Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Visit

Soon we will reach our one year anniversary of the day that The Princess became part of our family. For those unfamiliar with China adoptions, China requires that two post-placement visits be conducted by your social worker to document how the child/family has adapted, etc. The visits are performed at 6 months and 12 months following completion of your adoption. We received a letter from our agency back in April reminding us that our 12 month post-placement report was due by the end of June. After a few emails and phone calls, our social worker scheduled our final meeting during the first week of June, henceforth referred to as The Visit.
A little background here. I grew up in a military family. My father was a career-man in the U.S. Air Force Back in those days, the military was a lot different than it is now. When you lived in Base housing for example, you were subjected to random, white-glove inspections to ensure you were properly taking care of the residence assigned to you. My mother was a clean-freak. I say this most lovingly. Her life revolved around cleaning and making sure everything stayed clean. You never knew when an inspection would occur or where that white-glove would check for dust/dirt! Not an easy task with 4 children, but seldom did we cross her on this! So when I started living on my own, I continued the "clean" experience of living. My Mother elevated the "clean" bar to "High" and i tried to reach it.
Fast forward to now. I have 4 children as well. We live in our house. I mean LIVE in our house. We use every room. At my parents house we had a formal living room and dining room that was closed off for everyday family use. You didn't even set foot in there unless it was to clean. And then you had to vacuum your way out of the room so as not to leave any footprints on the carpet as though someone actually walked on it! The level of my "clean" bar is set pretty low. In addition to not really liking to fight the non-ending battle, I'd rather do other things. My house gets really livcd in from January until the end of the school year, with Tax Season, all of the school and sports activities, etc. So now with The Visit scheduled, I was ready (forced) to give my house a good spring cleaning!
My first plan (Plan A) for our meeting was to go into town and meet the social worker at her convenience. A home visit is not required with the 12-month placement. But, no she didn't mind driving all the way out to the sand castle from town! Ok, with the date of The Visit on the calendar, I set about my "Plan B" for tackling the project before me. Now this is the tricky part, how far in advance do you clean? Too far ahead and you'll have to do it again. Too late and you drive yourself and everyone else crazy. Cleaning to me is a lot like weeding. If you don't stay on top of it the weeds (toys/clutter) will start taking over every inch of floor space. But by the time you get the weeds (toys/clutter) cleared, a new patch springs up in another spot. You get so bogged down in the weeding process that you don't want to do it again for a while, or get to enjoy the results. Anyway, I digress.
My plan included cleaning room by room everyday for 2 weeks before The Visit. The first few days I just mentally prepared myself for the task (I had allotted myself plenty of time), now I had only 1.5 weeks left. I managed to get the kitchen, dining room , and most of the living room de-cluttered/"cleaned" after a week. The weekend I do the bedrooms followed by touching up the downstairs rooms right up to The Visit. That would give me time. Right.
The weekend came and "other" more pressing issues came into play, getting supplies for my Sunday school class, going to a cookout, church, scouring the Internet for vacation rentals, reading blogs, etc. I felt confident in my plan and what I had accomplished. I only needed to tweak my plan a little. Why not take a little break?

Besides, the gardenias are in bloom. This only happens for a short period of time. They are my favorite flower. Can you smell the delicious scent?
Back to reality. Now I was feeling a little pressure with what was laying before me. I looked at the "Trail of Forgotten Laundry" on the stairs leading up to the "Caves of Squallor" (Big Tuna's and Godzilla's rooms). I would keep my nose to the grindstone over the next few days.

We interrupt this post to show you my young-uns playing Musical Rock (Rock Band). Isn't it sweet the way Big Tuna includes the girls? Don't look at his messy room.

Then Captain Daddy suggested a trip to the beach. How could I resist this?

We even caught fish!

How can you deny a child the chance to go fishing?

Just don't let it get too close!
Ta Da!

How cute!

I wonder what she is making?

Ok, this is way more fun than cleaning!

Look what we made? I'm not sure what it is. A dragon? A dinosaur? Combination of the two?

Ok, now I had 24 hours left. Time to switch from Plan B to Plan C. I mean, it is better if the house looks like children live here, right? The social worker should expect lots of toys/clutter, right? So I decided I would just shut the doors to the rooms I didn't want the social worker to see. But now I had to re-do the downstairs rooms. Why do you ask? The Twister Sisters, that's why!
It was now time for The Visit. My last cleaning task was to scrape the strategically placed cat vomit off the walkway before the social worker stepped, slipped, and fell when getting out of her car.
I have to admit, out of 3 different social workers, Mrs. M is the best! She joined me in the breezeway while the kiddos played, and zipped around on their scooters/bikes. We had a great visit. I was trying not to get paranoid over the fact that my children were ignoring all of the bike safety rules by not wearing their helemts which were readily available (laying around all over the floor). I hope (don't think) Mrs.M really noticed. She is such a wonderful lady. She never once set foot into the house.

I think I will take a break over the next few days and relax in my clean house. Maybe I will let my children back in:).


Sonia said...

Hilarious!! Girl, I know we're related. Procrastination is an art. And you're as good at it as I am. My favorite excuse: I work better under pressure... yeah. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Vivian M said...

I am still laughing over here! Loved this post. It sounds so much like something I would do!
By the way, gardenias are wonderful, you are so lucky to have them there!
Glad the VISIT is over and was a success!

Kim said...

I was laughing out loud reading your post. Been there done that on all our homestudy visits! Then, just like yours, our social worker didn't even look at the house. Love all the pictures you shared.