Saturday, March 30, 2013
My Homestudy - A Story Only God Could Write *part 1*
As things continue to move forward with my adoption, it is time for me to share the story of my homestudy. I have debated how much detail I should share here. It is a deeply personal and emotionally raw story and I had to decide just how vulnerable I wanted to be. In the end though, this has never been about me and I know that if I want God to get the glory, then I need to openly share all the details of what He is doing in my life. One thing I do want to be clear about though is that my intentions in sharing this story are not to trash my social worker or cause anyone else to think or speak negatively about her. I harbor no hard feelings towards her for how this whole experience played out and truly believe that she was simply an instrument in God’s hands to put His power and glory on display.
So, I had my first homestudy visit on New Year’s Eve. It was really just an introductory visit where my social worker saw where I am living, explained the homestudy process to me and then we spent about 30 to 40 minutes discussing my motivations to adopt, etc. I shared what I have been doing over the past 5 years since I graduated from university and how those experiences have led me to my decision to adopt. We spoke briefly about my family and then she began to ask questions about my friendships. My greatest area of weakness and she had found it in about 20 minutes. As an introvert with social anxiety who has spent much of the past five years travelling around the world, the reality is that I don’t really have close friends. I spoke about being close to my family, about church/family friends from my parents’ generation who play a supportive role in my life, about friends I have met in my travels who I continue to keep in touch with online and colleagues at work who I enjoy going out to lunch with, etc. but it was clear that that was not what she was looking for. She wanted to know if I have friends who I hang out with on a Friday night or go out to dinner with, friends from high school or university who I continue to see on a regular basis. My honest answer was no. She ended her visit by telling me that she had concerns and would be speaking to her manager so that they could be on the same page moving forward. Specifically, she expressed concerns that I was overdeveloped in the area of “volunteerism” and underdeveloped socially. It was unsettling but I never could have imagined just how serious her concerns actually were. As you know, I headed off to Africa and called my social worker the day after I got home, only for her to reiterate that she had concerns and would discuss them with me in person at our next visit. I should have known there was a problem when I arrived at her office and she didn’t even offer me somewhere to put my coat. I sat down on the couch and she proceeded to tell me that, after speaking to her manager, they had decided that it would be a waste of time to continue with my homestudy as ultimately, they would not be approving me. What happened after that is still a blur. I remember her making it clear that she was not concerned about the amount of support I would have in raising this child as she could see that I had plenty of support. I remember her saying something again about feeling like I had skipped a stage in my development, etc. Although these were not her exact words, I remember feeling like what she was saying was that I had spent too much time “volunteering” and needed to live a “normal” life before I could parent a child. She commented that I looked shocked and I remember saying something about being surprised that this type of concern could cause me to not be approved after only a 40 minute meeting. There really wasn’t much else to say. Based on her definition of friendships, what she was saying was true and although we certainly disagreed about what that meant in terms of my qualifications to raise a child, it boiled down to a difference of opinions. After about 20 minutes, when it became clear that there really was no discussion to be had and when I wasn’t sure I could hold it together any longer, I left.
Thus began 24 hours of utter heart ache, confusion and desperation. I came home, fell on my knees, and began to cry out to God. I knew that God was in control but couldn’t help but question whether He was closing the door. There were so many questions filling my heart and mind; Had I run ahead of Him? Were there things in my life that were no right before Him that I needed to change? Did He have other plans for me all together? In 24 hours I went through periods of anger that a child was being denied the opportunity for a family because I did not have a “normal” social life, fear that this was God saying “no” and that maybe I would never get to adopt a child of my own, and pain as the band-aid was ripped off an area of my life where God has brought me so much healing over the past 10 years yet with one quick pull I was left exposed and bleeding once again. In the end, out of all my disjointed prayers there began to emmerge a common theme – “God, may You get all the glory. I know that You are in control, that You alone have the final say in all of this and that if You want this adoption to move forward, You can move this mountain.” I gave it all over to God and prayed that regardless of the outcome, that God would be glorified and that his power and goodness would be put on display. As life would have it, I worked overtime that day and arrived home after 9:00 to find a message on my answering machine from my social worker simply stating, “It looks as though we’re going to move forward” and asking me to call back to schedule our next appointment. I had no idea what had changed but one thing was clear, God was moving the mountains…