Hooray! Today marks a pretty big milestone in our adoption process - our homestudy interview is over! Yep, the social worker from our homestudy agency in Salt Lake has confirmed that we are fit parents with a safe (enough) home for our daughter!
Ok, I know that it sounds silly that we would fret about our homestudy interview, but it is a rather intimidating thing to know that someone is coming to see if your home and family is ready for another kiddo. I think that Steve took it the hardest, since keeping the house standing falls mostly into his camp, but he did a fabulous job cleaning and tidying and organizing (spring cleaning a little early!) and the house really did look nice.
So, what was our homestudy like? Well, the social worker came over for about an hour and a half this afternoon and asked us all sorts of questions about how we met, the strengths of our marriage, why we like being parents, and our preparation for adoption. She was really cool and gave us some great ideas of books to read and other folks in the area to contact who have adopted internationally, which is really important, especially in glorious "white bread" Utah. Her laid-back style definitely put us at ease and I have to say that it was actually kind of fun to tell her about what we love about each other, what we like to do as a family, etc. Oh, and she talked to the boys briefly about their interests and how they feel about adoption, which gave Ben a fantastic opportunity to show off his Russian vocabulary! The latest phrases he is trying to learn are "red light," "yellow light," and "green light" so that he and Sam can play Red Light, Green Light with their sister in her native language. And the social worker said several times how beautiful the boys were so, of course, I warmed up to her right away :)
So, what's next? Once we get our typed up homestudy report, we send it in to CIS (Citizenship and Immigration Services) and that's the last big piece of paperwork to complete! We have a few other forms to get together and lots of our own signatures to get notarized, but the CIS form is really the last big piece - hooray! Our hope is to have our dossier completed by the end of February and if we can do that then we should be on track to travel this fall (again, if the stars all align) because our agency is still advising 4-6 months from completed dossier to referral or invitation to travel to Kazakhstan (that's for dossier translation and then all of the processes in Kaz that our paperwork has to go through). The CIS process is kind of cumbersome, though, and we'll have to wait for an invitation to get fingerprinted again by the CIS office after our "Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition" is processed. We'll keep you posted - here's hoping and praying that our paperwork continues to move along with astounding speed!