So far we have been gathering documents to prove that we were born, that we are married, that we pay taxes, etc. All of those go into a little file to be sent to our caseworker. We have also both had our physicals, which unfortunately included a ridiculous number of shots in both arms to vaccinate us against whooping cough and the flue, check for tuberculosis, draw blood for analysis (turns out I need to lay off sugar - big surprise), and boost previous vaccinations like tetanus. I got all those shots in one fell swoop and didn't even pass out, which is a bigger accomplishment than you might think since I have actually fainted from shots in the past.
Thursday morning I had my individual interview with our caseworker. She's really nice and we bonded over a shared love of Italy and its many beautiful cities. The interview was super basic - mostly a getting to know you session that meets a state requirement that the caseworker meet with the potential parent "X" number of times. We went over a lot of questions that I had already answered as part of the adoption questionnaire that Paul and I each have to fill out online. Because I had no idea how many or what kind of questions would be asked of us, here are questions from the adoption questionnaire (sans answers):
- Describe your personality, strengths, and weaknesses.
- Describe your hopes, goals, and aspirations.
- Describe your spouse's personality, strengths, and weaknesses.
- Describe your parents, including education, occupation, personality, interests, etc.
- Explain your parent's method of discipline.
- What is your present relationship with your parents and siblings?
- Relate any special experiences or memories.
- Share any traumatic events that have impacted your life.
- List significant activities, group involvements, or accomplishments during your years of education.
- What leisure activities do you share with your spouse and your family?
- How do you express love and affection?
- How do you feel about intimacy in your marriage?
- What are the strengths and challenges of your marriage?
- How do you resolve disagreements? What do you do? What does your spouse do?
- If you have been divorced, describe your feelings surrounding your divorce.
- Describe each child including education, personality, health, interests, strengths, talent, etc.
- Describe how each child feels about adoption.
- Describe health issues you have. List current medications and any hospitalizations.
- How do you feel about your infertility?
- Explain counseling you have received.
- Have you ever experienced any form of addiction? (i.e., substance, sexual, etc.)
- List health issues in your extended family.
- Describe your education, current employment, and career goals.
- How do you handle family finances and major purchases?
- Describe major financial difficulties you may have experienced. How did you resolve those difficulties?
- List past and present church callings.
- List past and present involvement with community organizations.
- Describe your methods to teach and discipline children.
- Describe your parenting experience.
- What is your plan for childcare?
- What do you know about adoption?
- How do you think adopting a child will change your life?
- What does your extended family think about your adoption plans?
- How do you plan to discuss adoption with your children?
- How would you feel if your child wanted to meet his or her birth parents?
- What do you know about birth parents?
- Describe your feelings about birth parents.
- How do you feel about meeting the birth parents and exchanging gifts, letters and pictures?
- Can you love and be loved by a child born to someone else?
- Provide a physical description of your house.
- List possible hazards in your home and how you manage them for safety (e.g. firearms, medication, etc.)
- Describe your neighborhood including proximity to other children and access to schools, parks, and other community facilities.
- Have you ever been convicted of a misdemeanor, felony, child abuse or neglect?
- Please make additional comments that would help us better know your family.
There wasn't a limit to the number of characters that could go into each response and I may have gotten a little carried away on some of them. I wrote about the traumatic experience of going to high school in North Platte, Nebraska and how that affected my life. I wrote about my mom staying up with me late at night all summer long doing puzzles or working on scrapbooks. I told the story about the time when I scraped my knee so badly as a five-year-old and how when my brothers came running back with my dad he scooped me up, carried me home, and laid me on the kitchen table while I screamed about all the blood and how he turned to my brothers and said "Boys, this is bad. Looks like we might have to amputate. You had better get the saw." I still have a four inch scar on my right knee from that that I see every time I look at that leg and so I think about that experience a lot. If that is not a special experience, I don't know what is.
Next steps for us include getting the 12 hours of required parenting education completed, getting fingerprinted, and getting certified in adult, child, and infant CPR and first aid.