I had twenty minutes and all was running smoothly.  The leaves were raked, kids fed, and clutter picked up.  The only thing left to do was a quick vacuuming and then I could get dressed….

Was that the doorbell????

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Sometimes we push time to the limit and Saturday was no exception.  There I was, running the dust devil in my skivvies when Ellie opens up the front door to our social worker (Amy). Was her early arrival planned?  After all, you can tell a lot about a family when they’re caught with their pants down…or off as was my case.

Thus began our final home study appointment. Final for a while at least.  Amy will do a few more visits once Little Panda has made the trip home to Union, Kentucky.

Since I was in black socks and boxer shorts I excused myself to get dressed while Reece and Amy began the interview. Things started off a little nuts.  Our kids get downright manic when people come over which is fine with grandma and grandpa but not so fine when you’re trying to make a good impression. (No offense mom and dad). By the time I returned, Mitch was riding his Hot Wheels all over Amy’s back while Ellie banged out Ode to Joy from our baby grand piano.

I don’t know how single parents do it.

I kept the natives busy with marble games while Reece was interviewed.  After a half hour or so, we swapped places and it was my turn on the hot seat. For some reason I thought the session would be like Oprah, with a lot of probing questions, but Amy kept things efficient and to the point asking things like: Are your parents still married? What do they do for a living?  What is your philosophy regarding disciplining your kids? How did you meet your wife? What are her most positive traits?

I mentioned before that my mouth gets me into trouble but Saturday was not one of those days.  The only time I got tense was when Amy asked, “Have you ever been abused?”Good-Cop-Bad-Cop

I answered with a quick “No,” but for some reason, my answer felt incomplete as if I had to justify myself.  Shouldn’t “no” be an acceptable answer? Whenever I’m pulled over by a cop, the same thing happens.  I get jittery and start gabbing about all kinds of crazy stuff just to fill the silence. Thankfully, Amy concluded the interview before I could sabotage anything.

Finally, Reece and I were both grilled on our parenting styles.  Not really, but “grilled” sounds compelling doesn’t it?  Amy broke down “expert” opinions on managing typical and atypical child behaviors.  One valuable resource was Dr. Karyn Purvis who has developed research-based interventions for at risk children (i.e. Little Panda).

On her website http://empoweredtoconnect.org/ Purvis states, “we have yet to see a child that cannot experience dramatic levels of healing in response to the right approach and interventions focused on helping the child and parents develop deep and lasting connections.”

So what are the right interventions?  Are they realistic?  Reece and I plan to study and use Dr. Purvis’ methods but each kid and family situation is unique therefore our parenting will not always be by the book.

Amy agreed.  She shared how parenting her at-risk children has been an evolving process. “What works for one may not work for another,” she said.  “Just know that there will be mistakes and learn as much as you can from those mistakes.”

Good advice, especially since I’m already worried about those first few months of Little P’s arrival.  Ideally, Reece would stay home until Panda made the initial transition, but we are a two income home and unable to work remotely. But you never know…the way Obamacare is going, perhaps I’ll be able to Skype my home therapy treatments by next year…now that would be interesting.

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Being a two income family means we will need child care three days a week. Thankfully, we have a wonderful sitter in place who will provide a loving home environment during those long work days. Is it cacooning?  No, but it’s the best option available for us.

Amy was wrapping things up when I had one more burning question.  “Have you ever had to refuse an adoption?”

“It’s rare…but yes,” she said. “What we don’t want is for a child from an unhealthy environment placed right back into the same situation.”

Her answer was sobering.  The financial commitment, along with various personal issues limits many good-hearted people from taking part in this life-giving process.  I feel so blessed that Reece and I have the opportunity to provide a loving home for a child in need.

So now, the home study process is complete and the waiting game begins.

Check!

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