Sunday, August 16, 2009

White gloves

Our actual home visit is scheduled for this coming Wednesday. Our adoption counselor, M, will be visiting for 60-90 minutes, to talk with us and also confirm that we do actually have a roof, four walls, etc.

I'm nervous about her visit even though I probably don't have any reason to be. It's not like we live in squalor or a tent. Our house is safe, comfortable, well maintained, and cozy (aka small). There really isn't a reason to worry. I know this. M candidly told us at the start that she's never "failed" anyone based on her visit to their home. The only time she had a concern was when she stepped into a living room with spotless white carpets, white upholstered furniture, and a squeaky clean stainless steel and glass coffee table. Apparently, her immediate thought was "what are they going to do when their kid brings a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in here?"

Needless to say, spotless white and squeaky clean aren't two phrases typically used to describe our home. Clean, yes in general but to be totally truthful, it's virtually impossible to stay ahead of the cats' prodigious shedding. We'll probably be diagnosed with bad cases of furry lung at some point in the future. That or start hacking up hairballs ourselves.

Even so, our house reflects us and how we live our life, the life we want to share with a child. We bought this house 5 years ago and we've made it into a home. It's filled with books and art, fun colors on the wall and fun colors in the gardens, memories of our grandparents, and pictures of places we love and the friends and family we love even more. It's often filled with music (Plus One will need to get used to Jenn's favorite house cleaning music -- Meatloaf's "Bat Out of Hell" and Journey's Greatest Hits) and laughter and, I'm embarrassed to say, apparently some snoring at night.

Sure, it's a bit disconcerting to see the couples profiled on with their multi-acre yards and huge McMansions. It was a huge relief when we actually found a profiled couple with a small ranch house like ours. However, it is our house and we bought it because we loved the neighborhood, only two houses from the bike path, just outside Colt State Park, and within spitting distance of the shore of Narragansett Bay. So what if the house itself is shaped like a shoebox and has no real architectural points of distinction? We've added those points of distinction through what we brought to it in our efforts to make a home.

So why am I nervous?

I think it's because M's visit to our home will be a tangible reminder that every aspect of our life is being judged right now as part of this home study process. The house -- our home -- is a reflection on us in the same way as the financial records, criminal background check, autobiographies, letters of reference, and other paperwork. M is getting a far deeper and more intimate look into our lives than anyone but perhaps our parents, siblings, and our absolute closest friends in the world. But while we know that our parents, siblings, and friends know us, trust us, love us, and believe in us, M is new to our lives and our future as parents rests on the decisions she makes.

Having her at our home, even if she doesn't give it the stereotypical white glove inspection, is just another step in opening ourselves up for someone to evaluate us and judge our fitness as parents.

I know we'll do fine. Hell, I mopped the basement today as well as mowed, weed whacked, and spent 90 minutes doing nothing weeding, pruning, and cleaning out the bird bath. Jenn completely rearranged her closet and a full scale assault on cat fur with the vacuum cleaner commences bright and early tomorrow. With the exception of the closet, all are things we would normally do. They just take on added emphasis this time around.

We'll do fine.

But I think I'll still be just a bit nervous if you don't mind.


C, G & L said...

Before I publicly declare I trust you, I'd like a look at that criminal background check if you don't mind...

Chris Watson said...

Oh ye of little faith. I managed to get L through 18 holes of mini-golf with only minimal trauma!