Last week we had our first post-placement visit for Levi. Post placement visits are required by China at 1 month home, 6 months, 1 year, 2 year, 3 year, 4 year and 5 year. Yes, folks. I will be doing adoption paperwork for the next five years.
Post placement visits involve the social worker assigned to you from your agency coming to your home and asking about how family life is going with the newest addition. They ask about the child's health and adjustment to the family. They are available to offer contact information for resources (like counseling, early intervention, etc.) if we are in need.
The social worker will use the information gathered at this meeting, in addition to written information and photographs that we provide, to write a report to send to the Chinese government. This will assure them that we are taking good care of Levi (although the adoption is finalized and China cannot "take him back") and make them feel comfortable about continuing their international adoption program.
I think the post-placement visit went well. The social worker witnessed Levi almost pulling a floor lamp onto himself, but other than that, pretty event-free. We are adequate parents!
I feel like this small victory was necessary for me to redeem myself as a parent after our last experience with Children's Home Society and Family Services (CHSFS), our agency.
A couple weeks ago, we were asked to speak as part of an adoptive parents panel. Our agency runs weekend training sessions to educate future adoptive parents and one of the sessions (the one we were involved in) gives these parents-to-be a chance to ask families who have been through the process questions.
Ben, myself, and all the kiddos were lined up in front of a few couples and social workers. We were with two other families. One had just one child, one had two children.
In situations like this, it is necessary to plan seating arrangements with logistical precision. Which child can be out of arms reach? Which children are currently arguing and need to be separated? Which kids needs to be close enough to whisper in their ear that he or she needs to stop picking their nose, adjusting himself, passing gas on purpose, etc.
We have participated in these panel discussions previously. As is typical, the families still in the adoption process were mainly interested in children without identified medical needs. Both of the other families on the panel had adopted children without special needs. I spent some of my time trying to take the scare factor out of the idea of special needs - letting them know that these kids are just regular kids who happen to have a medical quirk or two.
After the panel was done, I had the opportunity to spend time talking to one of the parents-to-be about special needs. She seemed interested in hearing more. And I was more than happy to share.
Which is why I told Veronica to wait a minute when she asked to go to the bathroom. I lost track of time when she eventually wandered off toward Ben. Ben came to me a few minutes later with a panicked look in his eye. He let me know that Veronica had a problem and was in the bathroom and needed me "Right Now."
No, she didn't just have a little tinkle accident. Poor girl had some runny poop issues. Which I managed to clean up with witnesses in the bathroom.
Fortunately Veronica was wearing a dress instead of pants and a shirt that covered her
current lack of tights and undies. It really wasn't noticeable until
she bent over to pick up a toy...
Do you see the irony? I was talking about how to be a good adoptive parent, yet I neglect to help my own kid in the process.
Oops. I'm glad that didn't get documented and sent to China.