That about sums up my last homestudy visit. It was a 1:1 with just me and our caseworker. I really do like our caseworker, but I very much dislike this homestudy process.
Going through the state, or at least through our state, is essentially an investigation to dig up dirt. The caseworkers are required to find every possible red, yellow, purple, pink, polka-dot flag they can, and talk about it. It’s very unlike private adoptions.
I actually brought this up with our caseworker at this last visit, and she agreed. Private adoption homestudies tend to be shorter, less interrogatory, and put a polish on the family’s life. By contrast, public adoption homestudies are extensive, intrusive, and there is nary a glimmer to be found once the caseworker has gutted the family’s life.
I’m trying not to over-exaggerate.
It makes it difficult, however, when a family with a private homestudy is “competing” for a child with a public homestudy. One showcases the family’s successes, accomplishments, everyone has pearly white teeth, etc. The other one highlights the family’s struggles, skeletal closets, and everyone has missing teeth.
It’s not fair.
I know, I know. God has the right child already picked out for us. No one can take our child. I know all of the platitudes. But it is still frustrating.
At the end of the homestudy visit, I asked our caseworker if she saw any red flags. She said “no,” but that there was an area about me that intrigued her the most and she wanted to learn more about it.
My need for control, she said. I’m assertive, she said. I’m the “squeaky wheel,” she said. And, I’m a permissive parent.
Not because any of that is necessarily untrue, but because they were presented as negative traits.
I’m a wife, mother of two, and full-time professional. Yes, I have a need for some control in my life. Wouldn’t you? Yes, I’m assertive. Yes, I can be a “squeaky wheel.” No one is going to care more about my best interests than me. No one is going to care about my children’s (or future child’s) best interest more than me. And, yes, I’ve been told I’m a permissive parent. (I’ve also been told in the same breath that I’m a natural “love and logic” parent). I’m the mom who will let her kids run in the mud puddle (and have), and will take them to preschool naked if they refuse to get dressed (and have). So, yes, I am each of these things, under the right circumstances.
So when our old caseworker didn’t return our calls or emails, after several polite nudgings, yes, I contacted her supervisor. These tactics apparently labeled me in the caseworker world as “assertive,” “controlling,” “squeaky wheel,” and “trying to steer the process.”
All the while, our child is out there, somewhere, waiting for his/her forever family, while I wait for paperwork to be filed, emails to get sent, phone calls to get returned, and people to label me as controlling and assertive and permissive.
So, I will wait, and I will take the heat.
Because there is a child out there waiting for us, who has already taken a lot of heat.