When you’re in the process of adopting a child, you’ll probably experience a wide range of emotions. One minute you’ll feel excited about bringing home your child, and in the next minute, you’ll feel overwhelmed by the administrative work.
Don’t worry. Many adoptive families have felt this same way. Ask any adoptive parent, and they’ll tell you that despite the hard work, it’s worth it! One of the first things you need to do as you begin your adoption journey is complete your home study.
What is the Purpose of a Home Study?
A home study is the screening of your life and home. A licensed social worker will conduct your home study. A home study essentially has three parts:
- Completing and gathering documents
- Having an interview with the social worker
- A home visit
After completing these three steps, the social worker writes up the home study report and sends it to the state government, courts, and your adoption agency. Your home study is significant because you cannot adopt until it’s complete.
What Documents Do We Need to Gather & Complete?
The social worker will need some specific documents. Every state is a little different about what they want, but you can start gathering the information she needs ahead of time to speed up the process. Most home study documents include:
- Driver’s license or ID of both adoptive parents
- Birth certificates of both parents
- Social security cards
- Background check for child abuse or criminal records
- Fingerprints from your local police station
- Marriage certificate (if you’re married)
- Proof of employment
- Proof of citizenship
- Proof of income
- Medical records
- Immunization records
- Character references from people who know you
This part of the home study can feel invasive, which is understandable. You’re sharing a lot of personal information about yourself, your job, your finances, and your family. And sometimes, the documentation gets bogged down during the process, making everything take longer than you hoped. Don’t worry. You will complete the home study eventually. In the end, it’s all worth it for the sake of bringing home your sweet child.
Home Study Interviews
A home study interviews helps the social worker get to know you. They will interview you, the hopeful adoptive parents, and any children in the home if they’re old enough to do this. Some topics you may talk about in your interview(s) will include “get to know you” type questions, such as:
- Tell me about yourself.
- What is your occupation?
- What are some of your hobbies?
- Describe your personality?
- Tell me about your marriage and relationship.
As well as personal questions, like:
- What was your childhood like? Who raised you?
- What is your relationship like with your parents now?
- How has how you were raised shaped you?
- Tell me about your education and school life.
- How’s your health?
- How is your job? Can you provide for a child?
- Do you have a criminal record?
Adoption-related questions asked may include:
- Why do you want to adopt?
- What is your parenting style?
- What are your hopes for your child?
- What will you do for schooling for your child?
- How will you discipline?
A social worker will conduct an inspection of your home. They are not performing a “white glove” test to see that everything is spotless; they want to ensure your home is safe and ready for your child.
You can ask for a home checklist ahead of time to guarantee your home will pass the inspection. Most home inspections include looking for:
- Working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms
- Gates at every staircase
- Covers on electric outlets
- Screens and locks on windows
- First aid kits
- Fire extinguisher
- No firearms around
- Heat and AC
- Paint, to ensure none of it contains lead
- Bedroom for the child that meets state requirements
- Guardrails on decks
- Safe back yard or play area
- Child proofed cabinets in kitchen
- Appliances that are in working order and safe.
- A child-safety fence around your pool
Lifetime Adoption’s Home Study Services
Lifetime Adoption provides home study services for prospective adoptive parents. We have experienced social workers who can complete home studies in the state of Florida.
Lifetime can also provide you with trusted referrals so you can complete your home study and post-placement services in other states.
Founder of Lifetime Adoption, adoptive mom, adoption expert, and Certified Open Adoption Practitioner (C.O.A.P).
Since 1986, adoption expert Mardie Caldwell has been dedicated to bringing couples and birth parents together in order to fulfill their dreams.
“Many years ago, I was also searching for a child to adopt. We didn’t know where or how to get started. Through research, determination, and a prayer, our dream of a family became reality. I started with a plan, a notebook, assistance from a caring adoption consultant and a lot of hard work; this was my family I was building. We had a few heartaches along the way, but the pain of not having children was worse!
Within weeks we had three different birth mothers choose us. We were overwhelmed and delighted. Many unsettling events would take place before our adoption would be finalized, many months later. Little did I know that God was training and aligning me for the adoption work I now do today. It is my goal to share with our families the methods and plans which succeed and do not succeed. I believe adoption should be affordable and can be a wonderful “pregnancy” for the adoptive couple.
I have also been on both sides of infertility with the loss of seven pregnancies and then conceiving by new technology, giving birth to a healthy daughter. I have experienced first-hand the emotional pain of infertility and believe my experience allows me to serve your needs better.
It is my hope that for you, the prospective parents, your desire for a child will be fulfilled soon.”