This week we had our first home study interview. Along with going through adoption certification classes we also have to complete a home study. Basically the adoption caseworker gets to know us, our family history, our relationships, etc making sure we will be able to care for a child. Our first interview was this week right before our class. Ben and I both had to draw genograms (sp?) which is fancy name for a family tree. We then discussed the people in our family, the relationships we had with them growing up and how those relationships are working currently, etc. I wasn't sure what to expect going into the interview but it was very relaxed. I basically felt like I was telling/reliving my family story with my caseworker. It was interesting to note how different Ben and I are when it comes to family!
Immediately after our interview was over we jumped in the car and raced across town for our sixth class. This class was different from the others. Not sure if I wasn't into it because I was already drained from our interview or because I was starving since we didn't have time to eat dinner! Either way the focus of the night was "Raising the Adopted Child".
In our packet of info we were given our attention was drawn to the fact that several people in the Bible were adopted. Moses, Esther and most importantly, Jesus! I had never thought about that before--pretty cool!
Our caseworker leading the class this week has adopted two children so she knows first hand some of the issues we will be dealing with as adoptive parents. I love the phrase she said she told her children while they were growing up:
"You were carried in your birth mom's tummy, but you were always in my heart."
A lot of tonight's class was about bonding and attachment. The topics we covered took me back to what I learned in my Child Psychology class at Point Loma. Ben commented on our way home how a lot of it seems like common sense. I thought the same thing. But as adoptive parents we need to be proactive and intentional about bonding with our child and making sure they form a strong attachment to us as their parents.
As we went through each stage of development our caseworker talked about how from the very beginning we need to be open to talking to our child about their adoption. At each age there is a way to appropriately talk to our children about how God brought them to be a part of our family. When they are toddlers we can explain how mommy didn't carry them in her tummy, but in her heart. The contact we plan to have with our child's birth family will hopefully help explain a lot of things along the way as well. As they get older the harder questions will come:
Why did my birth mom give me away?
Did I do something to make my birth mom not want me?
Why did my birth mom keep her other children, but not me?
Being open and honest with our child and answering their questions as best we can will be key to helping our child understand who they are and will help them form a positive picture of themselves. Our caseworker also explained that these questions and struggle with identity are very normal so to not be alarmed.
That's it for this week. Only one class left to go! We also have two different interviews scheduled in the next few weeks for our case study. Thanks for your continued support and prayers!