Since discovering that our home study agency was shut down by the state, we’ve been trying to get our file transferred.
Travis tracked down our former social worker at her new job, a social services agency that works with children in the foster care system. When she picked up the phone, she was rushed, flustered, and offered no apology. She said she “might” have our home study in her files at home, but that her “next few days would be busy.” We were to call her the next week if we hadn’t heard back. She said she’d been abruptly fired last summer and given four hours to leave. But still. It’s hard to believe she didn’t feel responsible for informing us that she was no longer our social worker.
Meanwhile, the director of the old agency was not returning my calls. So, Travis naturally turned to Facebook, found her, and sent a message. She responded, telling him she didn’t have the files. We’d need to contact the social worker.
The social worker only partially came through. She sent the new agency a copy of our home study but said she was missing all the supplemental paperwork—the fire inspection report, the numerous background checks, the medical forms, the confirmation of insurance, etc.
I called our contact at the state agency to see if she had any other suggestions on how to compel the former director to transfer the entire file, assuming she has it. This time the woman at the state office seemed impatient, interrupting to ask, “Why don’t you just get a new home study?”
I wanted to ask, “Why don’t you not be an asshole? And why don’t you do a better job of making sure agencies that you close actually follow your protocol and inform their clients?”
Instead I asked, “Is there no other recourse for us?”
“The only thing I have the power to do is shut them down, and that’s what I did. And under state law, the former director can’t open a new agency for at least three years.”
Only three years! In three years, that woman could open a new agency and people like us, searching for a home study agency would have no idea about this woman’s professional past. Once this ordeal is over, I am tempted to put her name and the name of the former agency on this blog so Googlers from the future have at least some chance of knowing her background.
It’s not clear yet whether the new agency has enough information to accept us as a transfer, or whether they’ll have to update our home study. I’m waiting to get the final word.
Our original Ohio home study cost nearly $2,000 and was supposed to be valid for two years—until late this spring. If we are told we must start over, we’re going to have to make a choice whether to keep going. Travis is a professor and will be on leave as he finishes his book from May 2012 through January 2013. Our plan is to temporarily relocate, possibly out of state or to a city nearby—somewhere Miles can be exposed to greater diversity. If we somehow find the money for a new home study, it would only be valid for a few months anyway. I’m not sure what we’ll do. I really wanted the remaining six months to keep trying to adopt.