This morning, at 9 a.m., we trek to the local offices of DHHS for our second and final home study interview, the results of which (we hope) will clear the way for us to adopt.
This second interview will include our children. All six of them, answering questions about their home life with us. Three are teenagers. One is 11. The other two are too little to understand but they still need to be asked questions apparently.
The teens are predictably THRILLED to be dragged out of bed while on Christmas vacation to go talk about how often we beat them.
In truth, Corrine and I are nervous. This sort of exercise brings into focus, for the first time, what our children think of our parentage. Think about it. How often does a child get asked questions specific to their home life? It's one of the closely guarded secrets. I was certainly never asked, while I was growing up, by a total stranger. It puts the spotlight on us as parents. It exposes us in a way we've never been exposed before.
We're not afraid that they will reveal anything bad. We're afraid that their interpretation of growing up, and how they frame it to the DHHS social worker, might get misconstrued.
I picture Ty, the 11 year old, thusly:
DHHS: Does your mother or step-father ever hit you?
Ty: No, but Andy says the F word when he watches football.
DHHS: Is there alcohol in your house?
Ty: Yeah, but mom makes sure Andy doesn't drink out of the can. He has a special glass.
Or how about our 2-year-old, Gabrielle, whose favorite thing now is to wear a bikini top over her shirt and call it her "boobies"
DHHS: Do you like being with your mommy and daddy?
Gabi: Wanna see my boobies?
DHHS: Does mommy spank you?
Gabi: I have pretty boobies
You see, it's a matter of context and interpretation when it comes to the answers children give, something DHHS has no angle on. They read questions from a list on a piece of paper and jot down the answers. I fear, with our lot, DHHS will get some of the most outrageous answers and not being able to apply the proper filter.
The interview will conclude with a sit-down with Corrine and I to finish out the process. I will be dying to know what she gleaned from her talk with our kids.