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…


Freedom Hollow Farmgirl said...

WHOO HOO! Looking forward to reading part 2!

Happy Easter to you my friend.


patty said...

Happy Easter, Andrea! I'm looking forward to reading Part 2. Praying that everything goes smoothly from here forward.

Jed and Kimber said...

Wow! I love that. He does answer prayers. He loves the orphan. He loves YOU! I can't wait to see what else He has in store!

carpenter said...

Christ is Risen!!

HE CAN and Does move mountains! HE is GOD OF THE UNIVERSE SPACE and TIME!

Can't wait to watch all HE does in and through you as you give HIM the Glory!

Love in Christ,

patty said...

O.K. I'm freaking out!!!! I just found you on New Commitments on RR. Wow, congratulations to you and Samuel. Go God!!!!

Joanna said...

Just saw you FSP. Eikes! I love it. So so much. I already love little Samuel. I love watching your story unfold. This is seriously better then any movie!!! and I'm sure the ending will be better then any movie as well. :) Keep us posted!!!

Sandra said...

Your friend Patty shared her excitement about you being on New Commitments on RR... i saw that post & read your blog & i must say - WOW! God is certainly leading you, step by step... it is wonderful reading how God has blessed you & made things happen to make it possible for you to adopt... i saw that you are adopting a little guy from Vietnam - God has placed in my heart to help orphans in Asia & families adopting from Asia. So i have a blog post which i regularly update with a list of families adopting from Asia, it has their prayer requests, where they are at in the process, their fundraisers etc... it is simply to help give exposure & enable the families & others to follow everyone's progress all on one page... would you like to be listed on that post too? If so, you can comment on All From Asia #04 post & i'll add you to the list.
Also i see you also advocate for Heath - he is the son of my heart & i don't know if you have heard - he has a family! The Drake family is on New Commitments on RR too. Hope to hear from you. Wishing you all the best in your adoption journey.