Now that we are basically through the home study process, I can definitely look back and say it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I actually loved the process of preparation and the growth that occurred. I was able to look back at my life and see how a number of things had prepared me to be a better adoptive parent. I loved learning about the differences with adoptive parenting and some of the different strategies that are available.
But I wanted to explain why the process was such a struggle for me, especially since I now have several blog friends who are beginning the process. It is probably obvious from things I have written in the past that I had a lot of anxiety about the home study process. It was actually the thing I feared the most when we were first considering adoption. You see for most of my life, I struggled with feeling not good enough. It stems from events in my childhood, but it was a struggle that continued into my adulthood. When I became a Christian (almost 8 years ago to the day!), the Lord began the process of healing me. My identity became rooted in Christ; my adequacy and significance were now from Him. I actually wrote about this in my very first blog post. I was set free from needing the approval of others. I was set free from having to be worthy, because Christ is worthy. It is His righteous, not mine. But you see, the very nature of the adoption process requires that you open your life up to someone else's judgment. I felt like I had to open myself up to see if they would find me worthy, worthy to do something I want so much. And I was afraid I would be found wanting. My old fears resurfaced.
I was truly afraid we would not be approved and we would never be parents. John had to frequently assure me that my fears were unfounded. I think one of the things I was concerned about was a legitimate concern. I have been to a counselor in the past and I even took an anti-depressant for pre-menstrual dysphoric disorder (for me the medication only made things worse). Korea generally does not approve of mental health care. But thankfully the counseling occurred long enough ago that it did not disqualify me. I also went to a counseling pastor at my church more recently (2008/2009) because of infertility and the miscarriage, but they didn't count that since it was at my church.
I wasn't expecting our social worker to tell us we were approved when she did. I was both surprised and relieved. I realized as we were talking that day, that she wasn't trying to judge me or see if I was "good enough." They aren't expecting perfect people with perfect childhoods. I realize now that they are only looking to see that you have learned and grown as a result of your life experiences and are prepared to parent.
So if you are at the beginning of this process, do not fear! You will get through it! It is so worth it knowing that you are preparing for your child. You will be stronger, more knowledgeable, and better prepared to parent. It really is as much about preparation as it is determining if you are qualified.