Part 1 Finished (Dare I say offically?)
With international adoption, I've surmise that it happens in three parts. Part one being dealing with an adoption practitioner. A complete expose on on you, your husband, your children (though not as much) and other adults living with you should you have them.
I will say for those who have grown up with abuse, regardless of the form it comes in, and you want to adopt. The home study process can strike a cord that you may not expect and fill you with a heavy load of self doubt, and remind you of things that you had thought you had overcome. There are questions in the questionaire that you may not want to answer truthfully, are ashamed of, and may even be in complete denial with it. My advice as someone who has gone through this and faced some personal demons. It is okay to be truthful, and as long as you understand that how you were abused/raised/ treated/ was wrong, and you do not incorporate it into your own life and beliefs you shouldn't have any thing to worry about (though I suspect that you will).
Having gone through this twice, I will say that find an adoption practitioner who will not judge you because of your parents mistakes (it pains me to say this but there are some out there who believe that the apple always falls close to the tree). It is okay to go to therapy and discuss your childhood issues and work them out if you need to, before you being the home study process. In fact I would encourage you to do it before the home study ~IF you haven't come to terms with your abuse, as well as your abusers. If you have and found other ways to overcome your abuse and your abusers then kiddos to you! Nevertheless be forewarned, you are going to have to visit the past, recall painful memories and share aspects of yourself that won't be pleasant, and you may discover that you really haven't put it all behind you. Or maybe the opposite just might be true, one thing I can tell you it is going to be an emotional rollercoaster of a ride so brace yourself and have the tissues handy.
On a side note, should you decide to go to therapy your adoption practitioner will need a letter from your therapist, however, this letter will show that you are working to overcome your past, if you haven't already.
My advice is to be honest with youself and your adoption practitioner. The best thing you can do for yourself is to take care of yourself , and show your adoption practitioner that despite how you were raised and the abuse you experienced, you've overcome the challenges and have broke the cycle of abuse. I know it isn't always easy, but paying attention to yourself helps.
Somethings I have done and still do when dealing with my children are:
Go over what went well and what didn't, and what you could have done better.
Learn what your triggers are. (hunger, and lack of sleep are mine)
Learn what your child's triggers are stay ahead of them.
Pick your battles. (If you child doesn't want to wear mittens, it is okay, when their hands are cold they will, so stuff them in their pockets or bag.)
And remember no one is perfect and there is no such thing as a perfect parent. Just do your best.
Again, I will stress make sure you are comfortable with your adoption practitioner. Discuss your concerns in that first meeting. You will most likely have to pay for their time, but it is well worth the effort. I hope this helps ease some of the fears abused propective parents may have about adopting, or at least give you a better understanding of what to expect in terms of the homestudy process.
It isn't easy, and yes while I wait for the government's approval saying that I can adopt, a part of me is terrified that they will say I am unfit. Why would they? I have no logical explaination. I am just scared that I have a black stain in my records, even though that stain really belong to someone else.