As a homestudy (or Certificado de Idoniedad, CI) process for adoption would suggest, part of it is a visit to your home. This is carried out by a social worker of your appointed ICIF (Institución Colaboradora para la Integración Familiar) team, and for many it causes a fair bit of anguish. I was no exception.
When I started my CI process, I was living in a studio apartment in the old city, a place I had bought years ago when bargains were still to be had in Barcelona. Even so, it was only a temporary arrangement: I had recently moved out of another one bedroom apartment near the beach (the contract, and subsequently my spirit-lifting view of the sea, had ended) and I moved back into my old studio whilst looking around for something bigger.
What are the ICIF social workers looking for when they visit your home? Well, the good news is that pretty much only the fundamentals any child would need; their own bedroom, basic amenities such as electricity and running water and a location in a decent neighbourhood. At least that’s what I thought.
As soon as I started my CI process, I went on the hunt for a two-bedroom apartment in Barcelona. I focused on one particular neighbourhood, the reason being that many of my friends lived nearby and I was counting on their support when my little girl arrived. Luckily, I started my property hunt after the crash, and the glut of apartments on the market meant that I didn’t have to wait long before I found something.
The something was a two-bedroom, first floor apartment that to me represented the perfect mother-daughter set-up (at least within my budget): well connected, open-plan, lots of light and close to a handful of schools and parks (the large terrace I had always dreamed of would have to wait). Unusually for Barcelona, it didn’t need much work. I gave it a lick of paint, more out of an aversion to peach-tinged walls than necessity, and my art work, bric-a-brac and 15-year collection of accumulated ‘stuff’ did the rest. It now looked like a home for two, and a nice one at that.
All this I finished just in time for my home visit. The social worker arrived and I showed her around. Despite my considerable effort (and talent if I do say so myself—I can pretty much make a silk purse out of any old sow’s ear), her first sniffy comment was that my 75-square apartment was ‘small’ but ‘sufficient’—and this about the biggest apartment I had ever had in Barcelona! (Although I admit I has garnered a reputation for living in rabbit holes).
That said, she seemed fairly content with everything else she encountered, until, for reasons I still can’t fathom, she pulled out a form that she said she was required to fill in.
It was full of boxes, and I certainly didn’t tick all of them. What did she ask? And more importantly did my lack of my mould-fitting affect my CI? I’ll tell you in my next post.