Adoption is an amazing and commendable thing. Whether you are looking to adopt locally or internationally, the process has a step called a home study. It is an important step and one of the most crucial during the adoption process. A home study is the process in which an adoption agency evaluates a home and family for suitability when it comes to adoption. In most cases this is one of the longest parts of the adoption process.
A home study is performed by a social worker or a caseworker. The individual is specially trained in assessing families and homes for adoption. A home study serves several purposes:
● Gauge the capability of a family to adopt and care for a child
● Help to evaluate information necessary for matching the family with the right child
● Provide education toward adoption
What Does An Adoption Home Study Entail?
During the adoption home study you and your family will be asked a lot of questions and the caseworker will perform a lot of fact finding. From state to state and agency to agency, the specific requirements of a home study might vary. That being said many home studies are very similar.
Here are some of the typical steps as part of an adoption home study:
● Family interview
● Solo Interviews
● Background Check
● Home Visit
What Is The Home Study Looking For?
During the home study the experts are looking for a number of pieces of information. All of this information helps them to establish whether or not a family is ready to be adoptive parents. For the most part the things that a home study looks for are not black and white disqualifiers. Instead, they take into account all of the information provided and make a decision.
During the home study you will be expected to provide as much health information about yourselves as possible. The adoption agency wants to ensure that you are healthy enough to take care of a kid. Tuberculosis tests will also have to be provided to ensure that you do not test positive.
Minor criminal history may not be a disqualifier but serious criminal history can be a red flag. The most important part is being open about your criminal history.
Raising a kid isn’t cheap. To help ensure that you are prepared for that, the social worker will review your financial information to ensure you are able to provide for a new family member.
It is often easier to hear about a family from the outside. A social worker will want to speak to a number of personal references. Typically the minimum requirement is three but it often helps to have more ready as sometimes personal references can’t be reached.
All Of Your Documents
Having copies of all of your documents ready is important. Documents such as your marriage license, birth certificate, driver’s license (or ID), insurance coverage information, and the like. Other information might be required depending on your specific circumstances, including: criminal documents, court documents, previous adoption documentation, etc.
A Biographical Statement
Most adoption agencies will also require you to write a personal essay, just like you were applying to a college or high level job. If the social worker requires this, they will provide you information on what they expect.
Home Studies Do Expire
It is important to note that home studies are not good forever. The exact length that a home study is good for can vary greatly. States and adoption agencies both have the ability to set policies. However, an adoption agency’s policy must typically meet or exceed the requirements of the state. A pretty standard expiration time period is one year.
Many people wonder why a home study expires. This is because life changes. Events such as new jobs, new homes, and the like happen. A new home study or an update to the previous home study helps to take into account the numerous changes that happen over the year.
After Adoption Visits
Depending on where you are and who you are doing your adoption through, there will likely be an after adoption visit. This visit helps to ensure that everything is going well. Sometimes after placement there may be difficulties with all parties. A new home, even at a young age, can take some adapting to. That is fine. The visit is just to ensure that everyone is being taken care of and there is nothing wrong.
Some areas have multiple visits as a requirement. During all of these visits a social worker will discuss the progress of your new family member. This may include setting milestones, checking doctors records, and sometimes even just talking.
Adoption studies vary from state to state and agency to agency. What we have discussed here is just generic information on an adoption home study. More information can be found from your local adoption agency or other articles on our blog.