Yep, we finally had our 8th attempt to complete what should have been a four meeting homestudy (social worker interrupted the first meeting so that we could be transferred to another county's Child Welfare Agency; social worker missed 2 appointments; we had 1 visit with a social worker from the state before our local Child Welfare Agency decided we did not need to be licensed by the state after all. Finally, we had the mandated 4 visits with our current social worker)! I had been so looking forward to finally completing the home-study that I had not really been stressing much about the home walk through (the final part of the home-study process). Since we have a four year old, the home is already child-proofed so we did not really to worry about that. It was a pretty strange feeling having someone walk through your home as they go through the process of determining if you will be fit parents!
This final visit lasted for 2 1/2 hours. The social worker had insisted on having our son there for the final visit, but pretty much ignored him and asked if we could send him to another room once she got here! How does a four year old entertain himself in another room when mommy and daddy are home? He normally does not watch any T.V or movies during the weekdays and he did not know what to do with himself after being allowed to watch T.V. on a Thursday! He must have thought mommy and daddy finally lost their marbles! He finally took a nap after he figured mom and dad were not going to be too much fun to have around—no playing horsie, trains or hide and seek with dad today!
The social worker brought up open and closed adoptions. We discussed some of the pros and cons of the amount of openness based on the research I have done on the subject. I felt there were legitimate concerns and more so considering that the children in the foster care system have been forcibly removed from sometimes really dysfunctional birth families. There are issues like the child’s sense of rejection if the birth family stops contact, reduced ability to assimilate into the adoptive family, power struggles with the child possibly playing the birth and adoptive family against each other, identity confusion during the teen years, unreasonable expectations from both families etc, etc. However, the social worker really seemed to minimize these concerns and actually stated that only people on the fringe feel that open adoptions are not beneficial for all parties concerned! Now this is a social worker who works for the local child welfare system and most of the children come from really dysfunctional families and require supervised visits with the birth families! I think she has buried her head in the sand if she does not think there are legitimate concerns and considers everyone who has a differing opinion as being on the fringe! For me, this is an issue to be looked at on a case by case basis and one should not make a decision blindly without fully educating themselves on all the pros and cons.
To keep things ever more interesting, the social worker advised that she had been re-thinking her decision not to follow state guidelines in approving us to adopt either a girl or boy. California guidelines state that parents can be licensed to foster or adopt a boy or girl to share a bedroom if both are under the age of five. I thought this matter was closed and we were going to be approved to only adopt a boy. However, she said she had been re-thinking this matter and wanted to see what she could do to get a waiver for us and another family. She said it was actually not a County policy not to allow boys and girls under 5 years to share a room (which is what they had advised previously), but just general unwritten guidelines! I think the social worker was a tad disappointed that I was not overjoyed that she was making an exception for us! The one thing I have learnt through out this journey with the foster care system is to always expect the unexpected and that what we are told in one meeting will likely change in the next!