search Extravaganza and it was a Thursday. So I called agency that would “Probably know” and was greeted with “You need to talk to So & So” and off they transferred me (I was getting excited, closer I kept telling myself) and I got her voicemail. Please note that her voicemail told me that she only works Mon-Wed 1:30-4:30. At this point the only thing I can do is leave a message and wait 4 ½ days and hope she calls me back.

Monday morning, she does INDEED call me back, and guess what, she KNOWS what a home study IS! She even had someone that they contract with in MY TOWN but she had to check with our agency to make sure that who they use would be acceptable. So she promised to call me back. Two days went by, and no call, so I knew I was waiting another week!

So I gave it a rest for a few days, and then tried one last avenue of calling a colleague from work who had adopted from China and asked who he used for their home study (Now in hindsight, I wondered why I didn’t do this first?) He gave the name of their provider, and then immediately said “She’s not doing them anymore, but call her and ask her if she knows.”

You know what? She did know who was doing them and gave me her name (I made sure I got the correct spelling J). She didn’t have her number, but Google was my friend. I found her work number and called and left a message.

So the next Monday rolls around and the woman from the agency calls me back and says YES we can contract for you and So & So is the one who does them in our town (the same person I called and left a message for!). So after doing a happy dance, I requested she send me the home study packet and hung up. Not twenty minutes later, the woman who will actually do the home study called was VERY EXCITED (She just adopted from China herself) about helping us and couldn’t wait to get our paper work.

So to end (Sorry again for the long post!) we now know who is going to do our home study, and it only took 2 ½ weeks and 50 phone calls to find out!

-- Z-Man


Margaret said...

It amazes me how different things are state to state. My first agency (for Guatemala -- never actually started that program) did home studies. Second agency (Russia) did my first home study. Third agency (domestic) did my second home study. The only problem I ever had with it was hoping agency #2 would update my first home study so I didn't have to start over. They wouldn't.

I'm pretty overrun with home study options here. But I've so often heard of people having "home study" agencies and then adoption agencies. It doesn't seem to be the case here.

Anyway, I'm very happy you found a home study agency and are getting things moving! Woohoo!

Dawn said...

Congrats on your tenacity. I am glad you all found an agency. It is a nice feeling to be getting started.

Anne said...

That's terrific news! We lucked out and didn't have any problems getting our homestudy done quickly or any problems getting our dossier together. I hope now that you've got your social worker, things will be super smooth from here foward! I'm really excited for you guys.

Elle said...

We had to find a separate home study agency too. We didn't do any checking on references and that was a big ol' mistake.

Glad to hear you found the HS agent! You are on your way.

MAMB said...

I'm a social worker and I was still at a loss on how to find a home study agency. Thankfully we live in a large enough city that I was able to track down a few via Google. Unfortunately, I had the same voicemail frustration that you did. I finally found a small but good agency that does nothing but homestudies. Glad you came up with someone!

Starfish said...

That's great, that is one major part of the process taken care of. Thank goodness our agency did them. But we had a similar situation with getting a pcych eval. We went with the only person we found and he robbed us.

Noelle said...

Congrats on finally finding a homestudy agency!

I hear ya on how hard it is to find one...I have been doing the same things you did to try and find an agency and it is harder than I thought(and I live in a big city). Thanks for sharing the info so I know what I may face in the next couple of weeks as I try to find one.

Suzanne said...

If for any reason this sw does not work out (and I hope it does) here is a plan B. There is likely a Yahoo International Adoption group for your state. Get on there and find out who is available and who is worthy of your time, energy, money, and MOST IMPORTANT PROJECT OF YOUR LIFE. The variety is mind-boggling. Our first one was ghastly. Our second one is an asset.